View Full Version : things to watch out for on M3
I'm buying an M3 tomorrow. I was at the shop last week and checked out several that he had. One was a 1mio+ M3, that was a DS model. The guy told me for sure the top was changed on that one... I found another 1mio+ model, that was a SS, had a very contrasty range finder patch, and had the right speeds on the dial for the serial #. In addition, the curtain looked good and the speeds looked ok.
He had several others, but the rangefinder patch was not nearly as good. What causes the rangefinder to lose contrast?
What else should I look out for? I'm buying this camera to use, not to fondle.
I'm no expert but the actual rangefinder in an M3 is quite a compicated design, it could very well be that the less contrasty examples are all dusted up and are in need of a good cleaning. I wouldn't like to say this is definately why but it would make sence to me! i have an M2 so i'm not too sure of the M3's own little quirks but make sure the speeds sound accurate and make sure that you get a warrenty with it and as soon as you get it run a test roll through it shooting at every speed and if anything whatsoever seems fishy then send it back. if you're getting one for a good price because it needs a CLA then that's fair enough but if your buying a fully working ready to go example then remember it's a Leica and except nothing less than full functionality!
Quote: I found another 1mio+ model, that was a SS, had a very contrasty range finder patch, and had the right speeds on the dial for the serial #. In addition, the curtain looked good and the speeds looked ok.
You need look no more!
^ lol. I think the price is ok. About ~$800 USD.
Keep an eye out for the viewfinder. Crazing or de-cementing are issues that occur with M3's.
And the mirror can completely fail, leaving a VF all black except for the RF patch.
I saw some crazing in some of the other M3's he had. Patches of yellow visible through the front of the viewfinder. The one I'm planning on getting doesn't seem to be afflicted.
In case you haven't already seen this: http://www.cameraquest.com/leicamchecklist.htm
Yellow droplets are not a good sign ... indicates separation of the prisms. You can easily check by holding the camera with the eye-piece against a bright light and looking into the small RF window. If you see any black areas or spots the prisms have started separating.
Nice list! I remember seeing in the curtain seam on the left hand side of the shutter box on one of the M's I was looking at that day. I'll check that today to make sure it wasn't the one I was planning on buying....
To complete the story I bought one today. I was torn between two, the difference being ~150$. The body was better on the more expensive one, but everything else including the viewfinder was about the same. The one I bought is also 1mio+, the more expensive one was ~900k.
I'm shooting my first roll with it now, hopefully no problems!
Ack! I just noticed something... the cameras close focus seems to have some problem. It focuses down to about .85m, not down to .7. Looking at the cam it doesn't seem to come out as far as my M4-p. What could be the issue?
The M3 is not supposed to go down to 0.7m. But if you MUST have it you can ask a technician to tune it for you. Don't try this yourself:
Ack! I just noticed something... the cameras close focus seems to have some problem. It focuses down to about .85m, not down to .7. Looking at the cam it doesn't seem to come out as far as my M4-p. What could be the issue?I think you'll find that the M3 doesn't focus to as short a distance as subsequent Ms. My old DS M3 certainly doesn't, but I don't know if that was altered later in the M3 range (above, say, the oft-mentioned serial 1M mark) or was just never available for the M3.
From what I read online earlier M3's only focused to 1M, but later focused to .7. Mine is 109xxxx, so I would expect 1M, and certainly NOT ~0.85M (ie: it should be ~1M, or 0.7M, but not some distance in between).
There are various ways to extend the focusing range depending on the M3's construction, but parallax compensation won't be accurate at the closer distances once they are modified.
Ok, looks like I'm wrong:
I guess someone screwed with the close focus of this camera in the past tho, since its now closer than 1M.
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