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Why form factor changed (bigger) with M?

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A few years ago I sold all my M bodies (a variety of 3, 4, and 6 models) and all my various M lenses in favor of just going forward with the LTM series so I suppose you can easily see my bias. I'm in agreement with William about the lack of self-timers and such*. The less stuff on the body, the better. My II/D is my favorite in this regard -- one has the RF but otherwise a really simple, uncluttered body.

The screwmounts, with all their quirks, and slower operation, I actually prefer for the way I putter around with a camera. I do use the accessory brightline finders for 28, 90, 135, etc. And also the SBOOI sometimes although I don't really have any difficulty using the built-in 50mm VF.  It's just a framing device for the picture I've already "seen" outside of the camera view anyway.

*(If I was to get back into a film M again... probably would be an M4... notwithstanding my comment above regarding self-timers. Yes, I reserve the right to be inconsistent, lol!!)

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vor 2 Stunden schrieb Kleinkamera:

And also the SBOOI sometimes although I don't really have any difficulty using the built-in 50mm VF. 

Well, the question was, why the M became bigger. Two cameras with 3.5mm Summaron:

 

 

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Hello Everybody,

An issue that nobody brought up so far is weight.

The 1968 Dealer Catalog says that an M3 is 595 grams. An M4 is 600 grams. And (Just for fun.) A Leicaflex (Original) is 850 grams.

It would be interesting to know how much a later IIIf with a Self Timer weighs?  Weight with a Self Timer is relevant because an M3 also has a self timer. And the IIIf (Not the IIIg.) is the M3's immediate predecessor.

If anyone out there has a IIIf with Self Timer it woud be nice if they could tell us the weight Without film. Without lens. Without body cap & strap. Without etc.

A strap does NOT have to be removed not to be weighed. It can simply be lifted clear when the camera body alone is being weighed.

Best Regards,

Michael

 

 

Edited by Michael Geschlecht

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There was a "compromise" between the small Barnack-Leica and the M: the Zeiss-Ikon Contax IIa (postwar model):

It had an integrated rangefinder - though the viewfinder was only for 50mm and without parallax correction. The rangefinder base was much, much bigger than for the screwmount Leica and even bigger than for the M, but the viewfinder had only a 0.5* "enlargement", so you lost some of the advantages of the large rangefinder base.  Zeiss did take some pains to make the postwar model considerably smaller than the prewar II. Even the (imo rather ugly) IIIa with built in light meter was smaller than both Leica models if you added the Leicameter.

The IIa without anything weighs 535g - due to many complications the body had compared to the Leicas. 

I like to use the Contax, though I have to say: even if - or perhaps better: because - it has a very compact body it is not handy to use. Same for the lenses, which are a lot smaller than Leitz lenses: they are just too small to operate comfortably (and my hands are not really big...). With both factors usage of the Contax is much slower than with a Leica - which might be looked at as an disadvantage, though I am not sure if it is true.

 

Edited by UliWer

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A nice group of different form factors and sizes in some very successful classic cameras from my collection. The top and bottom sides of the VPK on the left are about the same area as the top and bottom sides of an iPhone 6. The I Model A in the front row weighs about 430 grams. For most photographers today the form factor of a smartphone is what suits best as it goes into a pocket.

William

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Photographers in 1932 probably griped("whinged") that the Leica II form factor was not as compact and pocketable as the I Model A. ;)

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On 3/16/2019 at 2:25 AM, adan said:

The combined rangefinder/viewfinder - period.

Imagine trying to see a 135 frameline within the "peep-show" 50mm viewfinder (0.4x magnification) of the screw-mount cameras.

In addition to TomB_tx's remarks:

- In the screw-mount cameras, the rangefinder and viewfinder share some of the same space. Their optical paths cross through one another like a street intersection, thus the window arrangement: circle - rectangle - circle.

/--<--|   |--<--/

- The screw-mount cameras have separate and different magnifications for rangefinding and viewfinding. 0.4x (0.5x in IIIg) for viewing, 1.5x for rangefinding/focusing. To combine those in one M unit and still have a reasonable magnification for focusing required a compromise magnification of 0.91x (M3) for both viewing and focusing at the same time. Which was dismally low to focus a 135 f/4 (soon to come). To compensate, the physical RF base-length had to nearly double, from 38mm(SM) to 68.5mm(M) (38mm x 1.5x = 57mm effective, 68.5mm x 0.91x = 62.3mm effective).

So - the M3 viewfinder window is about twice as large vertically and horizontally, to still frame 50mm and also allow a reasonable magnification for 90/135 framing boxes. And an additional ~30mm extension had to be added to the RF optical path, over towards the shutter button, to keep (or slightly increase) the focus precision. Which happened to also comfortably allow space for the frameline-illumination window.

Of course, since the M3, the VF magnification was reduced again to allow a 35mm "wide-angle" field of view (0.72x = 49.3mm effective base length) in the M2, M4, and following cameras. Just barely enough to focus a 135 (preferably, stopped down a bit for DoF). But the basic form-factor stayed the same until the digitals

Hello Andy,

The 14th Edition of the Leica Manual which was issued in 1961 contains information about the IIIg which was still a current camera at that time. Even tho its production had already ended.

In terms of viewfinder magnification for the IIIg: It says 0.7X

Could you please check your source to see which magnification is actually accurate?

Also, I remember a different magnification of 0.5X for the viewfinder of the earlier Screw Mount Cameras which is not the 0.4X that you have provided. Could you also check your source for that? I don't have an available source, 1 way or the other, for earlier viewfinder magnifications, at this time.

The 1.5X magnification for the rangefinder windows correlates with my sources.

Best Regards,

Michael

Edited by Michael Geschlecht

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Source is Dennis Laney - Leica Collectors' Guide 1992.

Says IIIg had "(Larger) viewfinder image half life-size."

Shouldn't be hard for users to help us here - look through various model finders with both eyes open, and compare image size as seen with left/right eyes.

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Hello Andy,

Thanx for looking. Hopefully some readers here will be able to help us.

It is too bad that Rick isn't writing here like he used to. For this as well as for his other additions to the Forum.

Best Regards,

Michael

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