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would going from a m3 to a m7 be worth it?
Old 03-18-2019   #1
RobertChestnut
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would going from a m3 to a m7 be worth it?

I have been trying to figure out where to post this. I have been thinking about selling some camera gear to go to more of a one camera one lens set up. Currently I shoot a leica m4-2 with a 50mm leica Elmar m (the newer version) (usually) and a leica m3 with a zeiss planar or 35mm summaron f2.8. at the risk of losing all mechanicalness, I am thinking about selling the two bodies to fund a leica m7. My question is would it be worth letting the m3 go? I kinda want the aperture priority because I tend to shoot quick and sometimes mess up exposure. my other thought is I would sell my m4-2 and the zeiss planar to fund a leica summicron 50 version 5. or maybe a super angulon because the images just look amazing from those early wides.


Any thoughts?
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Old 03-18-2019   #2
Huss
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I use an M7 as well as M3, M4-2 etc.
The harsh reality is if you strip away the romantic notion of using an all mechanical camera, etc etc, the M7 is far superior as a photographic tool. The metering is excellent, and the ability to instantly lock exposure with a half shutter press is perfect.
The shutter is quieter than the mechanical ones, as well as more accurate due to the electronic timing. You also get mechanical speed back ups at 1/60 and 1/125.

Try and get one with the serial # in the 300+ range, as apparently those have the latest mods (fixed DX reader, flare free finder). There was a seller in HK selling new old stock M7s, but when I inquired into the serial #s, they were in the 280 range. Which made them new very old stock!

Just so u know, I have 2 M3s, M4-2, M5, M-A, M7 (as well as Md-A).
If i had to pick just one, the M7 is the fastest, most accurate and most efficient one to use. And most importantly, also a pleasure to shoot.
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Old 03-18-2019   #3
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p.s. the M7 w/ 50 mm Planar is a fantastic combo (got that lens too).
Also, don't discount the CV 21mm f4. Fantastic on film M cameras:

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Old 03-18-2019   #4
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what huss said.

the M7 is a shooter's camera. auto exposure, exposure lock w/half press, exposure compensation all make it so, unless you are really consistent and skilled at all-manual operation in different lighting situations. the only drawback is price and maintenance, both of which are more expensive in the case of the M7 since it is a more complicated camera. i had a good one, sold it in a fit of stupidity, now shoot an M4-P, and miss the M7.
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Old 03-18-2019   #5
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Give it a try. While it may cost more to replace what you've sold, it's always an option.

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Old 03-18-2019   #6
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My first Leica was an M3 and after shooting with it for a while I thought I might want a more modern camera with internal metering and/or the convenience of aperture priority shooting; so I tried the M6, M7 and Hexar RF, but ultimately sold them all and returned to the M3. In fact I bought another, and now I use them and have no real interest in the newer film cameras.

As I have said before of the M3, for me it's all about the viewfinder. I prefer the higher magnification finder. With normal to long lenses its advantages are obvious, but even with wide angle lenses its focus is more precise when I need it, and using prefocus and hyper focus technique is still faster and easier when I'm not shooting wide open or up close. The other issue I found was that after coming from the M3, the RF patch flaring out on the lower magnification finders really affected and annoyed me. The M3 simply doesn't have that problem. Some folks don't mind or notice this issue, but for me it was a deal breaker.

As for metering, I found the lack of internal meter actually makes it a faster and more intuitive camera for me to use. If I shot more chromes I might want the precision of the in-camera meter or AE; but I shoot negative film almost exclusively, so I found using a hand held meter and experience to be much faster. I can concentrate entirely on my subject without being distracted by watching the diodes in the camera's finder to judge exposure.

Aperture priority is certainly quite useful, to such an extent that IMO it's the only reason to bother with an internal meter at all. But for the M3's other benefits, I am happy to live without it. Obviously your mileage may vary.
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Old 03-18-2019   #7
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being able to shoot the way you want to is worth it. i'd get the m7 and worry about long-term reliability when the time comes (if ever). unless there's some way to improve your metering skills or technique that'll get rid of bad exposures with meterless bodies.
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Old 03-18-2019   #8
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Thanks for your all of your insight. I think I might have to take a hit financially and keep my m3 as well I love it too much. I can sell lots of unused Nikon gear too. I do like my planar but I actually have two so I am ok I can let one go. Looks like I am going to have to move some equipment around. I feel like the dx quirks are probably mostly fixed by now. but I do like the idea of the mp finder not flaring. The biggest reasoning is I miss using aperture priority. But like you said, its just a tool and if it makes things easier for me its a win. Any other things I should look out for?
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Old 03-18-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
being able to shoot the way you want to is worth it. i'd get the m7 and worry about long-term reliability when the time comes (if ever). unless there's some way to improve your metering skills or technique that'll get rid of bad exposures with meterless bodies.
aizian really nails this succinctly here. Since you miss aperture priority AE, the M7 is the way to go. For what it's worth, I wouldn't worry about the electronic vs. all mechanical nonsense. Leicas are pretty well made. Sometimes they can have issues, but they can always be resolved.
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Old 03-18-2019   #10
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I have switched back and forth between the M3 and M7 before. For me it was the M3's viewfinder vs precise shutter and AE of the M7. I have settled on M3 for the viewfinder.
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Old 03-18-2019   #11
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YES.

Seriously, YES.


M7
Meter - CHeck
35mm lines - Check
0.7 meter close focus - Check
Easier to load film - CHeck
Most usable M series camera ever made - Check

M3
NEarly the most perfect 50mm lines - Check
Brass - Check
Cool - Check

YES.
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Old 03-18-2019   #12
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M7 is brass as well.

I’m surprised how popular the M7 is lately, and after reading your post would say yes, go for a 7.
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Old 03-18-2019   #13
mike rosenlof
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I recently bought a Nikon F3 to complement the pair of F2s that I already had. the F3 is a bit smaller, so there's that factor, but if what I'm going to do is use the TTL meter, and set what it tells me to set, I might as well let the camera set itself to what it tells me it's doing. Don't get me wrong. Like you and the M3, I really *like* the F2, but Nikon did a great job with the F3, and I'm under the impression that Leica did a great job with the M7.


My Leica is an M5, so I could certainly apply that logic to an M7 also...


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Old 03-18-2019   #14
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I cannot answer this apart from saying that I think it is up to the shooter - you. And there are a number of factors - how wide are the lenses you use and how do you meter being tow of them.

On the other hand I can say that I had both an M3 and an M4P (admittedly it, of course did not have metering etc) but I made a choice to keep the M3 and sell the M4P.

I just think there was a romance to shooting with that piece of history that could be got in no other way. Even though for me, in other respects the older camera and the newer one were a "toss up".
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Old 03-18-2019   #15
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M3 with 35 lens and M4-2 with 50 lens? I guess, 35 is goggled.

I have done fast shooting with M4-2, M3, M-E in aperture priority and with EOS300 with aperture priority and AF (16-21mm, f2.8, ISO25).
To be honest, after four years with M4-2 - difference is next to none.
It is just practice and memorizing. Slightly more difficult with pushing @1600-3200.

M7 is short term in Leica film M series. Out of production camera with non Leica parts. Serviceable only by Leica, most likely only in Wetzlar.

Summicron v4-5 are most boring 50 lens formula I ever used. Worse than Planar. OK on color, but totally flat on BW. It also have odd flare.
Elmar-M (here is no new version, only Elmar-M) is in the opposite. Number 1 or 2 for bw film from all 50mm I ever used.
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Old 03-18-2019   #16
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I've had a number of M3's over the years (buying low and selling high). I never understood the attraction. No easy way to use a 35mm. I've had M2's, one M4-2 (bought new and a piece of cr_p), a couple of m4's and an M7 I bought new in 2005.


I currently have an M4 and the M7. I keep the M4 for nostalgia than any real valid reason. The M7 is my go to film body. There are many times when the light is changing rapidly and I'm firing off shots quickly - I don't have time to both get the shot meter. AE is a blessing. If I want to use a hand meter and meter for each shot I'll use my 4x5 view camera.



Not sure if your M3 had been overhauled but realize it's about 60 years old. Viewfinders yellow, mirrors de-silver and other bad things happen.
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Old 03-18-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
M3 with 35 lens and M4-2 with 50 lens? I guess, 35 is goggled.

I have done fast shooting with M4-2, M3, M-E in aperture priority and with EOS300 with aperture priority and AF (16-21mm, f2.8, ISO25).
To be honest, after four years with M4-2 - difference is next to none.
It is just practice and memorizing. Slightly more difficult with pushing @1600-3200.

M7 is short term in Leica film M series. Out of production camera with non Leica parts. Serviceable only by Leica, most likely only in Wetzlar.

Summicron v4-5 are most boring 50 lens formula I ever used. Worse than Planar. OK on color, but totally flat on BW. It also have odd flare.
Elmar-M (here is no new version, only Elmar-M) is in the opposite. Number 1 or 2 for bw film from all 50mm I ever used.

It is a goggled summaron 2.8. I really like using it more than my other Voigtlander 35 2.5. I know there is no new version of the elmar m but people always seem to confuse it with the old elmar 50mm f2.8 witch has different aperture blades. thanks for your comment. I actually am more of a 50mm shooter. so I like a 50mm on an m4-2
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Old 03-18-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puxmep View Post
I have switched back and forth between the M3 and M7 before. For me it was the M3's viewfinder vs precise shutter and AE of the M7. I have settled on M3 for the viewfinder.
A M7 with .85 viewfinder fits the bill. No 28mm framelines though.
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Old 03-18-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
I've had a number of M3's over the years (buying low and selling high). I never understood the attraction. No easy way to use a 35mm. I've had M2's, one M4-2 (bought new and a piece of cr_p), a couple of m4's and an M7 I bought new in 2005.


I currently have an M4 and the M7. I keep the M4 for nostalgia than any real valid reason. The M7 is my go to film body. There are many times when the light is changing rapidly and I'm firing off shots quickly - I don't have time to both get the shot meter. AE is a blessing. If I want to use a hand meter and meter for each shot I'll use my 4x5 view camera.



Not sure if your M3 had been overhauled but realize it's about 60 years old. Viewfinders yellow, mirrors de-silver and other bad things happen.
Both my m4-2 and m3 have been overhauled in the last 2 years. the m3 is like new mechanically. I trust it over the m4-2 100%. I am now thinking I would keep it if I bought an m7. I am very nostalgic about my m3 though. I have a goggled summaron 35mm f2.8 that is wonderful with black and white that I use on my m3. Hopefully the photo uploads. taken with my m3 and goggled summaron 35mm on kodak tmax 400 developed in d76 at a dilution of 1:1
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Old 03-18-2019   #20
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Originally Posted by ckuwajima View Post
A M7 with .85 viewfinder fits the bill. No 28mm framelines though.
I have been leaning towards that finder magnification. for one of those haha. I have a brightline 28mm finder anyway. sold the 28mm lens though.
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Old 03-18-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertChestnut View Post
Both my m4-2 and m3 have been overhauled in the last 2 years. the m3 is like new mechanically. I trust it over the m4-2 100%. I am now thinking I would keep it if I bought an m7. I am very nostalgic about my m3 though. I have a goggled summaron 35mm f2.8 that is wonderful with black and white that I use on my m3. Hopefully the photo uploads. taken with my m3 and goggled summaron 35mm on kodak tmax 400 developed in d76 at a dilution of 1:1

Keep the M3 with the 50 Elmar, stick the 35mm on the M7, sell the goggled 35mm and M4-2 and your all set - the M4-2 & 35mm should get you close to the M7.


I had a .58x M7 I picked up used about 10 years ago. I finally realized I didn't need two M7 bodies so I sold it. Really, really regret that I sold the .58x and not the .72x. There is no difficulty in focusing a fast lens with .58x and you don't have to mash the eyepiece into your forehead to see the whole frame with a 28mm lens.


Also, Leica offered to upgrade the film speed reader and viewfinder for free for quite awhile. So regardless of the serial number the chances are good that even early M7's have been upgraded. Too bad they didn't do it for the M6 bodies.
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Old 03-18-2019   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike rosenlof View Post
I recently bought a Nikon F3 to complement the pair of F2s that I already had. the F3 is a bit smaller, so there's that factor, but if what I'm going to do is use the TTL meter, and set what it tells me to set, I might as well let the camera set itself to what it tells me it's doing. Don't get me wrong. Like you and the M3, I really *like* the F2, but Nikon did a great job with the F3, and I'm under the impression that Leica did a great job with the M7.


My Leica is an M5, so I could certainly apply that logic to an M7 also...


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Hey we have a lot in common. I had an f3 through college and the meter became erratic after it bit the dust I bought an f2sb and its one of my favorite cameras. I liked the f3 and actually I was probs one of the last people to buy one new from bh. My f2 has seen some stuff and it is my only no sale camera. I tripped one time hiking and my f2 actually fell off the side of a cliff and did not even get a scratch (was very lucky) I also had it with me when I had to get rescued by the coast guard in hurricane force winds. that one a long story but it was one of the only things that did not sink. Anyway I had the same thinking that the m7 is leicas f3.

Thanks for your comment.
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Old 03-18-2019   #23
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I've owned the M3 twice. Never really bonded with them, although my second M3, with CLA by Sherry Krauter, had the smoothest shutter release imaginable. Presently I have M2, M4P, M5, M6, M7, and MP. Long story short, the M7 gets used a lot, perhaps the most, of all my Leica. It can do anything any of my other Leica can do. One thing to be aware of is that the shutter release will feel different from that of your M3 and M4-2 because it goes in two stages: first you depress to the first point of resistance, and that is for your meter reading. And then you press through that resistance point to take the picture. Once you get used to that, you are good to go!
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Old 03-18-2019   #24
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Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Keep the M3 with the 50 Elmar, stick the 35mm on the M7, sell the goggled 35mm and M4-2 and your all set - the M4-2 & 35mm should get you close to the M7.


I had a .58x M7 I picked up used about 10 years ago. I finally realized I didn't need two M7 bodies so I sold it. Really, really regret that I sold the .58x and not the .72x. There is no difficulty in focusing a fast lens with .58x and you don't have to mash the eyepiece into your forehead to see the whole frame with a 28mm lens.


Also, Leica offered to upgrade the film speed reader and viewfinder for free for quite awhile. So regardless of the serial number the chances are good that even early M7's have been upgraded. Too bad they didn't do it for the M6 bodies.
yeah honestly I was not too worried about the dx issues. I figure I f I buy from a reputable seller and the camera is still working it was most likely fixed. I probs should sell the summaron. they have gone up in price since I bought mine. That lens has a really nice look though. At some time in the future I would like to find the m2 non goggled version of the summaron 35 f2.8.
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Old 03-18-2019   #25
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Originally Posted by drewbarb View Post
My first Leica was an M3 and after shooting with it for a while I thought I might want a more modern camera with internal metering and/or the convenience of aperture priority shooting; so I tried the M6, M7 and Hexar RF, but ultimately sold them all and returned to the M3. In fact I bought another, and now I use them and have no real interest in the newer film cameras.

As I have said before of the M3, for me it's all about the viewfinder. I prefer the higher magnification finder. With normal to long lenses its advantages are obvious, but even with wide angle lenses its focus is more precise when I need it, and using prefocus and hyper focus technique is still faster and easier when I'm not shooting wide open or up close. The other issue I found was that after coming from the M3, the RF patch flaring out on the lower magnification finders really affected and annoyed me. The M3 simply doesn't have that problem. Some folks don't mind or notice this issue, but for me it was a deal breaker.

As for metering, I found the lack of internal meter actually makes it a faster and more intuitive camera for me to use. If I shot more chromes I might want the precision of the in-camera meter or AE; but I shoot negative film almost exclusively, so I found using a hand held meter and experience to be much faster. I can concentrate entirely on my subject without being distracted by watching the diodes in the camera's finder to judge exposure.

Aperture priority is certainly quite useful, to such an extent that IMO it's the only reason to bother with an internal meter at all. But for the M3's other benefits, I am happy to live without it. Obviously your mileage may vary.
I love the m3 viewfinder. I wish they could put the same finder and 50 frame lines In an m7 or an m6. I know you can find them with the .85 finder and it is is close but its not the same as the m3. Leica had a real opportunity with the m6j but ultimately failed at recreating the magic of the m3. Although I read the Elmar M production came from M6j set. I have been shooting meter less for years though too. but sometimes I like the confirmation of a light meter. most of the time I fight with the meter hahah I am going in circles.

Thanks for your comment
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Old 03-18-2019   #26
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On the other hand I can say that I had both an M3 and an M4P (admittedly it, of course did not have metering etc) but I made a choice to keep the M3 and sell the M4P.

I just think there was a romance to shooting with that piece of history that could be got in no other way. Even though for me, in other respects the older camera and the newer one were a "toss up".
I get the romance feeling when I use my M2 that I bought new around 1960 or so! And with my M5, too; though that was a rather more recent acquisition!
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Old 03-18-2019   #27
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I get the romance feeling when I use my M2 that I bought new around 1960 or so! And with my M5, too; though that was a rather more recent acquisition!
My m3 was produced in July of 1960 and the age is something I like. I like the fact that It served somebody well until I got it. You know it was but well and cared for to last this long. todays society just does not make things to last anymore and I find that shameful.
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Old 03-19-2019   #28
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In my opinion, save the Leica M3, and add a KONICA HEXAR RF camera into your stable. In addition, the HEXAR RF is a camera that has priority capabilities than the Leica M7, and the cost of its acquisition, will be low compared to that of the Leica M7.
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Old 03-19-2019   #29
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Is going from M3 to M7 worth it?

Depends on the photographer.

Me, personally, I won’t buy any Leica camera with electronics on board.

You can see my M3 with the photo here on the left. I can hold a light meter, once at least.
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Old 03-19-2019   #30
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In my opinion, save the Leica M3, and add a KONICA HEXAR RF camera into your stable. In addition, the HEXAR RF is a camera that has priority capabilities than the Leica M7, and the cost of its acquisition, will be low compared to that of the Leica M7.
Humm interesting thought. The hexar has been on and off my radar quite a few times. I think if I go with something as electronic though I might as well buy into the Contax g system. Thats my train of thought with the hexar. I do like the manual focus of the hexar. I don't really ever use priority mode on cameras though. its just not as much fun in my opinion. fun factor in shooting is important
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Old 03-19-2019   #31
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The Hexar is appreciably smaller/lighter in hand than the M7. Some dislike its dimensions for grip-preference. If you want to shoot fast, it’s just focus and press, and repeat. No winding film means you can more easily keep your eye on the subject. The widest VF display is 28mm, the window is ~21mm. So I can shoot 21mm without an auxiliary OVF.

Yet I also have an M7. Why both? Well, each was a fabulous deal. Plus my Hexar has -3 dioptric VF, perfect for my preferred glasses-off shooting, but I could never sell it to anyone without -3 vision because there are no more Hexar eyepieces or parts. It’s my Forever Hexar until it bonks.

I also just acquired my first M3. I’ve owned an M4 and M5. After just one roll through the M3, I think it’s irreplaceable. If you love yours, keep it, and finagle your other gear to acquire a metered M (7 for aperture priority, 6 or 5 if not), or a Hex RF or even a Zeiss ZI—though prices on the latter seem to be in M6/M7 territory....
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Old 03-19-2019   #32
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Originally Posted by rhl-oregon View Post
The Hexar is appreciably smaller/lighter in hand than the M7. Some dislike its dimensions for grip-preference. If you want to shoot fast, it’s just focus and press, and repeat. No winding film means you can more easily keep your eye on the subject. The widest VF display is 28mm, the window is ~21mm. So I can shoot 21mm without an auxiliary OVF.

Yet I also have an M7. Why both? Well, each was a fabulous deal. Plus my Hexar has -3 dioptric VF, perfect for my preferred glasses-off shooting, but I could never sell it to anyone without -3 vision because there are no more Hexar eyepieces or parts. It’s my Forever Hexar until it bonks.

I also just acquired my first M3. I’ve owned an M4 and M5. After just one roll through the M3, I think it’s irreplaceable. If you love yours, keep it, and finagle your other gear to acquire a metered M (7 for aperture priority, 6 or 5 if not), or a Hex RF or even a Zeiss ZI—though prices on the latter seem to be in M6/M7 territory....
The m3 is the pinnacle of film tech in the mid 50s and its still amazingly good today. I have decided to keep my m3. its just too good for me to let go of it yet. its an interesting camera with lots of different versions. Someday I would like to try the double stroke version. The m7 in my opinion is leicas modern pinnacle of film tech in the m line up. witch is one reason I am in the market for one. they tried something new with aperture priority and an electronic shutter witch I am sure people hate just like the m5 (I like the look of the m5) my only qualm with the m7 is they should have done a hybrid shutter like Nikon did with the fm3a (the Fm3a has aperture priority and fully mechanical speeds). I think leica people would have grasped it more if they had done that.

Thanks for your input
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Old 03-19-2019   #33
rhl-oregon
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Sure, good luck!
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Old 03-19-2019   #34
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Bought a new old stock (like....15 years old) on a whim two winters ago when I was in a photo store and the shop owner made me an offer I couldn't pass on. Haven't regretted it a single second ever since. Mine is an early one so it still has the old DX-Reader and doesn't have an MP Finder. As of now Leica will still replace the DX-Reader for free but the MP-Finder upgrade is much too expensive to justify the cost so if you get an old one you'll just have to live with it. Personally I haven't even gotten around to having the DX-Reader replaced, though, as I don't want to be without the M7 for a couple of months.
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M3>m7
Old 03-19-2019   #35
tajart
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M3>m7

I did it with no regrets.
I was lucky to be able to have both at the same time. I eventually sold my M3 just so it would be in use by someone.

My only regret is that I don't have a darkroom any longer so I'm not shooting film these days:-(

I bought my M7 new when first released. Never had any DX reader issue and the flare has never been a problem in mine. I still exercise it and the shutter is such a reassuring sound when it fires.
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Old 03-19-2019   #36
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Nah... the M3 is the finest Leica has ever made. Period.
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Old 03-19-2019   #37
Michiel Fokkema
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Yes, I love the M7. Also had a M3 btw, very long ago. I shoot a lot of 28mm and 35mm and like the AE fro my street photography. It makes me faster.
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Old 03-20-2019   #38
RobertChestnut
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santino View Post
Nah... the M3 is the finest Leica has ever made. Period.
The m3 is pretty flipping good there is a reason its usually on top ten best cameras made. I think mine needs an m7 friend though.
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Old 03-20-2019   #39
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See, the Contax G's are great, but I have two problems. First, although my time with a G2 was pretty limited, I didn't love that I wasn't always sure what it was going to focus on. 95% of the time it got focus exactly where I wanted it, but occasionally it missed and I found that frustrating. I wish they had made the finder a little better in terms of indicating exactly where it will focus. But the bigger problem is that you need a whole new set of lenses for it- and there weren't many made in the first place (though what there is are all excellent lenses). But I have a bunch of LTM and M lenses already and have been building my stable of glass for a long time; I use a couple of other cameras, too of course, and I really don't want to invest in yet another system, especially one that doesn't offer much compatibility. It's one reason I went with Sony A series for digital gear: so I can use all my other lenses on it. So for my RF shooting I stick with M mount cameras (though I really want to add a Barnack camera, too...)

So the M3 is it for me. But I did really like the Hexar RF, too. Adding that body with AE and a built in motor winder was really nice, and if the one I had hadn't had issues with the winder (it had very weird spacing issues and wasn't reliably advancing correctly) I would probably still have it. But that brought up the long term viability of that camera, which was another reason I got rid of it. Almost no-one will service them now, and since mine had issues I didn't think it made sense long term. A shame, really.

I WOULD (and still do, from time to time) consider the Zeiss Ikon ZM camera, since it has AE and a really beautiful big bright viewfinder. It doesn't have the built in motor winder of the Hexar, but that's no big deal. But honestly even though I sometimes go round and round about this too, in the end I keep coming back to the fact that my pair of M3's do everything I want a film RF camera to do for me. So my GAS is pretty much limited to digital gear for my day to day work shooting and looking for cool glass to use with the cameras I have.
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Old 03-20-2019   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewbarb View Post
See, the Contax G's are great, but I have two problems. First, although my time with a G2 was pretty limited, I didn't love that I wasn't always sure what it was going to focus on. 95% of the time it got focus exactly where I wanted it, but occasionally it missed and I found that frustrating. I wish they had made the finder a little better in terms of indicating exactly where it will focus. But the bigger problem is that you need a whole new set of lenses for it- and there weren't many made in the first place (though what there is are all excellent lenses). But I have a bunch of LTM and M lenses already and have been building my stable of glass for a long time; I use a couple of other cameras, too of course, and I really don't want to invest in yet another system, especially one that doesn't offer much compatibility. It's one reason I went with Sony A series for digital gear: so I can use all my other lenses on it. So for my RF shooting I stick with M mount cameras (though I really want to add a Barnack camera, too...)

So the M3 is it for me. But I did really like the Hexar RF, too. Adding that body with AE and a built in motor winder was really nice, and if the one I had hadn't had issues with the winder (it had very weird spacing issues and wasn't reliably advancing correctly) I would probably still have it. But that brought up the long term viability of that camera, which was another reason I got rid of it. Almost no-one will service them now, and since mine had issues I didn't think it made sense long term. A shame, really.

I WOULD (and still do, from time to time) consider the Zeiss Ikon ZM camera, since it has AE and a really beautiful big bright viewfinder. It doesn't have the built in motor winder of the Hexar, but that's no big deal. But honestly even though I sometimes go round and round about this too, in the end I keep coming back to the fact that my pair of M3's do everything I want a film RF camera to do for me. So my GAS is pretty much limited to digital gear for my day to day work shooting and looking for cool glass to use with the cameras I have.
Yeah I thought about the zeiss ikon zm. It is much better priced. This is crazy talk but I even looked at Voigtlander bessas. Nothing really made is well as the m3 in my opinion. The m2 and m4 are very very close and the Nikon f2 is in the run. the wonderful thing about leica is the lens line up has not been too cheapened over the years. the summarit line is the cheep lenses from leica (for the m line up) and they are still better made than the new stuff coming from the big digital guys like Nikon and canon.

yeah I completely agree with your Contax g comments. it is a nice camera though. I do feel the prices are getting too high for what they are though
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