Despite my fondness for Leica screw mount (LTM), it was this M outfit I received in trade for a SE300B amp I built that got me hooked to cameras and photography - a '61 M3 with '61 rigid 'cron + '66 8-element 35 'cron which I was using with an external VF until I acquired an M6.
This well used single stroke M3 as received was working but in dire need of a CLA and a new vulcanite so I sent it to Sherry Krauter. Upon return, Sherry noted separation in the viewfinder and highly recommended TLC in handling. That was in '97 and so far, have not noticed further deterioration.
When I visited Shanghai in 2010, I bought this half-case from Mr. Zhou. I would like to believe the padded leather is providing added protection aside from a spruced up look. ;)
The .91 (almost 1:1- life size) viewfinder magnification of the M3 is its greatest asset. It is so much easier to frame and focus a 50mm, 90 mnn or 135mm lens on this model compared to the M6's .72 VF.
Scale focus cameras from the original German factory.
Late 40s-early 50s - folding
Mid 50s - rigid
Both cameras are equipped with the coated Color-Skopar 50mm, f3.5 Tessar type lens but there's a difference in performance under strong direct or side light situations....
Earlier Vito II is more prone to flare...
... it seems, coating technology made a leap within a couple of years.
A friend sent over a grey Leak 20 for check up. It was working up to spec however the gain was too much - Mullard 5-20 circuit using 3 x 12AX7 - as it was designed with the Leak Varislope preamp which did not have gain in the line stage. So I took out of storage my own Leak 20 which I padded down with resistors back in the early 90s so I can use it with my Dyna PAS preamp mod projects ;)
Metal film resistors and polypropylene caps, yikes!!! Been there, done that...I kept this for posterity ;)
Hooked up to the Altec 2-way...the Leak 20 is probably one of the finest PP EL84 amp ever manufactured, yet it was not able to match the transparency of any of my SE amps...no regrets going SE ;).