Leica M3 Rangefinder How to Use? – Quick and Easy Guide with Expert Advice

People often ask, how to use Leica M3 Rangefinder?

Let’s find out!

How to Use Leica M3 Rangefinder?

The Leica M3 rangefinder is one of the most popular cameras ever made. It was introduced in 1954 and has remained popular because it offers excellent image quality and features.

The LEICA is an advanced high-grade camera, but – or rather because of that – amazingly simple to operate.

Push the transport lever as far to the right as it will go while holding the camera in both hands with the right thumb. The LEICA’s focal plane shutter is tightened by the lever action, which also advances the film by one frame. If you find it more convenient, you can also use the film advance lever by making a series of quick movements.

Never pull the release button; instead, gently press it down with your right index finger. As the shutter closes, you’ll hear a click. You would now have snapped a photo since the film in the camera would have been exposed. You can again use the transport lever to tighten the shutter and advance the film by releasing the release button (lifting your finger off of it).

Note: If you want to know a complete guide about rangefinder click HERE.

Leica M3 Rangefinder


This bayonet mount, which hasn’t been changed in 50 years, is called the Leica-M mount. Lenses are changed more quickly than with a screw mount. Frame lines are set automatically. Non-M-mount lenses can also used. A simple adapter also allows the user to use screw-mount lenses.


The M3 has a very bright viewfinder, but it doesn’t show frame lines for wide-angle lenses. This camera has a higher magnification than most other models.

A separate viewfinder slide into the accessory shoe. This attachment reduces the brightness of the viewfinder window.

The dual range summicron lens comes with an auxiliary fitting similar with the 35mm specs attachment. It was used when you want to take pictures from the near range minimum 18 inches (0.4 meters) to the maximum 36 inches (0.8 meters).

When taking pictures from the normal range beyond 36 inches, these auxiliary “specs” are removed. The summicron lens cannot turn to the near range setting without the auxiliary “specs”.

The 50mm frame lines are always visible, but the viewfinder image is slightly smaller than usual. There are two ways of selecting the 90mm or 135 mm frame lines: by putting a 90mm lens onto the camera, or by toggling a small switch on the left side of the lens. This makes it easier to visualize the field of view for other focal lengths.

Viewfinder cameras don’t always show exactly the same picture in the viewfinder and the film, because of the distance of the view-finder to the view axis. This parallax error is compensated in the Leica M3 by moving the frame lines when the lens is focused, but this full parallax compensation wonly orks up to 1m Closer distances require special Leica glasses.

Note: If you want to know How to Use SLR Magic Rangefinder click HERE.

Film transport

The first Leica cameras were made by Leitz, but after World War I, the company was taken over by Carl Zeiss AG. In 1925, Carl Zeiss AG introduced the Leica IIIa as a successor to the Leica II. This new model featured an improved shutter mechanism, a faster lens, and a more advanced viewfinder system.

The Leica IIIb was released in 1926. This model included many improvements, including a redesigned shutter mechanism, a new focusing screen, and a new rangefinder. T,

The Leica IIIc was released in 1927. This model included many changes, such as a new shutter mechanism, a new rangefinder, and a new focusing screen. The Leica IIId was released in 1928. This model included many new features, such as a new rangefinder, a new focusing screen, and a new shutter mechanism.

The Leica IIIe was released in 1929. This model included many upgrades, such as a new focusing screen, a new shutter mechanism, and a new rangefinders. The Leica IIIf was released in 1930. This model included many updates, such as a new focus scale, a new shutter mechanism, and a new rangefinder system.

Loading of the film is done with the bottom plate removed. A door flap on top allows easier access to the film. Cassette

Note: If you want to know How to Use the Russian Rangefinder click HERE.


Previous loading was also an option.

screw mount Leicas used a non-geometric series of shutter speeds. This was changed to a geometric series of shutter speeds on early models. A Later models use a geometrical series of shutter speed.

Note: if you want to know How to Use Shepherd Scope Rangefinder With Different Bullets clicks HERE.

Variants and Successors

The M3 was used for taking pictures of electricity meters. Later models had a 0.72× magnification viewfinder. The M3 was followed by the M2, which had a rangefinder but no viewfinder. The M1 was a rangefinder-less camera designed for use with scientific equipment. The M3 was succeeded by the M4, which was similar to the M3 except for having a rangefinder. The M5 was the last model in the line.

leica m3 rangefinder how to use

Leica M3 Rangefinder How to Use?


We hope that this article answers your questions. If you have queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

If you want to know more information about rangefinder click HERE.


  • John Moses

    John is the Editor in Chief here at The Outdoor Stores. His area of expertise ensures that there is no one better to suggest which rifles are most suitable for your hunting experience. He is also available for you to contact him personally to discuss the types of animals you want to hunt and the terrain you will be hunting on. Feel free to read his posts for expert opinion on Rifles, Scopes, Rangefinders, Bonoculars and Monoculars.

You Might Be Interested In...

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Might Be Interested In!