Do I need a CLA on this M3?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jim_cain, Apr 29, 2003.

  1. Well, Al "no batteries" Kaplan has gotten through to me. I have just bought via an
    estate heir, an M3 DS (mid 1956) along with a 50mm collapsable chron, unmarked
    case and the meter MC, which is spot on. Everything is pristine and I doubt that a roll
    has ever been put through. The rangefinder is fine with a variety of lenses and the
    speeds sound not just right but perfect. All in, it feels like a new camera. Assuming I
    put a roll through tomorrow (and everything turns out OK), do I need to get a CLA
    done? The L seal is intact but my impuse is to say yes, since 47 years is a long time
    between lubes. Any thoughts? Also, is there any reason to think that long stored
    Leica lenses, when brought into service (and light) tend to fog? This happened to me
    with a 135 4.0 but thats hardly conclusive, The above mentioned 50mm lens now is
    a perfect 10!

    Many Thanks
  2. If you are collecting, then lock everything in a temperture and humidity controlled
    cabinet and leave it alone. If you are photographing with the equipment then get it all
    CLAed. Others, I am sure, may disagree...
  3. I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought. Run a few rolls through it, and if exposures are accurate and everything operates smoothly, just keep using it. If it seems rough, get it CLA'd.
  4. Jim,
    I'm a believer in not fixing what isn' broken. Too many people are too quick to recommend a cla here. Put your M3 in the shade in a warm car for an hour or so to warm up the lubricant. Then trip the shutter 10-20 times up and down each and all the speeds. If they sound okay get them checked on a shutter checker (not too dry and raspy). If they are within reason - high speeds + or - 20% or so low speeds pretty reasonably accurate then just use it and take pictures with it. When and if it sounds a bit dry and rough send it off to Sherry or DAG. Enjoy it, Gil.
  5. The camera has a lot of brass gearing inside which needs lubrication.
    <br>The old lubricants have certainly dried out after 50 years.
    <br>If the camers were meant to be run "dry," they wouldn't have lubricated them in the first place.
    <br>Do NOT leave old lenses in hot environments. The lubricants inside them will dissipate and deposit on the lens surfaces.
    <br>Any competant repairman is familiar with the M3, so, there is no reason to send it to the most expensive person out there.
    <br>My recommendation is Ross Yerkes in LA. He's honest and his prices are competitive. I've sent him some very complex vintage cameras to repair, and they've always arrived in perfect shape.
    <br>He's a great repairman.
  6. Hey, Jim, as long as the batteries are working...LOL. Actually brass is sort of self lubricating compared to steel, but after 47 years I'd be afraid of totally dried out and hardened chunks of lube breaking free and going places where they could cause problems. An L seal is nice on a collectable camera, but I'd feel better knowing it wasn't going to crap out on me. If you're anywhere near South Florida I suggest Manfred at Dan's Camera Repair (he owns it but kept the old name) in Miami, phone 305-759-2541. I've used him for Leica, Hasselblad, Minolta and Rolleiflex repairs for at least 20 years. If it's really going to be a "user" get at least the X synch socket replaced with an M4 type so you can use standard PC cords. The M4 socket fits in the same hole as the M3 socket. Cheap to do while the camera is already apart. If the vulcanite is cracking/chipping check out where you can get new leatherette that pretty much matches the original, or fancy colored lizard skin if it appeals to you. Enjoy your new camera!
  7. Jim, sounds like a great camera, but looks can be deceiving.
    Having had two M3s, a DS and SS, I would recommend sending
    it to an authorised Leica dealer. It may cost more, but then you
    can be absolutely sure it will be A1. Ditto the lens. Have fun!
  8. I will contribute just one comment:

    M3 - YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!
  9. Heres what to do. cock the shutter, open the back door, do you see a seam? shutter needs attention, put on 1000 sec, and take lens off , shoot it at arms length, dou you NOT see a rectangle? high speeds are off if not, and one last test is the 1 second. shoot many times, then place in a cool place, shoot it cold, not freezing, but cool. does it stick? maybe you want to shoot in the winter and this will factor in. best, mike
  10. If it is working properly, use it. If it doesn't feel right, or it stops feeling right, get it fixed. I am convinced half the M3's out there have never seen a second grease & oil
  11. At that age, it will have dry shutter curtains, which means light leaks and trouble with flash triggering. Get Sherry at Golden Touch to fix it up, lubing the mechanism and changing that flash terminal at the same time. Her prices are reasonable and her work superb.
  12. Be safe and get the CLA. 47 years is alot of time for lubricants to
    dry up and cause problems.
  13. Having inherited my Uncles M3, I can say that a CLA is probably needed based on your description....
  14. Thanks to all who have helped me.

    I took it a tech who is affilated with the local (Las Vegas) Leica dealer,
    Casey's Cameras. Jeff, who has been repairing cameras for 35 years, put it
    on the shutter speed tester and while I watched, noted that every speed was
    within a 5% margin. Leica will tolerate a 20% margin. When I suggested that
    a lube might be in order he said: "The camera doesn't need anything-It
    works." Further comments "this is an exceptional camera". After lubing a few
    external parts, he charged me $0 but I am an old customer--

    Still, I would be more comfortable if it was cleaned--I will put a few rolls
    through and rethink. Jim

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