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Thread: Leica M2 or M3?

  1. #1

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    Leica M2 or M3?

    Please bear with me

    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. #2

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    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. #3
    Jesper's Avatar
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    M2 if you are going to use a 35mm otherwise the M3 because of the longer base. I use them both regularly.

  4. #4

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    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

  5. #5

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    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.

    s-a

    PS - You can also try the leica users forum. Those folks would run with a topic like this.
    I photograph things to see what things look like photographed.
    - Garry Winogrand

  6. #6
    Trask's Avatar
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    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. #7
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trask View Post
    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.
    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.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

    MY BLOG - www.reservedatalltimes.com
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    INSTAGRAM: colincorneau

  8. #8

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    Renato, I am confused -- are you planning to just bring the 40?

  9. #9

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    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. #10

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    Buy both and send one to me :P

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