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Leica IIIf review


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I'm warming to him after that review, love it! Good few laughs.

 

As a long time lllf user I'd agree with a lot of what he says there. The rangefinder is excellent with the magnification. Of course THE lens to use is the 3.5 Elmar which makes such a lovely compact package although as he says filters are a pain.

 

I've been very naughty though and do often use a 25mm Voigtlander lens and external viewfinder on my lllf

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I found his review to be very interesting. I didn't know most people here are not fans of him, he's been a huge film advocate in his recent writing, so I'm a bit surprised.

 

I think he said at some point that the M9 was mostly useful as an exposure preview device for the M3 :-).

 

-jbl

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I found his review to be very interesting. I didn't know most people here are not fans of him, he's been a huge film advocate in his recent writing, so I'm a bit surprised.

 

I think he said at some point that the M9 was mostly useful as an exposure preview device for the M3 :-).

 

-jbl

 

:D:p
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Thanks, jbgeach, for turning me on to Ken Rockwell. I spent a good deal of today reading his site and enjoyed it very much. I picked up a lot of info about cameras and lenses I use, and got me buying-curious about the Contax G2 and some of those Zeiss lenses while my IIIf rdst is being recovered and Elmar 50/2.8 being CLA'd by DAG.

 

I can see how die-hard Leica-ites wouldn't like his rather wry reviews of Leica equipment--because he is pretty objective. I pretty much agreed with what he said about what I knew about. I also shoot Canon digital and I agree with him on his comments there, too.

 

Over this past Christmas I sold off all my Leica screwmount bodies and lenses (except for IIIf and a few choice lenses). I accumulated enough in my PayPal account to buy an M9 outright. What did I do? I now have "L" glass from 14mm to 400mm, with macro flash, 1.4x and 2.0x extenders (so that makes it 800mm, whoo-boy!). That was my choice.

 

Because my 'Leica' is the Leica that made Leica famous and that's a camera that happens to use film--or "Super RAW" to use Ken Rockwell's clever term--I appreciate that, and will continue to use my IIIf in an artistic and skillful way, and I will also get negatives that scan to a very high resolution, probably better even after all is said and done--and it is a hassle--than my 21mp digital sensors.

 

But I have the digital, too, for easy and fast ultra wide-angle, macro, stroboscope, sports action, long distance, wildlife...my point is, Leica can't be all things to all people, neither can digital of any make. I say, Let's know and appreciate each's strengths and give credit where credit is due.

 

I asked him how long he thought film would be around, and if he answers I will pass it along to this forum.

 

Don

Edited by iShutterbug
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But I have the digital, too, for easy and fast ultra wide-angle, macro, stroboscope, sports action, long distance, wildlife...my point is, Leica can't be all things to all people, neither can digital of any make. I say, Let's know and appreciate each's strengths and give credit where credit is due.

 

Don, you can't say that! It's a common-sense, subtle, nuanced and reasoned response. That won't fly on internet forums.

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Don, you can't say that! It's a common-sense, subtle, nuanced and reasoned response. That won't fly on internet forums.

Thanks for your comment, Richard. I like your photos and I see you're film-digital-dextrous, too. I agree with what you've alluded to about the run-of-the-mill internet forums but imho this one is one of the nicest.

 

I realize I strayed a bit from the thread topic-line in my post but what I wanted to convey was that I love and respect Leica and its history and heritage. This is a thread about the IIIf and I wanted to pay homage to it and say that the one my dad gave me (along with the Summarit and Hektor) in the late 1950s I have had reburbished to like-new condition--and added a Leicavit!--and am still using and will always use as long as the film I like to shoot is available.

 

What he also gave me--what Leica gave me--was the joy of photography and I'm finding out that that is a much broader subject than just any one camera [system]. There's optics, of course, but now there's the choice of recording or storage medium of the image, and the general actions required to capture the image, then there's the decision for the mode of presentation, again silver halide or pixels. Yes, there's computers involved everywhere and I love that. It is not a little confusing today because even mobile phones are a camera, and everybody's a "photographer," oh well, they can't say they took it with a Leica--"'a Leica' what's that?"

 

But even Ken Rockwell (for all his "Leica-review sins") says that film is still the best storage medium and that the Leica (and Zeiss) lenses are still the best out there. Well, I liked that because I'm still out there, too.

 

Don

Edited by iShutterbug
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I'd say objectivity is in the eye of the beholder...

 

You've read this, didn't you?

 

About KenRockwell.com

Hi, Edi, glad to meet you, too.

 

Touche! your point is well taken. No, I hadn't read that section, but I have now. Yes, at first it sounds bad for my posts, but if you read the whole thing you see he has an engineering degree and is rather talking down--or at least aside--about photography, etc. I see from your terrific photos and accomplishments your writing/personality is rather similar...and perhaps I'm an aspiring member of that club, too.

 

Don

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For those of you who didn't know, I am a big fan of Ken Rockwell. I think he is pretty funny and usally right (except about shooting jpg vs. RAW). Anyway. my father in law has a iiif and I really, really like it. It is a bit of a pain to guess exposure, but it does make it more fun

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Update:

I just won the bidding on eBay for a just-CLA'd Contax G2 w/ Zeiss Biogon 28mm T* lens and TLA-200 flash. This is a little bit of a flashback as I remember my dad had a Contax and a Contarex at one time. I wanted this outfit to compare with my IIIf and Ken Rockwell's review of it along with his review of the G2/28mm directly with the M7 w/ 28mm ASPH.

Don

PS: He responded to my question about how long film was going to be around and I'm waiting for his permission to pass along what he said here.

Edited by iShutterbug
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  • 10 years later...
On 1/6/2010 at 11:02 PM, jbgeach said:

I know many of us are not big Ken Rockwell fans, but if you appreciate the iiif, you will probably like this review.

 

http://kenrockwell.com/leica/screw-mount/iiif.htm

In ROCKWELL'S 3f review he states "IT REQUIRES THE USE OF SEVERAL MORE DIALS AND LEVERS",etc. Which leads me to believe that he has never held much less used a 3f or any other model LEICA ltm.

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On 1/8/2010 at 6:29 PM, iShutterbug said:

Thanks for your comment, Richard. I like your photos and I see you're film-digital-dextrous, too. I agree with what you've alluded to about the run-of-the-mill internet forums but imho this one is one of the nicest.

 

I realize I strayed a bit from the thread topic-line in my post but what I wanted to convey was that I love and respect Leica and its history and heritage. This is a thread about the IIIf and I wanted to pay homage to it and say that the one my dad gave me (along with the Summarit and Hektor) in the late 1950s I have had reburbished to like-new condition--and added a Leicavit!--and am still using and will always use as long as the film I like to shoot is available.

 

What he also gave me--what Leica gave me--was the joy of photography and I'm finding out that that is a much broader subject than just any one camera [system]. There's optics, of course, but now there's the choice of recording or storage medium of the image, and the general actions required to capture the image, then there's the decision for the mode of presentation, again silver halide or pixels. Yes, there's computers involved everywhere and I love that. It is not a little confusing today because even mobile phones are a camera, and everybody's a "photographer," oh well, they can't say they took it with a Leica--"'a Leica' what's that?"

 

But even Ken Rockwell (for all his "Leica-review sins") says that film is still the best storage medium and that the Leica (and Zeiss) lenses are still the best out there. Well, I liked that because I'm still out there, too.

 

Don

He is right about that - a sensor is not a storage medium, a film is...

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  • 5 months later...

ROCKWELL "Not good for action, sports"? I have had several LEICA 3F cameras and have never had a challenge with action or sports  shooting. This suggests that ROCKWELL never attempted to shoot action and sports. You can preset aperture and shutter speed for specific distances and failing everything else if there is enough light you can stop down to achieve good shots. It is not rocket science, just basic photography sense.

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Like him or not, Rockwell is always entertaining. He is free with his strong opinions and that's kinda what makes him fun to read. One needs to remember not to take his stuff too seriously.

His earlier reviews, when he was still working as an engineer and before he tried (so desperately?) to monetize his web site, were better in my opinion. Some where along the way he just kinda turned into a review factory. Lots of his content is noticeably cut-n-paste-find-and-replace. Someone said he's objective...I don't see it, at least not anymore....but again, that's kinda part of his schtick.

Edited by BradS
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On 10/30/2020 at 1:41 AM, anthonym3 said:

ROCKWELL "Not good for action, sports"? I have had several LEICA 3F cameras and have never had a challenge with action or sports  shooting. This suggests that ROCKWELL never attempted to shoot action and sports. You can preset aperture and shutter speed for specific distances and failing everything else if there is enough light you can stop down to achieve good shots. It is not rocket science, just basic photography sense.

Here is a photo of Louis Klemantaski using Leica IIIs (probably fs) trackside to take remarkable motor sport photos. Anyone who does a search on his name will see the quality of the photos which he took with such equipment. I am afraid that the photographers of today are more pampered than their predecessors, but are not any better at capturing great images.

William

 

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Ken Rockwell has written a real observers 'War-and-Peace' piece on the iiif.  My only query is his comments about needing to adjust  'twice as many knobs and levers'. I have two iiif's, one BD one RD.  I have only ever needed to twiddle three 'twiddlers'.  Focus, Aperture and Shutter settings, as the Meerkat might say 'seemplss'.

However I can do no other than agree with his observations. I now regret trading in the original f3.5 elmar for  a Cannon f1.8 sixty years ago. But hey-hum. Anyhoo about 45 years ago I bought a Summicron, it turned out to be a radioactive one - I love it, it is a beaut'.

D.Lox.

Edited by Jerry Attrik
forgot the 'Summicron' bit
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