SUPERB! 1931 Black Leitz Leica III with Nickel Elmar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
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. The serial number indicates that it started its long journey of many roads and many years in 1931 as a scale focus Leica I. A year or two later, the proud new owner sent it back to the factory and had it converted to match the specifications of the new Leica III rangefinder. (In the 1930's you could bring your camera to a Leitz dealer for upgrades. However surviving examples of this expensive conversion are relatively few and far between, which makes them historically interesting and desirable.) The factory upgrade added the coupled rangefinder which made focusing so much easier. It also added the small dial on the front of the camera, which gave it slow speed capabilities. This expanded shutter speed range from 1 sec to 1/500th (originally it would have been 1/20th to 1/500). Eighty-seven years this fine camera still works very smoothly, supporting the idea that the more a Leica is used, the smoother it gets.
Included is a nickel 3.5/50mm elmar lens . The nickel elmars are desirable because they perfectly match the nickel knobs of these early bodies. (In circa 1935 Leica stopped using nickel and switched to a chrome finish.) The lens shows signs of use but most collectors will agree that it looks good on this black Leica. The glass is clean and clear. There are no scratches but it does have unavoidable cleaning marks. That said, it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films. (As with all prewar lenses, we recommend shooting with the light behind you for best performance.)
This Leica has just been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted to help insure that it will continue working for many years to come. The shutter curtains run smoothly and are completely light tight. The coupled rangefinder image is easy to see and focusing works smoothly & accurately. The view finder is clean and bright. The camera winds very smoothly and all shutter speeds, 1 sec. thru 1/500th are appropriate.
It comes complete with a Leitz film take up spool, original lens cap and a used brown leather case.
All in all this is a wonderful collectable Leica. Mount your favorite lens, load some film into it and you’re good to go. It’s 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.