Leica IIIf relevant if one has an M3

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by puketronic, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    OK so in 35mm I have a Leica M3 and DR Summicron. I also have a Retina IIIc. I have some cameras/lenses but those are less relevant to discuss.

    The Leica is ready to shoot, great in ergonomics, but so-so in portability.
    The Retina is not as ready to shoot, slow in ergonomics, but great in portability.

    The Rollei 35 is great in all these regards but is scale-focus only hence I rarely use it because I want focusing at close distances and at wide apertures.

    I'm looking for that perfect camera for daily use. Well there are times when I like to use the Leica and there are times when I like to use the Retina. However, most of the time, I think I would like to use something almost as ergonomic as the M and almost as portable as the Retina but I would still like to retain rangefinder focusing, so I'm thinking of a Leica IIIf/IIIc with collapsible or maybe just getting a collapsible in M-mount.

    For the Retina, the squinty finder doesn't bother me, it is changing the aperture/shutter speed and unfolding the camera that bothers me. I know that Leica bottom loader VF/RF are divorced and that the camera is more difficult to load but I feel that slower operating cameras (that do not get in the way) make better pictures; similarly, loading will just take time to get used to. I also change the settings frequently than I do take pictures because I like to keep the camera ready. I also do not like autofocus (so no point and shoots).

    I'm sure many of you guys had searched for a daily user but for those that have or had tried both M's and IIIc/IIIf's do you think that the IIIc/IIIf is a "better" daily user? Does it actually feel more ligher/portable/compact? I know that the difference looks smaller from the numbers but sometimes feeling it in your hand is different. Whenever I think about getting a IIIc/IIIf, I think, 'how archaic?' and that the size/weight savings is trivial.
     
  2. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    I do not regard the M3 as bulky, but the iii series is definitely smaller, carries very easily, and fits nicely in the hand with the bottom of the camera nestling into the middle of the palm.
     
  3. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    Minolta 16... full manual shutter and aperture range, and chewing gum compact. I quipped it and a Hasselblad 500 with 80mm would be my carry around Havana kit. BTW I like M3's too. If I had a one camera Havana kit it might be it. The Minolta 16 can go anywhere and the camera you have is the best camera when a scene or event happens.
     
  4. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    You could look at the early Canon LTM cameras. Similar to the IIIc but with a unified finder (one window for composition and focus). It is even more squinty than the IIIc though.

    Another option would be the Olympus 35rc. It's about as small as rangefinders are going to get without collapsing like the Contax T.
     
  5. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    Have you considered the Leica CL, or the Minolta CL/CLE cameras with the 40mm summicron? I like using one of these, as they are light weight, have a very bright viewfinder and rangefinder. They also have TTL metering, although you have to use a Wein cell or adjust the asa setting to compensate for using an alkaline cell that has more output. It works fine for me and is quick to focus, has nicely laid out controls, and the lens is really sharp. You can use a 50mm as well as a 90mm lens too. If you use a collapsable 50mm be careful not to collapse the lens, or it could crush the pop up meter cell.
    Maybe worth checking out, as they're usually cheaper than other M series cameras.
     
  6. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    There are brunettes, yes , but none of their eyes are perfect as leica.
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    puketronic,

    You have no problems with a collapsible lens, nor with bottom loading, but are bothered by unfolding a camera.
    I am puzzled.
     
  8. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    It is not only the unfolding but changing the aperture/shutter speed. I know it sounds trivial. I'm not sure about your experiences with cameras and how you use them but sometimes the trivial things just get in the way. I'm 35mm, I value compactness and speed the most. I love the ergonomics of my Rollei 35...but it is not a rangefinder.

    What I dislike about the Retina is how the shutter speed and aperture are linked and adjusting one without the other isn't fast. I like to adjust the settings often and indepently. And this can only be done when the camera is unfolded. So when I see something interesting I have to unfold the camera, mess with the settings, focus and shoot.

    With the Leica LTM I you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture independently and I would think that this can be done while the lens is collapsed. So when I see something interesting I just uncollapse the lens, focus and shoot.

    The Leica LTM just sounds faster to operate.

    The bottom loading is no problem at all because I do not change films that often. I have never been bothered by bottom loading my M3 and I figured that an LTM would be more or less the same...maybe more frustrating at first but I don't find it a major deterrent.
     
  9. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    That is one that I would possibly consider. Thanks.
     
  10. 250swb

    250swb Member

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    The bottom loading of a IIIF is a whole other thing and not to be compared with an M3. It is still slow even if you do all the things that make is faster. Even then doing it slowly is the only way to ensure the film is engaged over the sprocket teeth because the camera will fool you at some time or other into thinking everything is OK. Even Cartier Bresson has images reproduced with the sprocket holes in evidence at the edge of the frame.

    But a IIIF is much smaller than an M3, and with a collapsible lens is truly a pocket camera (coat pocket). But the finder is squinty, an accessory finder is better (for whatever focal length, even 50mm), but then the size of the overall package starts to increase and you are back to an M3..... I think if you work with a IIIF, and forget about comparing it to an M3 you may find it the perfect camera, but I think it is one of those rare camera's that I think you need to try for yourself. The ergonomic's will either have you banging your head against the wall, or loving it beyond all other things.

    Steve
     
  11. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    IIIc/f will fit Your needs, its noticeably lighter/portable/compact compared to any M.
    If You are not after the 1.5x RF magnification and don't care for 1/1000 and speeds under 1/20., then Leica II is another option.
     
  12. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

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    Due to film cartridge dimensions, not because of problems loading the film in camera.
     
  13. wwilliams

    wwilliams Member

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    Another vote for the CL or CLE. They are amazing for their portability/useability and all your M lenses fit. What's not to like? Owned two IIIF's and they are beautiful machines but are not even a close competitor for useability.
     
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  15. RallyFan

    RallyFan Member

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    I agree. For me, the IIIf just fits and feels 100% right, and I tried real hard to not buy one but CL's, Voigtlanders, cheap/beat M's, nothing could pry my attention away from the III. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    You can pick up a good quality IIIc/f for a very reasonable price, and if you don't like it, you can probably sell it for what you paid for it without problem. Film loading is quirky, but it's not a huge issue at all. I've kind of grown to like the separate RF/VF, and like the 1.5x magnification in the RF.
     
  16. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    I vote for a used bessa: the reason being, I have a beautiful M3DS which is a joy to use. I would hate for it to get scratched, so I leave it at home.

    David

    I also use a Contax IIa
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I use an M2 and MP and love both but the day I held and used a IIIA I was surprised at how much the smaller size and overall feel was so much more comfortable to carry and use as a pocketable camera. Main downside is the more squinty viewfinder but the extra care for me often results in more careful images which is not so bad. I upgraded to a IIIf RD from Youxin last month and love it even more using it with an uncoated 35/3,5 Elmar.
     
  18. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    ^^^^^^ NO ^^^^^^^^^^ The CL shutters stink! The only camera to break my heart twice. Never again. Never.. leave it on the shelf.
     
  19. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Why not just buy a collapsible Elmar and attach it to your M3 with an adapter? Sounds like a win-win to me based on your criteria.
     
  20. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    The first problem with a Barnack i.e. a IIIg or earlier is you need to trim the film to the old leader standard, i.e. carry a small pair of scissors.
    Loading properly trimmed film is then easy unless you have two left hands ( I apologise for that as well.)
    They are like M2s you need to count the blank frames and set the counter manually.
    They only take screw lenses and the Elmar aperture adjustment is difficult.
    Best plan is buy a CV /2.5 5cm, if you are taking photos as opposed to stroking Leica gear.
    Setting the shutter speed requires a lift the dial and drop in place and is only at the datum point if the shutter is wound.
    Lastly if you snag the speed dial as the shutter fires the negative will be useless.

    Noel
     
  21. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I've used both M series and a 111f. The M series is certainly more convenient to load and shoot. A 111f or 111c in good condition with a collapsible lens like the Elmar or perhaps Summicron is a good choice where compactness is most important. One must either trim the film leader or insert a business card in the film slot and load the film behind the card. I found the other differences between the new and older Leicas to be minor obstacles.
     
  22. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Lots of thoughts here. I'll just say this, and it's nothing but how I personally feel: Oftentimes ease of use does not equate to the better results. In fact sometimes it makes things worse by making it too easy to take snaps, rather than more thought-out photographs...
     
  23. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If you use a card and make a mistake you may destroy the shutter
     
  24. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I have some comments on some other posts but I agree.

    i use mechanical manual cameras pretty much exclusively. I find that whenever I use an automated film or digital camera, clicking the shutter is too easy and I think less which equates to crummier results. OK the barnack is not an automated or digital camera but I just wanted to assert my agreement with this statement.
     
  25. mhcfires

    mhcfires Subscriber

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    I have both a IIIa and a IIIF. I don't use a card. Even if you don't trim the leader it isn't too hard to load, just takes a bit longer. I use a Summaron 35mm/3.5 on my LTM's it is really compact.
     
  26. agnosticnikon

    agnosticnikon Member

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    Sorry to hear you've had problems with the CL shutter. I've had my Leitz Minolta CL for over 15 years and use it fairly often and have never had a problem with it. I also like the way the strap fits on one end of the camera, so it's easy to slide it in a breast pocket and quickly pull it out to use. I've had 2 M3s, and an M2 and sold them cause I didn't enjoy using them that much. (go figure, right?) Beautiful cameras and lenses though. But I still have a prewar model III and a postwar model IIIc that I love very much. I just like the feel of them, and enjoy the results I get with the 50mm Summar lens I use the most. The pictures have glow and softness about them that I'm really fond of. (probably due to the lenses condition as much as anything else) Yeah, the film loading takes some getting used to, and the veiwfinders and rangefinders are kinda small but like one post said, easier doesn't always mean better. I guess like most things, we find the stuff that we like the best is because it fits our particular needs best.