Leica M2 or M3?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Renato Tonelli, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Please bear with me:smile:

    I have an M6 and an MP - both obtained used through trades and both in EX condition. I prefer the MP and have taken it on my extended Summer stays in Italy. I do not want to take these cameras with me anymore and would prefer to have a similar quality camera that I could leave there, the way I do with some other gear.

    I am thinking of purchasing either an M2 or an M3. I am leaning heavily towards the M2 because it has the 35mm frame-line and that focal length is one of my favorites (my favorite "normal" focal length is 40mm but that frame-line is not available in the M series). I will be using the shoe mount for a Voigtlander VCII Lightmeter, so a shoe-mounted viewfinder is not an option. I have the last model Elmar 50 f/2.8 Collapsible lens that I could also leave behind; I have a 35mm but I would need to take it back and forth - I couldn't possibly leave it there. I will probably limit myself to the 50mm.
    Another reason for the M2 preference is cost - it looks like one could be purchased for about $500. in very good condition, cognizant of the fact that whatever I get will need a CLA (add $150. or so?) BTW: the M4 and its successors are financially out of the question...

    The question is to those of you who have practical experience with either or both cameras: Which would you prefer between the M2 and M3 and why?

    Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts...
     
  2. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

    Messages:
    387
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    One hour sou
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    M3 for me, because I like shooting with a 50mm lens. If I want to use a wide-angle, I use my MP.

    Jim B.
     
  3. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

    Messages:
    743
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    M2 if you are going to use a 35mm otherwise the M3 because of the longer base. I use them both regularly.
     
  4. philosomatographer

    philosomatographer Member

    Messages:
    240
    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Johannesburg
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    For 50mm shooting, no other Leica rangefinder even approaches the large, clear, uncluttered M3 finder with the full and proper framelines. If you don't specifically want a 35mm frameline, I wouldn't even consider the M2 over the M3. If you've never tried and M3 finder, you are in for a real treat :smile:
     
  5. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

    Messages:
    701
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I use an M3 with both 28mm and 35mm, using voigtländer viewfinders. That way I get angle-of-view, for which you almost don't need framelines, and the weighting between foreground and background objects, which frame lines don't show (and which I can't yet visualize after so many years with an SLR).

    What I do need is an excuse for an ALC MP that won't come with divorce papers. :laugh:

    s-a

    PS - You can also try the leica users forum. Those folks would run with a topic like this.
     
  6. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,368
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Err -- how about a Minolta CLE? Aperture priority autoexposure, and full manual control. It has the 40mm lines for your 40mm lens. Nice viewfinder, very clear RF patch. I have a CLE, M2 and M3 -- OK, the Minolta isn't a Leica per se, but it is smaller, easier to carry, has the framelines you want, and fits your budget.
     
  7. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,871
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Terrific idea, for all the reasons mentioned by the OP.

    If you're just going to leave it in Italy anyway, why not. Not that an M6 or MP is terribly hard to carry on a trip anyway, but if that's your thing then this fits the bill.
     
  8. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Hartford, Co
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Renato, I am confused -- are you planning to just bring the 40?
     
  9. Xmas

    Xmas Member

    Messages:
    6,452
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Hi

    If you only use 5cm get a M3
    If you need 35mm get a M2
    If you dont like the x0.72 on a M2 for 5cm get a magnifier
    If you are used to M4 -MP get a 'Quick Load' kit
    If it works ok you dont need a CLA, Ive had Leicas for 30 years without service

    Noel
     
  10. tron_

    tron_ Member

    Messages:
    375
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Buy both and send one to me :tongue:
     
  11. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Very enticing. I don't know why I hadn't considered it - maybe the battery dependency. A CL on the other hand needs a battery for the meter only (as far as I can tell).

    I would prefer using the 40mm lens above all others. I have a Voigtlander-M 40mm - I think it fits/works on either the CL or CLE - I need to research it a little more attentively.

    Thanks to all those who have replied so far with advice - I have a few more months to mull things over.
     
  12. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :laugh:
    That's the line I use as a response to other posters!
     
  13. Xmas

    Xmas Member

    Messages:
    6,452
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    If you want to us a 40mm the early M frame for 35 mm is so small that it is serviceable for 40mm.
    The M6 frame is closer to 35mm think the change was between M5 and M6.
    To use this you need to nail file the lens mount as it comes out of the box as a 5cm lens for frame selection.
    And the M needs to not have been retrofitted with a late finder.
    I used an elastic band to hold the selector lever over, between the strap lug and lever had several in gbag, I preferred to keep the lens original but lots of people buy a CL kit and sell the body
    Noel
     
  14. kivis

    kivis Subscriber

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    South Florid
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Bah Humbug!!! I use a CV Nokton 40 mm f 1.4 on my M3 95% of the time. Works beautifully.
     
  15. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,946
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Location:
    Ogden, Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    only you can decide -- if your preferred lens is the 35, you should go for the M2 because the M3 viewfinder adapted 35mm lenses are very good, I use and love one, but it does darken the viewfinder.

    If your preferred lens is the 50, get the m3, but it will also work perfectly well on the m2.

    If your preferred lens is the 40, you have made an excellent compromise. Find a good condition CL, away you go. It is my favorite travel camera.

    Whatever you get, you will not regret it.
     
  16. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought I had decided on the CL/CLE but now I am having second thoughts on the CLE because of the battery requirement.
    It's become harder to make the final decision than I thought (mostly because I'm so anal about things:laugh:)
    My e-Bay watch list is now quite long... I am also looking at KEH's listings - I have had very good experiences buying from them.

    There is an M2 in APUG's classifieds that looks good and comes with a 35mm but I am not ready to purchase just yet (hint: tax refund has not arrived).
     
  17. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    On what camera do you use it and how do you compose for it (camera viewfinder or separate viewfinder mounted on the camera?)

    I have that lens also and as stated 40mm is my favorite "normal". I would love to be able to use it on an M2 without the shoe-mounted viewfinder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2013
  18. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

    Messages:
    278
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Buy the First of the two that you get a good deal on, then buy the other when it comes along: both have their place, are a joy to use and you won't lose money when you sell, if you sell. Bought mine in 98( M3) it's as much of a joy to use as it has ever been. Notice I wrote "joy to use" 3 times.

    David
     
  19. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

    Messages:
    684
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    New York Cit
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That might well be what will end up happening - the prolem is, I almost never sell:smile:
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,984
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I've never seen a better finder than an M2. You say the M3 is better than that? (I never saw through one so I don't know what I'm missing)
     
  21. Xmas

    Xmas Member

    Messages:
    6,452
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    see post #13 of this thread - the M2 35mm frame is small enough to use for 40mm, if the finder is original. If the 40mm is intact it will bring up the 50mm frame so you will need to file the bayonet or use an elastic band on the frame selector.

    You can confirm this by flipping the back door of the M2 up.

    Some people use the 50mm frame ignoring they get more on the negative.