52 Cameras Week 1 – Leica M3

Welcome to 52 Cameras, in which I take a weekly stroll through the wonders of film photography.

Produced from 1953 to 1967, the M3 defined the shape of classic Leicas to follow. It introduced a beautiful combined rangefinder/viewfinder window and the M series bayonet mount lenses. Descendants of the M3 are still in production today.

My example dates from about 1955. It has single-stroke film advance and a Summilux 1.4/50mm lens. I have a Leicameter MR add-on light meter for it, but I usually shoot without it. The meter works well and provides a nice semi-automatic exposure function, but I feel it degrades both the ergonomics and the appearance of the camera. It’s just a preference.


I have loaded a roll of Portra 400, so I should be able to handle whatever light the weekend throws at me. (Edit: results)


Camera Wiki

Manual @Butkus.org

Edit 3/2: Want one of your own? You could try a dealer like KEH Camera or Adorama, or try your luck on eBay.


3 thoughts on “52 Cameras Week 1 – Leica M3”

  1. You seriously have the best retro themes for your photo projects. What a beautiful camera. Makes me think of my childhood 🙂


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