Help Identifying Potential Black Paint M3
Old 08-06-2019   #1
Veggies
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Help Identifying Potential Black Paint M3

Hi all,

I posted this on another forum, but figured I'd expand my inquiry to you collectors as well:

I know that the general impression is that Leica made black paint M3's outside of the documented batches so I guess my question is, if the number was close to the numbers in the batchs, the odds of it being legit would go up. Or conversely the odds of it being doctored would go up too as a discerning vendor would be aware of that and be more obliged to have the camera painted.

The one I will soon have is numbered 1156467.

The paint is worn in the sense that it's marked up with fine abrasions and scratches in the normal wear spots but not in the sense at full loss.

There is some wear that shows there is brass underneath the paint in spots. The infill on the lettering looks good with some wear to it and age. Off white and not pure as i would expect a recent repaint to be.

The vulcanite has patches of repair and doesn't look to be repainted.

The original condition of it was described as the chrome lens mount ring being a bit off which results in less than stellar focus. The "L" seal looks to be intact as well. I purchased it for about $1200 which is very reasonable even for a repaint minus that damage described.

Hopefully the pics help illuminate this a bit and maybe give some more insight into this.

I don't know. I don't want to get too excited for right now and a reality check would be welcomed but thought it was all very intriguing regardless.

After some more research, I wouldn't be surprised if it's a Shintaro repaint as it's just exceptional looking and has expected wear from some aging.

Follwoing up with the buyer I inquired about it and he said he purchased a few years ago from Setadel. I would guess they would know what they had and wouldn't willingly sell a legit black paint M3 for a low price but who knows.



























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Old 08-06-2019   #2
BillBlackwell
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It's pretty obvious that it's a repaint. The L seal, body coverings, and flash sockets are all NOT original. I would say whoever did the paint work - except for painting over the film loading diagram - did a decent job though.

... but I have to say - the L seal is a joke!
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Old 08-06-2019   #3
Erik van Straten
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The serial number is not from a black M3.

It is clearly a repaint, nicely done.

Erik.
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Old 08-06-2019   #4
Veggies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBlackwell View Post
It's pretty obvious that it's a repaint. The L seal, body coverings, and flash sockets are all NOT original. I would say whoever did the paint work - except for painting over the film loading diagram - did a decent job though.

... but I have to say - the L seal is a joke!
The quality is what confused me. And it's obvious it's showing some age which confused even more. Regardless, a good rpice overall for a very well done repaint. What is the indicator with the flash sockets? I don't have a normal one in front of me to compare.
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Old 08-06-2019   #5
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The flash sockets normally don't take modern (x-sync) cables without an adapter. These do. This is a paid mod.

Other than the paint-job I'd be much more worried about the screws that look like they protrude from the lens mount. Maybe it's just the picture but if not that's a legit issue and might point to shoddy mechanical workmanship inside.

1st Picture - screw at 10 o'clock.
6th Picture - screw at 11 o'clock.

Seconding the laughably bad job at the L-seal.

I'm also stumped at the painted-over film-load diagram. It screws off very easily and could be repainted easily without looking this amateurish. It is possible that this was someone else than whomever did the camera. That's the problem with used gear - you never know the history.

I also see several chips, cracks and missing bits in the vulcanite, some of which have been filled in with some sort of filler material. (Pictures 8,9, 10 and 14)

Edit: In conclusion I'd rate this camera as in "average" condition at best and would absolutely *NOT* pay a premium over a silver one for this if I intend to use it as a shooter.
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Old 08-06-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veggies View Post
... What is the indicator with the flash sockets? I don't have a normal one in front of me to compare.
I'm not sure how to explain it - but Leica's flash sockets were (AFAIK) proprietary through the end of the M2. They started using standardized sockets beginning with the M4. The sockets on yours are standard and post-date the M3/2; it is very common to change these out during a CLA (I've done it many times over the years) - which would also entail breaking the original L seal.
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Old 08-06-2019   #7
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Oh I just noticed that the lens release button doesn't have the typical M3 guard ring. I dunno if this is a model change for later M3 models or if that points to the camera being a frankenstein. (1st Picture)

Edit here's the two sockets by comparison, right is unmodified, left is modified:
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Old 08-06-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenEleven View Post
The flash sockets normally don't take modern (x-sync) cables without an adapter. These do. This is a paid mod.

Other than the paint-job I'd be much more worried about the screws that look like they protrude from the lens mount. Maybe it's just the picture but if not that's a legit issue and might point to shoddy mechanical workmanship inside.

1st Picture - screw at 10 o'clock.
6th Picture - screw at 11 o'clock.

Seconding the laughably bad job at the L-seal.

I'm also stumped at the painted-over film-load diagram. It screws off very easily and could be repainted easily without looking this amateurish. It is possible that this was someone else than whomever did the camera. That's the problem with used gear - you never know the history.

I also see several chips, cracks and missing bits in the vulcanite, some of which have been filled in with some sort of filler material. (Pictures 8,9, 10 and 14)

Edit: In conclusion I'd rate this camera as in "average" condition at best and would absolutely *NOT* pay a premium over a silver one for this if I intend to use it as a shooter.
The mount was indictaed as having an issue which is fine as I have a load of stuff to bring to Youxin Ye to address so I was aware of that. They described it as the mount is uneven so images may not hit focus properly. We'll see. Good to know the seal isn';t original so no worries having it opened up. Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-06-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenEleven View Post
Oh I just noticed that the lens release button doesn't have the typical M3 guard ring. I dunno if this is a model change for later M3 models or if that points to the camera being a frankenstein. (1st Picture)
I saw through my research that the later M3's did indeed have no release gaurd sometimes. Weird that it was removed for the late batch cameras but seems to be okay. I wouldn't be surprised if ti was frankenstein'd though. Once it goes to repair I'll have Ypuxin look to see if the internal serial matches the plate.
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Old 08-07-2019   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veggies View Post
I saw through my research that the later M3's did indeed have no release guard sometimes. ... Once it goes to repair I'll have Youxin look to see if the internal serial matches the plate.
This late into the run Leica had stopped etching serial numbers internally, so there shouldn't be any. Also, only the very last M3 batches didn't have the lens release guard.
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Old 08-07-2019   #11
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Sheen of the paint and the fact that it’s visibly less thick than the paint on original cameras (signalling paint with more modern viscosity) are clear signs of a repaint.

Very nice camera though
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Old 08-07-2019   #12
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I am not sure about the lens release guard, looks like it may be an M2 shell.
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Old 08-07-2019   #13
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Also it is clear that no pickling with acid was done to blacken the brass before the painting. This procedure caused after some time the famous "bubbling" of the paint.

Leitz changed this procedure during the production of the M4, around serial number 1.200.000. So black M4's usually do not have the bubble paint.

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Old 08-08-2019   #14
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The paint job has been discussed but.. what about the viewfinder, rangefinder optics etc.
Is the camera body requiring a service, parts ?
Mine is slightly older and has been hard used professionally for 52 years..
We all know that viewfinder optics are held by balsam glue..
A severe shock and it is a big job..
Not happy with rust marks, lousy looking pressure plate, screws..
My shoot number about 12,000 rolls plus..
My pressure plate shows it's a lil recessed..
Check the rest, shoot a film, better yet, buy newer with warranty.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #15
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Just a short follow-up.

Had an interesting discussion with Youxin Ye about the camera and he’s fairly confident that it’s a Kanto black paint job from the 90’s. So, while not an official Leica paint job, it’s about as close as possible to it. All around very pleased with it. Thanks again for the input everyone.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
I am not sure about the lens release guard, looks like it may be an M2 shell.
There is no lens release guard, and there should be, on an M3. So this camera may have been cobbled together from an M2 and an M3 top plate? I do think it is a repaint. Still, it is very nice, as long as the price was fair.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
There is no lens release guard, and there should be, on an M3. So this camera may have been cobbled together from an M2 and an M3 top plate? I do think it is a repaint. Still, it is very nice, as long as the price was fair.
Actually, no lens release guard was normal for later M3ís.
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