The Weekly Margs by

M is for M3

Classics never go out of style

The other day, my friend Joseph sent me a link to this Imgur post, “After being asleep for 25 years, the Leica M3 rises again.” Reading it over, I got this wave of deja vu. I didn’t write it, but I practically could have:

The M3 has been in my family since 1959.

My father handed it over to me last year.

Like I wrote about in the first issue of Weekly Margs (A is for Amateur), I also have a hand-me down Leica M3 from my dad, who had it since probably the early 1960s. Mine didn’t work quite magically out of the box like the poster’s did, the shutter was a little sticky so I ended up having to get it it repaired, but all things considered it was still in pretty good condition.

So this week, we’re looking at photos from the M3. Unlike that first issue, these are going to actually be in focus!

M3 Photos

October 2016. Metro Center (Washington, DC)

DC’s underground metro stations have a very consistent style, so this could be literally almost any station. I’m pretty sure this was Metro Center since that was the Red Line stop I took the most often when I lived in DC. The lens I have for the M3 is a little narrower than what I’m used to shooting on, so when I look at this photo my first thought is “why does it look like I zoomed in on the ceiling?” when I didn’t zoom in at all (the lens I have doesn’t zoom). So to me, this is a very distinctive M3 shot of mine.

July 2017. Georgetown Waterfront Park (Washington, DC)

The Leica M3 is a manual focus camera (not a surprise, given that it’s a 50+ year old device), and I’m pretty slow to focus with it. On this day I was hanging out with Nicole in DC, I think I asked her to pose for a picture but by the time I got the focus right, she had moved on. I love the lighting in this shot, with the light highlighted in her hair, that film does such a good job of capturing.

November 2019. Bridgeway (Sausalito, CA)

The weather this weekend here in SF is pretty gloomy and aesthetically this photo reminds me of that. On this trip to visit Point Bonita lighthouse, we stopped in Sausalito for some coffee and wandered along the waterfront for a bit, so I took this photo of Meghan. Honestly, I’m a little surprised at this photo, it’s so sharp! I am not normally so good at focusing the M3. The tell for me in this photo is that glare in the middle of the photo, a lot of my photos on the M3 seem to have it, so I think that there might be some mechanical issue. But I feel like this a very representative photo from the M3.

November 2019. Shoreline Park (Tiburon, CA)

The same day as the previous photo, Marin had cleared up a bit and SF was still blanketed in fog. I love the colors in this photo, and how you can see the thick fog layer hiding the city. The colors alone scream “film” to me, but also that little glare spot in the middle is there which also makes this a classic M3 shot to me.

Bonus Photos

One of the reasons Joseph knew I’d love the Imgur link was because he knew I had the M3. A few years ago, I lent it to him, and he shot a roll and took some great photos around LA, that have a really fun film vibe to them. This first one is a whole gallery, definitely scroll through it!

Thanks for reading! See you next time.