Annoying little Wonder!

I’ve received a present!


It’s not Christmas, it’s not my birthday, but I received a present.

A very kind gent in the U.K. thought my photographs not too shabby and decided to part with his unused Leica IIIa. He sent it to me for the price of postage!

Yes, such things still exist nowadays. I couldn’t believe it at first, but after some days the parcel arrived. It contained, as promised a Leica IIIa in very nice condition and 2 lenses, a Summitar and a Summar, both 50mm f:2.0.

I’ll have to give them a CLA (clean, lube and adjust), but that will be a small cost for such a wonderful gift.

I already shot 3 rolls (nothing special, just some test-snaps), and the photos turned out very much OK. The shutter seems to work consistently, both long and short exposure times. The light meter…. wait, there is no light meter, but I found that to be a very nice collateral effect of using such a gorgeous camera. It’s liberating in a way, not having to pay attention to all those flashing LED’s or needles in the finder.

Don’t you agree, it’s beautiful! But not only that – using it feels great. It’s small, very small indeed (see the photo beside the Canon T90…),IMG_0074 but for it’s size it’s heavy, really heavy. It feels like it’s carved from a single block of brass.

I’ve already had a lot of fun with it, and I intend to use it a lot in the future. I’ll just have to part with it for two weeks or so, the time of the CLA.

But how does it work for me? I have never been a fast photographer, so this camera won’t change a thing. It’s a great feeling, evaluating the light (well, I use an iPhone meter app for the moment), to set the camera and to focus… damn, that squinty rangefinder window is bloody small! Just as the viewfinder. With my glasses I can’t see the whole frame at all. And without glasses I see the whole frame, but nothing beyond… I guess I’ll get an accessory viewfinder and stop complaining!

As I said in the title, it’s annoying in a small way, but it’s a wonder!IMG_0072

The finders are the only bad point I can find with this camera. Everything else just feels natural. Winding is smooth, rewinding is smooth too and you can savour it for long times… it’s a bit on the slow side.

The lenses will hopefully benefit from a CLA, especially the Summar as it is the hazier of the two, but already the results of the Summitar are quite good. Mind you, the original non compressed scans are much sharper!F:4.0 200

Now if I just remember to extend the collapsible lens before pressing the shutter all will be fine. I love this camera already and I guess I’m bit by the Leica bug, and specifically the Screw Mount Leica bug.160514 - Fomapan 100 - Leica IIIa - (18)

Nothing against the ‘Leica Glow’, but I think that after a good scrubbing at least the Summitar will give great results.

My Canon SLR’s have gone on the block! Over, no more SLR for me. They will pay for the CLA and perhaps the Industar 50mm collapsible I ordered just now…. ah G.A.S., what would we do without you?

It’s bye bye T90 and A-1 now. Sorry to see them go in a way, but using this Leica IIIa is much more fulfilling.

If you like more information about the Leica IIIa, see these posts on Hamish Gill’s  blog 35mmc here and here.

Thanks for reading!

7 thoughts on “Annoying little Wonder!

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  1. I think these days with the low price of old film cameras we’re in the happy position of being able to buy a camera and/or lens, try it for a few rolls, then if we don’t like it, sell it on to fund something else. Over time we find the kit we love the most.

    I’m going through a similar honing down, and have sold most of the SLRs I had, focusing now on the Contax (C/Y mount) bodies I enjoy shooting with more than any other SLR, and M42 lenses (via an adapter).

    Still can’t seem to stop buying/trying different compacts though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haven’t bought any cameras for the last 3 months. I might be cured! I’m perfectly happy with what I have right now, the XA2, the Leica IIIa and my Canon AE-1


    1. That’s a pretty neat set up, one of the best from each category – compact, rangefinder, SLR… I’m not sure I’ll ever narrow down to just one of each type!

      Liked by 1 person

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