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That is indeed a high compliment. Please, everybody, pass it on to Leica direct. For years, the M3 has been acknowledged as possibly the finest 35mm camera ever made (see McKeowns Cameras).
Quality of construction, not a horde of features, is what matters. Although the M7 is obviously a brilliant camera, and choosing between the pair would be hard...and a digital back would obviously appeal to many photogs.
Crazily enough, I tried an M6 then went back to the M3. I did not save any money, but missed the viewfinder and all-metal feel of the M3 (and the M6 rangefinder was out of whack). And here in New Zealand, with our extremely bright sunshine, I found that the M6 finder did indeed exhibit flare (perhaps made more noticeable because I wear glasses).
(BTW, I did manage to make the M3 finder flare too, by shooting an indoor circus under lights. This was with a 13.5.)
Marco: your yellow M3 rangefinder patch is undoubtedly due to age. My "new" SS M3 is pretty good but so was my original DS (it was considered exceptional). So it looks as if the MP lives up to the M3 in this respect.
By contrast, my Olympus 35RC - a first-class rangefinder in many respects - has a very pale rangefinder.
Meters: well, I used the M3 with a separate meter last weekend to shoot some pix of old stone buildings for publication in our newspaper (my own time: Agfa slide film) and was very pleased with the results using the M3 and orginal 1959 Summicron. I used to think a built-in meter made all the difference, but that is not the whole story.
To all users of older Leicas: isn't it great that the old gear just keeps on keeping on...?
The only significant difference between the M3 and MP is the self-timer. This may make more of an aesthetic than practical difference.
I'm glad to hear Leica have solved the rangefinder flare issue, but I do = think people bang on about it unnecessarily. I've not seen anyone = suggest this elsewhere, so here goes with a practical solution. I find = that when flare occurs it can almost always be dimished to minor levels = by turning the camera through ninety degrees one way or the other to = focus, then back again to compose and take the picture. Takes seconds = and saves a lot of anguish. So forget that nagging dissatisfaction, and = the impulse to chase after superlatives. The M6 is a great camera, = right? =20
Elliot - I'll keep up the feedback as I continue to shoot with the MP. There's more below.
Colin - I tried to take it to bed with me, but my girlfriend, the two cats & the dog kicked the MP out!
David - If you're crazy, then so am I. I did a similar thing as you - I owned an M3 for decades, foolishly sold it, bought the M6, and went screaming back to the M3 (sadly, a different one from my first M3). The rangefinder flare was a part of my decision to go back, but not the entire reason. Like yourself, it was the solid, metal feel & operation of the M3.
The M6 really is a great camera, as Jonathan says; but for my personal use, I was more comfortable with the M3 (and now the MP).
OK, onto more comments -
- I was finally able to make the MP flare, in a kind of "stupid pet tricks" way (i.e., there's virtually no way anybody would shoot like this!). Pointed the MP just below a bare light bulb. Took my eye so far off the centre of the eyepiece that I cut off about one third of the framelines (50mm) from my view. Tilted the camera down about 15 degrees. OK, NOW it flared!!
My point here is that the MP is pretty flare resistant. I tried the same stupid pet trick with my M3, and yes, it flared almost as badly too.
- the dial for the ISO on the back are the ISO numbers only (e.g, 100, 200, 400, etc). It's very easy to see your ISO setting.
- the vinyl surface of the MP is nice to use. I don't think it will chip off like the old vulcanite, but only time will tell. My own M3 has huge chunks missing around the the lens mount and some on the baseplate, which is annoying.