Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/10/28

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Subject: Re: Trivia question from longtime lurker
From: Paul Schliesser <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 97 23:20:19 -0400

>On p.24 of Paul Schliesser's M article in PT he says that the 3 in M3 is
>for the number of framelines. I had always assumed that Leitz had planned
>three models from the start, and just took a few years to get them all in
>When you consider the similarity of the I, II, and III LSM models to the
>original concept of the M1,M2 and M3, this makes sense. Their line would
>continue to have a rangefinderless technical camera(I/M1), an "economy"
>model lacking some features(II/M2), and the full featured flagship


I never considered the parallel between the I, II and III and the M1, M2 
and M3. That's pretty interesting, and very clever on your part.

The M3 name (from "Messucher" and the three frames) I think I first 
learned from a 1950s edtition of the _Leica Manual_. It's also mentioned 
in _The Leica Rangefinder Way_, and I think it is also mentioned in the 
50-year anniversary booklets that Leitz did.

In 1954, the three projected framelines were a really big deal, and it 
makes sense that they would have chosen a name to highlight this feature. 
I always felt that they were somewhat at a loss as to what to do after 
that with their naming system.

The model names, since they are not chronological, are extremely 
confusing to newcomers to the Leica M.

- - Paul