The Rangefinder

I’ve been searching for a Leica M3 for a good long time, and got a fantastic deal from an original owner who purchased this beauty in Munich back in 1961. I couldn’t believe how well he cared for it. I loaded the first roll of film I could get my hands on and started shooting right away.

In the week since I got it, the camera has been everywhere with me, and I’m absolutely hooked! First roll is back from the lab, and I’ve posted a few frames from it below:

Leica M3 (single stroke) + 50mm f/1.4 Summilux | Leicameter MC | Kodak Portra 400

22 thoughts on “The Rangefinder

  1. What a beauty! I keep meaning to ask – do you scan your own negatives, or get the lab to do it? I find the cost of scanning since I’ve moved to Sydney to be huge, and am thinking about getting a scanner. Any recommendations?

    1. Hi Mike, great question! All my scanning is done at my local lab. I do own an Epson Perfection series scanner. It’s great, but it’s so much less work to have to lab do the scanning for me. The Epson V700 is a great choice if you want to go that route, however.

    1. Thanks! That’s an external light meter. In that photo, it’s off the camera. But in the first photo, you can see it attached to the top of the M3 at the camera’s hotshoe.

  2. that camera is a piece of art itself. even if it doesn’t function, i’d put it on my shelf and would be happy just looking at it πŸ™‚ these images turned out wonderfully. i esp love the one you shot thru the window, catching that couple kissing – adorable!

  3. Compelled to dispel the perception that I had to date, take a tour of the world with such eye M3 hobbies sober. “

  4. Your Leica M pix illustrate a rather mysterious phenomenon that I know exists but haven’t a clue as to how it works. Some call it “Leica Magic,” others, the “Leica Look.” You know it’s there, but how do you codify it, prove it?
    About 20 years ago, my son, son-in law and I we were reviewing about 600 slides, projected on a large screen that we had shot during the production of a movie we made in Nepal, starring a very young Milla Jovovich. The co-producing studios (Disney and Paramount) had asked that all our slides be shot on Kodachrome 64, which we did. My son-In-law’s camera & lenses, were top-of the line Nikon, my son’s Canon, and mine, a mix of Leica M’s and R’s. As we clicked through the slides, pretty much all technically perfect, and accomplished with pretty much equal artistry we began noticing a certain “something” in the Leica photos the others didn’t have. Curious, we asked our three wives to come in and review the slides with us. They had no idea who took which pix nor what they were taken with. We asked them to try to identify slides that had a different look, a “glow,” a “three dimensional” quality, a “sublime character,” having nothing to do with picture content or with the artistry of components such as composition, etc. Almost 90% of the slides selected by our wives had been taken with the Leica equipment!! What is the magic? How can it be rationally explained?

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Yup, I’m not sure I can explain how Leica’s secret sauce works, but the entire Leica experience, from operating the equipment to the look of the final images, is very unique indeed.

  5. Hi Jonathan,
    I must say the images you made from this camera are breathtaking. I’ve been searching high and low for the right camera for street photography and stumbled on your blog. I previously had a Nikon F100 which I had to return because it stopped working midshoot.
    You’ve finally convinced me to buy the leica, however I’m still a bit confused on the choice of lens. Is your chrome lens the old version? (the new ones are quite pricey)
    I just don’t want to end up getting the wrong gear. I would appreciate your help thanks! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much! I do have the older version of the Summilux, but Leica lenses tend to be pricey across the board. If you want to go 50mm, you can probably find a good deal on a used late model 50mm f/2 Summicron or maybe an older Dual Range Summicron on Ebay or Craigslist. Hope this helps!

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