Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Camera History, Part IV

Just shoot me. Kill me now...

... because I once had a Leica M3, a beautiful, clean one at that, and then sold it two years later.

I bought the M3 DS (double-stroke) in 1978 or 1979, I can't remember exactly when - I guess it's just too painful - at my favorite little camera shop, Olden Camera, just off Herald Square. I think it was something like $350 or $380, and that included a screw-mount-to-M-mount adaptor for my 50mm collapsible Summicron. I don't think I could touch that same camera today for under a thousand dollars. Maybe I shoulda invested in Leicas instead of the stock market.

Leica M3 Self-Portrait, 1979The funny thing is, as beautiful and precise and fondle-able that camera was, I just don't remember taking a whole lot of pictures with it. I don't think I have a single photo that I can put my hands on right now that I could definitely say was taken with the M3. Don't ask.

But it gets worse. I also bought a Minolta CL in 1979. The Leica CL and Minolta CL were compact M-mount rangerfinders made by Minolta and jointly designed by Leitz and Minolta. Sort of like a Buick and an Oldsmobile. Anyway, the CL was a truly amazing design - it was even smaller than my Leica IIIc, and yet totally modern and innovative, sporting a throught-the-lens spotmeter - I think that was a first for an interchangeable-lens rangefinder.

The CL came with a very sharp 40mm f/2 Rokkor (the Leitz version were called Summicron), and it was capable of mounting other Leica lenses, either M-mount or using an adaptor, old screw-mount lenses.

Flowers on Steps, NYC (Minolta CL)I did use the CL more than the M3, but still not an awful lot compared to my earlier cameras and the Leica IIIc that I still had. At least, compared to the M3, I have one or two yellow slide boxes that are marked "CL" to show for it.

My Leica era came to an end by 1981, by which time I had sold all three cameras.

I know, I know.

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