inherited Leica IIIf

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by winger, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    The only problem seems to be there's a loose leaf or 2 in the lens. OK, not so minor a problem. But, if I can get that fixed, is it likely that I can really use this absolutely beautiful camera? And where (preferably in New Enlgand) can I get this fixed?
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Bethe,

    Yes, do use it. It may not be intuitive to you at first, but learn the skills to use it and you should be very happy with it. I believe you'll need to learn to cut the film leader a bit longer before loading, as it requires a longer trimmed-down section, although I think some folks manage to do without that. I've seen dimension templates for that on the web, but can't recall where.

    For excellent repair recommendations, see this thread:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=23119

    Have fun with it.

    Lee
     
  3. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    You can try Vermont Camera Works.
     
  4. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Bethe,
    Congratulations on the inheritance of a Leica IIIf. There are many techs stateside you can fix your leaf challenge. I am spoiled with my M3 which was given to me by my dad before he passed on, I don't cut the leader. Enjoy the camera once you get it back, its meant to be used.

    Bill
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Levine's ( Boston ) has a good repair: they've done LOTS of IIIf work.

    For big stuff, DAG, Sherry Krauter.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    be careful if you send things to grimes camera repair in boston.
    it used to be steve grime's shop, but is no more.

    the last thing they worked on of mine was a "purple dot" wollensak 90mm lens back in 1997. the shutter needed a cla ... $$$ later they gave it back to me and it stopped working about a week later. then they sent it to a repair guy in california who they have worked with in the past ... $$$ later i get it back to see that it seized up again. when i opened up the shutter, i found red hair (beard clippings?) in the works. that was the last time, and i still regret even making the mistake of bringing it to them ( to think i actually thought they would have had the same service standards as steve grimes ! )

    not to mention, they had the old " you are using things POS ... " additude.

    maybe they treat people differently now, it has been almost 10 years ...
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I am assuming that the camera has a collapisble 50mm lens. It is a wonderfully small camera to take anywhere in a jacket pocket..no lightweight though.
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    The guys at Kindermann in Toronto have a lot of experience in screw mount cameras. I believe that when Leica quite servicing the screw mount stuff they bought all the remaining stocks of spare parts, so they are well equipped to work on them.

    I've had my IIIc serviced by them and it came back working like a Swiss watch, which was much better than when it went in. I also inherited my camera and it had sat for a long time.
     
  9. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If I recall correctly, there's a picture of the required leader shape on the inside of the camera base. The required length of half-width leader is 100 mm plus a few mm, minus nothing. It's well worth cutting the leader with a IIIf (or any screw-thread Leica), because otherwise attempts to load the film may result in film abrasion and the release of particles in the camera, which may go unnoticed for some time (the M3 is a bit different as it has a hinged back).
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I always set the shutter to time to lock it open while loading film, and then I can see if the film is centered in the shutter opening and it also helps to move the film around a bit to make sure that it is engaged on the sprokets.

    When I do this I find I don't need to trim the leader. However, you will see the diagram on the inside of the camera.
     
  11. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Thank you everyone! I can't wait to get this fixed and use it (if possible). I may need a lesson in loading it first, but that shouldn't be too tough.
     
  12. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    Loading is not too bad, except if you are used to a modern camera with powered film advance. The take-up spool pulls out, the leader is pushed under a clip on the spool, and then the cassette and spool are lowered together into opposite ends of the camera with the film stretched out between them. Make sure you have returned the rewind lever to the advance position. You may need to turn the rewind knob slightly to engage this with the cassette and allow this to be fully inserted. The big thing, as with any manual-load 35, is to advance the film one frame before closing the back (in the case of the Leica, refitting the base). It helps if you are in a reasonable light where you can see the film on the take up spool. Then refit the base, turn the rewind knob gently to take up any slack, make a blank exposure and wind on twice while checking that the rewind knob rotates (indicating that the film is really advancing), push the film counter round to 1 by means of the dimple on the dial, and you're ready to go! Removing film after exposure is easy but tedious, you just move the rewind lever to rewind and use the rewind knob. Leitz deliberately made this slow to operate, since they were worried that crazed photographers would otherwise rewind the film too fast and generate static electricity!
     
  13. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    my first (and still frequent fave) is a totally manual Pentax, so I'm used to manual loading. It's possibly having to cut the leader and not seeing it go across the back that are a little different. If I mess up a bit at the start of a roll or lose a roll, hey, film's cheap. It'll only be rough if I lose images because I screw it up. And that happens with any camera! In fact, I did that with a MF a year or so ago. I caught the start of the film on the dark slide without noticing and it didn't advance properly. I "shot" an entire roll of 120 of this cool old barn only to realize it hadn't advanced at all. I did go back and shoot some more, but it's been torn now. yeah, Murphy's Law of photography, corollary 23?
     
  14. stark raving

    stark raving Member

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    I trim leaders religiously for my IIIC now, but for years, didn't know to do this, and never had a problem. Understand I was running a risk, though. Having exactly the right amount of slack leader out of the cassette is the trick, I've found. You want to be able to form a curve in the film leader that mimics the curve of the film path in the camera before you slip the film in. You learn this by experience. If it doesn't feel right, don't force it, be patient & pull the film out and try again. Make absolutely sure the film is tracking "clean", no binding, sprocket holes aligned with sprocket teeth, before closing up the bottom. Waste a few extra frames of film if necessary, it's worth it.

    Concerning repairs: this fellow's not in New England, but he's absolutely one of the best for screw-mount Leica in the USA. Doesn't do M mount or Leica reflex, just screw mount:

    John Maddox
    L & J Leica Repair
    109 Royal Oak Road
    Greenville, SC 29607

    1-864-297-6931

    Best time to call him is late afternoon weekdays, in my experience. He can take his time, but his prices are OK, and the quality of his work is totally worth the time it takes. He's also a complete gentleman.

    Jonathan
     
  15. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    If you are going to use your Leica IIIf, you might be interested by the "Leica Manual and Data Book" by Willard D. Morgan and Henry M. Lester (13th edition of September 1955). This book is quite common and can be found in second-hand bookstores for around $5.

    From this book, these are the flash settings for the IIIf ("Braun Hobby" was an electronic flashgun, the settings for this are for X sync):
     
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  16. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    If you have not yet found this website theres a treasure trove of information about Leica screw mount cameras on this page.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/classics.htm

    I love my IIIa (1936) and wouldn't hesitate to use it anytime. It's small, light, nearly invisible and silent and judiciously applied sunny f16 works as well as most in camera meters. Theres some user tips in this particular link that I've always followed and have never had a problem in the 6 or so years since I found it.

    http://www.cameraquest.com/ltmcam.htm

    Have a great time and send us some photos!
     
  17. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The problem with loading modern film in a IIIf seems to be the film catching on the pressure plate or film gate. To avoid this without cutting the film for a longer tounge, first attach the film to the take-up spool. Insert two business cards fully in the camera bottom, and slide cartridge and spool into the camera with the film between the cards. The cards will guide the film past the pressure plate and film gate. Remove the cards and wind the film a bit to see if the sprocket engages the film sprocket holes. If so, close the bottom and take up the slack in the rewind knob. The rewind knob should turn when you advance the film, like your Pentax. With practice this isn't as hard as it sounds. I've done it while driving a car on a rush job. If I was still using a IIIf I'd use a couple pieces of sheet film instead of business cards.

    There are many fine lenses available for the IIIf, should repairs to your lens be too expensive. I've used one Summicron for maybe 35 years. One of the sharpest lenses I ever tested in a quick and crude, but critical, test was the 50mm f/2.8 Elmar. The 50mm f/3.5 Elmar was well regarded in its day, but those two faster lenses were better. The f/3.5 Elmar does make the IIIf easy to carry in a pocket, and the f/2.8 Elmar isn't much thicker. I've also used Canon and Nikkor lenses. Most were good for their time.

    I second the recommendation to get Morgan & Lester's Leica Manual, 12th or later edition. The major online book resellers and perhaps ebay should have copies. There were several Leica manuals by other authors, but the Morgan & Lester book may be the best.