I've always had an interest in Leica cameras, but have never had enough extra money lying around to buy one. About a week ago I found what was labeled as a Leica IIIf with a scratched up 50mm 1:2 lens on Etsy for a little over $200. I went ahead and bought it, since a IIIf body alone is worth almost double that amount.
Well, it turns out that it wasn't a IIIf at all, but rather a IIIa. The IIIa is a precursor to the IIIf, and is a bit less advanced (No flash synch, for one thing). The IIIa the guy sent me also had a bunch of haze in the rangefinder (which makes for difficult focusing). So, I was disappointed, and have since arranged to send the camera back for a refund. BUT, I figured I might as well test it out since I had it for a few more days.
The Leica IIIa is a very finicky camera, even for a camera that was made in the 40's. It doesn't let you change shutter speeds if the shutter isn't cocked, and there are two different dials for the fast and slow shutter speeds. The shutter release, for some reason, does not have a thread to accept cable releases. Most annoying, however, is the method to load film into the camera. Instead of opening from the back with a hing like a normal camera, the bottom plate comes off and you have to blindly stick the film in, and hope that it catches on the sprockets. You also have to cut the film to have a longer leader in order for the loading to work. I'm not going to go into details, but just take it from me... it's a chore.
|My IIIa came with a retractable lens...
|Which is pretty cool.
When I finally had the camera loaded properly, I took it on a walk through a local cemetery after I got off work at Crate and Barrel. Here are some of the shots I took with the IIIa. I think they mostly turned out cool, even though the lens was scratched up pretty bad (My original plan was to buy a new lens if I liked how the camera handled).
Take a look!