Classic Rangefinder Camera Series - Leica M3 Variants
MIR Image Library

 

Introduction:- Here in this section that I am reserving some space for future updates on any possible variant from Leica M3 bodies.
What variant ? Simple because once a camera model has established its market/users confidence, most often when any special project that may request a special modified camera body/lenses to serve a particular application that may not be able to utilize an available standard production camera's features, most likely a corporation may seek help from the creator to see if a special spec camera body/lenses were possible. A well publicized camera type was the NASA-spec camera/lenses. In a way, it does brought benefit to the manufacturer in terms of global product branding as well as free-exposure in association with such a project. Thus it can be quite uncommon too to find a manufacturer would reject such a request. However, if the request was only came in small quantity, it may leave it to the individual to decide if it was viable for such a join-venture. However, this was not always the case, for an example, official sponsorship for a major international event such as World Cup, Olympic etc. may also see the official sponsor to take advantage in releasing bodies to either commemorate the event or camera that provide special application. Over the years in a few instances like summer or winter Olympic Games, both Canon and Nikon had introduced special application camera types that enabled sport photographers to capture high speed sequences (you may read Canon original
F1 High Speed Motor Drive Camera for Olympic Games at Sapporo in 1972; Canon New F-1 High Speed (L.A Olympic 1984); Nikon F High Speed (1964); Nikon F2 High Speed Motor Drive camera etc. It may not always be the case, sometimes even an individual small corporation may also request for a special modified body that conform to individual request, a good example is the Nikon F TRIBUNE with high speed film advance rate. Commemorative model can be just confined to special engraving, for an example the Canon New F1 L.A Olympic 1984 has only printed on with Olympic logo but it doesn't provide any special functions as compare to standard production unit.

Well, as photography is NOT entirely sports orientated. Some special request may come in from all aspect in the industry. For an example, there are many US Navy Model which may be made specifically to exacting standard as well as specifications. e.g. Nikon F US Navy or more popularly referred as Nikon F KS80A. Not all of these are produced in special modification. Many of the US military units that were having US. NAVY engraving are simply means they were property of the US governmental agency and has no significant changes to basic spec of the camera features. e.g. Nikon F3 US Navy or Canon New F1 US Navy.

Again, special application camera models can just be just produced to entertain general request from a particular large corporation and/or governmental agencies. If the requested volume as well as practical application justify, the manufacturer may even consider to produce in larger quantity and gave it a specific model name. One good example is a the Nikon 35s just for repro work - a simplified version of the Nikkorex and since it doesn't require many of he camera built-in functions but usage repro outfit in the lab can be very extensive, it was hence being made as a standard model.

As for Leica, one excellent example is the Leica MDa Post for German postal service. It has full format as well as half frame spec models. The special application camera potential can have further growth i.e. if the system adopted by German Postal services can "export" to other nations. It didn't materialized in such possibilities and so, it was remained as only Germany Postal Service specific usage camera. They could also be failed or abandoned project after half way in production of test or prototype camera in this kid of market. Anyway, in usual trade term an initial funding fees were usually charged and even if it has failed or terminated by the respective involved party, Leica has nothing to lose - EXCEPT in the museum will add with a few prototype models as display. Well, Leica has always being a recognized brand in the EU, if not the world. There were other forms of request, where this page is all about. Below are some special application Leica cameras or variants that served individual purpose.


Leica M3 'Royal Dutch Marine' Model, 1966

According to Leicashop® auction references, this camera type was delivered to the Royal Dutch Marine (to 'Odin' on January 17th, 1966) with special mount for submarine periscopes, metal front-cap from Leitz, wooden-box marked 'Koninklijke Marine 1966' on the rear, very rare military camera by Leica. The price for this rare piece of Leica Military-spec body has an indicative auction buy-now price of EURO 1,500-00 a few years ago
*.

* NOTE;- Indicative price(s) appeared herein were based on original prices published on previous auction literature/references. Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or other progressive, renewed valuation methods.

Credit: Image/content courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


A special application request Leica M3, Dutch Marine Model, 1966




Leica M3 chrome, SS 'United Nations', 1957

Here is another Leica M3 variant in single-stroke with good technical condition. The shutter speed dial has a brass-like finishing while rear section of the camera was engraved with: United Nations New York, NY 100xx and the UN logo. Not sure if the actual application but it has been serialized and could be among a larger batch. Leicashop
® Auction Buy-Now price was EUR 1.320 (Hammer price incl. premium) a few years ago*.

* NOTE;- Indicative price(s) appeared herein were based on original prices published on previous auction literature/references. Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or other progressive, renewed valuation methods.

Credit: Images/content courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

A special request production Leica M3  United Nation  Model, 1957

Close-up view of detail in the A special request production Leica M3  United Nation  Model, 1957
Resr section view of a special request production Leica M3  United Nation  Model, 1957


Betriebsk. Leica MP-1167 w/Electric Motor Drive, 1956

Here is one Leica that can easily make any Leica collector heart beats faster; I am no historian nor good technical background But still with my limited knowledge, I can still smell this is a "special" one. > anyway, here I am using the auctioneer Leicashop® original description as a reference on this very special Leica edition:-

" .....Before a small series of 27 MP2 cameras were produced, Leitz Wetzlar had already made tests with an electric motor drive for the M-series in 1956. According to the works records, this camera was given to Mr. Hilgendorf, the constructor of the first Wetzlar Leica motor drive, on November 18th 1957 and noted in the records as 'MP f. motor'. In total only two more of these cameras were made: Leica M3 Betriebsk. Nr.1147 and Leica MP Betriebsk. Nr.1166. 'Betriebsk.' means that these cameras were only used inside the Leitz factory for test purposes. Number 1147 is in a private collection, number 1166 was dismantled and probably destroyed. The motor drive looks like the spring-wound MOOLY and had a key for 'open / close' on the bottom, similar to a bottomplate. The release was already internal but there was still no micro switch to prevent the motor being on while the shutter was wound. This feature was later installed on the MP2 motor drive similar to the change from first to second model Leitz New York Leica motor. It was constructed for more than 4 exposures per second. Only two more of these motor drives were built, one is in a private collection with M3-Betriebsk.1147, the other motor was built into a cut-away model. This camera is illustrated in Lager 1 page 198, see also: Wilhelm Albert, Geburtstage der Leitz-Photo-Konstruktionen ab 1927, page 204. This camera is certainly the most important M camera ever offered at a public auction! ..."

Rare & highly collectibles are always synchronized with a good premium: This Betriebsk MP has an extraordinary high startup auction price of EUR 45.000-00 while the hammer (buy-now) price was
EUR 94.200* incl. premium appeared during previous auction conducted by Weslicht !

* NOTE;- Indicative price(s) appeared herein were based on original prices published on previous auction literature/references. Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or other progressive, renewed valuation methods.

Personal Note: Once sold, such kind of extremely rare collectible piece may take a long long time to resurface again in the public. If you have any other equivalent collectible camera and/or system component, do consider to let us archive them in this public showcase for all to share. Thanks.

Credit: Images/content courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

Visual Library on Leica M3 Prototype, 1952; Leica M3 Test model, 1953/4 | A photo showcase on early series of Leica M3 DS bodies:- Leica M3-700131 / M3-700170 / M3-700000/M3-70031x/M3-70051x | M3 double stroke chrome 1954~1957 bodies:- Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4; Leica M3 Single Stroke 1957~60/1961~66 | Leica M3 Black Paint:-1955/1958/1962~1964/66 / Case study on Prices | Leica M3 ELC, 1955/56

Other Leica M3 Variants:- Leica M3 chrome Leica-Technik 57 1954; Leica M3 GOLD Edition, 1956 | Leica M3 DS United Nation Edition, 1957 | Leica M3 Olive Bundeseigentum outfit 1957/ Olive Green Bundeseigentum outfit, 1959 (2 Parts) w/info on high quality M3 Olive Conversion | Leica M3 Betriebskamera/ Betriebsk 1960 | Leica M3 Royal Dutch Marine Periscope Model, 1966 | Leica M3 Dummies / Riesen-Mode (Giant scale Model); Leica M3 Cutaway Display Unit , 1954

Recommended External Link: Leica FAQ | Leica M3 Instruction Manual 1) Location 1 (1.35mb PDF) by Joe Chan; Location 2 (1.2mb PDF) by M.Butkus < Mike@bukus.org>; Leica FAQ | Serial Number Ref. (Cameraquest): LSM lenses 1923/1965 | Leica M 1954/1999/Leica M/R-mount RF/SLRs Serial Number ; Leica M-lens coding PDF (84k) download (Leica, AG); Leica Camera/Leitz Lenses S/N check (requires registration) at Owners Support@LEICA camera, AG

LEICA MP-Specific models/variants - Visual Profiles on selective Leica bodies:- Leica MP Prototype, 1955 | MP Betriebsk w/Electric Motor, 1956 | Leica MP-88/MP-150 Black paint, 1957 | Leica MP-167; Leica MP-171/MP-313/old/new Leicavit visual, 1957 | Leica MP 367 & 368 Dual, 1957 | Leica MP-375, MP-368 & MP-386 | Leica MP 'Edition Hermès', 2003 | Leica MP Betriebsk 0.72x | Evential production model MP 0.72x Black paint, 2002 | Leica MP classic Kit Set 1 / Set 2 | Leica MP chrome 0.58X(2 parts) | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.58x | Leica MP Black Lacquer 0.72x Standard | Leica MP 0.85x Finder Mag. model | Leica MP Anthracite* Limited Edition Set | Leica MP LHSA 1968~2003 Special Edition Grey Hammertone Finish (3 parts) | Brief Introduction on Leica à la carte:- Leica MP Red Leather 0.85 / Nappa racing Green Leather 0.58X | Others:- Visual case study on counterfeit LEICA MP ; Leica MP Prototype w/Prototype Leicavit-M; Leica MP-3 LHSA; Leica MP TITAN, 2007

| Leica MP Nomenclature | Leica MP Instruction manual (1MB PDF) | Technical Specification (96k PDF) |

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Credit:- Co-developed with my web buddy Rick_Oleson. THANKS to all the contributors, in particularly Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®; Mr. Liu Zan of DigifanCN®, Mr. Kelvin LI & camera$@Ebay in the form of images/pictures acquiring as well as content for their sales which had made up the basis of this visual library. NOTE: certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, brochures, sales manuals or publications published by LEICA AG over the years and/or individual contributions from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for any discrepancies that may arise from dispute except rectifying them after verification."LEICA", "Leitz", "E.Ernst Wetzlar", "Velostigmat" & other related trade names used herein are registered trademarks of Leica AG, SOLMS, Germany. Site made with an Apple G5 IMac.