Wondering of choosing a Leica M2 or M3
Old 08-08-2007   #1
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Wondering of choosing a Leica M2 or M3

I'ld like to have one of these famous Leicas and still wondering of choosing the M2 or the M3. Could anyone give me a hint?
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Old 08-08-2007   #2
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See this current thread on that very subject.
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Old 04-11-2009   #3
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start with m2 then to M3.You cannot use 35mm lens with m3 without the external gogle.M3 is heavier.more for collectors not for daily use as the M2.I have both cameras.
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Old 10-07-2009   #4
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I'm also in the process of choosing between M2 and M3 and have decided on M2, solely based on 35mm frame availability (need that).
M6 would be ideal though. Metering.

One question on M2 (sorry, don't mean to hijack the thread) - those who use it - how's that frame-count wheel? Does it rotate easily when you pull it in and out of the bag, thus making you miss the frame count? Or does it stay solid on the correct exposure count? That whel is the only thing that makes me cringe about M2, was almost thinking of going for M4, but that's a different price category.
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Old 10-07-2009   #5
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The frame counter wheel on the M2 doesn't get inadvertently knocked out of place, in my experience (and it only turns in one direction anyway), so I wouldn't worry about that. What does trouble the compulsive in me, though, is the fact the counter doesn't quite line up squarely with the pointer. Others' cameras may not have this issue, or you may simply not care!

I trust you are aware of the different versions of the cameras: M3 single or double stroke; with or without preview lever; with or without depth of field markings. M2 is simpler -- with button or lever rewind; with or without selftimer.
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Old 10-07-2009   #6
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Isn't this M4 nice? Off topic, and very little time left...
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Old 10-07-2009   #7
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@ Phantomas
Never had that problem with the framecounter. M2 is a great camera.
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Old 10-07-2009   #8
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If you like shooting with 50 mm a lot, then there's nothing like the M3 finder. If not, in fact it might cause you to start liking shooting w/ 50 mm.
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Old 10-07-2009   #9
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I had an M3 for 17 years with a 35mm SBLOO finder permanently in place. I'd call it the ideal combination, better for focussing than the M2. However, the M2 is the perfect no-frills "I mean business" camera.
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Old 10-10-2009   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post

I would suggest finding the best example of either you can afford, hopefully one with a recent CLA by a reputable technician.
This is what led me to an M3 over an M2 . My M3 had been returned from a CLA though it looks a bit rough it was well priced, about $250 less than the M2 I was looking for. Granted, the M3 was not priced correctly at the store and they honored the price they gave me initially @ $450. It had gone out for service months ago and it returned the day I walked into the store and had'nt been priced accordingly. Maybe it was just luck but I'm glad I found that deal. I often shoot with a 40/1.4 and have gotten pretty good results. That ended up being my compromise for the lack of a 35 frameline.
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M3 or M2?
Old 01-15-2010   #11
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M3 or M2?

M3 every time - better build quality - better rangefinder - nothing wrong with using "goggles" for 35mm lenses.
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One difference: close focusing capabilities
Old 01-15-2010   #12
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One difference: close focusing capabilities

One thing to keep in mind is that a standard M3 only provides focusing down to 1 m. The M2 focuses down to .7 m. The M3 can be modified to focus down to .7 (I have no direct experience with this), but it is something you would have to do, or pay for.

That's the only thing that keeps me from wanting a M3 (I have a functioning M2 and another M2 that I bought cheap but needs the shutter curtains fixed), because I use external finders anyway and I figure I might like the bigger magnification of the M3 for even better focusing -- but then it hits me that I would lose focusing at closer than 1 meter, and that's that for me.
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Old 01-15-2010   #13
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I think the decision should be based almost entirely on whether someone wants to shoot 50-90-135 (the M3) or 35-50-90 (the M2). Both cameras are really old, and I can't see that the chances that one will need repairs is any greater than the other.

In either case, two of the three framelines are going to be reduced in size. It's part of the rangefinder curse.
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Old 02-21-2010   #14
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I read somewhere that you can replace the finder of the M2 with the M6 finder. Can't do that with the M3. Is this true? Just scared to plop the money on an M3 given what I read about the balsam separation thingy on the older Leicas. With the M2, at least there is some kind of "fix" if you can easily put in the M6 finder.
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Old 02-21-2010   #15
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Hey guys,
this is thread necromancy. The original poster probably took his decision three years ago and hasn't posted on RFF ever since.
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Old 02-21-2010   #16
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Opps!! Didnt check the date of last post. Sorry. But can somebody clarify if you can swap the rangefinder of M6 into M2? I think that was my question.
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Old 02-23-2010   #17
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I used to be a M2 fan, but I recently looked through an M3 and fell in love. Bought one a day later...
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Old 04-27-2010   #18
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For me its the 3. Use the wide CV 21/25 with zone focus, or a ZM 50 for the finder.
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Old 05-10-2010   #19
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split the difference, get a Leica M 2.5
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Old 06-04-2010   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameratos View Post
start with m2 then to M3.You cannot use 35mm lens with m3 without the external gogle.M3 is heavier.more for collectors not for daily use as the M2.I have both cameras.
I have had my M3 in daily use for five years without a hitch. It's a great camera and does NOT need goggles for wide lenses. An accessory viewfinder in the shoe works great!
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Old 02-29-2012   #21
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Coming at this from a slightly different point. Trying to make the same decision.

Been shooting for the last 2 years with a iiif and a collapsable 5cm Summicron. Absolutely love the lens, but I miss quite a few shots (or they're out of focus) because the iiif is not the fastest (or easiest) focusing camera in the world.

Want to get an M2 or M3 to use with this Summicron. I know everyone says the M2 is a better choice because you can use a 35 with it, but I'm really just looking for something to use with my 5cm. And from what I've read, the M3 is the most accurate focusing Leica because it has the longest rangefinder base.

So I'm leaning toward the M3 and was wondering if anyone can point out anything I am missing?

Thanks for any and all info.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 02-29-2012   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Coming at this from a slightly different point. Trying to make the same decision.

Been shooting for the last 2 years with a iiif and a collapsable 5cm Summicron. Absolutely love the lens, but I miss quite a few shots (or they're out of focus) because the iiif is not the fastest (or easiest) focusing camera in the world.

Want to get an M2 or M3 to use with this Summicron. I know everyone says the M2 is a better choice because you can use a 35 with it, but I'm really just looking for something to use with my 5cm. And from what I've read, the M3 is the most accurate focusing Leica because it has the longest rangefinder base.

So I'm leaning toward the M3 and was wondering if anyone can point out anything I am missing?

Thanks for any and all info.

Best,
-Tim
Tim, I have used the M3 with the Summarit 50mm 1.5 as a one camera one lens for several years now and cannnot recommend it enough for that focal length!
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Old 02-29-2012   #23
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Timmyjoe, from what you have just described - ".....but I'm really just looking for something to use with my 5cm.." - no question, get the M3. I think you will find the viewfinder quite the revelation.

Cheers,

/Meakin
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Old 02-29-2012   #24
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Focusing accuracy will not be an issue with either an M2 or M3 and a 50 Summicron. The increased VF magnification of the M3 makes it the perfect mate for a 50mm lens. If you want the option to use a 35mm lens then you are better off with an M2. Let me just say though, since the opportunity has presented itself to do so.....

Everybody needs an M3!!!!
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Old 02-29-2012   #25
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I never have gotten along with the 35mm focal length, and when I had both an M2 and M3 I never used the M2 at all. The M3 is easier to focus, easier to use, and a cooler camera overall, if you're never going to use a 35. It you want to use a 35mm, buy an M4 of some sort, for the decades fresher finder and the better loading/counting system--skip the M2. Next to my two M3s, my second favorite camera was my M4-2, and at the time they were quite cheap, too.
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Old 02-29-2012   #26
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I wonder what the OP chose 4.5 years ago? As for the resurrecting poster, sounds like you may prefer the M3, but if you wear glasses, you may like the 50 framelines in the M2.
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Old 02-29-2012   #27
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Thanks everyone, I think I'll go with the M3, as I don't wear glasses when I shoot, and I'm not really looking for a camera to use with a 35mm lens.

Best,
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Old 03-04-2012   #28
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My first M camera was the M2, which I still have. My second was a beautiful M3 but since it didn't work with the standard 35mm lens I sold it and bought a brand new M4-P which I still have.

The finder in the M3 was not that much better for me than the finder in the M2 so I had no compunction in letting go the M3.

I like the simplicity of the M2 even compared to the simplicity of the M4-P. To solve the glasses issue I found proper -2 diopters that screw into the finder that allow me to remove my glasses and see the whole frame in both cameras.

If I were obliged for some reason to need to replace my M cameras I would get another M2 without hesitation. Then perhaps a M6 to replace the M4-P.
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Old 03-04-2012   #29
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M2. You have the same body shape as the current film Leica the MP. M2. Simple, elegant, timeless.
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Old 03-04-2012   #30
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I have always thought the M2 was a nicer camera than the M3. Sleeker and more efficient with the better (for me) framelines. It is just as slick to use as an M3 and importantly it is an easier camera to buy in good condition because they tend to be newer and without the M3 premium.

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