M3 Not Firing Flash Below 1/50

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by craig_shearman|1, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. I was (quite luckily) given a Leica M3 double stroke a couple of years ago, and just recently got the adaptor so I plug a standard PC cord into the proprietary Leica X-sync flash contact.

    After some experimenting, I've found that the flash will only fire when the shutter speed is at 1/50 or higher. When I set it at 1/25 and lower, it will not fire.

    Since this is a focal plane shutter and presumably doesn't sync any higher than 1/50, this doesn't make any sense. Flash isn't going to cover the whole frame at higher speeds. But being able to use speeds below 1/50 to drag the shutter to pick up ambient fill could be useful.

    So is this normal on an M3? Or is something wrong with my camera?
  2. I presume that you are using the X-flash port and not the M flash port?
    If you are using the X synch port, then this is incorrect. The flash should fire at 1/50 and all slower speeds.
  3. Yes, using the x sync port not the one for
  4. Of course it's not normal. Some 20 years ago, I had the X cable corroded out somewhere on an M3, and I think I may have had the flash go off outside the shutter opening period, but I no longer recall. I had to have the cable replaced. I think the bulb circuit continued to work.
    Have you shot flash with the back open? You may find there is no light getting through.
  5. I should have checked with back open. Just sent the camera off to have the leather replaced yesterday but will check that when it gets back.
  6. The flash should fire at any shutter speed, but from 1/60 upwards you would get increasingly wide black areas in your negs as the second curtain starts its travelling before the first curtain opened completely. AFAIK there is no prevention of firing the flash at higher speeds present in M film cameras.
  7. Leica M3, M2, M4 and M5 all have 3 separate internal flash contacts. Any of these three contacts can be adjusted, but the speed dial contact in the
    upper body changes it's position as the shutter speed dial is moved.
    Cleaning all three contacts during a C L A then recalibrating their positions, should solve your issue.

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