I post there from time to time...Thanks for pointing me towards the photo.net forums Chris... I also found RangeFinderForum.com which also seems to be a good resource.
I noticed that Ned posts on the RFF and in fact says he has an M3 for sale.
Ned, would your M3 be a good Leica for someone like me new to rangefinders? How much are you asking for it?
Ned,I post there from time to time...
Yes I have an M3 for sale (I have 2 M3's and one has to go). Since they are CLA'd and professionally repainted and recovered, my 0$ profit price is in the 1300$ range. For this price you bet you are receiving a good and fresh M3 rather then a scratched 50 year old tired camera. The good and truly mint (Not ebay mint) M3 Leicas go in the 800-1200$ range.
the OM2 is the best for lightweight but solid feel in the slr, it fits so well in my hand and the body surface area is all available for handgrip without interfering with the viewfinder, which invariably, on my MP3, gets covered with fingerprints, or is partially obscured by my finger when trying to focus. the body size is very similiar, the OM slightly smaller in height and length for the main body, but deeper due to the shutter speed dial, and of course the prism case on the OM makes it higher in that region. the MP3 with body cap feels like a small dense brick, the OM feels like the small SLR camera it is. with the 24mm zuiko on the OM2...stealthy, but still an obvious shutter/mirror slap with exposure....but nothing like the FM2n/FM3a shutter noise and mirror slam...feels like the FM wants to jump from my grip at exposure, relative to the OM2, and of course the simple quiet click of the MP3 is stealthiest of them all, with 1/8th second handholdable shutter speeds possible, where you need 1/60th on the OM2:smile: , and about 1/500th :biggrin: on the FM3...Hey Chris - I'm just in the curiosity and exploration phase myself. Some of my favorite photographers use Leica cameras, and I do like the diminutive size. It's hard though, to beat my favorite slr for that - the OM1n. They look to be about the same size. I've used rangefinder cameras, but I can't say I've ever used a good one. Even bad ones are a snap to focus.
There is a Leica forum on photo.net, and they discuss the various lenses a LOT.
John,If I ever spent real money on a Rangefinder, I think my choice would be a Bessa R2 or 3. Even bought new you'd have a heap of change to put towards glass if you had Leica money burning a hole in your pocket Frances Shultz reviews the Bessa R3 in this month's "Black and White Photography" magazine - I'm not sure if you can get it outside the UK, so let me know if you're interested Chris, and I'll drop the scanned article to you in an email.
The Leicas are beautiful cameras, but they're way too aspirational, imo, and the prices seem to reflect that.
As Ned says, the CV lenses are great - one of my contacts on flickr uses the 15mm heliar and 35mm ultron a lot, and they look superb.
Incidentally, RodneyAB's comment on mirror slap made me chuckle - I had a Practika MTL3 once that I swear set off seismographs when I pressed the shutter release The SLR that always felt best to me was the OM40 - it had the most beautifully damped mirror.