Superb! 1939 Leitz Leica IIIb, with 2.0/50mm Leitz Summar lens, 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. I can’t tell you the stories of where it’s been but I can tell you this camera started its long journey of many roads and many years in 1939 as a Leica IIIb. Built just as the Europe descended into the chaos of WWII, it inhabited a time and a place when the world looked very different than it does today. Nearly 80 years later it is still in superb condition with just minimal signs of use. That’s quite unusual because it’s quite difficult to find clean, working examples of this model. In contrast to the other Leica cameras there weren’t many IIIb models produced and most of them were used very intensively during WWII. This one is in exceptionally fine condition and it works brilliantly!
It comes complete with a Leitz film take up spool and a 2.0/50mm Summar lens.
This Leica has just been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted to help insure that it will continue working for many years to come. This particular camera 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 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, 1 sec. thru 1/1000th are appropriate. The lever operated diopter adjustment (located under the rewind knob) works as it should.
I’m including a free Summar lens with this camera. The serial number dates it’s production to 1938. In all probability it is original to this camera. (Camera producers often had an inventory of lenses that were produced prior to the actual cameras they were sold with.) This particular lens has excellent cosmetics, however as with virtually all Summar lenses, this one has numerous cleaning marks on the front element. However it still performs nicely if you follow the 1930’s technique of keeping the sun behind you. I’ve included some sample photos taken at various f-stops so that you have an idea of the lovely rendering and bokeh this lens can produce.”
All in all this is 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.