Wednesday, November 01, 2017
I was astounded and, of course, one cannot ignore such a singular phenomenon. I immediately went to my computer and began searching the big auction site.
I found a 1936 Leica IIIa body nearing the end of its listing with no bidders. The asking price was about half what the model often commands. The seller's description stated that the camera had been recently serviced and was working perfectly.
When the camera arrived I was pleased to see that its appearance supported the seller's assertions. There was a little brassing on the bottom plate, but the outer covering and the shutter curtains were new. The shutter action was very smooth and sounded good at all speeds. I mounted one of my Soviet M39 lenses, an Industar 22, then and shot and processed a quick 24 frames of TMAX to verify that the shutter was working fine and there was no unevenness in the frame spacing.
For the second roll through the IIIa I used my Jupiter 12 lens to shoot a roll of Kentmere 100, paying more attention this time to gaining familiarity with the camera's controls, and shooting a variety of subjects at different distances to achieve a sense of proper parallax allowances. I processed the Kentmere in HC 110-B and was happy with the results.
The last shot of my cat is a tight crop of the image that was made with the Jupiter 12 wide open at f2.8, showing the good performance that lens can deliver.
Since I am using the same Leica Thread Mount lenses that I use with my Zorki and FED cameras I do not expect any significant differences in the quality of the images made with the Leica from those out of the Soviet cameras. However, it is a real pleasure to handle and operate a camera that was made with the finest materials and best craftsmanship available in its day.