Oldest active Leica RF & Lens

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by glenn_travis, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. I saw this question posted elsewhere, and it made me curious. Who's shooting with the oldest Camera and Lens on this forum. (Must be Leica, of course.) I know a lot of people use the M3, which is a fifty year old camera. (Leica '0' doesnt count) I'm shooting with a Leitz M6, circa 1984, and an Elmar-M 50mm 1:2.8, circa 1995(?).
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  2. I still regularly use my 1934 Leica III with a uncoated 50/3.5 Elmar
    from 1936.
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  3. I have a Leica M3 made in early 1955 that I use from time to time.
    My M6 TTL 0.72 is used daily.
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  4. Y'all have me beat. My oldest Leica body is a '59 M3, oldest Leitz
    lens a '54 collapsible 9cm Elmar. Other than that, I have a Nikkor
    f/2 8.5cm in LTM that's from around '53-56. However, I routinely
    shoot w/some of my old Zeiss glass for Contax RF (dating all the way
    back to '36) on my Leicas (mounted via adapters).
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  5. Just came back from a short visit in town. Shot some pics with Leica
    C s/n 59000's circa 1931 with Elmar of same vintage. I am the third
    owner of this camera, previous owner purchased it second hand in
    London during WW2 and it was his regular camera until I acquired it.
    I run a roll through it roughly 3 times a year, works wonderfully and
    makes me slow down and enjoy photography.
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  6. My oldest body is a 1937 IIIa; oldest lens is a 1950 5cm Elmar
    f/3.5. I use them just enough to keep them from gumming up.
  7. i often use my 1c (as in little "c"), circa '31 or '32 i think.
    similar to the standard, but with a diff rewind knob. i use it
    exclusively with the CV 15mm. i had to remove (unscrew) the original
    finder so that the voigt finder would fit in the accessory shoe. i
    bought the camera (and another like it) from Andrews camera in the uk
    after i saw it featured in an amateur photographer piece on old screw
    leicas. it has been completely overhauled and works like a dream.
    if it only had strap lugs!!
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  8. My oldest active camera is an IIIf with uncoated pre-war Elmars
    of various focal lengths. I am waiting for the new VC rigid 50/3.5
    (or is it a 50/2.5) to permanently mount on it. The VC Bessa-T
    101 with at marvelous coll. 50/3.5 is certainly tempting though!
    The last ancient lens I bought, the Hektor 135mm is quite a
    performer. Leitz never seizes to surprise me.
  9. My son-in-law still uses the IIIc with the 3.5/50 Elmar that I aquired in Germany in 1945. He hates cutting the leaders, but he still
    gets better than acceptable pictures. He loves the built-in diopter correction. (He's a Nikon nut - - so please forgive him for stuffing
    the IIIc into his pocket at every opportunity < grin >)
  10. My oldest camera in use is a 1939 Leica IIIc converted to black dial
    IIIf. Very potent camera and many girls from the street compliment
    its looks more than my own self :)
  11. Thanks for asking, I never looked before. My model II (#93xxx) is
    one of the first batch of rangefinder Leicas ever issued (on
    1.2.32). It is in shiny black enamel and in superb condition except
    for one tiny worn area on the front of the accessory shoe. It was
    CLA'd by DAG last year and still functions perfectly, although next
    time I'll ask him to remirror the rangefinder, which is getting a
    little dim for these old eyes. I generally use it with one of the
    very last 50mm f:3.5 Elmars or a 50mm f:1.4 Nikkor, and keep kicking
    myself for not buying one of the new LST 50mm Summicrons from
    Tamarkin before they were snatched up. It was "liberated" by my best
    friend's father during WW2, and one day after the old gentleman
    passed on, it arrived, unannounced, in my mailbox. That's what I
    call a real friend.
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  12. My IIIa and Summar, both from 1935, are both superbly made and
    function brilliantly. Readers might like to check out Don't hide 'em,
    use 'em, by Clyde Campbell at www.lhsa.org under Viewfinder articles.
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  13. I have just started a photo project with my 1929 1A with short focus
    Elmar for the college. I have taken 7 pics so far. I still use my
    1936 III regularly.
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  14. Old thread but I stumbled across this and wanted to contribute! I'm currently using a 1930 I/III conversion near daily. It's SN is a very low 21xxx. Factory black paint with plenty of brass peaking through. Nickel, not chrome controls with matching Summar. It's an inspiring camera to shoot with! Glad to see so many oldies are were in use in 2002! How about now?
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  15. There were a lot more people using film in 2002 (d'uh), but I think you would find the same people taking those same cameras out a few times a year, as it feels good.
    I just put a roll of 400 ISO colour through my Leica II 1932 and uncoated nickel Elmar maybe once a year. It's pretty, and small, and makes a nice soft clunk. Fortunately, I can still get 1 hour D&P in Katoomba. I can hardly be bothered putting any newer cameras through the same exercise, particularly as the darkroom has been out of action for about 5 years. I love the look of nickel.
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  16. I am currently shooting with my 1934 IIIa since my 1936 IIIa lost slow speeds and is being repaired. Right now not using a Leitz lens but a modern Voightlander 35 mm ltm lens with Leitz 35mm finder.
    After all, every 80 yrs or so these cameras must be serviced.
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  17. I use a 1940 IIIc
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  18. My oldest Leica IIIc is from 1948 with same vintage 50 Elmar 3.5. $25 @ yard sale, my Dad gave it to me as an Xmas stocking stuffer. Both body and lens need complete CLA. Oldest Leica in regular use is my late Dad's IIIg with early Summicron 50 and Leicavit winder. Dad sold his Leica Standard to buy the IIIg.used. My SLR favorite is a Leicaflex version 1 with mirror lockup for f3.4 21 ultra wide angle. Our family has owned Leicas since 1932. Dad used the Leica Standard at EK to test Kodachrome. Nice surprise to read how many of the pre-WWII Leicas are still in use.
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  19. The only Leica I have is a IIIc, but it works great still and I have no issue using it when I feel like loading film in it.

    I bought mine with three lenses-the uncoated collapsible Elmar that was probably on it new, a coated 35mm Summaron, and a 135mm. I seem to recall that the IIIc is from 1940 or '41 when I bothered to look.

    I've only used the Elmar and Summaron. I really need to send both of those along with the body off for service-the slow speeds are off, the RF has a bit of vertical misalignment, and both of those lenses are hazy(the 135 is actually clear). Still, I've seen impressive results from both lenses.

    I should probably also invest in a better external finder. The camera came with the "pointy" 35-135 finder, but it has its faults. For one thing it makes the camera top heavy and takes away any chance of pocketing it. Second, it's fine at 35mm, but I don't like that it just seemingly crops off the frame as it's "zoomed" and so at 135mm leaves a tiny little window. It does at least have good parallax correction. Even so, though, I'd rather have a pair of smaller and brighter finders dedicated for 35 and 135mm.
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  20. I still use my Leica IIIf with Summarit (early 50's?). Very compact travel camera.
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