Leica IIIc question

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by costeam, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. Quite some time passed since my last post; lots of things going on in my life
    more bad than good that kept me far from photography. I've read the forum
    though and I must say it was uplifting, in particular the sense of humor.
    Gene M's comments on his found film series are something else. So I have to
    thank you all for making this forum a place to be even when you feel down.
    I managed to get my hands on a Leica IIIc recently. It comes from a fellow
    photog and it was very well cared for (CLA done to the body and lens by known
    technician) so it looks great and works great.
    I'm in process of taking pictures and will post them on a separate thread.
    Down to my question of the day: since I'm a newbie in the world of Leica (quite
    a nasty world I must say...) would any one know if I can fit a FSU Jupiter 12
    lens 1:2.8/ 35 mm on this body. I'm intrigued by the size of the rear lens
    elements extending way past the metal thread. Same extension should fit inside
    the body but would this not touch the curtains? I also have a FSU turret
    viewfinder if the 35mm works. Thanks
  2. Yes, Jupiter 12 fits the IIIc well and is a good lens for the money. The filter threads on my example are made of aluminum. So, it is best not to use a filter.

    If the turret finder protrudes to the right, it will work as well.
  3. It should work just fine. The clearances inside the Leica are the same as inside the Zorki-1 which is the body on which many of the Jupiters were used. Just be careful mounting the lens so you don't scratch the back element. It doesn't touch the curtains or the metal curtain lathes(assuming that they are not flapping or loose. Have fun.

  4. Don't ask this question on any Leica forums !! They'll call you nasty names.
  5. Any soviet LTM lens will fit on screw-mount Leica bodies, since the cameras they were made for (Zorki and FED) are virtually identical to the early Leica models. It's different with some Leica M cameras which have a swing arm with a light meter cell behind the lens.
  6. You can fit it on, but if you are critical about focus, your chances of getting things at near focus distances are basically nil. The movement of the cam on Russian lenses is slightly different from Leicas, so things start OK at infinity, and become progressively worse as you move closer. Lots of people don't seem to mind, or can't see it, but it's there. If you already have the lens, put it on, shoot wide-open, move in close, focus on a subject's eyes, and I bet you'll find that their ears are in perfect focus. In spite of what some people have written, this has been my *consistent* results with every Russian "Leica" lens.
  7. Thank you for your quick replies<p>
    Gene:I know; this is why I came here to my trusted friends.<p>
    Michael: intersting point; I will definitely look out for that, try as you said and will post pictures so all can see. cheers
  8. I don't imagine you will have focus problems with a 35mm at f/2.8.
  9. I generally adjust my FSU rangefinders at 2m, not for infinity, haven't spotted any focusing inaccuracies from mine... and yes, you still have DOF at 35 and f2.8...
  10. I agree mike... stop the lens down good and you shouldn't have to worry about focus too much with a wide anyway.
  11. The lenses that I think are real sleapers in Leica thread mount are: Canon Seranar. The 35mm f:4.5 is very good, as are the 100, and 135. If you can find one the 85 f:2 it is almost as good as the Zeiss Sonnar they coppied.
  12. You guys have a serious misunderstanding: depth of field doesn't exist--it's a working theory of how uncritical you are in your viewing at small print sizes. If you care about precise focus, you can look and see that these lenses aren't in focus. When I focus on something, I expect that thing to be in focus, not have it six inches behind, and hope no one notices. If you print small, and you don't really care about your photo technique, that's one thing, but the problem is there, and it's real.
  13. Michael, sharpness is an over rated concept, but your point is taken whether or not a Soviet lens is rear focusing on a an Western LTM camera.

    With the 35mm focal length or better yet 28mm focal length, I'll more often than not forgo the RF on my IIIf, by closing down the aperture to f/8 and using the depth of field guide on the lens to set the focus.

    This is rather an old school dead reckoning approach to photography, but it is still useful when shooting street scenes or group photos. Plus, it allows me, to converse with the folks in the scene and avoid spending too much time behind the VF.

    Yep, I can clearly see how it would no doubt seem sub par to the typical adherent of the hair splitting, accuracy uber alles, school of photography.
  14. I just like my equipment to work as it's supposed to. Not too much to ask, I don't think. However, if sub-par work doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother me, as long as it's your work, not mine.
  15. MD Said: "You guys have a serious misunderstanding: depth of field doesn't exist--it's a working theory of how uncritical you are in your viewing at small print sizes."

    Depth of field is a real true concept in all lenses with fixed or adjustable aperture (not to be confused with depth of focus at the film plane). There have been many posts on this subject, however I prefer to refer to Arthur Cox in his text Photographic Optics, a Focal Manual of Photo-technique, he goes into great length to define this concept with mathematics, however I prefer to think of it in terms of the photographs I take. I do mostly architectural, landscape, or cityscapes, all of which have some foreground, mid-picture, and infinity(far distance), points of interest. I do not focus on a single object and then let the auto exposure (if I owned such a thing) determine the depth of field; I use the hyper focal numbers on the lens, focus knob, or form a table printed on the back of my gray card (yes one gray card for each lens focal length I use with my 4x5). This approach gives me complete control of the image, I know what will be in focus before I start, and when I print a nice 11x14, those things I chose to be in focus are. I developed this technique while shooting my Rolleiflex. With no depth of field previewer, I was forced to take a look at the knob, and what I discovered was a real shocker...In most shots I was focusing to the subject with complete exclusion of all other aspects of the photograph! Read that as BORING PHOTOGRAPHS! So I began using the Hyper focal numbers on my cameras focus knob and only composing on the ground glass--Ta Da! Great Photographs were now made. Please try to think (before you post) "why did those guys and gals, call themselves the f:64 club."

  16. And suppose that after you had carefully focused the camera the way you wanted, whatever that was, someone walked up before you shot, and cranked the focus a quarter turn, putting it somewhere other than where and how you intended it to be. Would that be acceptable? Because that's what we're dealing with here: the location of the focus point elsewhere than where the photographer intended to set it. I don't believe, from your description, that this would work for you, especially in instances where you were shooting wide open and intending focus on a particular spot.
  17. Michael, to suggest that the focus error with a J12 on a Leica IIIf would be the same as dealing with someone who "...cranked the focus a quarter turn," after you have carefully focused the camera is a gross exaggeration.
    In reality, the back focus is approximately 2"/5cm when standing 5 ft/1.5m from your subject on a properly collimated Soviet screw mount lens. This error is noticeable on the 50mm J3 when shooting at f/1.5, but on a J12 this error is not that big of an issue - mainly because the lens is not all that sharp wide open at f/2.8.
    The Jupiter 12 is a 70 year old design, but has wonderful signature when closed down to f/5.6, as you can see in the flickr example. At f/8 it resolves about 35 lines per mm at the center of the frame, 10 l/mm in the corners.
    My only quibble with the Jupiter 12 is the aluminum construction of the helical and cam. I prefer brass. It definitely will not match the performance of a modern aspherical Summicron, but it's a $50 plus dollar lens without shipping - so it needn't be. It does have that unique signature and it fits the IIIc well with regards to classic old school photography.
    The topic of Leica compatibility comes up often on forum with regards to Soviet screw mount lenses, but if we are discussing either the 28/6 Orion or 35/28 Jupiter 12 rather than the J9 - they are quite compatible. Although, I'll add that it is best to collimate these lenses for infinity a screw mount that uses a 28.8mm lens to film registry.
    Best of light to you all.
  18. Mike,

    In your example of cranking the focus a quarter turn, you once again show a complete lack of understanding of depth of field. If the lens was of a short enough length, and stopped down enough, it would make no difference. I have shot a 21 Biogon on my contax, and set the lens infinity mark to f16(easily 1/3 turn) and shot every picture on a roll without touching the focus--Guess What? Every one was in perfect focus. The depth of field on that lens for f:16 (from memory) is 2.4' to infinity, why waste time "carefully focusing" any wide lens? Set it and forget it. Now if you are shooing a long lens and are going to shoot wide open (why you would want to, I can't figure out), you will have to focus carefully, and if the lens is not coordinating with the range finder then you will need to correct for it, or have out of focus pictures. My experience with Russian lenses is that the hyperfocal distances are typically right on, even when the range finder cam is off. At any rate, either can be adjusted by a qualified technician. I would say though (as a qualified technician) save your money and use the hyperfocal numbers.

    Before we continue this thread, I have to ask. Do you own any range finder cameras and if so, what are they? Your perspective is sort of like a SLR user.
  19. Here I own about 10 J-8 5cm F2; one Orion-15 28mm F6; two Industar-50 in ridgid mount 5cm F3.5; and a couple of 55mm F2.8 L-61. Plus three Jupiter-9 8.5cm F2. All these are LTM lenses. <BR><BR>The most consistant safe bet is the J-8. Its only two of the three J-9's that are bastard lenses that have ill focus. On these two ill J-9 lenses the lens blocks focal lengths dont match the helix pitch of the focus came. When adjusted so they focus at infinity on film and the RF; the lenses track wrong when focusing closer. On a thrird J-9 8.5cm F2 from 1959; its ok at all distances; even on a Lieca M3 or Epson RD-1 too. The two ill J-9's were greased and their matched parts mixed up; thus they wont focus at all distances. <BR><BR>With the J-3 5cm F1.5 I used to own 3 of them; two focusing great; one was allitle off due to a worn alumimum cam surface. It focused correctly by scale.<BR><BR>I first used a soviet J-8 back in the 1970's; wall street camera had them with a Zorki 4K kit. The bulk of my soviet LTM stuff was bought before 9-11; when shipping was low and prices low too. Thus almost all my lenses and cameras were bought a tiny fraction of todays prices; just using Ebay and pre 911 buys. If I bought a zorki, case and J-8 with shipping for less than 15 bucks I felt I got a deal; most were bought this way. The orion lens was about 30 bucks; the Lennigrad about 45. Sometimes one could buy two cameras, lenses, cases and yak hair box and shipping to the USA for 25 bucks. <BR><BR>The ill soviet lenses I own are the Jupiter-9's that are a mixed bag of parts; a worn aluminume cam'ed Juipiter-3; and only a few J-8's that are just average; not stellar. From my collection of soviet lenses they appear TO track with my other LTM lenses in focusing; and are NOT a different register distance as others always quote. <BR><BR>All of my soviet lenses and cameras that work well were from Russian and Ukraine sellers; the crap ill focusing junk is ALL from USA sellers; except for one J-3 that has a worn cam surface. What happens is that folks here in the USA tend to buy the culls of cherry picking; often at higher prices; since they feel better about a USA to USA buy. The bulk of my buys were with cash; yes cash to Ukraine sellers; 20's and 5's. <BR><BR>With soviet gear you are rolling the dice abit; you have the worn out aluminum lens cam factor. You have the jackleg J-9's with mixed matched parts; you have the bad focusing stuff USA sellers poop out to fellow camera users as working correct focusing lenses.<BR><BR>A Industar-50 5cm F3.5 lens here in rigid mount here is sharp even wide open; and focuses just as well as my Nikkor 5cm F2 or 50mm F2 summicron. Its just my poor manys Elmar; its cost was just equal to 3 rolls of film. Its a tessar clone with a nice out of focus look. <BR><BR>The web is filled with various tales of russian lenses being not really true LTM lenses; ie that they focus wrong. A zillion threads are on the old yahoo groups russian camera board that later moved to www.beststuff 's russian camera area. <BR><BR>At one time on photo.net back when Leica was on the ole greenspun forum; mentioning any non leica lenses got massive protests. Folks Like me would postimages with the Canon 50mm F1.2 LTM and folks would go crazy; the forums purity was ruined. Thus when one mentioned one got fantastic images with a Zorki camera with lens that cost 9 bucks; the DOGMA had to be its wrong. Part of the attitude was that non leica lenses were not to be mentioned on the Leica forum. Thus even when one posted images with the 10.5cm F2.5 Nikkor LTM; folks got excited. With time many of the old guard has died off and its more acceptable to talk about other brands of LTM lenses. Its abit odd since Leica made the minority of LTM lenses ever made. <BR><BR>With a soviet camera like my Zorki 3C or 4's the cam is a pie cam; not a roller cam. One can adjust the "gain"; "gear ratio"; "mechanical advantage" of the RF system by rotating the pie cam on its arm. This adjustment is the same as the one on a Leica that moves the roller closer of farther from its pivot arm's point of rotation. Thus one can adjust the Lieca or Zorki body for infinity focus and RF tracking. Then one can adjust the close 1 to 2 meter focus of the RF with the Leica arm length adjust; or Pie cam rotation. Thus my Zorki's are all made to track Leica so that they work with standard LTM lenses. Most ALL did track like this anyway, the ill/Kilroy soviet bodies were from the USA sellers; again peddling off ill bodies. I am afraid way too nmany folks dont understand the basis for a proper LTM body to focus; many folks really only understand how to set infinity. Thus most of the ill soviet lenses and bodies are just due to folks messing with adjustments and not understanding what really is going on. One can actually FORCE an ill messed up Jupiter-9 to work well with one zorki or leica body; one just makes a custom adjust at the close distance so the body mates with this ill lens. This means this body will now only work with this ONE lens; a poor way to be. <BR><BR>Alot of the bias for and against soviet lenses is based on folks owning just a few lenses. Here after owning many dozens of soviet lenses I have NOT found that they were built to differnet register distances or cam movements. I have found the ill performing soviet lenses to be just worn; or duffusized; ie where the typical goober jackleg usa expert reshimed their lenses to fit a poor zorki/leica body; or where a rebuilder mixed up a lenses parts; like the Jupiter-9. <BR><BR>As a far as build quality; the best soviet lenses I own are the ones that are STIFFER; and from the 1950's. This means they were built in the glory days; and have have NOT been reopened and ruined by an expert/duffus who has a single bit brain; rebuilding an 8 bit problem. <BR><BR>The cam surface on a soviet lens is often just aluminum; an ill focusing one can be just worn; or be dented to. Remember soviet body has NO roller; thus it rubs on the lenses cam surface.<BR><BR>Much of the soviet gear hawked on ebay is just stuff unearthed to raise cash and is really of unknown condition. Its more of a crap shoot purchase. Today prices on ebay are sometimes 3 to 10 times higher than they were a decade ago; thus one should also explore used Nikon, Canon, etc LTM too.
  20. Mark, I'll bet dollars to donuts that Michael is an RF user. Why else would anyone respond to a thread on the IIIc? So, let's not be too harsh.

    You do bring up an interesting point concerning SLR users. Rarely do I see them turn off their AF during the day in full sun or partial cloudiness, set the aperture to f/11, set the focus by hand and just get on with taking an exposure.

    I mention this because the IIIc can be a fiddly camera in its own right, especially when shooting street scenes or social groups.

    The RF apparatus is a focus assist device in my book that is truly useful when shooting close and wide open with a capable lens, but when trying to capture the decisive moment is the objective, it can be a hindrance. So, there are times that closing down the aperture and relying on zone focusing makes the IIIc experience a bit more fluid.
  21. Moving to digital, finally, I just sold most of the last of my Leica stuff, a M4-2 and an M-2, and bought a Nikon D300. I have also had two M-3s, two IIIfs, and a whole mess of lenses over the years. I have kept a IIIa, just for film fun. My first five cameras were RFs--well not really, because three didn't even have RFs in them, just glass VFs. I also had a brief flirtation with Nikon RFs in the 60s, and owned a couple of Canon RFs. I used this stuff professionally for years, and I bet I started using it before some of you who are complaining so much were born. I also have a Fed 1 and three of its lenses, and a Kiev 4m with three lenses. If you look at my photos (follow my bio) you'll see that most of the older stuff was done completely with RF gear.

    You guys can quibble all you want. Since you like to guess about me, I'm going to guess about you: you're not professional photographers. If you were, you'd know the difference between jawboning theory and getting a job done reliably because you can count on your equipment doing EXACTLY what it was designed to do.

    The Russian stuff is fun to play with; what interests me is the effort you're expending to make excuses for it's known problems.
  22. Thanks for stating your professional credentials, but this is a non-professional forum.

    Had the original poster stated that he already had either a seventy year old 50mm Summar or 35m Elmar, my non-professional advice would be to try them and see if he liked the results.

    Both are Leitz lenses and the vintage look they deliver won't be everyones cup of tea. However, someone, somewhere, will enjoy using them. More power to them. That's the "fun" part of this forum - playing with grandpa's or grandma's gear seeing whether they enjoy the results.

    The original poster will find that the Jupiter 12 works well with the IIIc and will outperform either the Summar or 35/3.5 Elmar that I just mentioned.

    It won't outperform a modern 35/2 Summicron aspherical, but that's a whole other ballgame out of the purview on a forum for orphaned cameras and lenses - where a camera with an older lens can still be enjoyed.

    Godspeed to you on your Nikon DSLR endeavors.

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