Excellent 1939 Leitz Leica IIIa, Freshly Serviced, CLA'd
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
There are times when camera collecting is incredibly difficult. It comes as moments when you’re asked simple questions like “What’s the best camera…?” or “Which is the most significant camera ever?” The brain starts working, the heart beats nicely and the mouth moves but if an answer appears at all… it’s a long and complicated one, full of design details, historical moments and personal rationalizations.
Fortunately answers come quicker when we are asked to feel more and think less…. Matters of the heart are easier to answer and to agree on. The eye and the heart have a directness and honesty that the brain lacks as it struggles to retain, comprehend and balance all the many details.
So here’s a simple question for the heart. What is the most enjoyable camera of the 20th century…? I don’t know about you, but I see the answer almost immediately. I can also feel it between my hands. And it’s a surprising answer because it runs counter to my technology oriented brain. What I see is not the most expensive, the rarest or even the most sophisticated. That evidently doesn’t impress my heart… which is why the heart and the mind are such a good match. They need each other for balance. The brain tells us what we think we need and the heart tells us what we want.
The most enjoyable camera ever….? I thought it would be a Pentax Spotmatic but it’s not. The winner is a screw mount Leica. It’s honest, it’s significant and above all it’s great fun to be with. The Leica is like the perfect partner that some of us search our entire lives for. It has that unique mix of something for the heart, something for the eye and something for the head. It’s that perplexing mix that insures we never tire of being close. And when you cradle it in your hands, you’re not simply picking up a camera… it’s more like being reunited with an old friend. A friend with rich sparkling stories of adventure and history, life and death, valor and treachery, lives and passion… And like a faithful friend it will go on and on recording our adventures, our children’s adventures and possibly be still there for our grand children to enjoy and to remind them of our life, excursions and adventures.
This camera’s own life is long and colorful. I can’t tell you the stories of where it’s been all these years but I can tell you this camera started its long journey of many roads and many years in Germany before the war. The serial number indicates that it was produced in 1939. It was brand new when WWII was triggered with the German invasion of Poland in September of that year.
This camera has just been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted to ensure that it will continue working for many years to come. It works very smoothly and lends credence to the idea that the more a Leica is used, the smoother it works. The shutter curtains run smoothly and are completely light tight. The coupled rangefinder has been cleaned and the image is very easy to see and focusing works smoothly & accurately. The view finder is clean and bright. The camera winds very smoothly and all shutter speeds, B & 1 sec. thru 1/1000th are appropriate. And in case you’re wondering, it uses normal 35mm film.
Included is a Leitz f3.5/50mm Elmar. The serial number 476123 indicates that it was also produced in late 1938 and in all probability it’s the original lens to this camera because lenses were commonly produced ahead of time and taken out of inventory when needed. This lens produces a lovely rendition that defined an era and put Leica on the map.
The glass in the lens is clean and clear, no scratches just some light cleaning wisps (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them). There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films. (As with all prewar lenses we recommend keeping the sun to your back for best performance.)
It comes complete with a Leitz film take up spool.
All in all, a wonderful collectable Leica. The perfect company on your own search for that perfect picture, that perfect moment, when you discover that perfection isn’t about being perfect… it’s about being comfortable about yourself, your choices and following your heart.