Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/06

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Subject: [Leica] First M system choices
From: Phil Kokoczka <>
Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 07:50:12 -0500

On  6 May Isaac Crawford wrote:

>I am now in the planning stages for getting my first M system and I have
>a couple of questions.  <snip> I think that a  higher magnification camera
>would suit me well. What would I be giving up (other than the meter) if I
>got an M3 instead of an M6HM?

Isaac, you will never regret going with the M3. I originally bought an M6
and  28, 35, 50, 90 and 135mm Leitz lenses. I wanted a body to use for
B&W while the M6 was loaded with chrome. The M3 (ser. #709 xxx) with
the high magnification finder came my way and I bought it. The high mag
finder lets me view with both eyes open. This puts a "floating frame" in
what essentially is what you normally see with both eyes open. Really
neat when you are doing sports or other action photography. As far as
not having a frame for the 35mm lens-not a problem. I normally keep a
Canon 35mm screw mount lens with an M adapter on the camera as the
normal lens. All I do is use the whole viewfinder to frame my image. (I
don't use the 28mm on the M3 however). With the 90mm and the 135mm
the M3 really shines. The larger rangefinder base and the higher
magnification make focusing with these longer lenses a breeze.

I don't miss the exposure meter on the M3 at all. I bought a MR-4 meter for
the M3 and use it. The angle of view with the MR-4 meter is the same as
the angle on the M6-it just takes a little longer which in the majority of
cases does not pose a problem.

The M3 I bought is an early double stroke model which I believe is better
constructed and smoother operating than my M6. It also has a couple of
depth of field tabs on the rangefinder patch which are really neat to use
with the 50mm lens. All in all, I am finding that I am using the M3 more than
the M6 because of the feel of the camera in my hands.

btw, I use the 135mm 4.5 Hektor and find the lens a very good performer.
If you can find one in good condition buy it and I am sure you will have the
same opinion of it as mine.