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1939 Leitz Leica IIIb

This is the classic Leica IIIb. It was a high quality, 35mm coupled rangefinder camera produced by Leitz in Germany from 1936 to 1946. It was an improved version of the original Leica II and its direct descendants, the Leica III & IIIa. Although this camera looked and felt very similar the original, with just an external change of two features, the real changes are internal.  This camera can be viewed as a transitional model between the original prewar Leica which featured a folded brass chassis and the later wartime IIIc which had a die cast chassis. These changes made it easier to mass produce and heralded a slew of changes that were intended to make it more accurate. This also helped increased its perceived quality and made the Leica more competitive with the Zeiss-Ikon Contax II which had featured a die cast chassis since it's inception. Today the Leica IIIb is a relatively hard to find camera and fully functional, exceptionally clean examples are few and far between. This is due to the fact that production numbers were relatively small and a significant number of them were issued to various Nazi armed forces and organizations. As a result many of these cameras were worn out, damaged or lost during the hostilities.

These photos were taken with a Leica IIIb which we had the pleasure of having in our shop. The owner hails from New York and as is often the case, he was kind enough to share his photos with us.  Copyright 2016 Ray Vickers. All rights reserved.