A landmark camera for Leica, the M3 is a 35mm rangefinder camera that was introduced in 1954 and came with several notable features. Find out more about this Leica beauty in this installment of Lomopedia!
The camera that marked a new starting point for Leitz (now Leica Camera AG), the M3 was introduced in 1954 and noted for ushering several improvements to Leica cameras. Previous models only had screw-mounts, and the M3 came with a new bayonet lens mount called the Leica M mount (still used to this day). Aside from this, the M3 also had a combined viewfinder and rangefinder in a single bright window, similar to that of the Contax II.
According to Ken Rockwell, the M3 is the best that Leica has ever made (makes sense that it’s Leica’s best selling model of all time), and is considered by many as the world’s best camera ever.
- Manufacturer: Ernst Leitz GMBH Wetzlar Germany
- Place of Manufacture: Germany
- Date of Manufacture: 1954 – 1968
- Focusing System: Coupled rangefinder; .92x magnification factor; 69.25mm base length; 63.71 effective baselength
- RF Framelines: 50-90-135 (framelines selectable on later models)
- Lens Mount: Leica M bayonet mount compatible
- Shutter: Horizontal cloth focal plane; 1 sec – 1/1000 sec + B & X (1/50sec)
- Metering System: none; (meter coupled to shutter speed possible)
- Flash: Accessory cold shoe, Sync cable connector on rear; 1/50 sec X sync and focal plane (FP) sync
- Film Type: Type 135 film (35mm standard), ISO 4-1300
- Battery Type: None
- Dimensions and weight: 138 × 77 × 33.5mm; 580g