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Johannes Knightworth

Lens for III Mod. F

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I have just purchased a 1936 Leica III Mod. F (Not a IIIf) in Black finish. The camera is in beautifull condition and has just returned from a total "service" by Leica Solms.

 

Upon purchase the finish of the the camera was, well I would say A- just some very minor rubbings on the black surface, it actually did look hardly used. Technically it didn't function, something with the shutter cloth as well as the overall mechanics. I had it overhauled and now, apparantly, it's in perfect working condition, so instead of keeping it enclosed in it's original packaging which came with it, I will want to use it. The only problem I see is finding a suitable lens. I have no experience what so ever with lenses and am not particularly interested in them anyway, they must serve the purpose of being able to produce a good picture within the bounderies of their technical standards.

 

I use the Anastigmat on my "0" with greeat pleasure for B&W shots, but i realize this is a relatively new lens with modern coatings. I also like my 35mm asph. which i mostly use for slides, I see the difference between the Anastigmat and the 35mm and prefer the Anastigmat for "character" shots and the 35mm for the normal "snapshot" range of images.

 

I would actually like a combination of both with the III Mod.f but I think would limit it to B&W use only, which I develop and print myself. I have read an awfull lot on this subject of LTM lenses and judging b what I'v read buying a Voigtländer would be the way to go .... But I would hate using a voigländer lens on such a beauty of a camera, I would somehow like to maintain the 30-ties image quality/style without to much loss of detail and flare ...

 

What lens would I be looking at searching for ?

 

For top quality images I would use my Hasselblad and tripod, so technical top-quality is not what I'm looking for, I much rather look at "atmosphere" after all perfection is sort of boring .... looking forward to your replies ...

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Well, the obvious choice for me would be some version of the collapsible Elmar 50mm lens, a real classic and of good optical quality (have a look at James' comparison of four different Elmar lenses, cf. http://www.leica-camera-user.com/leica-collectors-historica/19410-elmars-comparison-4-images.html). If you want it to match your camera, timewise that is, it would have to be an older version, preferably coated though. If historical matching isn't an issue, I strongly recommend you buy a copy of the so called red scale Elmar 50mm, it looks almost the same as the older version, but is improved optically.

 

Cheers,

 

Andy

 

Sorry, the link I provided does not appear to work properly, but you will find it anyway, it's right in this section of the forum

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I have just purchased a 1936 Leica III Mod. F (Not a IIIf) in Black finish. The camera is in beautifull condition and has just returned from a total "service" by Leica Solms.

 

Upon purchase the finish of the the camera was, well I would say A- just some very minor rubbings on the black surface, it actually did look hardly used. Technically it didn't function, something with the shutter cloth as well as the overall mechanics. I had it overhauled and now, apparantly, it's in perfect working condition, so instead of keeping it enclosed in it's original packaging which came with it, I will want to use it. The only problem I see is finding a suitable lens. I have no experience what so ever with lenses and am not particularly interested in them anyway, they must serve the purpose of being able to produce a good picture within the bounderies of their technical standards.

 

I use the Anastigmat on my "0" with greeat pleasure for B&W shots, but i realize this is a relatively new lens with modern coatings. I also like my 35mm asph. which i mostly use for slides, I see the difference between the Anastigmat and the 35mm and prefer the Anastigmat for "character" shots and the 35mm for the normal "snapshot" range of images.

 

I would actually like a combination of both with the III Mod.f but I think would limit it to B&W use only, which I develop and print myself. I have read an awfull lot on this subject of LTM lenses and judging b what I'v read buying a Voigtländer would be the way to go .... But I would hate using a voigländer lens on such a beauty of a camera, I would somehow like to maintain the 30-ties image quality/style without to much loss of detail and flare ...

 

What lens would I be looking at searching for ?

 

For top quality images I would use my Hasselblad and tripod, so technical top-quality is not what I'm looking for, I much rather look at "atmosphere" after all perfection is sort of boring .... looking forward to your replies ...

 

Compliments for your will to use your old III: leicas LTM are special taste when used.. and they give always more than one can think.

I seem to have understood you have a very modern 35 asph: if it is in screw mount, the problem of buying another 35 of course does not exist. At this point, to have a nice pair of original lenses, excellent for B&W, is in my opinion a very easy and cheap choice: two Elmars : 50 + 90 ! they are easy to find, not expensive, fine, light... if you do not look for extra apertures, they are definitely the smarter choice: consider that the add-on price you would pay for a Summicron 50 (the obvious alternative to the Elmar) could even be the cost of a good Hektor 13,5 ... if you like this length; but 50 + 90 is the best buy, in my opinion; 90 needs a finder... Leitz or 3rd party it is easy to find and rather cheap.

The choice is not so easy if you would like also to have a real Wide Angle, 28 or less... the two 28s by Leitz (Hektor 6,3 and Summaron 5,6) are mainly collector items...not so easy to find... the Hektor has a significant vignetting, the Summaron (which I use regularly) is better but costly... both of them are anyway lovely gear, supercompact... but if you are mainly interested on USE, i think that for WA screw mount, mayb is really worth to look at Cos/Voigt... they have also a 25, seem to remember; of course supposed you have at least 1 or 2 originals Leitz: as You say, a pity to have a fine III and not any of HER lenses...

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Johannes,

 

Andreas has kindly mentioned my thread on this same section of the forum. I have an earlier 3.5 5cm, a Red Scale and a 2.8 Elmar which I have made some (OK, basic) comparisons with.

 

Without question your camera should be paired with a 5cm Elmar!

 

The earlier versions are great - I was really pleased with the results I was getting in B&W and Colour, however the Red Scale is a definate improvement in terms of contrast and colour rendition. If you are only shooting B&W then either version will be fine. I think the Red Scale is a little sharper, from this test, but you may prefer the look of the results from the earlier lens. I don't think you will be disappointed with either.

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James,

 

I have seen them. Zhe red scale does look good I must say. I am eagerly awaiting your B&W test .... so get on with it man ! (just kidding)

 

How hard is it to find a "mint-glass" red scale elmar ? ... and 3.5 is good enough for me, although I would welcome an extra stop or two, but not a "must have"

 

and 5cm is definately my prefered lenght

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Johannes,

really You live in Lovere Italy as written in your profile ? If so you are rather next to me (Brescia) and let me give you an advice: in Milano there is a specialized dealer named Fotocamera (http://www.fotocamera.it), they have always a decent availability on site of Leitz lenses (at the moment, three Elmar 50 quoted at their site, but maybe others.. they do not do E-commerce and use their portal as a showcase): the two partners of the shop (Mr. Giorgetti and Mr. Zucco) are expert and correct people, you can trust them: I suggest you go there (Milano downtown) or phone them (n° on Internet) : surely one can buy anywhere on the Net, but for a lens you will use, my opinion is that seeing it before and speaking with a good dealere is the best thing.

BTW : why has you arrived to Lovere? and... are you a fisherman ? Lot of people like to live near Iseo Lake for this (I am not, by myself, a fisherman)

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Luigi,

 

thanks for the advice. I am in Milan at least once a week so I will surely check this shop out. Why Lovere ? .... It's a beautifull place in the middle of a beautifull surrounding, I love the Iseo area, it's practically in the middle of Europe, one can get anywhere quite fast from Lovere. It doesn't have the largely upgraded "panache" of tuscany, it's landscape is more rugged, it has far less tourists, it's relatively cheap and the food is great. I actually live about 4 km's out of Lovere on a mountain slope overlooking the lake in absolute tranquility, with Lovere (restaurants and cafe's) only being a short distance away. I sail on the lake, I retreat in july and august when the bulk of plastic slipper wearing track-suit tourists arrive, and for the other ten months I live a good life in a great environment. Conveniently I also have a job which I can do from practically any place on earth .... this does help.

 

Anyway I will check out the shop next Milan visit ....

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I have just purchased a 1936 Leica III Mod. F (Not a IIIf) in Black finish. The camera is in beautifull condition and has just returned from a total "service" by Leica Solms.

 

Upon purchase the finish of the the camera was, well I would say A- just some very minor rubbings on the black surface, it actually did look hardly used. Technically it didn't function, something with the shutter cloth as well as the overall mechanics. I had it overhauled and now, apparantly, it's in perfect working condition, so instead of keeping it enclosed in it's original packaging which came with it, I will want to use it. The only problem I see is finding a suitable lens. I have no experience what so ever with lenses and am not particularly interested in them anyway, they must serve the purpose of being able to produce a good picture within the bounderies of their technical standards.

 

I use the Anastigmat on my "0" with greeat pleasure for B&W shots, but i realize this is a relatively new lens with modern coatings. I also like my 35mm asph. which i mostly use for slides, I see the difference between the Anastigmat and the 35mm and prefer the Anastigmat for "character" shots and the 35mm for the normal "snapshot" range of images.

 

I would actually like a combination of both with the III Mod.f but I think would limit it to B&W use only, which I develop and print myself. I have read an awfull lot on this subject of LTM lenses and judging b what I'v read buying a Voigtländer would be the way to go .... But I would hate using a voigländer lens on such a beauty of a camera, I would somehow like to maintain the 30-ties image quality/style without to much loss of detail and flare ...

 

What lens would I be looking at searching for ?

 

For top quality images I would use my Hasselblad and tripod, so technical top-quality is not what I'm looking for, I much rather look at "atmosphere" after all perfection is sort of boring .... looking forward to your replies ...

I also have a 1938 black Leica III, which I've had for many years, and it's in regular use - I have XP2 film in it right now. Of course, these cameras were originally designed to use the 50mm lens and I would not argue with the opinion that the Elmar would be an excellent choice. My solution, however, is to use the 50mm f/2 Summar - the only 'fast' lens that's contemporary with this model of camera. I bought one in basically good condition and shot a few BW films to confirm that it was OK. I then had it cleaned and the front element re-polished, and all the glass-to-air surfaces coated. Some late Summars were in fact coated, so this is not entirely un-original. I can get A3-size BW prints from this lens of excellent quality, and it's quite useable at f/2, if the main subject is fairly central.

 

Of wider lenses that look right on the camera, the 35mm Summaron is a good choice, but of course an accessory viewfinder is required. I use this camera a lot, however, with a modern CV21, as a dedicated wide-angle camera, alongside my M2. The small Voigtlander lenses don't look out of place, in my opinion, on the older Leicas.

 

David

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Luigi,

 

thanks for the advice. I am in Milan at least once a week so I will surely check this shop out. Why Lovere ? .... It's a beautifull place in the middle of a beautifull surrounding, I love the Iseo area, it's practically in the middle of Europe, one can get anywhere quite fast from Lovere. It doesn't have the largely upgraded "panache" of tuscany, it's landscape is more rugged, it has far less tourists, it's relatively cheap and the food is great. I actually live about 4 km's out of Lovere on a mountain slope overlooking the lake in absolute tranquility, with Lovere (restaurants and cafe's) only being a short distance away. I sail on the lake, I retreat in july and august when the bulk of plastic slipper wearing track-suit tourists arrive, and for the other ten months I live a good life in a great environment. Conveniently I also have a job which I can do from practically any place on earth .... this does help.

 

Anyway I will check out the shop next Milan visit ....

 

When your are going to Milano, go also here : Newoldcamera - Home page

Not far from Fotocamera, I know them too.

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To update and finalize this post, I bought a red scale Elmar in pristine condition, both barrel and glass are flawless, this being a post war lens I though it might be nice to get a period lens as well so I bought a 1938 elmar which is black scale and apparently uncoated, I hope this will give me "period" images. I couldn't resist buying a 90 elmar as well. Within the next couple of days I will certainly go out and test these Elmars.

 

The price of each surprised me, all pretty low even the perfect red-scale.

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To update and finalize this post, I bought a red scale Elmar in pristine condition, both barrel and glass are flawless, this being a post war lens I though it might be nice to get a period lens as well so I bought a 1938 elmar which is black scale and apparently uncoated, I hope this will give me "period" images. I couldn't resist buying a 90 elmar as well. Within the next couple of days I will certainly go out and test these Elmars.

 

The price of each surprised me, all pretty low even the perfect red-scale.

 

Johannes,

just as a personal curious, have you bought into one of the italian places i mentioned you?

Compliments for having also the 90... very useful lens, and a nice one too... what kind is yours? There are lot of versions...? Has it the black vulcanite covering on the barrel ? And the ring with the engravings round the front lens is black or chrome ? I am so curious for, as a collector, I try to have all the variants of this nice lens ... I have 7 items, until now..

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Hi Luigi,

 

I bought one in the shop you mentioned. The other two I managed to pick up in Vienna.

The 90 Elmar is a three element Elmar from 1961 according to the salesman. It's chrome with a stripe of black vulcanite at the bottom of the lens. The glass is clean, the barrel however is in used condition with some marks and scratches. They also had a near mint one also chrome but this was way to expensive.

I'm practicing loading the camera which requires quite a bit of practice. I will be out later weather permitting to shoot a roll of film and develop this later this evening, I am very curious about performance of the lenses and how the 30-ties Elmar represents.

In the shop in Milan they had a very nice Black standard leica, with a beautiful brass patina .... which I think I might buy as well.... it's an illness browsing through all these older Leica models isn't it. I don't care to much about "new" cameras they are no more than a tool for me, but just holding and fondling screwmounts, listening to the "clack" of the shutter ..... rubbing your fingers over the top plate makes one fall in love with them immediately.

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The 90 Elmar is a three element Elmar from 1961 according to the salesman.

 

You will LOVE this lens, it is a great performer even today, way ahead of the 4-element Elmar 90. It was only introduced in late 1963 I believe, so it can't be from 1961 (although the serial numbers make one think otherwise. Mine has 193xxxx, and I have seen others with 192xxxx and also 191xxxx, but as you know, Leitz/Leica have always pre-allocated serial numbers, so it is easy to be fooled).

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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That actually makes it a 1962 if I'm correct

 

Judging only by the number, yes, you would be correct. But as I said, the 3-element Elmar was not available on the market before late 1963 or even early 1964 (if I remember correctly, it was officially introduced in January 1964). Actually, this mismatch in numbers made me believe for many, many years that my Elmar was the regular 4-element type. It was only when my involvement into Leica gear got more pronounced that I found out that it is in fact the 3-element version.

 

Andy

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Hi Luigi,

 

I bought one in the shop you mentioned. The other two I managed to pick up in Vienna.

The 90 Elmar is a three element Elmar from 1961 according to the salesman. It's chrome with a stripe of black vulcanite at the bottom of the lens. The glass is clean, the barrel however is in used condition with some marks and scratches. They also had a near mint one also chrome but this was way to expensive.

I'm practicing loading the camera which requires quite a bit of practice. I will be out later weather permitting to shoot a roll of film and develop this later this evening, I am very curious about performance of the lenses and how the 30-ties Elmar represents.

In the shop in Milan they had a very nice Black standard leica, with a beautiful brass patina .... which I think I might buy as well.... it's an illness browsing through all these older Leica models isn't it. I don't care to much about "new" cameras they are no more than a tool for me, but just holding and fondling screwmounts, listening to the "clack" of the shutter ..... rubbing your fingers over the top plate makes one fall in love with them immediately.

 

I am happy you appreciated the shop : small but fine and with nice gear; and of course compliments for the 90 ! You have chosen THE BEST of classic Elmars 90 ! The 3 element I have is 1.913.742 (1962) but is a bayonet mount one... much more common than the Screw Mount version which is almost to be considered as rare: as a lover of this focal and all these old fashioned lenses, I must anyway admit that of the 3 "Elmars 90 BM " I have (3 elements - 4 elements retractable - Elmar C for Leica CL) the best in results (not by far) is the latter...but... what matters... the 3 elem. is definitely NICER !

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Luigi

 

do you have any experience with summars, summarits and summitars ?

 

Eh, Johannes, You touch my sentiments when speaking of Summars, Summarit, Summitar : you bet I DO have experience, I have them all ! And of course love them as all the other Leitz lenses of the "screw classic" time !

 

Summar 5 cm f2 : by collectors point of view, not of interest unless it is of the super rare "non retractable" version, or if it is superclean, box etc... which is almost impossible to find one. 12 years ago or so I did not buy one "non retractable" at Fotocamera shop, Milano, for about 320 Euros... now they worth about 3-4 times this amount...

Apart from collector's illness, a decent Summar is very easy to find and cheap: to describe its behavior is, in my opinion, very simple: it is like an Elmar, except that you CAN open more, and doing this you have softness/unsharpness. This is the behavior of a GOOD GLASS lens, and this is the real problem with Summars: the glass of the front lens was by nature VERY prone to small scratching, and this can damage rendering also at stops (say, 3,5 to 9, oh the old european scale...) where a good Summar performs very well.

Estethically, Summar is not exciting : Elmar is nicer. For the reason of scratching above mentioned, if one plan to buy one is NECESSARY to LOOK at the item.

 

Summarit 1,5 : to me, if one WANTS to make regular use of a Leica SM, is a lens TO HAVE: the hard collector would like better to have a Summilux SM... rare and costly, but take in mind that the FIRST Summiluxes (up to 1.844.000, that is all the SM apart seems 2, say 2, items...) are simply Summarits "stretched" to 1,4: exactly the same 7 elements design, I think also the same glass type. It is a VERY GOOD lens, usable at any stop, bulk and heavy in a fine way, with "robust" glass surface: to be checked into an item: smoothness of focusing (es I said, the assembly is heavy) and the aperture ring that can be not well aligned ( not a real problem, only for cosmetic and pleasure to use).

Not difficult to find and not too costly (see today Leicashop of Wien... they can check and answere you correctly... good guys) ; beware of hood & filters : hood is a "complex" folding type, it costs an is uncommon...; filters are "E41"... a standard unique to this lens,

not so easy to find, with the usual fascinating old style codes (I have Yellow and UV... XOORU and XOOYL). For the philology : you can find

1) Summarit Leitz Wetzlar

2) Summarit Leitz Canada: less common seem to remember, exactly same lens

3) Summarit Wetzlar with the "Taylor-Hobson US Pat..." engraving on the barrel (due to some patent to be declared in certain countries) : uncommon, is, eh eh, the one I have.

 

Summitar : and finally I go short... common, good, usable, not exciting at all, intermediate between Summar and Summicron; if one wants a good f2 but also save something towards a Summicron... can buy.

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... continue from the previous...

Johannes, apart from 50s, seems to me you like to have "period" feelings in shots (see your Elmar pre-war...) : looking for this, there are three "dogs" (Hektor was the name of a dog of Prof. Max Berek, Leitz lenses designer) you really can enjoy:

 

a) Hektor 73 f 1,9 (not too rare but a bit costly, collectible) : delicious semi tele/portrait lens; only problem : framing, one can use an old and no cheap Leitz multifocal finder or some 75mm finder from 3rd parties. Two versions: all black, and black with chrome focusing ring (the one I have) : very appealing.

 

Hektor 28 f 6,3 : ok, vignetting when wide open, no doubt, but in terms of definition and distortion, still today a good wide angle; supertiny, a little jewel. Not cheap, but less than the 73. Hood almost impossible to find, filter as Elmar, finder easy buy, a delicious tiny dedicated plastic box if you have the luck to find one.

 

c) Hektor 135 f 4,5 : it was produced in BIG numbers for LOT of years pre & post war: many on the market, cheap and a tele lens that has nothing less than some lenses 50 years younger: better when coated (i.e. post-war) , when mounted on a LTM body you have really a sexy outfit. Hoods, cap, finder... all easy to find and cheap: i prefer to use the delicious folding viewfinder : you kan keep it always on the body for, closed, you have anyway an almost flat top.

 

IF you would not already have the 90... well I'll go on for a long speaking of the Summarex 85 1,5... stop now...

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I have looked at hectors ..... the 73 looks good to me but as you mentioned it is terribly expensive if in good condition.

I think I might investigate the unnumbered nickel elmars for they seems to have the perfect period "stamp"

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