leica IIIC

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by brian_gal, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. I just borrowed a leica IIIc from my school and I cant figure out how to or if i even can set the film speed to 400. if i pull up on the winding knob i can change what seems to be film speed but its measuring it in ASA and weston (a measurement i am not familiar with). does the IIIC not take 400speed silm? hopefullly this is not a stupid question. thanks all!
  2. The reason you would need the film speed on a film camera is so that the light meter knows how to function. That's the only reason a film camera needs to know the ISO. Old cameras like the leica IIIc don't have built in meters. So you don't need to set the speed on it. It's my recommendation to have a light meter of some kind. You will need to set the ISO on that.
    Older cameras did tend to have the ability to set a speed on them. This is just to remember what the film that's in them and is optional.
    As far as what ASA is as opposed to ISO. Back in the day there were different standards for measuring film speed ASA Din and a few others existed for a while, now the world seems to have settled on ISO. Some measured contrast and some measured reaction to light. ASA is one of the earlier systems.
  3. Yes, of course on a meterless camera the film speed dial is just a reminder. Also, with old cameras, do not except reminder settings of 400ASA - back in the 50s, photographers just could dream of a film speed like this.
    Older ASA values are identical to today's ISO settings. In Europe, we had several different film speed designator standards. The most common used to be the german standard. Since this standard used a very similar method for determining film speed as the ASA standard, DIN values can be converted directly to ASA (or ISO) values. 27DIN (or to be precise, 27/10° DIN) is equivalent to 400ASA/ISO. The german DIN standard survived as a secondary indicator for film speed, many films are marked "ISO 400/27 or so.
    Just a side note: Sometime back in the 50s there was a slight change in the ASA standard so on older film reminder dials and exposure meters the conversion from DIN to ASA/ISO is a bit different. Anyhow, the difference is small enough to be covered by exposure tolerances and film latitude.
  4. The knob doesn't set the film speed, it's just to remind you what film is in the camera. The film speed is set by what kind of film you have loaded into the camera, (Tri-X is 400).
    ISO is the same as ASA.
    What school has a Leica IIIc as a loaner?
  5. "What school has a Leica IIIc as a loaner?"​
    A reeeaaallly cool school, would be my guess. Best we could do when I was a kid was a Yashica 124 TLR.
    As other folks said, ASA/DIN/etc. indicators are just reminders on meterless cameras. I use strips of blue painters masking tape to note my film types on most meterless cameras.
    If you don't have a light meter, check out Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Computer charts. It'll help you understand the relationships between exposure factors - film speed, shutter speed, aperture, lighting - as well as recognizing lighting conditions. With some practice and experience you can learn to guesstimate appropriate exposure reasonably well for meterless cameras.
  6. Might mention that in addition to ASA/DIN you select the red (color) or black (B&W) for additional reminder. Many years later, the clip on the back to hold the box end, or any piece of paper, to remember.
  7. SCL


    Brian - in the future, if you are lucky enough to have access to such a wonderful vintage camera, try to see if there is an accompanying instruction manual, which often can make learning to use it much easier. If there isn't one readily available, go online to www.butkus.org - he has over 2500 manuals for viewing or downloading (a $2 donation is appreciated to cover the costs of personally scanning all these treasures). Much more important info for you right now is how to trim the film leader - it is in the manual, or you can search for it online (there are lots of posts on the topic). I hope you enjoy this classic on loan.
  8. The camera is actually a Leica IIIf rather than a IIIc or a IIIc/IIIf conversion. Small point.
  9. I used one of these IIIf cameras in the field as a working camera waaaay long ago. To give one of these to a novice shooter today is not an act of coolness, but an act of cruelty, for reasons including those that this post makes clear.
    There is a manual for free download at http://www.butkus.org/chinon/leica/leica_if_iif_iiif/leica_if_iif_iiif.htm . I'd bet that Butkus would not expect a donation from a student.
  10. Definitely look at that manual, especially the bit about loading the film. Note that the Leica was designed for a different film leader shape than that sold today. Therefore, before you load the film, pull out the leader so that you can see the same number of sprocket holes (25) as the illustration on p29. Carefully trim it with scissors so that it matches the shape in the picture (i.e., cut away the lower edge including the sprocket holes so that you have a thin leader for the first 23 upper holes). Then follow the rest of the instructions. Have fun! By the way, there are some pretty good lightmeter apps for most smartphones - it's worth downloading one to use alongside this camera.
  11. "To give one of these to a novice shooter today is not an act of coolness, but an act of cruelty, for reasons including those that this post makes clear." - JDM von Weinberg​
    Nah, it's more like tough love.
    My first camera, a mere three years ago, was a Leica IIIc. My lens was a 4/90mm Elmar with continental stops. Starting with this camera and lens with odd stops was the best thing for me. I learned a lot about the history and development of the technologies, gained an appreciation for early photographers, developed my intuition for metering and framing, and fell in love this this mechanical gem of a camera.
    I still use my IIIc with a 50mm Summitar. I especially like the NOOKY-HESUM attachment. I would never part with it.
  12. some "tough love"
    Be that as it may be,
    just for reference, and for no good reason otherwise, here
    1. how to trim the film to load it in from the bottom (there's tough love, fersure)
    2. the conversions for various film speed ratings. The DIN and ASA numbers are combined in the ISOs of today, though most people just speak of what was formerly the ASA number. (this chart is from the year 1972 - later, GOST is the same as ASA, for example)
  13. The first serious 35mm camera I used was a III or IIIa. This was in the early 1960s and I was not yet 12. I cannot believe that novices today are brainless compared with novices half a century ago.
  14. Mukul, while I agree with your point, I also wonder if there is a different expectations some of the novices today have,
    which did not exist back then. It is easier to get disappointed when the first attempt at film photography yields results
    worse than a camera phone, where as back in the sixties, that very same first attempt may come across as a magical
  15. Yuki, expectations should not lose sight of the fact that good results follow upon hard work.
  16. "...expectations should not lose sight of the fact that good results follow upon hard work." - Mukul Dube​
    Very well put. I know many photographers who take wonderful photos but do not know how or why. They are utterly hopeless with a classic film camera or all manual digital camera. In many ways the modern camera has usurped the role of photographer.
  17. Auto exposure is some decades old and auto focus too is no longer new. The camera now does a fair bit of work without guidance, never mind that it is often fooled by circumstances. There remain many things which depend on the photographer. Of these, perhaps camera position, composition and timing can be called the most important. A well recognised smile on a well focussed face in a corner of the frame does not always make a fine photo.
  18. " Pull-up the winding knob to set the ISO.....?" . . . on the Leica III, . . . . . . . ?
    I started with the Leica II D, Elmar 50/3.5, holding in my hand right now, get two roll of T-Max back, processed, all of them correctly exposed.
    Before I picked up the camera, somewhere around 1950s, I learned all the trick, technically and photography, how the camera work and why, before I get my camera in my hand.
    I'm with the last 3 commenters hundred percent, From Makul Dube.
  19. Hi,
    Being a bit harsh on Brian here; reading his post, he's young..maybe never seen a film camera as wierd as the Leica, never heard of Butkus, never had to think how it's done until today...and he posts his question and gets flamed and called a brainless novice! Tough love indeed.
    Well I have to say I stand with Brian as just another brainless novice in the operation of my Nex 6.
  20. No one has "flamed" Brian or called him brainless. He has only to click on the link provided to find out about Butkus. The Leica is not "weird": generations of photographers have used it.
  21. "Auto exposure is some decades old and auto focus too is no longer new." - Mukul Dube​
    Those cameras are certainly modern compared with the kit I use. Apart from the point and shoot I've given to my son, I don't have a single camera that auto-focuses or auto exposes. Most of my cameras don't have meters and I rarely use the meters on the ones that do. I don't bracket my exposures, even when shooting at night on color-reversal. Good eyes and a sharp mind are more than good enough.
    "Well I have to say I stand with Brian as just another brainless novice in the operation of my Nex 6." - Andrew Brown​
    I also do not think that anyone is picking on Brian. You may feel like a novice when operating your digital device, but I reckon you know how to take a focused and well exposed photo without a digital crutch. I advocate that every photographer, when not merely learning the basics of composition, learn on a mechanical camera like a Barnack, Nikon F, Rolleiflex, and the like. To this end, I feel like Brian is on the right track.

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