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  1. #1

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    Leica M3 for backpacking/landscapes?

    Hello,

    I am curious if a Leica M3 would be decent for backpacking and landscape photography? I realize that there would be limitations such as using a graduated ND filter or a circular polarizer due to not looking through the lens. The small size, supposedly excellent optics, and german build quality appeal to me however. I normally shoot a Nikon F5 and F6 for 35mm film, but have never owned a Leica or a rangefinder camera and would like to try one. I am thinking about picking up a used one from KEH in either BGN or Ex condition, along with a basic 50mm lens to start.

    Jared
    Nikon F6, Nikon F5, AF Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5, Nikkor 50-135mm f/3.5 AI-s, 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, MC-20 remote release.

  2. #2
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Another place to look
    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...ndex.php?cat=1

    Bear in mind that an M3 is pretty old and may have seen some heavy use. A wise choice may be to buy one with a recent CLA.

    Another source is the man most famous for doing quality CLAs on early Leicas.
    Youxin Ye wye7@yahoo.com 16 Fairview Rd Canton, MA 02021-1720, USA tel: (781) 830-9141 Expert Leica technician & repairer Sells refurbished M2, M3 and works on LTM http://www.yyecamera.com/
    Ebay wye7
    I have read that he is happy to talk with newbies to Leica and rangefinders and is very honest.

    Unfortunately I have 74 year old eyes and can only focus large format negatives. I back pack with a Toyota Highlander or a baby jogger. Ah to be young again.

    John Powers
    "If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." Miroslav Tichý

  3. #3
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    Leica M3 is good for backpacking and landscape. M3 is good for everything. I got M3 - and I will never get apart from it. I have also 4 nikons - nikon is also great.

    M3 is masterpiece of German engineering. Any lens will do - from cheap screw mount elmar 5cm f3.5 to APO lenses. If you think about buying M3 - and you have money to buy it - then by all means buy it.
    Last edited by darkosaric; 07-10-2014 at 01:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    never owned a Leica or a rangefinder camera and would like to try one
    If your primary motivation is to try a rangefinder, a Leica M3 is not exactly the cheapest way. There are capable rangefinders that cost far less, e.g. Olypus 35RD, Canonet QL17, or, more recent, the various Cosina-Voigtlander rangefinders. Plus, the natural lens for an M3 is 50mm; are you sure that is your preferred focal length for landscape?

  5. #5
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Great camera, wish I had one, but it would not be my first choice for landscape photography. I'd want a bigger negative...a 6x9 folder would be my choice.

  6. #6

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    A Leica's an expensive option to try a RF camera. It'll certainly give good results but not everyone gets along with rangefinder cameras. You're going to have to develop a slightly different skill set too. Metering or sunny 16 for exposure, coping with parallax for close work.
    If you find a 50mm good for the Nikons you can't do much better than Leitz lenses but might want to consider going slightly wider. I like 40mm as my normal lens. Just a preference.
    An ltm camera with a collapsible 50 may work. Kind of small viewfinder but very compact setup.
    Last edited by John Koehrer; 07-10-2014 at 01:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Expletive Deleted!

  7. #7

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    Thanks for all of the responses.

    With my Nikon's I normally use a 28-70 zoom for landscapes, but that does not seem to be an option with rangefinder cameras. I'd say most of my shots are in the 35-50mm range. As far as larger format cameras go, I understand the appeal to a larger slide/negative, but I am looking for something even smaller and lighter than an F6, so a medium or large format camera is not going to work LOL. I do a lot of hiking to get my shots, and heavy equipment gets to be a drag to carry around. The M3 is small, and the lenses are small as well. I figured that I could use my iPhone with the pocket light meter app for metering. I know that the Nikon F6 is superior to any Leica for landscape work, but wanting to try something new has bitten me LOL. The M3 is a beautiful camera as well, I guess that is part of the appeal to me.

    From what I have read, they were made in both Germany and Canada. How do I know where the camera was made? Will an earlier DS model most likely be made in Germany?

    Thanks,

    Jared
    Nikon F6, Nikon F5, AF Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5, Nikkor 50-135mm f/3.5 AI-s, 50mm f/1.4 AI-s, MC-20 remote release.

  8. #8
    cliveh's Avatar
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    You should have no trouble with an M3, but why not M2 (better viewfinder frame lines with no roundy corners)? When using a polariser as you mentioned, you simply look through it to orientate how it will fit over the lens.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  9. #9
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    The M Leicas are fabulous cameras (I had an M2R) but hard to load with a new roll of film. It might be a problem with cold weather or other weather problems.
    Sorry to go off topic, but what is an M2R?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jphendren View Post
    Thanks for all of the responses.

    ....

    From what I have read, they were made in both Germany and Canada. How do I know where the camera was made? ....

    Thanks,

    Jared
    The location, Canada, Germany, will be stamped on the camera, just as it is on you Nikon.
    If you are looking at a camera online, the made in Canada or Germany will probably show in the seller's pictures of the camera. you can always ask.

    John
    "If you want to be famous, you must do something more badly than anybody in the entire world." Miroslav Tichý

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