CI Photocommunity

Register a free account now!

If you are registered, you get access to the members only section, can participate in the buy & sell second hand forum and last but not least you can reserve your preferred username before someone else takes it.

Using Leica IIIf red dial

G

Guest

One of my favorite cameras is the Leica IIIf red dial which I got a few years ago. Instead of leaving it on the shelf, I am actively using it. So far, I have the Leitz Elmar 5cm/f 3.5 normal lens, with matching "nooky" near focusing device, Steinheil Munchen Culminar 8.5cm/f2.8 telephoto lens and various accessories, including the universal viewfinder, Metraphot light meter{which needs repair} and several Leica film cassettes, etc. Also, I have an original Leica IIIc instruction book, which gives a lot of good information.

Using the IIIf is a real joy. It's completely manual, which forces me to try harder and make my shots count. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with taking pictures using an automatic camera with a motor drive. It's also a quality camera, the 5cm Elmar is an excellent lens. I really respect the tradition and dependability of Leica cameras.
 
G

Guest

I have a Leica IIIf RDST (with self-timer), made in 1954. When loading a film, Leica advises trimming the leader but the only time I ever tried doing that it didn't make the job any easier. I follow the procedure described in Stephen Gandy's web site
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!
which is not as daunting as it seems.

The shutter speeds on my IIIf had to be adjusted becaused 1/500 and 1/1000 were not working. Every speed works now but the slow speeds are a bit fast; 1 second is more like 3/4 second. Still, it's fully functional. The rangefinder is accurate (I adjusted it vertically and horizontally) and easily visible. I have an OKARO orange filter that clips over the RF window nearest the rewind knob, which enhances the contrast of the RF.

I previously owned a IIIc, made in 1947, that had been factory upgraded to a IIIf black dial. It was in poorer cosmetic condition then my IIIf RDST and its shutter made more noise. It worked OK, though.

It's difficult to describe the pleasure of handling and using the LTM cameras. The craftsmanship, heft, shape and compact size make these cameras wonderful things to behold.

The Leica optics of that time are another thing, however. They leave a lot to be desired, mainly because of their age. Fogging and "cleaning marks" are very common. My 5cm f/3.5 Elmar red scale flares very easily and use of a lens shade is essential if there is a light source anywhere near the field of view.

From a practical point of view, non-Leica glass is usually a better bet, unless you can afford to buy one of the very expensive and quite rare Leica LTM lenses that were produced in small quantities for the Japanese market a few years ago. Other modern lenses, with good performance and reasonable prices, can be had from Cosina/Voigtlander, made for the Bessa R and L cameras. However, if you use the CV 50mm f/1.5 Nokton lens, you need to use a separate viewfinder, because the lens blocks out quite a large part of a Leica LTM camera's tiny built-in viewfinder.
 
G

Guest

Thanks Ray, for the reply to "Using Leica IIIf red dial".

I must have been lucky when I got My IIIf red dial, It's in near mint condition, including the f3.5/5cm Elmar lens. The camera must not have been used for awhile.

Also thanks for the tips and the web site address.
One question I have is about the use of filters on the Elmar, what size will work without covering the f-stop scale?

Terry
 
G

Guest

Terry,

Sorry, I have no experience of using filters with the Elmar. Incidentally, if you want to download a manual in JPEG format for the If/IIf/IIIf, there's one free at
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Ray
 
G

Guest

WOW I asked just the other day if a screw mount forum could be added to this site and here it is. And full of seamingly nice people what a change from other Leica groups maybe I found a home.

My name is Mark W. until recently I NEVER thought of owning a Leica of any kind. Then one day I was in the proccess of selling a rifle to a guy I know when he mentions that he has a camera would I be interested in trading (he knew I did a little collecting) I asked what did you have back came a Leica that he bought in Gremany in 1953. Well since the rifle was worth about $200.00 at best and I ain't know dummy I ran over to take a look I wasn't real sure what I was looking at but I sure knew that it was worth way more then the rifle. he sent me home with it to figure out that I had in my hot little hands a EX++ condition IIIf RD made in 1953 with a 5cm f1.5 Summarit made in 1952 with just a little excerise all the shutter speeds work close enough for color negs. The 5cm is off being cleaned by KB camera in CA. I agreed to load up a bunch of ammo to help make up the diff in value. (well not exactly I got a bit of the horse trader in me)
Then not three weeks later my wife calls me up from a garage sale and wants to know if I'm interested in a 1950's German camera with extra lenses and a bunch of paper work for $150.00 Mind you I'm driving a dump truck at the time and I think the guy loading me could hear me yell WHAT name? She comes back with Leica.(gotta love this girl) I told her go straight to the bank I'll meet you there were going to get it. She says I have their number you can call tonight after work. Well BULL***T we are going right now and I called them on the way and told them I was coming to get it put it under the table it's sold. I parked the truck took a long lunch and we went up and bought a 1959 IIIg ST with 5cm f2.8 Elmar collapsable and a beautiful 135mm f4.5 Hektor. Some misc. items and they are looking for the rest of the stuff that was in the bag. This body shows some wear (a bad tripod scar and one little dent in the back of the top plate.It was used as a reash camera while the origional owner a Zoologist was studing an animal called a mountain Beaver very very hard to see. He did his doctorates thesis on these guys and the camera was part of the work so the wear is very honest and important in the camera history I like that being I went to college for Biology once upon a time. The lenses are almost mint and super clean
with perfect coating. SO now I'm a Leica owner and getting hooked in a hurry. Next is to get a nice 9cm f4 Elmar then a 35 and a 28 (I'll probably go Canon for the 28. And since I shoot Canon FD as my main system I can use all of my FD lenses from 19mm to 135 on the Leicas with an adapter mount B I got the other day that maintains the infinity focus. and I have a couple of nice Watameter and Voigtlander rangefinders I can use with these uncoupled SLR lenses.

Sorry for the long post but we got to get traffic up so we can have a nice quiet home to talk LTM with each other.

Mark W.

Canonitis FD sufferer and collector of 1950s rangefinder cameras including Braun/Paxettes and a couple little Leica's IIIf RD & IIIg

Show and tell:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Don't meddle in the affairs of Dragons, as you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!
 
G

Guest

Mark W., looks like you have assembled a good system of Leica Cameras. You're lucky to have two IIIf red dials along with a IIIg ST. How does using them compare to other 50's rangefinder cameras?

Terry Skibby
 
G

Guest

Terry, I only have the one IIIf RD, But to answer your question I'm still learning and snice the IIIg has to be CLAed before I can use it at all the only comparison I can make is arm chair and based on that I can't wait for the IIIg to get tuned up. Both are very nice just to hold. The IIIf is close enough in tune for color print film although the range finder does nee a little tweeking. Last night I did some very careful measuring and at the 12 ft test distance the lenses were reading close to 14 ft not a big diff but enough that anything below f8 would be questionable. Which bring up a question if the front of both of my cameras is a chrome screw lust below and between the rangefinder and viewfinder windows any chance this would be an adjustment for the rangefinder? or are these guys internally adjusted. both are close enough vertically to ignore but just off enough horizontally to need adjustment. Any help here?


Mark W.

Canonitis FD sufferer and collector of 1950s rangefinder cameras including Braun/Paxettes and one little Leica IIIf RD

Show and tell:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


Don't meddle in the affairs of Dragons, as you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup!
 
G

Guest

Mark,

You're right, removing that screw gives you access to a much smaller internal screw that is used to adjust the rangefinder. You can see detailed instructions on adjusting both horizontal and vertical positions of the IIIf rangefinder at:
Please, Log in or Register to view URLs content!


It's quite easy and it works. Good luck!
 
G

Guest

Mark W., I see that you got some good advice from Ray on adjusting your IIIf rangefinder, that's a real good site {Leica Repair Club}. I hope that you will report back on making the adjustment to your rangefinder.

Terry
 
G

Guest

Thanks Ray for the excellent site I'm sure I will be able to make use of a lot of the info there. And to Terry's comment about a report back, Well if it ain't raining this weekend I'll adjust the IIIf RD Sunday. I have rebuilt the rangefinders in a couple of Brauns from scratcheven cutting new mirrors (boy did that make a differance) So I'm sure with the instructions I should be able to get my IIIf dead on. The IIIg might as well wait as it needs to be serviced before it's of any use. I'm having both my Summarit 1.5 5cm and my newly aquired Elmar 4.0 9cm cleaned when they get back in a couple of weeks I'll send in the IIIg service costs as much on these guys as some of my other cameras do to purchase so I'm spreading it out over a few pay checks LOL. But I will let you guys know how the adjustment comes out and I'll get a test roll done at the 1 hour just to make sure.

Mark W.
 
G

Guest

Well, I tried to adjust the rangefinder but ran into a little trouble maybe some one here can help. The ring around the rangefinder window that i should be able to turn to adjust the vertical won't turn I have only been able to try to move it with a small screw driver in one of the two slots so I can't get much purchase on the ring to turn it. BUT somehow I don't think it should be so stiff. Second The instructions say to set the lens on infinity before adjusting the rangefinder. OK not a problem but just how far out should I be using for an object to adjust to. I tried a road sign about a good city block away and the rangefinder looked pretty good but the 10-15 ft range is still off by 2-3 ft. Should I be using the MOON LOL or would a couple of blocks make a difference. I am VERY mechanically inclined having spent 14 years as a custom knifemaker even making Titanium frame coil spring operated switchblade knives by hand. But I really don't want to screw this camera up. Any experianced advise will be appreciated.

Mark W.
 
G

Guest

Mark,

The IIIf rangefinder is sensitive and accurate. For "infinity", you should try to focus on something at least a mile or two away. Alternatively, try the moon!

I know the ring you mean and it was stiff on my camera too. I think it's important to apply pressure ONLY in the direction tangential to the ring, i.e. in the direction you're trying to turn it. I guess any pressure applied inwards might cause the ring to be too stiff to turn.
 
G

Guest

Ray funny you must be clarvoiant or something not an hour ago I went out side as I had noticed a beautiful clear moon tonight and decided to try to adjust the rangefinder on the IIIf again. I found it to be almost spot on at a true infinity. Well in the horizontal anyway. In vertical it is off a little less then 1/10th of the moons height. I even tried making a tool to turn the vertical adjustment ring and still no success so it can stay that way until after I get my IIIg tuned up and it's the IIIf turn. I'll let someone with spare parts in hand go mucking about rather then trying to double the cost of an adjustment by screwing it up. The closer focusing distances are within about 4" at eight feet so that will be just fine for now I do very little low light stuff so I'm around f4 or smaller all the time and the depth of field will take care of it for now. I'm just trying to get it close enough to be able to get some technically good shots. It is afterall a hobby camera for me something to enjoy not for paid work not yet anyway. I have a pickup truck load of Canon FD equipment for the serious stuff.

Mark W.
 
G

Guest

Mark W., After reading your last post, I went outside and checked my infinity setting on the Moon. My IIIf rangefinder seems to be OK, but I still need to check the true focus of the lens {5cm Elmar}. Also, I have an 8.5cm Culminar {2.8} that seems to be slightly off on the focusing, need to do some checking, thanks for blaizing the way.

Terry
 
G

Guest

Favorite LTM cameras:

III 1934 (my first so it's no.1)
IIf RD (cheaper than buying a IIIf RD)
IIIG (a Ig converted into a IIIg but without a self-timer)

And add a 35/3.5 Summaron w/hood. Load film, have fun!
 
G

Guest

I got a 111F rd on Ebay...but was disappointed when it arrived as the seller had totally mislead me as to mechanical condition...had to bite the bullet, as they say. Through alot of research I found a great repair man with John at Focal Point who COMPLETLY rebuilt the camera from shutter speeds to curtains to rangefinder. As the exterior is in mint condition, I wanted the inside mint too. What a great camera! I think that someone else put it best, "photography with a jewel work camera". I have several other Leicas (M's and R's) but still love to take a walk with the 111F..I even like the soft effect that my Summitar F2 give me (which John rebuilt too) as much as some other lenses...thanks!
 
G

Guest

Does Brian Skibby or anyone else with a Metrophot know what the three pointers are for? I thingk I do but need reinforcement. One isa black triangle, one is clear triangle, and the last is a triangle within a triangle. Please advise.
John Robertson
PS I have used M2 and M3 and CL and now have gone back to IIIF RD for fun. Still use Nikons for work.
 
G

Guest

I presume that the reason I get different settings on the Metrophot from current meters is that the scale is different. To match current 400 film I have to set the Metrophot to about 500. Is that uncommon? Any help appreciated.
JohnE
 
J

johne

With all the discussion about various views available on the M series, anyone care to comment about the advantages of the IIIF's magnifier as a focusing aid? Johne
 
Top