Monday, May 21, 2012

Leica IIIa

Leica IIIa
I recently have acquired a gem of the camera world.  A near pristine Leica IIIa 35mm Rangefinder.  The rangefinder is bright, clean, and accurate.  The camera is in fantastic condition, the vulcanite is very lovely, the chrome parts are nice, but could probably do with a polish just to bring out more shine, and body seems to be well taken care of.
Now the bit of bad news on this camera, and it's just a bit.  The shutter has failed, and will not actuate at the proper speed.  Why? I couldn't really say, but it seems to stick at times, or just go through its travel at full speed instead.
It's like there's no difference from 1/1000s to 1s at all, which is unfortunately, and it will not stay open at Z (BULB). 

Upon opening the box on Friday Evening (May 18, 2012), I was greeted with a box full of packing peanuts, and a camera wrapped in bubble wrap.  It felt like Christmas unwrapping this camera, as the excitement was very high.  My very first Leica camera!  I was intent on putting it to immediate use.. so I pulled it out, wound the shutter for the first time, and clicked the release...

The shutter fired nicely!  Oh what a nice sound it was too.... then, winding the shutter again, I turned the speed dial to 1/20s...  and click.. Uh-oh....
The shutter fired... oh, but it fired too fast!  1/1000s it went... and it happened at every speed, including Z (Bulb)... I knew there was an issue with the camera, but was really hoping it was the sellers error on not knowing how to properly use the camera.  Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with that.  The camera is otherwise functional, considering that the shutter will fire at high speed through the full travel and winds nicely, and the rangefinder is bright, clean, and very accurate.
My New Toy...Even though there are some issues with this camera, I'm still going to try it out.  I plan on putting a roll of 200ISO film (or so) through it and test out the over-all workings of this camera.  See, I want to know if it has a problem with the shutter curtain as well..  The only way I'll know if there are pin-holes in the cloth curtain is to actually use the camera.

That said, I am also currently calling around trying to find someone that is reasonably priced for the repairs on this camera, and hoping that once I find said person, that it won't be long to get the camera back.

This is probably the most expensive camera I have purchased, considering I bought it as a camera that isn't fully functional without a lens...  Heck, the Bronica I bought had 1 lens, a film back, and was ready to go when I bought it.

I hope to have this camera out for service soon so that I can start using it to its fullest potential in the near future!

Quick Specs

Leica IIIa 35mm Rangefinder
1s to 1/1000s Horizontal Travel Cloth Shutter
M39 Lens Mount
Rangefinder & Separate Viewfinder for easier focus and composition

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