Talk about surprises, wow. There’s a big part of me that doesn’t even want to say anything because it feels like bragging but, wow. My dad has been hinting at some big surprise for a few months now and today I finally got to find out what it was. I was not prepared. Apparently one day while they were out at an estate sale he came across a box of old cameras and deep down in it was the beauty pictured below.
I know it’s hard to see exactly what it is…he stumbled across (in near perfect condition) the reigning king of 35mm cameras, the Leica M3.
And then he gave it to me…
So now I can cross the life-goal “own the best camera ever made” off of my list. Though technically it won’t be permanently home until some time around May. See, the thing with these cameras is that every M3 is at least 50 years old, and generally only sold when the owners die. Being an entirely mechanical camera (not even a battery) they need to be taken care of and tuned up every ten years or so. This particular one was made in 1957. That being said, it needs a bit of love from the Leica master Gus Lazzari to get it back to immaculate. So we are sending it off to have it rebuilt to basically brand new. That process along with his queue means it will take a while but, so what? Maybe that will give me time to build a darkroom.
Believe it or not I have trouble expressing it when I’m really excited about something…I don’t have a better word than “wow.” I’ll try to explain why it means so much to me without going into full geek out mode.
Leica has been the top name in cameras for a very, very long time. The M3 is Leica’s masterpiece. This is the camera system that everyone (even Leica) has been trying to top since it’s release in 1954. Nobody has done it, not even the company that made it in the first place. I would suppose that could explain why it is still the world’s best selling 35mm camera a lifetime later. Fuji’s x-series is a modern attempt at what the M3 is and even with all of their effort it falls tragically short. Even a seemingly little thing like the viewfinder in the M3 is still unmatched today. It is, quite simply, a legend.
I can’t want to use it…although I don’t/will never feel worthy of it.
See you tomorrow,