phoenix rising

famous Leica M3
from LIFE ad

Toronto. Just over two weeks after touting its IIIf model, in the May 31, 1954 LIFE (p60). Leitz announced its most radical and eventually best selling Leica M3. The camera design began before the war and the prototype was field tested in 1952, 1953.

Beginning at serial number 700,000,  the camera was sold starting in June 1954. The body design and bayonet lens mount remains in production even today, over six decades later (including many tumultuous years of ownership). The M3 was truly the innovative Leica of its time. better viewfinder, multi focal length bright frames, fast change bayonet lens mount, and backwards compatible to screw mount lenses (while the body was thicker than a IIIf, the lens mount to film distance was 1mm closer allowing a thin 1mm adaptor to be used in between lens and mount).  Over time, many accessories were modified to use either the bayonet mount or with clever design both bayonet and screw mount bodies.

NB. All the LIFE advertisement finds are courtesy of friend and fellow PHSC member George Dunbar who posts directly to another fine website, Urban Toronto using the name Goldie.

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