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.
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!
Originally Posted by winger
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?
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:
L & J Leica Repair
109 Royal Oak Road
Greenville, SC 29607
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.
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):
Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 07-23-2007 at 03:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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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.
Have a great time and send us some photos!
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.