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Superb! 1940 Leitz Leica IIIb with Leitz Elmar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced! - Leitz- Petrakla Classic Cameras


Superb! 1940 Leitz Leica IIIb with Leitz Elmar lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!

$ 695.00 USD

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 Leica IIIb started its long journey of many roads and many years in 1940. Produced during the dark years of WWII, it witnessed a time and a place and a world that looked very different than it does today. Nearly 80 years later, it has some rub marks on the top plate but other than that it’s managed to survive in remarkably fine condition. It’s condition is unusual because there weren’t many Leica IIIb’s produced and most of them were used very intensively during WWII. As a result many were worn out, damaged or destroyed during the hostilities.   

To make sure that this camera will continue to work beautifully for many years to come, it’s been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. This camera is fully functional. The shutter curtains run smoothly and are completely light tight. We’ve installed a new beam splitter and 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 1/1000th are appropriate. The lever operated diopter adjustment (located under the rewind knob) works as it should. 

It comes complete with a Leitz Elmar lens and a film take up spool.

A Leitz elmar 3.5/50mm lens is included. The serial number 498595, indicates that it was produced in 1939 and it’s quite possible that this is the camera’s original lens. (In the 1930’s lenses that were produced separately and stored in inventory. They were then fitted as needed, to cameras as they rolled off the production line.)  

The 50mm Elmar lens is in excellent contition. The glass is especially nice. At some point in time, a previous owner went to the expense and trouble to have it coated. This was probably done in the 1950’s when this service was widely available in Europe and serious photographers regularly had prewar lenses coated to improve their performance. The nice thing about this procedure is that it doesn’t change the lens’s characteristic rendering. So basically you end up with a vintage lens that’s easier to use but still retains its vintage look and original bokeh.

There are no scratches, just some unavoidable cleaning marks (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them). There are no separated elements, crystallization or other problems and t’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films

 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.  

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