What Do You Think Of This Purchase? :

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by finnegan, May 10, 2015.

  1. On ebay:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/311349810473?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
    (scroll down)


    It was Buy It Now for $1395 or Offer, I offered $1150 and seller agreed.
    My first Leica. I should have posted here first, drat!
    Anyway, if it looks "iffy" I'd appreciate it if you'd lie. (Joke....)
    So, what do you think?
    Thanks!
     
  2. SCL

    SCL

    Congratulations. When you receive it, after fondling it, you need to seriously check it out, especially as the seller said it had sat unused for a number of years. As far as the body goes, check that the film winder operates smoothly, and that the shutter operates smoothly and quietly at all speeds and doesn't have any pinholes in it. Seller said the RF aligned properly, but I'd double check that also. Next, check the lens...does the diaphragm operate smoothly opening and closing. When you extend the lens and twist to lock it in place, is it firm and rigid (good)or is it wobbly (worn). Take a flashlight and shine it thru the front and rear of the lens with the diaphragm wide open...is it relatively dust free, is there haze or separation of the elements around the perimeter, are there any signs of fungus inside (either colonies or spider like webs), are the front and rear lens elements relatively free of scratches, scrapes, nicks. Lastly, check the focus mechanism of the lens....does it rotate smoothly in both directions, and when the lens is mounted on the body, look thru the rangefinder at something really distant (a bright star at night for instance) when you move the focusing lever to infinity do the two star dots line up perfectly? If everything above is good, pat yourself on the back and enjoy it. You may need or desire, at some point, to have the camera & lens CLA'd to bring it to perfection, and you'll probably research the lens details. I'd say the price you paid was reasonable, especially if all works as advertised. Again...congrats & start taking pictures.
     
  3. Thanks so much Stephen for all the advice on checks. What do you (and Seller) mean check that "the RF is aligned".
    As I said I'm a rookie.
    Also, who does reasonably priced CLAs on Leicas - KEH? And while I'm at it, what is "reasonably priced"?
    Again thanks so much, I hope all is well with it and shall soon see.
    Best
    Jerry
    "Wm Hutt"
     
  4. Hi William, I don't know how much of a novice you are but Mike Butkus has a handy short manual for the M3 on his website:
    http://www.cameramanuals.org/leica_pdf/leica_m3-02.pdf
    Congratulations. The M3 is one of the most sought-after of the M series.
     
  5. Very good price, especially if it needs not CLA. For CLA: Dagcamera, Sherry Krauter, Youxin Ye, & there are others.
     
  6. SCL

    SCL

    +1 what Steve B said, also Gus Lazzari - go with the experts when the time comes - this is not a place to skimp if you really need the work done. Pricing is variable...and after the sticker shock fades, realize you will unlikely need another CLA during your lifetime. Years ago a Leica tech who was in town for a promotion at a local camera shop (when they still existed) quickly checking customer camera bodies for free, told me..."ven you sit in front of ze TV put your munchies aside and run your Leica thru ze shutter speeds several times...it vill keep ze lubricants vell spread and not dried out, see me in about 10 years".
     
  7. If you are serious about long term use and life of this camera (you can pass it along later, too, to your progeny,) it is almost a guarantee that after decades of sitting around it WILL need a CLA (clean, lube, adjust). Regardless of how well it may be working now. Is there any service history you or your seller know of?
    AND you should have this done ONLY by a factory trained professional. Avoid any large outfit that mostly sells cameras, such as stores or your local "we service anything" shop.
    I would only consider (and I use) the true professionals. That means Gus Lazzari, Don Goldberg (aka DAG) and Sherry Krauter. I cannot recommend you go elsewhere. I disagree about using Mr. Ye knowing my point about that here is likely to raise much ire. Too bad, so sad, I do not care about those who disagree.
    Like I said, If you are serious about your camera you now know where to send it.
    The M3 truly deserves the best of service as it is a finely crafted machine that is capable of and known for outlasting generation after generation.
    A proper CLA (it is just about a restoration) will run "about $350" with commonly replaced parts. And it will likely last decades from that service, even with severe use. The M3 was designed to accept severe use.
    Your serial number 748,xxx does indicate a 1955 build date.
     
  8. Fred Haeseker , May 10, 2015; 07:35 p.m.
    Hi William, I don't know how much of a novice you are but Mike Butkus has a handy short manual for the M3 on his website:
    http://www.cameramanuals.org/leica_pdf/leica_m3-02.pdf
    Congratulations. The M3 is one of the most sought-after of the M series.
    Ah yes, I know his instruction manuals well and that was the first task I was going to undertake before the camera even arrived: check for a manual online. Thanks Muchly for this. I'm a babe in the woods as far as Leicas. Though not for film photography.
    Best
    Jerry ("william hutt")​
     
  9. Keith S [​IMG], May 11, 2015; 02:34 a.m.
    If you are serious about long term use and life of this camera (you can pass it along later, too, to your progeny,) it is almost a guarantee that after decades of sitting around it WILL need a CLA (clean, lube, adjust). Regardless of how well it may be working now. Is there any service history you or your seller know of? ...

    I'll ask Seller that, and I too was thinking of a CLA unless he's had a recent one at a good place.
    I'm dangerous around mechanical objects myself, once dousing a Zeiss Ercona II folder liberally with "3 In 1 Oil" to make it work "even better" than it already was, which was fine enough to produce terrific photos - and never was to again after my subtle lubricration.
    Best
    Jerry​
     
  10. Keith S [​IMG],I would only consider (and I use) the true professionals. That means Gus Lazzari, Don Goldberg (aka DAG) and Sherry Krauter. I cannot recommend you go elsewhere.
    What about Leica itself, they must do CLAs?

     
  11. Hey William.
    The reason I did not include Leica itself is two reasons:
    1) I have read more than a few posts between Photo.net and RFF (RangeFinder Forum) that stated Leica's facility tends to want to rebuild from the ground up, including things customers said in no way needed replacing. (Now that is from posts; I have no personal experience with Leica itself.)
    2) Posts have indicated Leica's costs were fairly outrageous compared to the professionals listed above.
    I prefer to go with known, previously used services, who, by the way, are usually "in the same ballpark" with each other as far as costs go.
    Gus, Don and Sherry have all serviced various ans sundry Leica items for me. I could not be happier with the quality and professionalism.
    It would be interesting to have your M3 evaluated by Leica --- and then sent to and serviced by "one of the big three" listed above and compare the final costs against Leica's estimate.
    The people listed above, I have found, also give EXTREMELY accurate up-front estimates.
     
  12. Well that's good to know, not like the car dealer's, "Well, we found couple of other things..."
     
  13. I would use the camera for a couple of rolls of film and see if you like the results. There are IMHO three things to consider 1. Film today as opposed to 50 years ago has a greater latitude; 2. How accurate does the shutter speed have to be with a meter reading. For example older cameras have 1/50 as opposed to the newer 1/60. Does this make a difference? and 3. Your personal vision: Will it be impacted negatively? Old cameras are mechanical objects and their tolerance does not have to be accurate.
     
  14. Stephen's comments cover most of the checks you can make. The single dot on the rewind knob seems to indicate it is an earlier double stroke (double lever advancement to wind the film to the next shot) model rather than the later single stroke model which has two dots on the rewind knob. The double stroke model is as good if not better (from wear point of view) than the single stroke version. The body looks quite clean and dent free, a condition that would have indicated rough handling and possible problems. Yes, exercise the shutter every month or so if it is not regularly used.
     
  15. It's a 1955 according to Seller, would that make it double-stroke?
     
  16. It would be double stroke, and that is what you will likely find.
    I have, however, read that if the double stroke started slipping, it could not be repaired, only replaced with a single stroke mechanism, so if it turns out to be single stroke, that may have occurred.
    I have a few M3's of this vintage, and the only real problem I have had was with a corroded internal electronic flash circuit. Please put it through its paces before you resort to a CLA. I must say however that I have always been able to inspect and work the mechanism of any M3 I have owned before purchase, so it's another world from ebay.
    Most people looked after their Leicas better than I have, so you have a good chance that this is OK.
     
  17. The serial number places it in 1955. Accordingly, it does not have a frame line selection lever; and of course it has the "old" shutter speed sequence. The photos show very good cosmetic condition. If body and lens work well, all you need is a SOOFM hood.
     
  18. Ok Mukui, I'll bite: What is a "SOOFM hood"? It sounds ominous.
     
  19. SOOFM is the five-letter code for the rectangular hood (nowadays often called "barn door") made for the collapsible Summicron. Some versions of the earlier SOOPD hood were also made, marked for Summitar and Summicron. A hood of this shape is the most efficient. It's also great fun to play with. See http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/SOOFM.
    00dHqc-556741684.jpg
     
  20. Thanks. I'm don't think mine, by the way, is collapsable.
     
  21. The lens is extended in the first photo and collapsed in the others.
     
  22. Mukul Dube
    The lens is extended in the first photo and collapsed in the others.​
    You see, I wasn't being humble when I said I was a Leica-rookie
     
  23. Dear William:
    Just run a couple rolls of films through. If everything are fine then save your money. CLA is over rated. Also, think about how many rolls of film you are going to shoot this year. I have a used M2 and M3 (double stroke) for 30 years and they still shoot fine never had CLA. The M2 was a well used camera with a dent and broken film counter when I bought it in 1979, but the shutter speeds were still within tolerance when it was checked by a traveling Leica tech who visited dealers back in perhaps 2003. I used the M3 to shoot close up with B & W films two years ago, and exposures were as expected.
    Everyone was talking CLA, but think before you throw your money away.
     
  24. Additional inform regarding CLA
    • That Leica CLA Culture - Dante Stella

      www.dantestella.com/technical/cla.html July 6, 2010. Have you ever stopped to notice just how many Leica cameras have "CLA" (Clean, Lubricate, and Adjust) mentioned in their auction or classified ...
     
  25. Kin Yu, you had a good experience. All Leica users do not have that. I bought an M3 in 1985. Its slow speeds began to give trouble around 1996 and soon packed up. The camera's service history was unknown. To make the blanket statement that CLAs are over-rated is much like saying that prophylactic and curative drugs are a waste.
     

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