As you might have heard my Leica IIIa had a big problem last week. Shutter speeds were inexistent, cocking the shutter was difficult as there was something blocking the mechanism…. I was shattered!
Different inquiries brought quotes of 300 to 600 € for a complete repair with CLA. I don’t have that money right now (nor later I guess….). So I was thinking of selling it as broken, selling my lenses and getting something more in line with my budget.
Or, perhaps…. well, the thing IS broken after all, so why don’t I open it up, armed with the best instructions Google can find, and try to fix it…
Today I gathered my tools and my courage and went to work. In fact the Leica is deceptively easy to take apart.
Lots of tiny screws, sure, but with a bit of organization it’s perfectly doable. The result of half an hour’s concentrated dismantling. spread on my table.
Then I started to search for the culprit. And I think I got lucky! A spring reaching from the speed dial to the ‘thing’ beneath the cold shoe seemed out of place. Luckily not broken, just hanging too low, unlike my printed instructions (see the red arrow pointing to it).
So carefully I coax it back into place, without making it jump away or break. Then, as the patient is already open I do a bit of housecleaning and lubricating under the hood. And back together she goes.
While I had it apart I took out the slow speed escapement (just two tiny screws hold it on the bottom of the film chamber) and soaked it in some solvent. A cloud of gunk streamed out of it. Well done I guess.
Well, as I undid the screws in the vulcanite on the front, large chunks of it simply peeled off. Perfectly normal after 78 years, but annoying. It had dried out and come loose from the camera body. So I decided to go the whole way and get a new skin for the camera. I pried the rest of the vulcanite off, with a small screwdriver sliding under it and behold…. what the hell is that? Underneath there’s some off-white coating with brown, rust-colored stains and streaks.
Call me crazy, but I love that color! Amazingly beautiful! I cleaned it up a bit with some Windex and the feeling is nice and smooth. Only problem is the height difference between the body and the top and bottom plates, now that the vulcanite is gone.
I am really tempted to apply a coat of clear lacquer and leave it like this!
What do you think? Shall I? Please give me your opinions.
Anyways, I’ll have to send it in for a CLA as soon as possible to make sure it’s OK and so that it will last many more years. Gotta save some money now….
Thanks for reading!