1939 Leica iii resto/repair/cleanup

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Dave Colangelo, May 20, 2019.

  1. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I was out antiquing last weekend and scored a mean deal on a Leica III. The serial number dates it to '39 and it was found in fairly poor shape. The seller was not asking a whole lot to begin with and a bit of haggling got him down to $130 which seemed fair. What I liked about the camera was that it seemed fairly original and had all the parts despite heavy wear. The main issues I was able to deduce on the spot were:
    • sticky slow speeds (no surprise there)
    • stiff aperture adjustment
    • shutter speed dial incorrectly alined
    • sticky shutter curtain
    • dirty lens
    I knew most of these could be tended to fairly simply and a bit of naphtha would do the trick on the stickiness to I dove in and bought it. Got it home for some cleanup and was able to free up the aperture ring almost immediately. The main shutter mechanism cleaned up nicely and the faster shutter speeds seem to be in order. I will need to tear it down to get to the slow speed assembly which is a job for another day. The screw on shutter speed dial was a quick adjustment and the lens just needed a drop of cleanup. The curtain adjustment screws helped get that sorted pretty nicely as well. There is still some light interior lens glue cracking but only a test roll will show if that really matters. Some pics to check out (this is how I found the camera):


    IMG_8142.JPG
    IMG_8062.JPG
    IMG_2831.JPG
    IMG_4055.JPG

    it still needs some more work but the first order of business is running a roll through it to see how it preforms.


     
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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Looks like it has some potential, but the lens does look a bit dirty/hazy, but might not be "that" bad in the real world.Any pitting on the metal?
     
  3. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hmm, looks like it will clean up good.
    How's the lens ?
     
  4. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Looks like it just needs a little TLC... Aren't most vintage cameras wonky at slower speeds?? some of mine are, so who needs the slower speeds? lol

    This was a good find, hope you enjoy using it.
     
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  5. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sweet find.
     
  6. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Put a roll through it today and got lots of soft focus looking shots but some came out nicely and everything seems to be more or less in order. I need to get used to the paralax at closer distances but the two best images from the roll were:
    Door.jpg

    and

    Wall.jpg

    Here is a good example of a softer looking one, for the record I like the look
    Fence.jpg

    I tore the lens down this evening to clean the elements and it appears there are some scratches/damage to the front element but the inner elements cleaned up pretty nicely. I may need to get back in there with a dust blower to really clean it up but its coming along nicely.

    I also have the 21mm from my voigtlander bessa-l that is m39 mount which i may try out on this guy.
     
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  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The lens looks prewar and uncoated to
    me. Without a lens hood or a compendium shade, you might get some flaring whenever shooting toward the light, even if toward the light means a lot of open sky.

    Modern lens multicoating has really been a blessing. The most recent advances in coding have really really cut down flares.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    IIIc or IIIg?
     
  9. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    @Derrel I think its a III (no letter designator) the serial number dating I did puts the body a 1939 and the lens a 1937 (so perhaps not the original lens). I think Im gonna get some FP4 for this weekend to test out. My developer is fairly old and that may have had an impact on the processing as well.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  10. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The lens alone is worth what you paid. Nice score.
     
  11. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's just "leica glow" :p
     
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  12. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I started cleaning the advance knob and ended up stripping the whole camera and lens down... Some interesting things I found:

    The lens had dust but was actually pretty clean on the inside. The damage/contamination seems to be related to the front element. There were some dust particles that I was having an issue getting off until i realized they were very tiny bubbles in the lens glass its self (I hear that the bubble lenses are worth more :345:).

    The body was in pretty good shape and likely not worth taking apart however i was able to get a LOT of dust and gunk out of it as well as get some much needed oil/naphtha on some of the assembly. Some pics of todays madness:

    IMG_8060.JPG

    IMG_7860.JPG

    IMG_9469.JPG

    IMG_4084.JPG
     
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