M3 finder lines and other tales of Leica woe and dismay
Sorry for the saga, but I need some Leica therapy and advice. I have a SS M3 with a 50/2 that I really love for the most part but I have to say that the 50mm rounded corner finder lines drive me crazy. I have never heard anyone else ever talk about it. All I ever hear is praise for the M3 finder over all others. Yes the lines are bright and easy to see in all conditions, but I find the lack of sharp and accurate corners frustrating most of the time. Granted my primary camera is a Linhof Technikardan and I'm a bit of a precision nut, but that's exactly why I love my M3. The rounded corners are so glaringly counter to the whole Leica concept IMHO. What were they thinking? Was it emulating the look of TV sets at the time?
Back around 98' I believe, I had finished a very lucrative project and decided to splurge big time and buy an M6 and a 35 Asph. It was awesome. Finally I had an in camera meter and the 35 & 50 was all I wanted. But there was a problem. The body was leaving a few hairline scratches across most of the film. I had purchased it from a major "boutique" camera shop here in NYC and took it back with the prints to show them. It was diagnosed as having an overly tight pressure plate. Now, this was the timeframe when they were coming out with the new finder mag versions, so the last versions were in limited supply. They had a pyramid of about 15 behind the counter of the remaining M6's. I think the first one I had was a "panda" - even more hard to come by. They offered to exchange the defective one and so we cracked the seal on another one. I had brought several rolls of cheap film to demonstrate the scratching that you could clearly see mid roll just by opening the back flap. I loaded up the new one and ta-da! same thing. the salesman was totally befuddled. What were the odds? Well, we opened another and the same exact thing. At this point the salesman was sweating bullets and looked like he just wanted to get rid of me. They offered to give me a full refund on the spot. But I wanted the camera! The other option was to send it to NJ and I was told it may be 8 weeks or more. I couldn't make sense of spending $6k and then shipping it off for two months. The dream was dying. I started looking at the pyramid again. I figured that if they were defective they would find out anyway, so we might as well continue the search. The guy told me "most of the people buying these are doctors and lawyers and aren't going to even notice slight scratching. I don't want to open any more and make them unsellable." Wow. I didn't know what else to do. I took the refund and that was the end. I even thought about selling the M3.
At that point in my life I was shooting editorial and advertising and this was a fun personal system for me. Now I am only shooting serious personal work and I am beginning to get Leica "feelings" again. The problem is that now I can't really afford a new Leica and the M6 experience has left me feeling jinxed about even considering one used. I guess my questions are:
1) is there anyone that can mod the M3 lines to have square corners and is it worth it?
2) what is the best option for a metered body with 35 lines?
3) should I just sell the M3 and move on?
4) is there life after Leica?
I have other 35 systems so it's not like I'll be without. I still have a Canon 1n and a ton of lenses, plus a 5D and 5Dmk2 (don't judge). I also just replaced my second most used system a Hasselblad with an 80 and a 50. But, as you probably know if you have made it this far, nothing is quite like the Leica. As Jack Twist said - "I wish I knew how to quit you".