Home Cameras/Lenses Leica The Winona Leica M3: Spot the difference

The Winona Leica M3: Spot the difference


Reader Mike M sent us a link to this Squarespace promotional video on YouTube. It’s always interesting to see old Leicas used as props in this way, although, as Mike says, he’s not sure how she managed to get the images onto her laptop instantly as the video suggests.

But what camera? It’s an M3 of course, but I noticed something odd when I pulled down my own M3 from the shelf just to confirm. Mine has no frame-line lever which normally sits to the right of the lens (viewed from the front) and is clearly visible in the video. I confess I’d never noticed this before, so I delved deeper. Mike also checked and found that M3s made before 1955 and serial 785801 had no frame lever while subsequent double-stroke and single-stroke versions did have the lever. My 1954 M3, one of the earliest, fits into the leverless category.

Ivor Cooper at Red Dot Cameras confirmed this. He also took a look at the video in detail and thinks that there could have been two separate M3s used in the filming. Why don’t you take a peek and give us your conclusions? Any more M3 lore (here’s looking at you, Mr Fagan) will be enlightening.

It’s all very well done, but is there a developing and scanning operation in Winona, sitting next door to the diner and capable of turning around a film in an hour or so? I think not.

Read more on the Leica M3


  1. Okay, I am the worst expert on Leica M’s, so probably shouldn’t comment in here on this at all. However my untrained Leica eye suggests that two different lenses where used, and I am not convinced those images on the Mac screen are the product of the same camera.

    As for two different M’s, I couldn’t make my mind up, and try as I might to study them all side by side, looking for minor differences (something I usually excel at), nope I am not 100% sure. I will trust in Ivor’s better knowledge and lifetime of seeing M cameras on this one.

    But hey what do I know, happy to see what others think.


  2. There are gloves made by Seal Skinz which have tops that can be folded and held back with magnets.

    Moving on to the camera, This is an M3 after serial number 785801 (introduction of frame lever) and before serial number 963000 (change of strap lugs from dog (or elephant) eared to round). I did not see the young lady wind on the camera but at around serial number 919251 the wind on changed from double stroke to single stroke. The lens in all views is a 50mm collapsible Summicron.

    Yes, the issue about film processing in small town USA is a good one and I am already getting questions about lack of processing facilities in the US in advance of my LHSA Zoom talk next week. The increase in interest in film is, however, reflected in the fact that 135 members have already registered for the event with a week still to go. So, I would advise anyone interested to register as soon as they can. I am also getting questions already from attendees about various aspects. It is all heartening to see.


    • Thank you for explaining why the lens looks different in certain places, naturally this was something I would not have known. So I learnt something new.

  3. Not sure I was seeing a preview lever or not on the different views of the camera. I’d have to watch the video several times on a bigger monitor to be sure. One thing I did notice, they dubbed in an SLR shutter sound effect and I can hear mirror slap every time she trips the shutter. I guess they were thrown off by how silent and M camera and the M3 shutter is. They had to make it sound like a real camera! It sounds something like a Nikon F, not the usual obnoxious Canon T50 sound though. I also did not see her advance the film lever, so again it must be some magical M camera. Or maybe they just should have used an M10. It would have looked the same to 99% of the people out there, and that would explain how quickly she was uploading images at the same time.

    • I looked hard and I could not see through the gloves to confirm a camera with no frame lever. I have a double stroke M3 from 1955 with no frame lever which appeared in my article on auctions here and in your Viewfinder magazine, Bill. It also features on my avatar on the Leica Forum. God bless your ears if you can distinguish the shutter sound. Such sounds are often added after the event because in a normal audio environment a camera like the M3 would be so quite that it would not register. At least it sounds like a mechanical shutter and not an electronic one. It is nice to see a ‘real Leica’ getting an outing. A few of the Hollywood set have them, including Brad Pitt who has been seen using an M3.


  4. Quick search on the web indicates there’s a Walmart / Walgreens in Winona where she could get her film processed and maybe put on a disk? Not sure about that though.She’d need a disk drive for the laptop though to import.

  5. The book created in this project is marketed as “creative directed by Winona Ryder”. I‘d wager it’s probable that no photographs taken by her ended up in the book (100 copies — sold out) no matter where they were processed or the camera actually used. I might have missed something though as after the first few seconds I muted the sound!


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