Leica M3 - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Leica M3

1954

E. Leitz G.M.B.H.

Wetzlar

West Germany

Image of Leica M3

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

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

Construction:
Vulcanite covered metal body.

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

Focusing:
Helical to 1 metre.

Attributes:
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) .

With:

  • 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. "Universal Focusing Bellows" - instructions, d. 1960. "The Leica System", sales brochures, d. 1954.
  • 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.
  • Bellows I
  • Bellows I (late model). Scaled for 12.5 cm and 13.5 cm lenses showing reproduction scale and exposure factor. Main bellows adapter ring. Bellows lens hood, 42 mm connection.
  • Double cable release, late model with black crackle finish.
  • Connector to fit 13.5 cm Hektor lens head to Bellows I.

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.

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. 14121 - Tripod Head.

References & Notes:
Hasbroeck, Leica.

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