DigitalRev Says Happy 60th Birthday to the Iconic Leica M3 with a Hands-On Review

This week marks the 60th anniversary since Leica introduced the now-iconic M3, a camera many consider to be the best Leica ever produced and still the most successful M-Series camera ever made at over 220,000 units sold by the time production ended in 1966.

And so, to pay homage to this titan of photographic history, DigitalRev decided to give the M3 a proper video and take it out onto the streets of Hong Kong for a good old hands-on review.

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A DigitalRev video usually means sexual innuendo and silliness — and there is definitely some of that, don’t get us wrong — but this is a proper homage to a fantastic camera. Kai covers the basic mechanics, waxes eloquent about the design and takes some really beautiful black-and-white photographs on the streets of Hong Kong while he’s at it.

In all, it’s a great hands-on review of one of the best 35mm cameras ever made, and a great way to avoid work for 10 minutes this Monday… 15 if you count the time it’ll take you to get on eBay and drop a grand on an M3 of your own.

  • Aezreth

    60 years later and still an awesome camera.

  • Dominic

    For my sins, I prefer the M2. I have precisely no use for the 135mm frame lines, whereas the 35 – 50 – 90 frame lines that I *do* have more closely match what I shoot and how I shoot it. Cheaper, too. :)

  • jasdempsey

    He said the M3 had the longest rangefinder base of any M camera. I’m pretty sure the M5 has a longer rangefinder base at 68.5mm.

  • Patrick

    So what happened the roll of portra he put in the camera?

  • Mike

    That’s the true base length. The effective base length is obtained by multiplying by the viewfinder magnification.

    The M5 is 0.72x. 68.5 x 0.72 = 49.32
    The M3 is 0.91x. 69.25 x 0.91 = 63.02

  • jasdempsey

    Thanks, Mike, for clarifying that.

  • dorarcheek

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    . She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her payment was $19402
    just working on the internet for a few hours. go right here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­


    I set out in to buy the iconic M3 and after searching the internet Champagne Court in Tsim Sha Tsui as the selected locale. First up, the condition of those for sale was not the best and each one I looked at was in need of work. Many appeared to have fungus. The prices were also higher than expected ranging from HKD 14000 to 23000 and there was a reluctance by vendors to bargain. Icon or not, the M3 is old technology. Buyers of film cameras, like me, run the risk of film supply, developing chemicals etc.and while for some cameras a premium is warranted I was not willing to pay the amounts for the cameras for sale at TST. My solution was to buy the MP and a Summilux 50mm lens new. The vendor gave a good discount and I am happily snapping away. The price difference between old and new, when added up for the package, wasn’t that significant. I should mention that internet searches showed cheaper M3s available but what found I amusing was that many photos of the cameras for sale were out of focus and it was hard to gauge cosmetic condition!