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Hello everyone, I hope you’re all well!


Some time ago I asked for some advice on the Leica M3 and I was very pleased with the responses that I got. I haven’t bought the camera just yet, but I’ve made up my mind - and I will definitely purchase either an M3 or M2 within a month. The deal breaker for me when it comes to these two cameras lies in the M2’s 35mm capabilities and the M2’s supposedly better and brighter viewfinder. What I really need to do is see both cameras in person and see if the M3’s viewfinder is really that much better. If not, I think I will go for the M2, due to its more versatile focal lengths.


As a street and travel photographer, I think I will be better suited to the all round versatility of a 50mm lens. My budget is limited to £500 (or slightly above that), so the legendary Summicron 50mm f/2 lens is way beyond my price range at over £1000.


This is where I would really appreciate your advice. I have scavenged into the depths of many forums to find three 50mm Leica lenses that sound promising and are appear to be within my price range:


Rigid Summicron 50mm f/2


Collapsible Summicron 50mm f/2


Summitar 50mm f/2


I would love to know what everyone thinks about my choice of bodies, and especially the lenses.



PS, I live in Glasgow – if anybody has both cameras and wouldn’t mind showing them off to me


Thanks a lot!

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If you are seriously considering a 50mm lens as your main lens, then you should really give preference to the M3. For 50mm and above no M comes close to the M3.


Which is another way of saying...


If you are seriously considering an M2, then you should really give preference to a 35mm length lens.


One or the other. Or prepare to get both combinations, as I ended up doing!

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The M3's viewfinder isn't that much better than an M2, it is only marginally better if you primarily use a 50mm lens. And you are going to need to spend more to find an M3 with a clear viewfinder to start with. If you are new to Leica M's an M2 can't be beat as the more versatile option in that age range. Which leaves you more to spend on a lens and film.



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And please do not forget the beautiful M4.


Or the M6 or M7


But the OP has whittled it down to an M3 or M2.

Agree with Steve re M3 & 50mm, but an M3 will also easily take an 35mm.


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One benefit of a 50mm on the M2 is a larger field of view outside the framelines, some people particularly like being able to see what is outside of the frame as well as within, especially for street photography.


If you want a great yet inexpensive Leica 50mm lens you should really look at the 2.8 or 3.5 Elmar. Makes for a lovely compact package too.

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Hello starrynight,


Welcome to the Forum.


The Rigid Summicron will give you the highest resoloution & best contrast, etc which means it has the best image quality of the 3.


There are some other things to consider:


If you intend to also use 90mm &/or 135mm lenses then an M3 is clearly a better choice for those.


Leitz made the M2 to supplement the M3 because for 35mm lenses the M3 was do-able (goggles) but the M2 was a little easier. Another reason Leitz built the M2 was the 35/50/90 range/viewfinder it has is substantially cheaper to build than the 50/90/135 range/viewfinder of the M3.


For the 50mm the M3 gives you a bigger clearer image while the M2 has a smaller image but allows you to see outside of the captured area.


Best Regards,



Edited by Michael Geschlecht
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An M2 in good shape is expensive too, like an M3 is. The M3 viewfinder is only marginally brighter but has that thick 50mm line that is continuous. But everyone wants to shoot a 35mm lens at some point, right? 35mm lens with goggles look funny and its not for everyone. That's why I prefer the M2, especially for street photography. I also like the 2.8 50mm elmar like someone mentioned above. It's not that much more compact than a modern 50mm summicron, though. But the DR 50mm summicron is the best if you get one in good shape. I had to have the M3 AND the M2 R eventually. Addicting.

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In general, I choose to economize on the body and splurge on the lenses. Unless your next lens is a 135mm, I bet you'd be delighted with an M2 and the best rigid Summicron sample you can afford.


Collapsibles introduce the complication of remembering to full extend them. They slip in a pocket, and under most people's radar so for your purposes, that form factor might be ideal. But shoot with one before you buy. They can be a bit fiddle-y for some people.


If you go with a collapsible, I second James's suggestion to look closely at the Elmars. For cost/benefit and portability, I think the 2.8 is hard to beat. Sharp as can be from 5.6 up, and pretty decent bokeh. I have a Summitar, and I love it, but the bokeh is an acquired taste.

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Hello sksaito,


Welcome to the Forum.


The goggles on a 35 may look somewhat funny but their operation is straightforward. Due to their ergonometric design & small size they don't interfere w/ anything.


Goggles (a magnification factor of .67) reduce the .91 magnification of an M3 range/viewfinder to .60 when they expand the field of view to be that of a 35mm lens. Magnification is .72 on an M2 w/o goggles for 35mm, 50mm & 90mm.


In return when you take off the goggles you have a magnification of .91 for a 50mm, 90mm or 135mm lens w/o goggles on an M3.


For a 135mm lens w/ goggles (a magnification factor of 1.5) an M2 range/viewfinder's image magnification increases to 1.08. The new image magnification for an M3 w/ a 135mm lens w/ goggles becomes 1.36.


The reduced image size is often not an issue w/ wider 35mm lenses. The increased image size is nice for a 50mm lens & can often be a real "+" for a 90 or a 135.


Best Regards,



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It depends on how you plan to carry the camera. If your're going to use a strap over your shoulder then a rigid Summicron is a great lens. Fast enough for most but the dimmest situations, sharp as a tack and with a beautiful bokah. However; if you want to carry your M in a jacket pocket with a wrist strap or a Leicagoodies two finger strap then a collapsible Summicon or Elmar is the way to go. Any of the Leica 50s' are a great choice.

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