M3 or M6/M2 decision depends on whether you would mainly use standard 50mm lens or 35mm lens. M3 doesn't have view frame line for 35mm lens. Though you can use 35mm lens with goggle, it's rather bulky. M6, M4p have also 28mm view frame line.
I mainly use 50mm lens and I love the finder of M3.
i have and use a m3 and love it. i came from using ( i still have them ) pentax slrs for 25 years. i use a 35-50-90, and my only complaint is the way you have to load the camera, and really can't complain too loudly. i handhold it down to 1/15S with no shake, and the shutter is silent and strong. i don't have the goggles for my 35mm, but i just judge that it is around the full view in the finder, and when i get around to it, i'll get an aux finder to put ontop, they are pretty funny looking ( russian ones) and not too expensive.
i have a meter that i think was for a m4 that i use with it. not an slr ttl meter, but it works very well, and these days i am pretty good at judging light so i don't even bother with the meter for themost part.
if you can find one, and it isn't too expensive, it is a sweet ride and you won't be sorry you took it.
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I would look at an M3, when they are well cared for they will last forever. I am the second generation Smith to own this particular M3 and if I were making a purchase for a second Leica M body, it would have to be an M2 or an M4-p made in Midland Ontario.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
Nobody has mentioned a CL or CLE as viable lighter-weight, more compact (and less expensive) alternatives to the M6 or the Nikon. While the viewfinders don't cover as extensive a range of lenses, they still work well with some commonly used focal lengths, have internal TTL and autoexposure (aperture preferred), and they don't do the strange bottom-loading-through-a-slit thing the M series cameras do.
For technical accuracy:
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
The CL is match needle manual metering only, not aperture priority auto, and uses an obsolete 1.35V mercury cell. The battery also uses an edge contact, so you have to have a Wein cell or other arrangement with edge continuity to use the meter. The CL also doesn't do TTL flash. The CL also doesn't have the 28mm framelines that the CLE has.
The CLE doesn't give any metering info in manual mode. To set exposure manually, you have to either guess, use an external meter, or switch the CLE to autoexposure, remember the exposure, then switch back to manual mode and make your settings. The CLE does do TTL flash with the right units.
The CL is spot metering only and the CLE is averaging only.
Neither camera has an RF baseline length near the M series range, and they don't focus to the same accuracy at close range with fast lenses. That is why their 40mm lens was f:2 and the 90mm lens for them was f:4.
I have one of each, the CLE inherited from my dad, and I like the CL a lot because I like spot metering. I'd like the CLE better and use it a lot more if it did manual metering well.
At the use price point for these cameras, I'd consider the Bessa R3A and R2A serious contenders.
Almost forgot: the CL is a mechanical shutter that operates with no battery, the CLE is electronic and requires a working battery to function.
Last edited by Lee L; 05-08-2006 at 04:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I use a M3, M4-P and a IIIf. The IIIf with a 35mm lens (Voigtlander) is a great street camera. You can't beat the M4-P. As I use a hand held meter, all my Leicas are meterless. Not an issue.
When I was doing some street photography with a Leica M3, I was quite glad to have a clip-on meter (I think it was a Leicameter MC), which allows you to meter scenes and set exposure unobtrusively with the camera at waist level.
I've been using a small and accurate Gossen Digiflash meter (mostly incident mode) for a bit more than a year with my rangefinders, and like it a lot.
Cosina also makes a Voigtlander VC II meter that fits a hot shoe and meters about a full 90mm frame (you can switch in the 90mm framelines and see what you're metering). It doesn't register to the shutter speed dial like Leica rangefinder meters, but its shoe is adjustable for better clearance on different cameras. Looks very nice for the purpose, also has a hot shoe lanyard available for off camera use. It should be very accurate if the VC rangefinder meters are any indication. It's effectively the same price as the Digiflash.
After reading the posts I would reinforce the decision (or not) as to 35mm or 50mm. If 50mm is your forte then M3, if 35mm the M2, simple. If your not sure then M6 classic, don't touch the ttl, battery drain problems. As far as meter, more convienent to have one in the camera if your shooting color. For B&W it is a curse unless you know how to use it well.