LEICA IIIa


THE CAMERA:

My first Leica, from 1936, I can't believe this is almost 80 years old (at this writing, 2015) because despite some wear and brassing, it performs like a champ and the inside parts look great. It is what is known as a "war time" Leica and who knows what stories it could tell?

I got it on eBay for a good deal as it was sold 'as-is' due to sluggish slow speeds and maybe 1/500 and 1/1000 not "showing a slit" but indeed firing. The Vulcanite was intact but has a redding oxidation to it. I got an almost perfect match lens for it, a 1936 Summar 5cm 1:2 with equal brassing and aging. It has some haze but no scratches and pitting or fungus.

UPDATE: 2/10/15, I have a new 5cm Summitar 1:2 (10 blade) from 1950 with an almost perfect clear lens. A much better lens, condition and build wise. The Summar was sold.

Here is a photo taken with this camera and the Summitar

 

FIXES:

I found several places online telling how to clean the slow speed escapement and couldn't believe how simple it sounded but indeed it was very simple on this model. The slow speed escapement can be worked on by simply removing the lens, taking the bottom film plate off and removing 2 screws. On the later models, you must do an almost total teardown and remove the outer shell to even get at the SPE.


slow speed escapement with bearings to-be-oiled (arrows)

 

I went on and did a semi-total teardown to do a CLA. When the outer shell was removed, that's when you can shine a light (florescent) through the shutter to see if it is performing correctly.


shell removed, starting to remove the rangefinder optics

 

All speeds looked good except the 1/500 had just a tiny bit of light on one edge and the 1/1000 speed had no light at all. After taking the top plate off and investigating the Timing Mechanism, I noticed a post leaning, the post was touching the closing curtain release lever. I touched it and it wiggled, it was loose. I tightened and the shutter came to life on all speeds.


the post (red arrow) that was loose. Old dried grease on the timing mechanism (yellow arrow)

 

I have a complete album of the CLA with step by step procedures at my Flickr site including how it looked before during and after the CLA

MANUAL:

Here is an online owners manual


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