Julian Tanase Photography

My Minox journey continues…

Leica IIIC – 1940

Leica IIIC – 1940

As Leica cameras go, this one has seen better days; to start with, the vulcanite cover is all striped off the body, as it cracked and chipped. Not my doing, it’s just the way it arrived in my hands. The rangefinder knurled ring is missing too. Not a major issue, although these parts do not grow in trees.

The main thing which makes this camera hard to use (in the traditional way, rangefinder way that is) is the mirror completely blocked by dirt and whatnot. Basically, one has to use the zone focusing to take photographs. Not a major problem this one either, for zone focusing is something which comes quite easy to someone who is using such focusing method on a regular basis. But you know, having a Leica with a unusable rangefinder is rather annoying, to say the least. The viewfinder is clear though, so there’s that.

Based on its serial number, #360593 (checked here), the camera appears to be a Leica IIIC, manufactured in 1940. The Leitz Elmar lens, non-extensible, seem to be in good shape, although some haze can be seen. No idea if this can be cleared up, probably not by me anyways. My two left hands when it comes to repairs are not of any use, if you get my meaning.

Speeds appear to be working, although these would have to be properly checked (and adjusted, I guess) by a skilled technician, as in when that’ll happen (and if). The slow speeds are whirring right, apart from the T setting which does not return the curtain after pressing the shutter second time.

The curtain moves all right, not wrinkled or torn, it appears to be clean and in good shape. The rollers also behave quite all right, but given the hesitation on the T return, I would say that a good CLA would clear this issue up. B setting is doing what is supposed to be doing, without any visible issues so far, which I guess is good news.

The aperture selector moves and stays as it supposed to, and the apertures are selected and work all right. Some dirt inside the recesses of the lens, but nothing that cannot be put right by a good CLA, as said. However, the lens housing is not damaged, the mount is in very good condition with the threads in good order.

As said, the rangefinder mirror is blocked up with grime and dirt and such, so disassembling the camera will be a must in order to clean this mess. Pointing the camera at a bright scene, I can barely check the rangefinder alignment, which is off on the horizontal, quite badly misaligned.

All in all, a witness of history, this camera. Probably not really abused, but left unused for a good number of years somewhere. I have no plans for it just now, but it could probably benefit of a visit to a good technician bench. When and if this will happen, no idea, but it is something that I may entertain in the foreseeable future.