Which model do I have?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by shayne_michelle, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Hi there,
    Wondering if anyone might be able to lend me more info regarding this particular Leica? It seems to be rather in good shape, having been stored in its original leather case for many years. I was very hesitant to dismantle the lens to find out how clear it is, though I understand this will affect its value greatly. Any ideas as to model/value/etc?
    Thanks much!
    More photos here
  2. Model IIIa (USA) aka Model G elsewhere, product of Germany, built 1937. The Lens is somewhat uncommon as it is Leitz Xenon (possibly made by Jos. Scheider in Germany). Also it's a fast lens for the time frame being f1.5 with 5cm focal length. Leitz later made their own version of this lens 50mm f1.5 Summarit which is more common. Check the big auction site or the internet for representative selling prices. The camera is common the lens is not.
    You must factor in condition, cosmetics, lens optics (fungus,scratches, hazing, ease of focus),CLA , replacement of tapes and blinds(shutter).
  3. It looks like it was factory converted for flash (sync settings under shutter speed dial)
  4. I think the same that John Tonai. The IIIa don't have the speed dial for flash.
  5. I too noticed the flash sync. dial immediately. So far as I know, the Schneider Xenon was the predecessor of the Summarit and differed (only?) in that it had no coating. I know nothing about the Taylor Hobson connection.
  6. It is a factory modified IIIa, upgraded with the IIIf flash sync mechanism. This explains the different shutter dial and top cover.
    This Xenon is an export model marked TT&H. Only about 6000 Xenon lenses were manufactured, but they did not sell well back in the day (1936-1948). Image quality isn't as good as the contemporary 50/1.5 Sonnar, but they have their own character that some people appreciate.

    The whole set appears to be in very good external condition.
  7. You can examine the condition of the lens by removing it from the camera (latch infinity lock, use that to unscrew CCW), setting the aperture to 1.5, and look at with a bright light shining through it. Also look at the front surface by reflected light for fine (or coarse) scratches.
    Don't try and clean it, even on the outside, unless you are experienced at cleaning lenses properly. More damage happens to lenses by improper cleaning technique than any other cause...
    Don't even consider taking the lens apart.
  8. SCL


    Don't dismantle the lens....you can dismount it from the camera bpdy, though. A potential buyer will of course want to make sure there is no fungus, dirt, dust, haze, mold or lens separation, and few if any scratches/cleaning marks...which are more serious if they are on the rear elements than the front ones...check the diaphragm to make sure there is no binding or oil on the blades, and thet it doesn't bi8nd on opening or closing; then they will want to check the cleanliness and condition of the exterior of the lens housing. As far as the camera body, a potential buyer will want to check that the shutter speeds are within tolerance, the rangefinder is reasonably clear and in alignment, and the viewfinder is clear..then the normal body checks for rust, corrosion, pits, dents, and condition of the vulcanite housing, etc. etc. So, there is a lot to check, but you can go onto the Ebay site and check for prices of completed auctions of similar pieces in varying degrees of condition, and someplace like KEH.com. These are really neat cameras to use, by the way.
  9. The IIIA was produced in large numbers, so less rare / expensive now. Non- Leitz factory alterations lower value, but this is clearly Leitz. That makes the upgrade a little more interesting, and it is in very good condition. The rangefinder cover has been replaced during the conversion and the cover height looks raised, maybe to the height of a IIIf. These conversions should be more valuable, but often aren't.
    Xenons always look worse from the front. I can't see any scratches. If this looks nice and clean from the rear, it's quite collectible.
  10. My Xenon from 1937 is pretty scratched up at both ends and had a lose front lens section when I bought it (UG) from KEH. Someone screwed up on the disassembly/repair. Apparently they couldn't figure out how to tighten the middle lens unit to the rear lens unit. The service holes for this are hidden under the knurled rings on the focus ring. ;)
    It flared like a dog of the female persuasion in this condition.

    Should see some improvement now that I've had the glass serviced.
  11. Rick, at least you don't need to worry about getting coatings redone. Are you getting regrinding or polishing?
  12. Just polishing on the front and rear lens surfaces. I think my example was coated at some later point in life. It still has the purplish sheen on it now, but the cleaning scratches have been greatly reduced.

    Testing it on my Epson R-D1 shows a great reduction in glow around bright subjects in the images. But I'm waiting for a test roll of Rollei Digibase CN200 film to come back from the lab.
  13. So, Rick, could you send us a few comparison pics with those from a known good lens at similar apertures?
    Mine is pretty old and scruffy on exposed surfaces, with low contrast, but still visibly quite sharp.
  14. I've scanned a roll of Agfa Superpan 200 I shot with a Leica IIIc and Xenon yesterday. I'll upload them later today.

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