Leica M3 had been on the market for thirteen years from 1954 to 1966, and it was manufactured around 220,000 within that period. This is the first model of M series which have been upgraded time to time and loved for a long time among a large number of people. Leica M3 resolved almost all the drawback found on Screw mount Leicas, and it is said that there is no camera superior to it even for now.
The noteworthy feature of M3 is its bright-frame finder. Although this is said to be one of the perfection that Leica attained, this had been simplified step by step on the following model to cut down manufacturing cost.
The bright frame inside changes automatically when the lens is attached to the camera, and also parallax is automatically corrected. Finder magnification is 0.91x, which is the highest of all the M Leicas and makes it easy to locate the object as the way it is in the viewfinder.
One other feature is that M3 adopted bayonet mount while Screw mount Leicas did screw-in mount. This made it possible a quick lens attachment by turing the lens about 30 degrees, and also to utilize the screw mount lens through the mount adapter. This bayonet mount had spread in a short time that SLR cameras before long began to adopt it.
M3 had gone through several devision in thirteen years, but the basic construction didn't change a bit. Major changes were as follows: bright frame selecting lever were added. Shutter speeds were changed in detail. Two-stroke wind lever was changed to One-stroke one.
Well then, let's take a look at it.
- Marketting period : 1954 - 1968.
- Lens mount : Leica M bayonet mount
- Finder magnification : 0.91x
- Bright-frame finder : 50/90/135mm
- Base length : 68.5mm
- Effective base length : 62.3mm
- Shutter : mechanical vertical-run shutter with cloth curtain
- Shutter speeds : The earlier model : B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000sec.
The later model : B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250, 500, 1000sec.
- Flash sync contact : X
- Exposure meter : not built in
- Film winding : The earlier model : Two-stroke winding by lever
The later model : One-stroke winding by lever
- Frame counter : automatic resetting forward counting frame counter
- Film rewinding : by knob
- Self-Timer : built-in
- Body dimensions : W 138 x H 77 x D 33.5mm
- Body weight : 595 grams
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