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4 Reasons Why the Leica M2 is Better Than the M3
Old 05-31-2019   #1
bushwick1234
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4 Reasons Why the Leica M2 is Better Than the M3

I was reading this review and wonder if you can corroborate this statement: 4 Reasons Why the Leica M2 is Better Than the M3


https://www.casualphotophile.com/201...r-than-the-m3/
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Old 05-31-2019   #2
Erik van Straten
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With very fast 50mm lenses, like f/1.2, f/1.1, f1.0 or f/0.95, the M3 is better, because the viewfinder magnification of the M3 is 0.9x and that of the M2 0.7x. The M3 has more precise focusing. I don't read that in the above review.


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Old 05-31-2019   #3
Richard G
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
With very fast 50mm lenses, like f/1.2, f/1.1, f1.0 or f/0,95, the M3 is better, because the viewfinder magnification of the M3 is 0.9x and that of the M2 0.7x. The M3 has more precise focusing. I don't read that in the above review.


Erik.
Dear Erik, the article does indeed cover this point too.


It’s all a bit of mischief, but I’ve long held that the M2 is superior. I once held an M3 and also looked through the VF. Rounded corners of the 50mm frame lines? I was shocked, and quickly put it down. And see my avatar. The ancient astrolabe inspired frame counter is wonderful, tactile, simple.
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Old 05-31-2019   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
With very fast 50mm lenses, like f/1.2, f/1.1, f1.0 or f/0,95, the M3 is better, because the viewfinder magnification of the M3 is 0.9x and that of the M2 0.7x. The M3 has more precise focusing. I don't read that in the above review.


Erik.
Yes, the review doesn't mention the magnification!
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Old 05-31-2019   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
With very fast 50mm lenses, like f/1.2, f/1.1, f1.0 or f/0.95, the M3 is better, because the viewfinder magnification of the M3 is 0.9x and that of the M2 0.7x. The M3 has more precise focusing. I don't read that in the above review.


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I'll be very happy to fly across the Atlantic to take that button rewind black M2 off your hands
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Old 05-31-2019   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
With very fast 50mm lenses, like f/1.2, f/1.1, f1.0 or f/0.95, the M3 is better, because the viewfinder magnification of the M3 is 0.9x and that of the M2 0.7x. The M3 has more precise focusing. I don't read that in the above review.

Erik.

VF magnification doesn't impact focusing accuracy. Focusing accuracy is dictated by the distance between the beam splitters -which is the same for all M series.


VF magnification doesn't help you focusing. The RF patch is same size and aligning the split image is again independent of magnification.


But finally we all know the M4 was the best.
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Old 05-31-2019   #7
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
Focusing accuracy is dictated by the distance between the beam splitters

No, also the magnification of the image is important here, see the difference of the rangefinders on the Leicas II and III with screw mount.


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Old 05-31-2019   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
VF magnification doesn't impact focusing accuracy. Focusing accuracy is dictated by the distance between the beam splitters -which is the same for all M series.


VF magnification doesn't help you focusing. The RF patch is same size and aligning the split image is again independent of magnification.


But finally we all know the M4 was the best.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
No, also the magnification of the image is important here, see the difference of the rangefinders on the Leicas II and III with screw mount.


Erik.
It's not just a matter of focusing ease but system accuracy. Erik is right. The screw mount Leicas have a pathetic physical baselength. The only reason they work so well is because the optical magnification is massive.

You are partly right in that the physical baselength is still important Mark. Theoretically, given the choice, a long physical baselength is the superior way to manufacture a highly accurate rangefinder. Why? Because any mechanical means of driving a beam deflector will have manufacturing tolerances. If you take two different systems, one with a moderate degree of magnification but a long physical baselength; the other, vice-versa, the second will have to made to tighter manufacturing tolerances than the first to achieve the same accuracy. Why? Because by using optical magnification to achieve a large effective baselength—it will unavoidably be magnifying any errors induced by production tolerances of the deflector drive system. A point rarely considered.

The screw mount Leicas get away with it because Leitz obviously achieved a level of manufacturing precision sufficient to preserve the accuracy of their rangefinder installations, despite the substantial magnification used and credit to them for that.

But there is more to rangefinder accuracy than even the right degree of manufacturing precision and a large physical baselength. The ratio of gearing of the system greatly impacts accuracy also. Ie the lower geared the beam deflector drive system is, the more accurate it will be.

So...to produce a rangefinder of not just good, or even excellent, but, superlative precision, you need: a huge effective baselength relying more on physical size, than magnification; excellent precision in manufacture equalling, say Leitz, and; a beam deflector that must rotate through the widest possible arc (Ie gearing). Fortunately one manufacturer produced just such a design and it featured a beam deflector which had to travel four times as far as the screw mount Leica equivalent, which, together with its massive EBL, produced a system of such accuracy it has never been equalled, let alone surpassed.
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Old 06-02-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemermark View Post
VF magnification doesn't impact focusing accuracy. Focusing accuracy is dictated by the distance between the beam splitters -which is the same for all M series.


VF magnification doesn't help you focusing. The RF patch is same size and aligning the split image is again independent of magnification.


But finally we all know the M4 was the best.
I don't believe this is accurate. All things being equal, the larger the viewfinder mag on a manual camera, the easier to focus. But as a practical matter, they both have sufficient viewfinder magnification for most purposes.

Having owned both an M3 and multiple 0.72 Ms, ranging from M4 to M7, it really is a toss up, and "best" (for you) really depends on your main focal lengths.

"Better" relative to an SLR is probably the 0.72 Ms, because shooting a wide-angle on a rangefinder is really where the advantage lies.

What do I now though. Just sold my last M (an M3).
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Old 05-31-2019   #10
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I can only corroborate Reason #2 - Viewfinder woes. The only reason I considered the M2 and not the M3 was that I knew I preferred the 35mm lens to the 50mm lens and therefore knew that I would prefer the 35mm viewfinder frame line feature of the M2.
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Old 05-31-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick1234 View Post
I was reading this review and wonder if you can corroborate this statement: 4 Reasons Why the Leica M2 is Better Than the M3


https://www.casualphotophile.com/201...r-than-the-m3/
What? A little bored today? Way to stir up trouble! :P
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Old 05-31-2019   #12
bushwick1234
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froyd View Post
What? A little bored today? Way to stir up trouble! :P
Well, Erik made an interesting and new point, for instance.
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Old 05-31-2019   #13
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This has been going on far too long. One is not "better", they are beautiful tools for a specific user, and will be chosen for their particular features.

The M2 is for me because I prefer a 35mm lens. If I preferred the 50mm, the M3 would be the logical choice.
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Old 05-31-2019   #14
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I'm a 50mm guy. I prefer the M3.

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Old 05-31-2019   #15
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He lost me on "M3 is Ugly".
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Old 05-31-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
He lost me on "M3 is Ugly".
You're right, kofe! They are all beautiful (1-7).
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Old 05-31-2019   #17
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c'mon, the argument is irrelevant because nobody who buys a Leica is going to have only one Lecia. It's only a matter of time before you have whatever Leica you bought in the beginning, and the other 3 you bought after it


Really though, the M3 simply cannot be beat for one reason (other than the reason Erik mentioned); 90mm lenses. That is the main role my M3 plays in my rangefinder setup, which is to shoot my 90mm lens.
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Old 05-31-2019   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
c'mon, the argument is irrelevant because nobody who buys a Leica is going to have only one Lecia. It's only a matter of time before you have whatever Leica you bought in the beginning, and the other 3 you bought after it


Really though, the M3 simply cannot be beat for one reason (other than the reason Erik mentioned); 90mm lenses. That is the main role my M3 plays in my rangefinder setup, which is to shoot my 90mm lens.
I sold another two film M and will keep just one, because of the CLA cost.
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Old 05-31-2019   #19
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I know it's just a bit of pot stirring fun, but the article rings (mostly) true for me.

Pretty... I find the M2 the most elegant Leica from an industrial design perspective. None of the M3's clunky bevels, none of the M4's slanted rewind or plastic bits, none of the M5's shoebox aesthetic, and none of the M6's fiddly battery door or (shock horror) obnoxious red dot. Even the frame counter looks good.

Viewfinder, well I shoot 28mm. End of story.

Price, not a big difference, but not interested in paying more for a camera that is less (for me).

Hipsterdom/not an M3. I'm not convinced by this point. The hipsters are shooting Yashica RF's and AE1's. Only a Leicaphile is going to pick the difference between an M3/2 on the street...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
c'mon, the argument is irrelevant because nobody who buys a Leica is going to have only one Lecia.
Just the one for me. Oddly enough Leica has been my anti-GAS - my M2 is perfect and I've never felt the need for anything else/more. Pentax on the other hand, they just seem to breed in my cupboard...
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Old 05-31-2019   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I sold another two film M and will keep just one, because of the CLA cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
Just the one for me. Oddly enough Leica has been my anti-GAS - my M2 is perfect and I've never felt the need for anything else/more. Pentax on the other hand, they just seem to breed in my cupboard...

Fair enough. I guess that's what I get for saying nobody
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Old 05-31-2019   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bushwick1234 View Post
I was reading this review and wonder if you can corroborate this statement: 4 Reasons Why the Leica M2 is Better Than the M3


https://www.casualphotophile.com/201...r-than-the-m3/
Pretty ridiculous, but I wanted to clarify that this tongue-in-cheek article is more of a silly conversation starter than a true examination into which Leica is best.

Miss that bit, did you? It's the context within which the quoted title was phrased.
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Old 05-31-2019   #22
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I'll put this right here:

"Leica M3 - the world's greatest 35mm camera"

https://kenrockwell.com/leica/m3.htm

"Every other LEICA since the M3 has been an inferior cost-reduction that merely plays on the M3's genius in an attempt to keep selling cameras.

If I dare compare the LEICA M3, the LEICA M2 (1957-1967), the "poor mans's LEICA," used a lower-magnification finder with a simpler, cheaper and inferior rangefinder system. It also lacked the automatically-resetting internal frame counter of the M3, and uses a primitive external wheel as a film counter, requiring manual resetting for every roll!"
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Old 05-31-2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
I'll put this right here:

"Leica M3 - the world's greatest 35mm camera"

https://kenrockwell.com/leica/m3.htm
If Ken Rockwell says so, it must be true.
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Old 05-31-2019   #24
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I like the M2 better primarily because of the 35 frame lines. Other then the viewfinder the differences between it and the M3 are very minor.
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Old 05-31-2019   #25
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It's just the usual clickbait.

I have both.
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Old 05-31-2019   #26
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I don't want to start a war, but ...

Wouldn't the M-A be one of the best film M ever built? I don't see much love on this forum for the M-A and I always wondered why. I don't have one, but as soon as Leica announces that they will stop producing it (which they certainly will very soon), I'll buy one. Hard to justify almost $5k for a film camera, I know.
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Old 05-31-2019   #27
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Will this topic ever get old? M3 vs. M2, M4 vs. M4-2/M4-P, M6 vs. MP. Iíve been reading this junk for almost 20 years, and I still click on it. Nobody has anything new to add.
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Old 05-31-2019   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
I don't want to start a war, but ...

Wouldn't the M-A be one of the best film M ever built? I don't see much love on this forum for the M-A and I always wondered why. I don't have one, but as soon as Leica announces that they will stop producing it (which they certainly will very soon), I'll buy one. Hard to justify almost $5k for a film camera, I know.
As the owner of an M-A, as well as M3, M4, M7 etc etc I can definitely say that the best camera Leica ever made is the:


M5

I didn't bother with the M2, but I understand it as it is the antithesis of why eat hamburger when you can have steak?
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Old 05-31-2019   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
As the owner of an M-A, as well as M3, M4, M7 etc etc I can definitely say that the best camera Leica ever made is the:


M5

I didn't bother with the M2, but I understand it as it is the antithesis of why eat hamburger when you can have steak?
We should collect them all.
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Old 05-31-2019   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
As the owner of an M-A, as well as M3, M4, M7 etc etc I can definitely say that the best camera Leica ever made is the:


M5

I didn't bother with the M2, but I understand it as it is the antithesis of why eat hamburger when you can have steak?
It looks huge on images, how it is in real handling? Like walking with it every day on one week trip. I'm using neck strap or keep it in the backpack while I"m working.
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Old 05-31-2019   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
It looks huge on images, how it is in real handling? Like walking with it every day on one week trip. I'm using neck strap or keep it in the backpack while I"m working.
It handles better than any other M outside the M7 as it's all about function, not form.
It's bigger, but it's not huge. An M9/M-E is bigger/heavier.

Here is my M5 next to a Minolta CLE (tiny), and the best AE RF camera ever - the Agfa Optima 1535 (even tinier)


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Old 05-31-2019   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
I don't want to start a war, but ...

Wouldn't the M-A be one of the best film M ever built? I don't see much love on this forum for the M-A and I always wondered why. I don't have one, but as soon as Leica announces that they will stop producing it (which they certainly will very soon), I'll buy one. Hard to justify almost $5k for a film camera, I know.
the MA sucks, actually
my friend's MA shows issues after about one year
and he found out that, Leica use the same chassis of the MP for the -new-MA
They just cover the battery compartment with a piece of brass and over the time, it gets oxidised.
IMO Leica did really bad job here and it shows that their film cameras are not sold very well as expected.
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Old 05-31-2019   #33
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the MA sucks, actually
my friend's MA shows issues after about one year
and he found out that, Leica use the same chasis of the MP for the -new-MA
They just cover the battery compartment with a piece of brass and over the time, it gets oxydised.
IMO Leica did really bad job here and it shows that their film cameras are not sold very well as exepcted.

Can't see the image. Can you repost it? I tried to view it on my iphone and my mac with no luck.

I think it is really obvious that the M-A is the MP w/o the meter, so why would Leica create a new chassis? It's the exact same camera but with no electrics and a better set of frame lines. I have no issues w mine.
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Old 05-31-2019   #34
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No, but it's all fun to read on an otherwise dull Friday afternoon. As such, it achieves its goal.
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Old 05-31-2019   #35
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I have both …. differences are minimal although I prefer the auto frame counter on the M3.
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Old 05-31-2019   #36
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I own both too, for many years. The disadvantage of the M3 is the large viewfinder image for the 50mm lens, but the large viewfinder image is also an advantage. The disadvantage is that the finder of the M3 is not easy to oversee for composition. Then the M2 is better. However, the M3 is better for focusing very bright lenses.
The M2 is also better for the use of 35mm lenses. All in all, the M2 is the more universal camera. That is why the production of the M3 was stopped in 1967, but the discussion about which camera is better will never end.

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Old 05-31-2019   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
..... The disadvantage of the M3 is the large viewfinder image for the 50mm lens........
I don't get this. To me, the large viewfinder image is an advantage.

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Old 05-31-2019   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinaw View Post
I don't get this. To me, the large viewfinder image is an advantage.

Jim B.

The image is too big, you can not oversee the whole image at once. When you look at the right, you don't see the left and vice versa. Try it. To see the whole is important for the composition. The composition is everything in 35mm photography.


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Old 05-31-2019   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
The image is too big, you can not oversee the whole image at once. When you look at the right, you don't see the left and vice versa. Try it. To see the whole is important for the composition. The composition is everything in 35mm photography.....
Maybe for you, but not for me. And I really don't understand "oveseeing the image." I don't know what this means.

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Old 05-31-2019   #40
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Quote:
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Maybe for you, but not for me. And I really don't understand "oveseeing the image." I don't know what this means.

Jim B.

Yes, this is all very subjective, I admit. But viewfinders on cameras ...


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