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A few years ago, I bought a used (obviously) M3 from B&H in nyc.  Armed with a little bit (ie dangerous) amount of knowledge, i knew enough to check the alignment and accuracy of the rangefinder--it was and is perfect--and the general look and feel of the camera, which was clean and smooth operating.  It is a single stroke model with a high (above 1m) S/N.   I treated myself to a brand new Zeiss 50mm f 2.0 Planar and ran a couple of rolls through it to check the shutter accuracy and focusing.  I was satisfied that the camera was up to snuff and I still have and enjoy the camera.  But I don't think it is what it appears to be.  While it has a single stroke mechanism with the telltale longer advance lever, it has the "buddha ear" strap lugs, the older style film reminder and the decimal shutter speed dial--(1/10th, 1/100th).  However, the rangefinder patch has the depth of field "notches" which I understand came later.  And what may be a clue--the bottom plate appears to be new but seems to be OEM.  Has anyone encountered a camera with this combination of features?  I am guessing that this was the work of a skilled repairman who cobbled the camera together from spare parts, complete with a salvaged top plate with a high s/n and bottom plate.  Fortunately for me, the camera works beautifully and I am happy with the results.  Thoughts?

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Does the frame counter have the solid index mark? Those were present up to around 785k serial number. Could be that the body is a converted double stroke (Leitz would do this conversion on request back in the day) with new top and bottom plates. The early shutter speed dial would agree (up to 854k), however the notched rangefinder would also be a replacement (whole part), from 919k or later. 

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Thank you for the reply.  The frame counter is the later style, chrome with a black painted outline.  

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Don't overthink it. Apart from changes happening throughout production (usually unannounced), some parts could have been changed by Leica through normal CLA years later, using newer parts. Either due to lack of parts, or due to a request for "upgrade" by the client. Same could be done at a skilled repairman.

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My 1957 M3 has been modified (better term than Frankensteined, I think) along the way. All seems to be an improvements for me except the extra strap lug, it has been resurfaced, I prefer the standard factory coating. But the M4 rangefinder, and single stroke work for me. 

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On 5/12/2020 at 9:59 AM, tommonego@gmail.com said:

My 1957 M3 has been modified (better term than Frankensteined, I think) along the way. All seems to be an improvements for me except the extra strap lug, it has been resurfaced, I prefer the standard factory coating. But the M4 rangefinder, and single stroke work for me. 

Is that extra strap lug welded to the bottom plate? Or the chases itself?

Thought that the joy the M3 was the 0.91x VF.

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vor einer Stunde schrieb james.liam:

Is that extra strap lug welded to the bottom plate? Or the chases itself?

Thought that the joy the M3 was the 0.91x VF.

It is riveted to the body, 35mm is my favorite focal length, so I am happy with the M4 finder. I had an M2 with an M4 finder and another with a standard finder, used them for 30 years so I am comfortable with it even with glasses.

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3 hours ago, tommonego@gmail.com said:

It is riveted to the body, 35mm is my favorite focal length, so I am happy with the M4 finder. I had an M2 with an M4 finder and another with a standard finder, used them for 30 years so I am comfortable with it even with glasses.

Then why didn't you get and M4?

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Posted (edited)

I inherited this camera from a good friend who past. She was a wonderful photographer turned painter who I went to college with. I helped her buy this in probably 1971 or 1972. So I wasn't looking for a film Leica but got one (require a new shutter after sitting in an attic for 25 years). So out of respect for her I started running film through it, I used M2s for 30+ years and handling this was like coming home. Figured out how to do film processing without a darkroom so........ Discovering how it was modified was fun, had to get rid of that funky wire between the two strap lugs was the first. Found I had a copy of my favorite neck strap I could use, a Contax  SLR stock strap, simple 3/8 inch nylon. so that is on it now. 

Edited by tommonego@gmail.com

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