1957 Leica M3.

The 1957 Leica M3 blends the best features from early and late Leica M3 cameras:

  • Double stroke film advance lever with shorter arm (allows you to advance the film and simultaneously hold the camera with one hand).
  • Silent return on the film advance (later models produce a ratcheting sound when returning).
  • Modern shutter speeds (earlier models have the older speeds: 1, 1/2, 1/5, 1/10, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/200…).
  • “Buddha” (aka “Rabbit Ear”) lugs riveted (not screwed) to camera — no loosening or spinning of lugs.
  • Film back door protrusions/pins to prevent door from flapping open when changing film (only available in cameras with serial numbers 854000-858000).
  • Double glass eyepiece with inner seal (later models have single glass with no seal).

It’s now 60 years old and still working like new.

(for more information see here)

—Peter.

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14 thoughts on “1957 Leica M3.

  1. René says:

    Some things are just awesome! This is one of those. I’m very happy you own it.

  2. Thank you so much René!

  3. Sean says:

    In sum: The best of the best …

  4. Ian says:

    Possibly the best camera ever made.

    My top 5 would be 1) Leica M3
    2) Rolleiflex 2.8f
    3) Plaubel Makina 67
    4) Mamiya 7
    5) Leica M9

    • Very nice list! I agree with much of it, though I would never have thought of adding the M9 to it — yet it’s the camera that has given me the most pleasure and memorable photos over the years. So thank you for allowing me to add it to the “iconic camera” list.

      One more thing: for me, the Mamiya RZ67 would be near the top. Together with the 110/2.8 lens, it represents the best portraiture-creating device I’ve ever used.

  5. karen says:

    I agree with Rene…..some cameras are just awesome. The M3 is a marvel of engineering and ergonomics and film is a great sensor. I hope one day for Leica cameras to re-achieve that longer baselength rangefinder/viewfinder. Have fun with it as you retire….what did you call it….Mr. Scratchy? 🙂

  6. Wow. Congratulations. What a beauty. Life can be so simple. If only i could bring myself to ‘just’ own a m3 and one lens and a bag of film.. I would lay in the grass, look at the clouds pass by and than stroll with the family through the country and little towns and click at whatever my left brain is telling me..

    • Thank you Roel… I like your thinking 🙂

      I’m afraid I’m haven’t simplified to that extent either… yet. My dream, ultimately, is just to shoot an M3 and 50 ‘cron (or ‘lux) and never look back!

  7. I have never heard of this one. Specifications are still impressive, 60 years later! So I assume these go for a premium price?

    • No, people are more interested in the later 1,000,000+ serial numbered M3s. However, a lot of those later models borrowed parts/ideas from the M2 (manufactured between 1957 – 1968).

      The M3s of this vintage represent the pinnacle of the M3 line.

      Prices of these M3s will go up, now that I’ve posted this 🙂

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