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1938 Leitz Leica III with coated Elmar lens


This Leitz Leica III is a classic prewar 35mm rangefinder camera. Production started in Germany in the mid 1930’s and it is basically a Leica II with slow speed dial added to the front of the camera. Internal changes to the shutter expanded the shutter speed range and enabled it to fire from 1 second to 1/500th. (The original Leica II had a shutter speed from 1/20th to 1/500th)

Just like the Leica II, this camera featured a coupled rangefinder that made focusing quick and easy and it accepted interchangeable screw mount lenses. The Leica II and III were produced in various models until the late 1950’s. Historically important, the early Leitz Leica and the Zeiss-Ikon Contax were instrumental in establishIng the relevance and importance of 35mm photography. These superb cameras were taken virtually everywhere by explorers and photo-journalists.

Today a well maintained Leica is still a joy to use and a reliable photographic companion. I have owned and used many fine cameras over the years, but the classic Leica screw mount camera remains at the top of my personal list of my most enjoyable vintage cameras.

The photos below were taken with a 1938 Leica III which we had the pleasure of servicing and selling in our online shop. It was fitted with a 3.5/50mm elmar lens. The owner hails from the United Kingdom and he was kind enough to share his photos with us. Copyright 2022 Danny McClure. All rights reserved.

These photos were taken in the Cademuir area of the Scottish Borders near Peebles, above the Manor and Tweed valleys. They were shot on Ilford HP5+ and developed in Pyrocat-HD.