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prospective purchase: Rare M3 and Summicron


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#1 jaques

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 14:55

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I have an option to purchase an M3 camera with what I think is a type one 8 element 35mm summicron lens. The package is fairly priced for standard items- only a little higher than I think is fair. However the serial number of the camera is a little unusual- my question is- would such a serial number add anything to the collector value or not? It seems to be the second camera of a batch made in late 1955?

I am not after a quote or evaluation on the camera- just curios if this serial number would be worth anything to anyone or not to justify the slightly higher than market price?

Also I am not totally sure about what version of summicron it is sporting- is this a V1? Thanks in advance for your esteemed expert opinions:

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#2 luigi bertolotti

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 15:10

Usually, "round or next to" serial numbers do carry a certain premium... no real justification... but such is the collectors' market ;).... it could be justified, someway, if it's the first or 2nd item in a batch that introduced a new variant... and M3 had many... but iirc 800.000 did not introduce variants... the frame selector lever appeared earlier, and the new shutter times later.

The Summicron 35 is by sure a 1st design 8-elements version... not rare but always a fine item to have. It's a "Wetzlar", not a "Canada" and, according to some, the Wetzlar version is a bit less common than Canadian one... but afaik there aren't sure data to support this assertion... and it can differ between goggled and ungoggled versions...

Edited by luigi bertolotti, 10 February 2013 - 15:26.


#3 jaques

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 15:27

thanks Luigi. Do you think a 25% premium would be overly optimistic? And would it be dual stroke? It has the preview lever and the self timer- not sure if the film plate is glass... I will not be able to test the camera out before I decide to buy so there is a bit of a risk... and I only have a small window to make my choice in..

as for the lens being Wetzlar: I guess for collectors (all things being equal) there is a general preference for Wetzlar over Canada across the Leica lens smorgasbord?

#4 luigi bertolotti

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 15:38

By sure it must be a dual stroke (single stroke begun at 915.251) : it's normal it has preselection lever and selftimer... and it ought to have the glass film plate (metal from 844.001) ; about the "premium"... that's just a matter of offer & demand... let's say that if a M3 is FULLY original (many were maintained, even at factory, and underwent some modifications) it has always a good value... dependent also on conditions (in the pic you posted there seem to be some signs-scratches on top, maybe related to Leicameter's usage) , and the s/n.... ok is a pleasant and valuable addon... but originality is the main factor, and it needs a careful inspection.

#5 jaques

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 15:45

Those horrible scratches are indeed from the dreaded Leicameter. Curse Leica for not covering the bottom of those meters with soft felt! How many M's have been disfigured by those meters? Other than those marks the condition is very clean elsewhere but certainly not mint. Concerning functionality and originality there is no way I can know beyond photos of the camera. I am really tempted to grab it- I must say I love the feel of those early dual stroke cameras- and don't mind dual stroking them either.

#6 luigi bertolotti

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 16:19

DO grab it, Jacques.... :cool:... whichever is your present set of bodies, a dual stroke M3 is an icon for a Leica passionate... and in 20 years from now you'll have forgotten the premium and still own a beautiful historical item which will NEVER go out of sight and recognition in the photo world.

(MY dual stroke is in the 8xx.xxx too... :), new scale of times and metal plate... but comes from a very distinct member of this community... ;))

Edited by luigi bertolotti, 10 February 2013 - 16:24.

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#7 Michael Geschlecht

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 19:31

Hello jaques,

You have a nice combination which is very usable. Collectability to the side.

The body has a serial number from 1955 & the lens from 1965.

The advantage with using an M3 with goggles is that it gives you a superior range/viewfinder for 50mm lenses & longer.

The M3 rangeviewfinder is especially nice with 90mm lenses & 135mm lenses without goggles. No goggles necessary. Just a really nice view which is really easy to focus.

The 35mm image at a magnification of 0.60 is quite usable & the view thru the goggles for 35mm is very nice. It is much nicer than the view of the 135mm lens with goggles in all of the other M's.

This lens fousses to 0.65 meters by the way.

Pleas note: The screws on the accessory shoe & on the shutter speed dial show some distress from prior servicing. Not unusual if the work was not done by Leitz/Leica.

The scratches from the lightmeter are no big deal. They occurred because someone did not properly adjust the 5 little screws on the light meter shoe so that the meter would:

1. Clear the camera body going on & off if the meter dial is first: Set to "B", Lifted up & Turned to "120" & Then slid on or off. The camera & the meter must always first be set to "B" before putting on or taking off the meter. The meter dial must also always be lifted up & turned to "120".

2. Have the connecting pin on the meter shutter speed dial properly engage the shutter speed dial indent on the camera with the wheel above not touching the shutter speed dial on the camera below while the upper wheel is being turned to all positions.

3. Have the meter cell correctly positioned so that it reads the angle of view of the 90mm lens at 1 specific distance. Infinity is a good choice.

800 001 is a nice number.

Enjoy.

Best Regards,

Michael

Edited by Michael Geschlecht, 10 February 2013 - 19:38.

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#8 jc_braconi

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 20:47


800 001 is a nice number.,

Michael


May be but, the scares not too much, after that if the price is fair and plan to have a user set.
Just have a turn around the bay and saw more than 100 M3 for sale some at really decent price and condition.
Thinks twice...
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#9 TomB_tx

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 22:34

Yes, it would be a nice purchase. I was recently given a 55 M3 (802XXX) that is same construction. It needed a new curtain, which I had done without converting to single stroke. On the first test roll I noticed the 2-stroke film advance would often tend to slip when advancing film, and I'm told the only cure is to convert to SS after all. Still a very nice camera, so I'll have that done.
Mine also has the Leicameter M marks on the top. It came with the meter, with still works quite well - if you push on the front of the selenium cell before using it! Must be a poor connection inside.
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#10 tobey bilek

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 19:55

If you keep it for use, count on a cla, new curtains, resilver the RF prism, and a new single stroke transport. And replacing the felt light shields.

You will then has a as new camera. Most of the above a re age related problems like cars.

#11 jc_braconi

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 19:58

It came with the meter, with still works quite well - if you push on the front of the selenium cell before using it! Must be a poor connection inside.

Very easy to clean and re active

And adjust the space from the Leicameter to the body using the screws under the shoe of the Leicameter

Edited by jc_braconi, 11 February 2013 - 20:00.

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#12 Michael Geschlecht

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 21:12

Hello jaques,

And don't forget you are getting a very nice, very useable lens with that also. Hopefully you use it with a 12585 or equivalent keeping in mind a rigid lens shade is more for inadvertant impact or damage prevention, to both the camera & the lens, than it is for flare suppression.

Best Regards,

Michael
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#13 jaques

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:05

If you keep it for use, count on a cla, new curtains, resilver the RF prism, and a new single stroke transport. And replacing the felt light shields.

You will then has a as new camera. Most of the above a re age related problems like cars.


Luckily I don't think this is always necessary. I already have a few M3's and 2's- and have not needed any major servicing yet. Curtains are fine- L seals intact.

Can Leica resilver RF prisms? I seem to recall they don't do it- and only offer a complete switch out for an M6 type RF. From what I recall there was only one place in the UK that offered this- and they had stopped? Louton?

One of my M3's has some visible separation around the edges of the VF- but the view through it is still very nice- with good contrast, etc. The curtians on all of mine almost look like new- which is surprising as they over 50 years old.

If one was to get a complete service of an M3 as detailed above: what would it cost?

BTW- I am now negotiating a price with the seller. Thanks Luigi- you have helped to give my internal Finance Minister a migraine... But then I knew you probably would when I posted this. I just want to share the blame you see...

Edited by jaques, 12 February 2013 - 08:08.

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#14 luigi bertolotti

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 09:11

..........
Can Leica resilver RF prisms? I seem to recall they don't do it- and only offer a complete switch out for an M6 type RF. From what I recall there was only one place in the UK that offered this- and they had stopped? Louton?
.....


If one asks to Leica, I think they indeed propose changeover with a new type of RF assembly : good for use, no good for originality... :o (they proposed me such a changeover for my M2).
But if you search around with patience in some countries I think is possible to find a complete RF assembly of a M3 (there were lot of M3 around... and many very worn - damaged bodies with good RF) ; last year I saw a pair at an Italian repair shop (R & C Service - Milano)

#15 Susie

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:34

Peter at CRR Luton in the UK will re-silver and rebuild any of the rangefinders, including the M3.

He was trained by Leitz, but went independent when they moved from Luton to Milton Keynes.

M2/3/4 Rangefinder Restoration

When he overhauled my 111f recently he replaced the beam splitter with a new one: the difference is phenominal - as it was when new.

Susie

#16 gyoung

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 17:51

Malcolm Taylor does it too

Gerry

#17 jerzy

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 22:15

[quote name='jaques']

One of my M3's has some visible separation around the edges of the VF- but the view through it is still very nice- with good contrast,

In such case resilvering might not be needed, the original one might be still intact. From the description I assume that separation is between 2 prisms and not on lenses that are projecting the second image. Carefully taking out both prisms, fixing them in such a way that cemented surface is horizontal, heating up to 200C and then very slowly, over few hours cooling to normal temperature should fix the separation. Cementing has been done with Canada balsam which melts in cca 200C. Have done it for cemented lenses in Elmar, not yet for M viewfinder.
Another method, however not tested yet by me is to give a,drop of special optical oil on cemented and separated surface, it should fill in the separation making it invisible. But as mentioned, no guarantee, I just read about it but never tested.
Btw I have one M viewfinder with completely separated prisms, unfortunately resilvering is fully damaged. So if anyone would know who else can resilver except of Luton (I contacted them, they refused) pls let me know
Br Jerzy
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#18 normclarke

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:34

Jerzy,

I had a similar problem with an early M4 with regard to separation. I found a small enterprise in north London who re-aluminized the prism, which I had separated. The art is to have the correct ratio of transmission which lies between 35/65 and 30/70, they were very helpfull in this need. I used a Nasa adhesive (acrilic U/V curing) to cement the prism, it worked perfectly. The adhesive cost more than the coating less than £60 overall.

Best,

normclarke.
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#19 jaques

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:55

well... the seller has nominally accepted my offer- finalising the details now- fingers crossed and m3 # 8000001 will be mine. Fingers crossed the prism is all good as is.

A question: is there any way to polish away those leicamater marks from the top of the camera? I am already suspecting the answer is No- unless you want to ruin the original look (which I don't want to do).

#20 jaapv

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:03

Sadly not, but cover them with a Leicameter ;)
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