Goodbye, M3

“The End” – Fargo, ND

Above is the final frame I shot with my trusty, 1955-vintage Leica M3 rangefinder. I really did love that camera; for some reason, I bonded with it more than I have with any other camera. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t as practical in actual use as my M6, which has a built-in light meter. So as much as I liked using it, I didn’t actually use it enough to justify having it around. It has since been replaced as my backup M-mount body by the infinitely more practical, if less aesthetically pleasurable, Zeiss Ikon rangefinder. I will do a review on my time with the Zeiss at some point, as I really feel like it gets a bad rub among rangefinder aficionados despite it being the best rangefinder I have shot with in actual usage (in actual usage being the key phrase there) to date.

“Traffic” – Fargo, ND

Back to my M3, which now has a fine home and get lots of use: it was a great camera. I loved that it was from 1955, and after a quick CLA worked the same way it did the day it came out of the factory in Germany. I loved how it looked; it just looks really beautiful, in my opinion. But that’s just me. Some prefer the M2–without the “frame” around the viewfinder–but I like the M3. I also like that it does not require manually resetting the frame counter when loading film. The finish of the M3 is really first-rate and hard to beat, honestly.

“Final M3 Selfie” – Fargo, ND

The film I used for what would turn out to be the final roll through my beloved M3 was Fuji Pro 400H. Now, I happen to like this film–a lot. I like the tones and the grain, the latter being just enough to know it’s there without it being overwhelming. In my opinion it is equal to, if not better than, Kodak’s Portra 400. Portra renders skin tones a bit better overall in most conditions–the Fuji Pro 400H can take on a slightly magenta hue under certain lighting conditions, though this can also be true of Portra in artificial light.



  1. I am interested in your decision as I am considering an M3 for the short term. I will be expecting your review on the Ikon. Enjoy.


  2. You speak with such eloquent and obvious affection about the M3, I find it hard to believe that you actually let it go! “Spring” is a beautiful shot, and “Traffic” is another example or your very cool work with mirrors.


  3. Very natural colors indeed.
    A Leica is a Leica… It´s only natural to find it´s hard to let it go!


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