Leica M3 - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Leica M3


E. Leitz G.M.B.H.


West Germany

Image of Leica M3

f1.5, 5 cm Summarit, iris diaphragm to f16. Bayonet mount. Serial no. 1187110 (1954).

Focal-plane, speeds 1 - 1/1000, B. Speeds are varied by delaying the second blind. Delayed action. Flash synchronisation.

Vulcanite covered metal body.

36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm film held in cassette.

Helical to 1 metre.

Coupled rangefinder, swing prism type, double image. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder, frame outlines for 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses, correct frame displayed when lens is mounted. Parallax correction.
Auto-stop on film advance coupled to shutter. Film advance tensions shutter. Exposure counter with automatic re-set.

Serial Number:
958975 (1959) .


  • f4, 9 cm Elmar, iris to f32. Focus to 1 m. Depth-of-field scale. E39 filter size. Serial no. 1462789 (1957).
  • f4.5, 13.5 cm Hektor, iris to f32. Focus to 4' 6". Depth-of-field scale. E39 filter size. Lens cap. In plastic case. Serial no. 1718645 (1960).
  • Lens cap for 5 cm lens. Body cap.
  • Filters, bayonet mount for 5 cm lens: Yellow 1. Orange.
  • Filters, E39 size for 9 cm and 13.5 cm lenses: UV. Green GGR.
  • Two Leica 'N' film cassettes in black plastic containers.
  • Screw to bayonet adapter. M3 28 50, M2 50. Tripod Head. Ever-ready case.
  • Instruction book. "The Leica System" - sales brochure, d. 1954. "Leica - Filters" - pamphlet 12-19a 1960. "Leica Survey Catalogue & Price List" d. March 1960. London.
  • Benser outfit case model I. With L1, L2, L4 and L5a inserts. For camera; 50 mm, 90 mm and 135 mm lenses; filters and other small accessories.
  • Visoflex
  • Visoflex I. 5x vertical finder, late type with crackle finish. Serial no. 31159.
  • 45 degree prism.
  • 90 degree finder, uses a mirror, eye-sight correction, in red box.
  • Short focusing mount to attach the 13.5 cm Hektor lens head to a Visoflex I. Focus to 5'.
  • Double cable release, late model with black crackle finish.
  • Bellows I
  • Bellows I. Scaled for 5 cm and 13.5 cm lenses showing reproduction scale and exposure factor. Main bellows adapter ring. Bellows lens hood, 42 mm connection. Serial no. 10708.
  • Connector to fit 13.5 cm Hektor lens head to Bellows I.
  • "Universal Focusing Bellows" - instructions, d. 1960.

The M3 was the first of the M series of Leicas, the view-finder was much improved from the screw mount models and showed the field of view for 50, 90 and 135 mm lenses. The separate slow speed dial present on the screw mount models was replaced with a single dial and a bayonet mount was used on the lens.

A major improvement was introduced in 1958 when the film advance was by a single stroke of the lever, previously two movements were needed.

Visoflex I
This was introduced in 1951 and replaced the Mirror Reflex Housing PLOOT it was discontinued in 1962. Available in both screw and bayonet fittings.

Benser cases
These used removable inserts that could be fitted into cases in various arrangements. Inserts held a particular piece, or pieces, of Leica M equipment, and could be purchased separately to the case. Two sizes of case were made. They were produced by Walther Benser of Neumünster, originally for the Leica they sold under the name of 'Original Benser' other types of cases were later produced for other makes of camera.

Code Names:
ISAIO - Camera. IDCOO - ERC. HEFAM - 13.5 cm lens. XOOQG - Yellow filter for 5 cm lens. FIOLA- UV filter for 13.5 cm lens. FIPOS - Green filter for 13.5 cm lens. IXMOO - Leica 'N' cassettes. List 8703 - "The Leica System". IRZOO - Screw to bayonet adapter. UXOOR - Bellows I. UOOYW - Main bellows adapter ring. UZEOO - Bellows lens hood. OZTOM - Double cable release. UOOVH - Connector to fit 13.5 cm lens head to Bellows I. OZUPO - Visoflex I. LVFOO - 5x finder. PEGOO - 45 degree prism. PAMOO - 90 degree finder. ZOOAN - 13.5 cm short focusing mount. 14121 - Tripod Head.

References & Notes:
Hasbroeck, Leica.


No. 00 Cartridge Premo





Ansco Memo

Leica I(a)

Leica I(b)

Leica I(c)

Leica Standard

Leica II

Stereo attachment

Leica III

Leica Motor

Leica IIIa

Leica IIIb

Leica IIIc

Leica 250

Leica Single Exposure

Leica Ic

Leica IIc

Leica IIIc

Leica If Black Dial

Leica IIf Black Dial

Leica IIIf Black Dial

Leica IIf Red Dial

Leica IIIf Red Dial

Leica Ig

Leica IIIg

Leica M3

Leica M2

Leica MD

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Contax III

Super Nettel


Tenax II

Tenax I


Peggy II

Korelle K

Argus A

Argus C-2

Argus K

Retina I


Certo Dollina

Super Dollina

Compass II



Verascope F 40

Finetta 88


Mercury II

Adox 300




Vitessa T


Werra IV





Kiev 4


Optima Ia

Super Shot 2.4

KI Monorail

Wray Stereo Graphic