M3 or M2?
My first post as a self confessed RF newbie. In the recent past I have been a come and go medium format guy.
A few weeks back I bought a late serial number M3 with a 50/2 mm Summicron DR attachment. All beautiful (really beautiful!) but even to my old wonky eyes the viewfinder looked a bit "dull".
So, of course, I then bought another M3 and an M2, both in brilliant condition-
Don't worry I don't think I will be around here for long as I will soon be broke from buying all this new equipment.
Both the second M3 and the M2 have viewfinders that light up like Christmas.
To the point now:
1. Is there anything that can be done to restore the first M3's dull viewfinder? ; and
2. at the risk of starting or restarting a flame war, what do more experienced users see as the relative merits or disadvantages of the M3 and the M2?
I have agreed with myself that I can keep only one (Yeah right! How can you trust a guy who buys 3 cameras in two weeks?).
Thanks for your help and patience.
Only three cameras in two weeks? You are not even trying! I have had the viewfinder in my M2 cleaned by a professional, and came back like new, so yes, they can be brightened considerably. As to which is best, hard one, but I chose the M2, despite it's "downmarket" specification, because it has the 35mm frame lines. I only use the 50 and (mostly) the 35mm, so the M2 was a no brainer. The lack of a self setting film counter doesn't concern me at all, and mine came with the self timer fitted, which also concerns me not at all. Of course there is the M4!
I prefer the M2 myself, mainly because I use the 35mm most of the time.
Use both and see.
Rule of thumb, of course, is that if you are going to use a 35mm often, you should keep the M2. I do think the M2 is better if you're going to have only one camera, because of that flexibility. Still, personally I ended up keeping my M3 instead of my M2. That's because I use a 50mm most of the time, and, the older I get, the more I like the extra magnification of the M3's viewfinder. But I had both for a long time and could justify both. It's nice to have two bodies when you shoot film, because you can load two different types of film. Also, you always have a backup.
I'll third the M2 as I also use a 35mm lens on it 99% of the time. If you're a 50mm shooter, the M3 would be better with that finder. If you shoot any wider you need to use an external finder or goggles, which will be an added smaller pain. You'll probably get a little more money by selling the M3 as well.
Also, maybe to keep in mind. If you keep the M2 with plans of maybe getting an M6 in the future, you can use the same lenses. Using the 35mm lenses with goggles on the M6 can be a pain from what I've heard.
I've personally cleaned my m2 finder, which wasn't the hardest thing in the world. I'm sure you could clean up the M3 with the right tools.
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Both are fantastic cameras (I owned them both in the past.)
Originally Posted by Jimbot
The M3 is an excellent 50mm shooter, but for 35mm you'll need an external finder, or the Summaron with goggles. The goggles add weight and bulk (but the lens takes real nifty pictures.) The M3 has lines for 135mm, which was great for me.
The M2 is excellent for 35mm, but for me at least, 50mm made me feel like I was wasting half the viewfinder. The M2 also doesn't have a self-reseting frame counter, which seems minor until you forget to set it yourself.
Again, both are excellent. It's just a matter of personal choice.
Those who know, shoot film
I love early M4s. They are built just with the same perfection of late M3s and give the convenience of all the frame lines, albeit with a .72 finder. Obviously, there is no better finder than the one on the M3 so, if the 35mm lines are a must, the M4 is the most obvious choice. Great examples can be less expensive than M3s but prices have been stable or creeping up, as people realize how great and timeless those cameras are. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with your choice of an M2 either..
Send your M3 with the dull rangefinder to Sherry and I bet she can make it so much better
Never owned an M3 and instead have an M2. The M2 is my favorite camera and I expect to keep it as long as I am around. I can have a really great day shooting with my M2 and a 35, a 50 & a 90.