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  1. #1

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    Gifted a Leica M3 DS and 3 lenses...now what do I do?

    A week ago an old friend emailed that she had her late fathers old Leica and wanted to know what to do with this old camera. I immediately wrote back that she should pack it up and send it to me so that I could dispose of it in a proper and respectful way and she did!

    I now have a very early M3 DS, 50mm f:2 collapsible Summicron in pretty good condition, a 3.5cm f:3.5 wide angle that looks like it was hardly used, and a 9cm f:4 Elmar with some fungus on one of the inner elements. There is also a Leica meter MC that is not original to the kit and still seems to function well.

    The condition of the camera is a little rough. Someone tried to remove the original meter without knowing how and ripped the accessory shoe off so I can't use the meter or mount a flash. The shutter seems to be accurate to my ear, but I will test it when I have a chance. There is a nasty ding next to the film advance lever that appears to not effect the function.
    Film advance is silky and aside for some cosmetic issues I think that I got a great deal.

    My plan is to shoot some APX 400 this weekend and try to get a feel for the camera and lenses, but then what do I do?

    I would appreciate any ideas on my approach with this camera and as I paid nothing for it I am thinking of a CLA and some repairs.

    Some immediate questions are what can be done with the 90mm Elmar as far as the fungus goes? I guess that I will have to shoot it this weekend and see how it looks. How do I use the 3.5 cm wide angle as the viewfinder does not show the field for this lens and I don't have an external viewfinder or any way to mount the finder yet.

    I will try to post some pictures of the kit next week as it has a few more issues that need help.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  2. #2
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    Lucky bastard!
    Well, since you told her you were going to dispose of it, I recommend that you pass it on to a Leica-less photographer -- Yours Truly! Think of all the great karma you'd rack up by doing so.
    Seriously, though, that's a fantastic windfall. I hope you can do the neglected thing some justice and make up for lost time.

  3. #3
    Fixcinater's Avatar
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    You can find reasonably cheap Soviet 35mm viewfinders, and the fairly inexpensive VIOOH/IMARECT zooms from 35-135, with a stop for 90mm so you would be covered for all of the lenses.

    I do not have first hand experience dealing with her, but Sherry has been used by a couple of my Leica-owner friends and they have been very happy. Maybe send the whole kit to her for cleaning/adjusting so she can verify that everything works together as it should?


    Lastly, burn some film! Slides, some slow black and white, high-speed black and white would be my first recommendations.

  4. #4

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    Dec 2010
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    If this had happened to me (don't I wish -- I envy you!), I would identify a reputable repair person for this model and send it for a CLA/tell me what's wrong with it session. Said knowledgeable person will probably be able to help you repair/replace the damaged parts, as they likely have sources (or a junk box).

    Enjoy it! (I didn't get my grandfather's...still sad about that)

  5. #5

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    Definitely send the equipment to DAG or Sherry. The accessory shoe damage may be a challenge to repair, since that could have damaged the top cover. But they will know what to do to fix it, and ought to have a used one to replace it with. They can do a general overhaul of the shutter speeds etc., and should be able to clean out the fungus (or advise you whether it may have permanently damaged the glass).

    That's a very nice friend you have there! I think that once you have everything in good working order, you should take some pictures of her and her family -- that would be a nice way to thank her, and honor her father's memory.

  6. #6

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    Yes, I do feel that I lucked out on this deal and will probably get in touch with A Leica repair person in the near future. In the mean time I will burn some film this weekend on a camping trip to north central PA. There are some interesting old towns in that area that go back to the first oil boom in the country and some very pretty landscape as well.

    I have a couple hundred feet of old APX 400 that I came across in my freezer so I thought that film would be appropriate ;-).


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  7. #7
    Matthew Thompson's Avatar
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    A thank-you card may be in order, with a nice print from the set.

  8. #8

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    You only need to send of the body for new top plate and the lens with the fungus for a clean. There should have been a finder for the 35mm as part of the kit you could inquire.
    There may be problems obtaining a new top plate...

  9. #9

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    I suppose you can have it serviced if you want to use it -- but beyond that, put film in it, take pictures, thank your gods for smiling on you. The accessory shoe is damaged? So what? -- on camera meters are iffy anyway -- use the meter hand-held. Use the 35mm lens and just guesstimate the coverage ... you'll figure it out.

    lucky bastid---wish someone would send me one of those for free.

  10. #10
    kivis's Avatar
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    Akiva S.

    Nikkormat FTN, Nikon F, Nikon FE, Leica M3

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kshapero/

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