Celebrating the 75th anniversary of my Leica IIIa

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by soeren_engelbrecht|1, May 12, 2013.

  1. Hi all,

    this year, my dear IIIa turns 75, so I found it appropriate to post a few pictures from my latest roll with it...

    As sort of an introduction, I find it fascinating that this piece of fine machinery was manufactured before WW II and still keeps on ticking. OK, the shutter drags a bit at a 1/1000, so I stick to 1/500 or longer, and the RF is obviously nowhere near as good as that on my M3, but it still manages to facilitate some very nice pictures :) In the picture, you can see that one VF bezel is missing - probably a previous owner has had an ORAKO contrast filter fitted to help RF clarity. I'll probably get an ORAKO myself, one day. Incidentally, the vulcanite was shot, when I bought it, so I redid that using an Aki-Asahi kit. Easy and cheap...

    For this roll, I decided to stick with just one lens: The super-compact 35/3.5 Elmar, also dated from 1938. Wide open, it is clearly soft and with some weird swirliness to the Bokeh, but at 5.6 or 6.3, which are my usual apertures, it is easily sharp enough for what I do. And it scale-focuses very nicely. In bright sunlight, I used an original Leitz A36 yellow filter as well. I use the original FOOKH hood, but since it is marked Summaron/Elmar, it is clearly not of 1938 vintage.

    Neither is the external VF that I use - but in all its Stakhanovian plastic-ness, it actually works very well, and I had no problems with framing accuracy, even though it hasn't got distance compensation as the VIOOH that I also have (and find more cumbersome). Thanks to fellow photo-dot-net'ter Jacques for donating it to me :)

    Finally, I used Kodak BW400CN Professional for these pictures - I sincerely hope that this emulsion will also keep on going for many years to come...

    Anyway - on to the pictures :)

    Thanks for looking,
  2. First, a family shot from Easter - it reminds me of some of the early mountaineering shots that you see in the literature.
  3. Asta is 8 1/2 now and a keen reader - her favourite series is the "Rainbow Fairies". (I had to crop this quite a bit - it was a candid shot from quite far away)
  4. Here, we visit a satire cartoon exhibition - part of the display was letting kids find small assignments by scanning QR codes...
  5. ...and here she does a little drawing of sorts as part of the assigment. I don't really believe that Oskar Barnack would have imagined that the camera he designed just before his death would have witnessed tech stuff like that...
  6. Now for some action :)
  7. I had one of those viewfinder. It's surprising how large it looks on your camera, but that's due to the tiny size of the Leica. It's really not a huge viewfinder. Those old Elmars are very good, and have a vintage signature. I loved shooting my screwmounts w/ a Summar and a good hood. Remarkable lens. If you ever want a change, don't discount the cheap Russian LTM lenses, as many are really good!
    Be careful of C41 B&W. My negatives, after 8 years f careful storage, were faded considerably when I checked them. Ended up throwing them away, which was a bummer as many of the images were irreplaceable. I still shoot it on occasion, but now I make sure to have scans from any good shots. These days, pretty much all I shoot is Tri-X, which is not going to have that problem.
  8. Two weeks ago, we went to the leisure house of some great friends, and the kids enjoyed themselves feeding the local fauna...
  9. Finally, just to prove that I take pictures of other people, a shot of my old friend Carsten, who is actually responsible for me and my wife being a couple :) This was at Copenhagen ZOO.
  10. P.S.: Who ever say that the 35 mm Elmar is not sharp, should see this crop of the straps of Carsten's rucksack :) Sorry for the pixel-peeping - or should that be "grain-peeping" ??

    P.P.S.: One of my favourite photo shops in Copenhagen, Foto/C, actually turned 75 yesterday. What a coincidence...

    P.P.P.S.: Thanks again :)
  11. Nice shots Soeren, as usual. Part of the reason that I like using classic cameras so much is because of the fact that they just "keep on ticking." I don't have anything quite as old as your Leica, but most of them are older than I am by quite a few years. All of them still work just fine, despite none of them ever having been CLA'd, at least to my knowledge.
  12. Nice Søren, great camera and lens, I use my 35 on a standard from '39 with a 28/35 CV minifinder. Live in Gedser, but my two favorite shops are Foto/C and Photografica in Skindergade
  13. Ah, another great family chronicle, with some lovely images. The detail in the photographs, especially the two of the kids with the animals, is just superb. I really enjoy these posts of yours, Soeren, keep them coming!
  14. Another wonderful post Soeren, and it's amazing how fast they grow up isn't it! You have to love those old Barnack Leicas, everyone should own at least one. I most often use my 11F, but I do have a 111A and a 111C as well. Just bought a pre-war Summar, can't wait to try it out.
    With the CN400, didn't even know they still made it. This film was or originally designed for doing B&W prints on colour printers, turned out that it printed even better on traditional B&W paper.
  15. The most apt homage to these old beauties is to use them and you have some fine results. I so hope that you would be able to use for years to come creating yet more lovely compositions.
  16. Lovely pictures, all; the last three have superb tones. Love those charcoal art like texture. Keep more coming. sp.
  17. This link gets you to a decent wiki list: plop
  18. Soeren,
    Wonderful post and set of pictures. I thought I would look through my stuff to see if I could add to your 75th Anniversary celebration.
    Here is a 1938 Leica ad from American Photography magazine. It gives a tribute to Oskar Barnack.
  19. Here is the Leica listing from the Spring 1938 Central Camera catalog. It shows the cameras, lenses, filters, and accessories.
  20. The Leitz 50mm bright line finder is the SBOOI. A couple of years ago I had a IIIa, which I had had overhauled by Oleg Khalyavin and which therefore worked perfectly. Gave me memorable photos with different lenses. As I always use multiple lenses, I have never had a finder for a single focal length. The VIOOH, dead accurate, is for me the best; although I once had a good three-turret finder made in Liechtenstein for Argus. I have never attempted to use lenses from the 1930s -- good results is what I am after, not some dubious ideal of authenticity. Soeren, I think a couple of your photos, specially the one of your match-maker friend are rather too dark. Children charming as always.

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