Restoration & Repair

Leica M3 1 C

As a part of my apprenticeship here at Mainline, I am learning about restoring and repairing old M series cameras.  To further my education in this black art, I have acquired a Double Stroke Leica M3 from one of our customers.

When I first picked up the camera, the slow shutter speeds (1sec, 1/2 sec etc) were double to three times the marked duration on the dial, parts of the leatherette were missing and the viewfinder was less than perfect. These are pretty normal signs of wear that you will see on many M3s (especially the older Double Stroke models).

Photo 24-01-13 6 02 41 PMI had been looking for a camera that I could actually use, and an early model M seemed right. The 50mm f2 lens (Leica produced many thousands of these fantastic lenses) was somewhat foggy, showing signs of several years in it’s recent history being spent in a cabinet. But when I saw the pictures from the first roll put through the camera my worst worries disappeared.

Crows Nest Parking Scene

Classic 50/2 rendering! Kodak Ektar 100 Film

Variation on the theme of "Parking"

Kodak Ektar 100 Film

Showroom as of Feburary 2013

Kodak Ektar 100 Film

All in all, this camera needs a cosmetic overhaul but mechanically it is quite sound now. I had to discard a few shots taken on a tripod with the slow shutter speeds at night, but the catchment assembly for timing the long exposures was fairly easy to clean out and re-lubricate. The nice thing about Leicas this old is that all of the screws are standardised and they were yet to discover the benefits of using proprietary screws and tools.

From my Instagram feed. An attempt to recreate the 1950s ads for the Leica M3. Taken with an iPhone 5.

What a beautiful piece of gear!

visit for upcoming photos from This old camera and many more!

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