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Leica IIIf

I guess I got sucked in with all the hype...
I started out collecting a few FED cameras, then some Zorkis...  I never thought I'd own a Leica...  But then I never thought I'd own a FED NKVD either.

Then in late September 2004, it happened.  An online auction had a Leica IIIf at a price I couldn't resist.  Towards the end of October a parcel arrived from the USA.  Inside was a slighty tatty Leica IIIf Red Dial with a self timer.  

At last I could compare the "real thing" with it's Soviet cousins.  
How did it compare?
Well, to begin with the FED 1 camera is a copy of the 1930s Leica IId, not a 1954 IIIf, so it really isn't comparing apples to apples.  However when you consider the price difference between a FED 1 and a Leica, the FED 1 isn't as bad as you might first think.
I have read again and again about the "smoothness of the Leica".  I'm not sure if this refers to the shutter advance knob or the shutter mechanism in general, but I have one FED 1 that winds more smoothly than the IIIf and a few that would be very similar.  I also have some FED 1 cameras that are rougher.  I'm not going to rank any camera on it's name alone. 
The castings of the Leica appear to be sharper than Soviet gear.  The engraving is finer.  The finish of the Leica IIIf is brighter in appearance and the matt finish is finer than any FED 1, but if you once again consider the price difference, I think the FED 1 cameras offer excellent value (if you get a good one) and their slightly more course finish gives them a more robust appearance.

On the other hand I could look at the Leica IIIf all day!!  It is nicely finished.

Leica iiif  Another photo of it
...and another one...
  ...and another one.
Click any of the images for a larger photo.


This page was created Friday 26th October 2004