Camera Loaner Program

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rob_the_waste, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Whilst out on my duties, I mentioned to a customer about the luck I had in procuring both the Minolta Super A and the Rolleicord IV. He told me that a friend of his gave him an old camera and that he'd never actually used it. When he showed it to me, the shape of it was remarkable. At first I thought it was a Leica III but then I saw the markings. It was a Tower 3. From what I've found so far, the Tower 3 is the Sears version of the Nicca 3. Although it is not a Leica, it is a highly regarded clone and this one is worthy of one of Rick's samples. I said that I'd like to put a roll of film through it just to see what it would do. He obliged and I wasn't disappointed.
  2. It had a bit of dust on it, but the glass is clean. The first thing I did was trim the leader on a new roll of Kodak Ektar 100. It wasn't cheap, but it was all I had. I had the camera with me for two weeks. I left him with my Nikon F70 as a security deposit.
    The shutter and film advance are smooth as silk. I wish I had a Leica to compare it against. He asked me if I'd be interested in buying it. These camera bodies have been selling for two hundred dollars without the lens. I just bought the other two beauties and I couldn't imagine grabbing another. Regardless, it was a pleasure to play around with it.
    The first thing I noticed about it after the fifth frame was that the rangefinder spot jumped around. Closer examination revealed that the lens was fine, but the lens mounting ring was loose and wobbly. Three screws were loose and the fourth was completely out. The only reason it didn't get lost was that the lens was never removed and kept it from falling out. It only took a minute to tighten it all back up.
  3. This version has an adjustable diopter. It appears to have the same slow speed timer set up as the Leica III, set up at 1/20 sec. The shutter speeds vary from 1 second up to 1/500 second. There is also a Time setting on the slow speed dial where you release the shutter, and it stays open until you change the slow speed dial to 1. The diopter adjustment makes a big difference as you rotate the lever back and forth. In practical terms, this camera doesn't bode well for those of us that need eyeglasses. By the time I got the camera set up to take a shot, I must have taken near ten minutes. I can't complain as my Moskva 2 has a similar set up only without the diopter adjustment (viewfinder and rangefinder are separate). The last time I used my Moskva, I didn't wear glasses...
  4. Last bit of porn...
  5. I took the camera up north the one weekend hoping to see something. The weather was mixed.
  6. The lens being the f2/50 Nikkor H was more than sharp enough. I tried to see how much detail I could get from a fence post on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs (not another post post). The bokeh seems nice to me. None of the pictures from this film were sharpened.
  7. The view from the Bluffs to the east over Lake Ontario always has some haze right on the horizon at dawn. It makes the sunrises interesting.
  8. And then the sun came up. I may have to clean the glass on my scanner.
  9. On my way up to my father's place I stopped in at the White Feather Country Store, just north of Oshawa. Somebody must have been on the way to a vintage car show. I happened across this old Ford Model A.
  10. I got a little closer.
  11. The drive up is always full of rural scenes. Nothing but farms. I wish I had more time to take it all in, but everything always seems to be rushed.
  12. There was a lot of rain this year. There's a reason I keep my snow/mud tires on all year round.
  13. Trees are a good way of checking things out, especially if there's a good side light.
  14. SCL


    Very nice camera & lens. The shots clearly demonstrate that in the early 1950s that Leica glass didn't predominate over some of the other rangefinder lens manufacturers' output in terms of image quality. I've been experimenting with a couple of Canon and Tanack LTM lenses in the last couple of weeks, and I'm quite impressed, having had mostly Leica made gear for over the last 40 years. Thanks for sharing.
  15. That's pretty much it for now. The rangefinder was right on the money with this. After I tightened the lens mounting ring, there was no more wondering. I hope this camera will end up in somebody's hands who will appreciate it. I like it. I can honestly say, it still takes pictures that are as good as somebody's imagination will let it. All images from the film were scanned at 1200 dpi on an Epson Perfection 4490.
  16. One last one.
  17. Great looking camera, Rick, and a great performer in your capable hands. It is close to an identical twin to my Leica III,
    but yours is better shape both cosmetically, and as you can see from my recent post, in performance. The diopter control
    is very close to,that of the III, with a slightly different engraving. The only significant difference are on the front of the
    camera, left of the lens.

    I assume those are for flash.

    I think $200 is a very reasonable price for your gem. I would be tempted were it not for the semi-annual property tax due
    this month and my new Leica III will be costing $2-300 for essential repairs and an overdue CLA. Loved the photos of the
    ancient autos, and the beautiful scenery is reminiscent of my side of Niagara Falls, and Lake Ontario is my childhood

    Damn cold for swimming; Chrystal Beach on Lake Erie on the Canadian side was much warmer, and had a great
    amusement park. You have to be familiar with Chrystal Beach.
  18. I remember seeing the ads for those in the late 50's and early 60's. They were an unknown quantity then. Leicas becoming extremely collectible brought them out of many a closet.
    BTW- the last pic looks like it is also a Model A. It certainly is not a model T.
  19. Nice looking camera, good pics too! Thanks for sharing, Rob.
  20. David, I remember Crystal Beach, but I was very small back in those days.
    Roger, I stand corrected. Thank you.
    Loaning cameras is a hit and miss proposition. This was loaned to me and went back to the owner in better shape (at least as far as the lens mounting ring goes and I helped him knock a dent out of the filter ring), while I've loaned things out and gotten them back broken or abused.
  21. Oooooh! :O
    Nice shots with it too.
    I'm not a big fan of bottom-loading LTM cameras in general, but there's no denying that there were some great picture-takers in that category-- and this one seems to be one of them.
  22. Here's a 1952 Sears similar offering
  23. Dammit, now I need my glasses to read that...
  24. Nice work with an interesting camera. I haven't been buying camera gear lately, but I could be tempted by something like that...
    Very pretty sunrise shots.
  25. Wow! The Nicca IIIS is not a camera I've ever come across or seen advertised downunder, let alone in the Tower version. It must be a comparatively rare camera even in the US, with a production run of about 8000 in the years 1952-4. The "beer can" appearance of the lens looks a little out of kilter with the camera, to my eye, but it obviously performs as a Nikkor should. I particularly like your first "Storm Brewing" pic. Nice post, Rob; many thanks.
  26. Craig, I too in general haven't been on any kind of a buying spree. I think I have enough... for now.
    Rick, thanks for the kind comment.
    As a last thing, I did find a couple of peculiarities with this camera. First, although the rangefinder goes down to about three and a half feet (one metre), the lens itself goes beyond that and focuses down to a foot and a half. On an SLR I would find that handy, but on a rangefinder, maybe not quite so. Also, there isn't any kind of standard mount for a shutter release cable. The collar around the shutter release button is flared out, but it rotates with the shutter. The nearest thing I can figure is that it might support a cable type self timer. Flash sync is 1/20 second.
    Thanks for looking everybody.
  27. That sunrise shot with the vertical streaks, did you shoot it at 1/500 shutter speed? The streaks may be the slit running too narrow, such that the texture of the curtain fabric makes the slit width uneven. Very "par for the course" on an LTM screwmount camera that needs a CLA. (So it may not be a dirty scanner at all.)
    That Nikkor lens gets a lot of respect!
  28. Nice post, Rob. The Tower/Nicca is a good quality, collectable Leica clone. The Nikkor lenses were stock supplied with the camera with a f/1.4 option also available. I have one of those and it's excellent. I'm also no bottom load fan but they sure are a compact little shooter, if a bit squinty to look through.
  29. John, I do vaguely remember shooting one frame at 1/500. It might have been that one at f8.
    Louis, thank you for the kind comment.
    I showed the camera owner the results on a dvd that I burned. He seemed to like them. I don't think he expected to be able to see them on his tv. :)
    I have a week's vacation coming up next week and I have no plans to be anywhere near this city. The leaves are changing, more up at dad's than here. I'll be shooting a roll of Kodak VC160 with the Rolleicord. If I hit the lottery, I won't come back either.
  30. Your self control is amazing. I accept it as "gone is gone", meaning if he sells it to somebody else ..oh well. I have definitely benefitted on the kindeness of others. A neighbor lady has given me four of her recently deceased husbands cameras. I'll be featuring one here soon. Another lady has given me her sisters Rolleiflex T despite my offer to help her sell it on Ebay. When she realized I wanted to use it she never called back and when I finally bumped in to her at the store she told me to keep it if I liked it that much! These things are rare.. I do think this fellow will eventually give you a good deal. I wish I could say I had "enough" ... God give me strength.

    Your results are very nice. I am so pleased to see this model featured here. I have often read about this and seen the ads. It'S more rare than I thought based on those production numbers ..even for a Sears camera. It was bit too pricey in the day I guess. Very desirable optics and bottom loaders are no probloem for bottom feeders... I want the experience of using it. I still have never shot a screw mount Leica or fro that matter any Leica.

    Thanks for a lovely post with plenty of camera pics too. I do like the rural element of your pics.
  31. Chuck, it's not self control... I'm damn near broke. :p
    I thought I was the bottom feeder.
  32. I have a clear memory of seeing these Tower-branded Niccas in the Jacksonville, Florida Sears Roebuck store around 1956 (they were in a glass display case on the first floor just to the right of the up escalator). These upscale Tower Leica clones were beautiful and desirable, but I was just starting high school and had very little money for such things. So sad!
  33. Thanks for these Rob, very interesting camera, and as Rick said, very scarce down under...never seen one. I heard that they are very highly rated and the early Nikkors are exceptionally good, some regard them more highly than the contemporary products of Leitz and Zeiss.
    Great pics from what looks like a very nice part of the world.

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