Proper kit for IIIf ?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Step-One-Seven, May 31, 2008.

  1. Step-One-Seven

    Step-One-Seven Member

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    Looking to put together an appropriate kit for a IIIf. The idea behind this is a compact, fully mechanical kit with no more than 3 lenses for "walking around" photography.

    Would like one lens with fair low light capability, probably on the short end of the scale. Nothing in the kit should be over 50mm, as I like it up close and personal....

    Oh yeah... I don't want to mortgage the house and sell my digital equipment to fund this newest obsession!

    Recommendations?

    Thanks!
     
  2. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    a 50 elmar & lens shade. A light yellow filter.
    Shoot a year before you get a second lens.


    lots of tri-x or plus x

    the most important accessory ? a focomat enlarger

    have a good time !
     
  3. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    A traditional outfit would be some awful old Leica 35mm, a 50mm Elmar, and a 90mm Elmar, but I'd get one of the smaller Cosina/Voigtlander 21mm or 28mm lenses, both of which are appropriately tiny, and great lenses. Another nice lens, since you like wides, is the C/V 15mm, which makes a tasty small package on LTM Leicas. For a fastish 50, the collapsible 50mm Summicron rules.

    Personally, a C/V 21mm/50 Summicron kit would be perfect for me. Having gotten rid of my Leica stuff, I'm carrying basically that combination in Nikon SLR equivalent, and it's not nearly as compact as the Leica version. When I had the 15 I didn't use it much, so I'd leave that out, myself. Either the 21 and the collapsible Summicron fit comfortably in a pocket. Squeeze in an extra roll of film, and you're done.

    If you really want a fast W/A, the last Leica thread 28 I had was the C/V 28.1.9. It's a wonderful lens--the best 28 I've ever had--but large on a small Leica. It's discontinued, but Cameraquest still has some.
     
  4. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Once you start getting into wide angles, then you have to think about auxiliary viewfinders, and the amount of things rolling around in the bag starts to grow. Also, remember that you should budget for a light meter, if you don't already have one.

    A lot of people simply guess, but if you're going to ever shoot slide film, then you'll need a meter. And if your sole experience has been with digital, you'll definitely need a light meter. I recall that one person said that their exposure estimations were more accurate than a light meter, which is preposterous.

    I would suggest getting a IIIf and a Summitar or Summarit and then shoot with that for a while. Changing lenses on a Leica takes a bit of time, because they screw onto the body. Also remember that loading film takes longer than other 35mm cameras.

    Good luck. A Leica is a great classic camera. The screw-mount models are svelte, unobtrusive and great shooters.
     
  5. Jersey Vic

    Jersey Vic Member

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    If you're looking for a classic Leica look, traditional ltm lenses are the way to go: Elmar, Summar, Summitar, Summaron.
    If you want a compact mechanical body with modern optics, the Cosina Voigtlander 15mm, 21mm and 50mm's are unbeatable for price to performance. For 'fast', the Summitar f2 of the ltms and the Nokton f1.5 of the CVs are very nice and fairly inexpensive.
    The Summitar is a beautiful lens wide open with gorgeous bokeh and pretty darn sharp stopped down and the 35mm f3.5 summaron w/ hood and is a fine, beautifully machined, tiny lens that makes negs I routinely enlarge to 11x14 and am satisfied with. You'll have fun either way.

    Last idea: do a flickr search of images made with some of these lenses..theres lots of examples on there.
    Be Well

    Victor
     
  6. butterflydream

    butterflydream Member

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    If I would have budget for IIIf and 3 lenses, plus finders etc, I would rather go to a M2 body and one lens.
     
  7. Step-One-Seven

    Step-One-Seven Member

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    Great info so far! Thanks for the responses!

    The Ms are beautiful cameras, and I was originally considering going that way, but I just love the mechanistic-feel of the IIIs. I've shot film with old Minoltas and Canons and, more recently, with a Mamiya C330... Looking for a stone-simple 35 kit that is small and capable. Don't need "quick" as I tend to go out shooting with --at most--2 lenses even with my digital kit. Those are most likely to be primes, so I'm used to moving my feet to get the shot.
     
  8. butterflydream

    butterflydream Member

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    IIIf is great camera and is the top of the screw mount leica, but I feel it's overpriced these days especially when it's clean. And if you need other lens than 50mm you need finder which is expensive as well. That was the reason why I would prefer M2. IIIc is slightly different from IIIf, but the price is much less. That said, a well CLAed IIIf shutter is a pleasure, though. And SBOOI finder will make you see the world brighter than it really is. :smile:
     
  9. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    The 'classic' Leica experience doesn't involve the pleasure of looking through a finder,
    but removing as much camera as possible from between you and the world through which you move.

    It is about a single lens for the simple reason that FEW photographers could afford more than a single lens.

    It is about adding a camera to your life, not living for your camera.

    It is about transforming yourself, not buying a ton of stuff.
    When you can walk a busy street, and with your mind's eye, project a frameline around the scene,
    and set the focus of the camera without looking at it, you're at the beginning of the trip.

    .
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    As butterflydream suggested the lllC is a good alternative. You only lose the flash capability & everyone knows you don't use flash w/a Leica:D.
     
  11. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    IIIc with a collapsible Elmar 50/3.5, and from among the following:
    - Jupiter 3 50/1.5 - the most compact really fast lens I know in LTM.
    - CV 35/2.5 Color-Skopar
    - CV or Canon 28/3.5 lenses - for this and the 35, get the CV 28/35 finder - it's wonderful
    - CV 25/4, 21/4 or 15/4.5 depending how wide your taste ranges.

    I myself would go with 15/28/50.
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    df

    what you say is very true.

    that's great advice.

    john
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    body
    50mm f/2 lens (Summar, Summitar, or Summicron)
    CLA
    strap
    small bag for camera and film
     
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  15. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Just an inoculation to Leica Fever.
     
  16. Step-One-Seven

    Step-One-Seven Member

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    Wanted to update the thread... I found and pounced on a 1951 iiiF that's in BEAUTIFUL shape. Far "too pretty to use", were I a collector. Lucky thing I'm a a lowly photog!! Bought the whole kit, including 50/2 summicron, a 90/4 pre-war elmar, a 35 and 85 Jupiter and an aux finder.

    I've finally got the film loaded (funny how "knowing how" and "being able to" are two very different things). Looking forward to the first images I've captured with an analog camera in over 24 months.

    Somehow just holding the old girl in my hands makes my digital kit seem "soulless". It's a silly notion, as image capture is image capture, but there is definitely something more pure and tactile about the process with this little lady...
     
  17. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

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    Sounds like you've got a really usable outfit. I hope you will appreciate and use it for a long, long time.
     
  18. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    If the Summicron that came with the camera is original to it, check the glass for yellowing. Summicrons with a SN earlier than about 105xxxx used Thorium. It tends to yellow the glass, but can be sun-bleached out. If you do this, you might also need to relube it. Or just use with B&W and skip the yellow filter!

    These Barnack Leica's really grow on you. Fun to use, great little cameras.
     
  19. Step-One-Seven

    Step-One-Seven Member

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    It's slightly yellow, the Elmar noticeably so, but neither is objectionable. I haven't shot with the Jupiters yet, but plan to pull out the 35 this evening. The Elmar was actually serviced at the same time as the recent CLA for the camera body.

    Now that I can reliably load the film (!) I actually like burning film through this 'lil lady more than my old standby A1 canon.
     
  20. davela

    davela Subscriber

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    The 35mm F2.8 Jupiter-12 in LTM will fit on this camera. You can find examples that are new-old-stock on eBay for about $70 plus shipping, less for used ones. It's a real bargain. The next step up is probably a Canon 35/3.5 or 35/2.8 at over $100. The Acall 35 F3.5 is also a good choice if you can find one - about $100. There are a few others (e.g lower spec'ed Komura). The Canon 28/3.5 is an outstanding 28mm lens ($160-$220 or so). The modern CV Skopar Snapshot at 25/4 is also a bargain. Expect to pay about $170 used.

    The Russian Turret finders work great, are inexpensive, and even have a limited degree of parallax correction. They cover 28-135mm frames. It is a good match to the Leica IIIc.

    There are many choices in 50's. The Summitar 50/2 can be a good deal if you search ($150 plus). The Canon 50/1.8 is also superb for about $120. The Summitar will significantly outperform the Elmar and is about the same price.
     
  21. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    Since posting this, I've tried using a UV light to bleach some of the yellowing out of a Pentax 50/1.4. It looked like it had a positive effect, and does not produce the heat by-product of direct sunlight. Kind of makes sense as Optical Glass absorbs deep UV, and that may be the portion of the spectrum that is doing the trick.

    Also- the Canon 50/1.5 in LTM is a bit smaller than a J-3. Fits in the Pouch case of a CL, and does not block the viewfinder of the IIIf.
     
  22. Step-One-Seven

    Step-One-Seven Member

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    I thought I'd come back and update this thread...
    I've been shooting the IIIf for a while now and the one lens that is never out of my little kit bag is the standard 50/2 summicron. I'll occasionally pack the 85 Jupiter but it seems "softish". The 90 elmar is rarely mounted.

    I did spring for one of the CV 15mm and the first roll behind THAT lens is AWESOME.
    I like the 35 Jupiter, but I'm not shooting it much... I'd like to be able to get closer than it allows me to... maybe a CV in that FL is in the future.

    Short version: For people and architecture, I'm getting in close and loving it.
     
  23. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I just went from an M2 to a IIIc! Looking forward to the results from it.
     
  24. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I bought a IIIf last summer and it has been my most used camera. I really, really love it.
    I use it most often with a Summar 50/2. It performs beautifully with Tri-X, Acros and Presto.
    I've found the Color-Skopar 21/4 to be a nice lens, especially for shots where I want to squeeze everything into the frame (in a good way.)
    I also sometimes use a Nikkor-Q.C 135/3.5 but the two together make for a very heavy and conspicuous setup.
    My IIIf is currently in the shop, but I hope to use it for many years to come. It's truly a wonderful camera.
     
  25. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    I am also looking for a good 50mm lens for my Leica IIIf. I have been using the Elmar 50/3.5 that has come with it, but it flares too easily for my taste (even though it's been cleaned, but I suspect it's lost its coating). I tend to use it only in overcast days when the contrast is lower. But it's becoming too limiting.

    On the other hand, I am not too inclined to get something new. I don't need high resolution and sharpness (for that I can use my Nikon stuff). I just would like something with a little (just a little) more contrast and not suffering from flare that much.

    Any tip?
     
  26. ragc

    ragc Member

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    So you did it! Wow!

    I shoot with a IIIC and a IIF, both are fantastic. My kit includes a 25mm f2.5 Voigtlander Color Skopar - small, sharp, beautiful. I use it without a supplementary finder, visualizing the frame. Also a recoated 50mm f2.0collapsible Summicron, a 50mm f2.0 collapsible Summitar, a 135mm Hektor, and a Visoflex I macro system. I do have a Leitz brightline finder for the 50mm lenses and a turret finder for the Hektor that can also be used with the other lenses (although it's a bit cloudy). For easy, fast shooting I pack the Color Skopar, For more deliberate work either of the 50's. The Hektor I seldom use, but they are good, plentiful, cheap lenses, and the lens head is great for macro, used with the Visoflex.

    A: Did you sell the M2?