Leica M3

The Spy Plane and the Leica M

 There was a terrific article in the New York Times recently (3/22/10) about the U-2 spy plane, and how it’s still going strong after 50-plus years of service. Designed by Lockheed Corporation’s fabled ‘Skunk Works’ division and placed in service in 1956, the U-2 was our airborne spy-in-the-sky on the then-growing Soviet menace. While reading about how 32 out of the original 86 U-2s produced by the military are still in active service, I couldn’t help thinking about the Leica M3, a camera introduced 2 years earlier that like the U-2, still delivers the goods in a package that - at least on the surface - appears little changed over the course of 5 decades. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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