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Is the M2 flare free like the M3



Hello there,
I am currently thinking about getting one M2 or M3 as an addition to my M6. Since the "flare" in the M6 viewfinder is more and more bothering me, I am looking forward to that flare-free moment!

Question: Is the M2 rangefinder just as good as that of the M3? If yes, the M2 might be the better choice for me since I am using the 35-50-90 combination of lenses.

Thanks, stefan
Dear Stefan,

I have been using a number of M2 Leicas for thirty five years and none have exhibited flare.

The M3 viewfinder is different, in fact I would suggest perfect, however its design does not allow the wide angle frames. I sold my M6 fifteen years ago and have never missed it.

The M2 is definitely more convenient and if I had only one camera, it would be that body with a 35mm lens.

Have fun.

Hi - just courious - how do I get my M6 to flare - everyone is talking about this flare-problem but somehow I can not provoke my M6 to flare - what do I have to do that (not that I want the problem) but it could be nice to know
Ruben the point is you don’t want your M6 to flare, if it is not an issue with your photography you are lucky and have nothing to worry about. Don’t go looking for trouble you might find it has been there all along but not sufficiently bad enough for it to be a worry to you. Once you become aware of it, it may become an irritation and spoil some of the joy you get from your photography. Bring you’re M6 here to Australia and you can enjoy as much RF patch flare as you can bear.

Stephan, Despite the fact that the M3 does not have 35mm frame lines I personally think it a nicer camera to use than the M2. Have you also considered a nice M4.

In relation to the M3s VF and RF arrangement, one issue that is apparently now beginning to surface on some M3s and its unique prism design is a delamination where the glass elements were cemented together with Canada balsam. There has been much talk of this on other Leica fora. I don’t how prevalent or serious this issue is and I suspect its propensity has been overstated. But I understand it is expensive to repair if you are unlucky enough for this to happen to your M3.

The use of Canada balsam also causes the frame lines and RF patch to discolour (yellow) on some M3s. Erwin Puts has some information about this on his web site.

Hello all,
thanks for the advice. Ruben you must be very lucky not to experience the flare with your M6. Focusing can be very annoying when you have to turn around your camera all the time to get rid of it. Even worse is my voigtlaender bessa R2 which is a shame because it's a very handy alternative to a leica M.

I guess I have to hold both, M2 and M3, in my hand and check them out. Another option mentioned in the German forum is to send the M6 to Solms and exchange the viewfinder for an MP viewfinder. Unfortunately I live in China and Solms is very far away...

Dear Stefan,

I imagine the post from China to Solms takes about as long as it does from Austalia. In my experience it is about a six week to three month turn-around.


Me too, I have never got my M6 viewfinder to flare. To me this is a tale propagated among Leica users to buy new bodies...
Last Saturday, I took about 30 rolls of films of gilrs dancing on a stage. There were strong lights pointing to me from the background and I never got my M6 viewfinder (0.72) to flare. Also the pictures were very nice (superb rendition of Apo Summicron 90 M and Summilux Aspherical 35.

To me, if you succeed to make the M6 viewfinder flare, please check also if your viewfinder is clean from finger marks and grease...

Also, should your viewfinder still flare, please look at what you were going to take as photograph... Would it have been interesting? It could be possible to make the viewfinder flare with strong light coming from a certain angle, but would you have taken a picture in such a condition, should you have a M7 or MP?
When the light is nice, the Leica M6 is always good...

I think these are discussions of collectors, not from users.

Please think less and take pictures with your marvellous Leicas.

Best regards.

I am not a collector but a 100% user. It hardly happens that I leave my house on weekends without my M6. I am taking pictures all the time and I love the camera. Actually I would no time thinking about the flare if it wasn't there!

Next time I will check my viewfinder for fingerprints if that might be a reason. But I doubt it. "Flare" means that the focusing becomes extremely difficult because the two "edges" that have to be brought in line cannot be seen anymore. It usually happens when I hold my camera in vertical position while the sun is not behind me but comes from an ankle. It doens't happen when the M6 is in horizontal position.
Maybe this is related to certain models. But after generations of users who have been complaining about this particular feature of the M6, I refuse to believe that this is just a silly invention of some weird collectors, or a marketing trick of leica to convince collectors to get an MP...

I would never trust the China Mail enough to actually put my M6 into a parcel and leave it at the post office. Never!

cheers, stefan

Over the years, I’ve used every major production model M, and you are in good company with the M6 and the RF flare situation. You are not imagining things there is a design defect in models M4-P through to early production M7, which has now been rectified with the introduction of the MP.

Fingerprints on the viewfinder window are the least of your problems with the M6. The RF flare problem is real particularly if you live and work a climate with bright light, and it does not have to be direct lighting. Reflections from a large shop window is enough to introduce RF flare. I also tend to shoot contre jour a fare bit so if RF flare is present it does become a problem.

I owned and M4-P for a short while, RF flare made it impossible to use. I also had an early product M7, it went back after a fortnight of frustrating photography. RF flare is a distraction to ones work flow which means missed image making opportunities. I have never had RF flare problems with my M3s and M5 nor M7 (with improved MP finder).

Some photographers such as Dominique as he has pointed out experience not problems concerning RF flare on there M6s an cannot see what all the fuss is about. If RF flare is causing you to miss shots then it is logical to seek a remedy. In relation to flare the M3 followed by the MP are the best options. Next in line are the M2, M4, M5, and M4-2. Some say the flare problem started with the M4-2 but I used to use one a fair bit and it behaved in a similar way to my M5 and original M4s I was using at the time.

Thanks, Craig, this was very interesting and helpful! I just had very frustrating situations in Vietnam where the flare sometimes wrecked my nerves.
It's a pity because I really like my chrome M6 and I wouldn't give it away.