Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Leitz, Leica IIIA rebuilt, 35mm Rangefinder Camera, 1939

The Leica III was originally introduced in 1933, following year that saw the Leica II launch. The Leica III added the benefit of slow speeds, using the dial fitted to the front. The fastest shutter speed was brought to 1000th in the Leica IIIA. The other obvious change was the introduction of strap lugs. Apart from those detail changes, construction was similar to the Leica II. Leitz offered a service whereby an owner could return their camera to be rebuilt to an upgraded model. As originally built, this Leica III was a standard model with neither rangefinder or slow speeds and was built in mid 1939, at some point thereafter it was returned to be upgraded to the Leica IIIA form you see it in here. Given the changes to the top housing, shutter assembly and wrap around shell, it seems unlikely that there is much of the original camera remaining, maybe just the serial number. As we only have the body, it has borrowed the lens from our Leica II for the image on this page and the rotating view.

The Leica III continued its development culminating in the model IIIG in 1957.

This camera was generously donated by Mr. S. Saunders in September 2013. Currently the slow speeds are non functioning, but a review will be taken in due course as to whether or not they can be made to work again.

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Leitz, Leica IIIA rebuilt, 35mm Rangefinder Camera, 1939

It was interesting to compare the internals with our FED 1, often cited as being a Leica copy. Appearances are deceptive, it was obvious that the FED is no where near as well made and KMZ cut many corners to produce their version. Many Russian FEDs and Zorki's get rebuilt as fake Leicas, some openly for display, others to catch the unwary. A Leica wind on action is silky smooth, as the gears are finely machined. FEDs and Zorkis gears are ground quickly and feel a bit "gritty". See here for other ways to tell them apart.

Click on "this camera's gallery" button, below, to see sample images.

Body No. 312683 (1939)
Shutter, cloth blind - focal plane, B, 20, 30, 40, 60, 100, 200, 500 & 1000th sec.
Lens, Leitz Elmar 5cm 1:3.5, serial 395951 (1937) - serials for lenses are often higher than the body as more lenses were made.
Condition, 6F

View other rangefinder cameras in this collection.

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