Lieca llla advice needed

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CraigK

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Hi RF fans...

I'm in the market for a Leica llla and need some advice.

Currently I have a Russian copy of the llla and really like the camera for certain types of photo-activities. But it is a Zorki after all and more or less sucks in terms of fit, finish, and quality of lens etc.

So I'd like the real deal, and a user at that. I intend to actually take photos with it, not put it in the china cabinet next to the wife's Dalton dolls.

So, where to I begin my search? What should I look for? What is a reasonable price to pay for a used but not abused llla with say a 5cm retractable lens?

Thanks
 

geraldatwork

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I would check ebay and possibly ask at the Leica forum on photo.net if someone there is willing to sell. I would suggest "stepping up to a IIIc" While similar it has the windows closer together and I believe the top plate is one piece. There shouldn't be a price difference of more than $50. I would guess you could pick up a IIIc (or b) with an 50mm Elmar for about $300-350 or so maybe a little bit more depending on condition.
 

rbarker

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KEH is also a reputable source (Dead Link Removed), and has a decent selection of Leica screw-mounts. Their prices will be on the high side, but their grading is accurate and they're good to deal with. You can also use KEH prices as a guide to what the top of the price range should be when buying elsewhere.

http://www.donchatterton.com is another Leica source, but doesn't carry much in the way of screw-mounts - mostly Ms and Rs. His grading is a bit looser, but I've dealt with him a couple of times with success. Others, however, have reported mixed service.

Which raises the question - why not make the jump to an M? It would be more of an investment, but if RF is really to your liking, you're likely to get more years of service out of a more recent model.
 
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CraigK

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Just thought I would let everyone know that thanks to the best site on the internet, APUG, I now have a llla in my gnarled hands.

And I LOVE it!

It is an absolute jewel and, I might add, quite spry for its 69 years.

Thank you all for your suggestions and advice. I have wanted a llla for years ever since I began a love affair with photography by shooting everything I could focus on with a beat up old Zorki.

Currently I have other rangefinders, a Mamiya 7 among them and something like 16 other cameras of various stripes. None however are as, well... just plain cool as the llla. Even the denizens of the local digi-shack squint and squeeze emporium were quite taken with it.

Next monday I will be sipping single malt at a favorite jazz haunt equiped with the llla. Finally an instrument worthy the venue. If I get ambitious I may even post a photo or two to the APUG gallery.

Cheers!
 

rbarker

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Congratulations, Craig. Have fun with your new old Leica. :D
 

Mark Layne

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And if you come across a (despised) Summar for a couple o nickels you'll be surprised how sharp it can be at f9

Mark
 

Ian Grant

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Mark Layne said:
And if you come across a (despised) Summar for a couple o nickels you'll be surprised how sharp it can be at f9

Mark

Actually the major problem with the Summar is that the type of glass used was comparatively soft and very prone to scratching/cleaning marks which reduced its contrast & sharpness. The Summar lens on my IIIa when I bought it 30+ years ago was awfull, I quickly bought an Elmar to replace it. Since then I've found an excellent Summar, but in reality films were nowhere near as good when the cameras & lenses were manufactured and the photographers of the time did not have our current expectations of quality from 35mm.

My 12" Dagor of similar vintage was factory coated after the war, I wonder how much better the Summar would be if it had been similarly coated.

Used as it would have been you'll get excellent results, but unlike modern multicoated lenses you can't shoot into bright lighting, unless you want the flare!
 

Swordfish

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Craig-

I like the idea of some fine Jazz and a few single malt scotches..on the peaty side please.
The IIIa was an old love...I miss her.

Please try some ugly old Summars..as they are rather Rubinesque in the way they "hold" light.

Whatever you do...don't fall in these German mistresses..fall in love with what they can do.!
 

ChadHahn

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If you don't need a shutter speed below 1/25th why not try a IIf? They can be had fairly inexpensively.
 

Mark Layne

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Ian Grant said:
Actually the major problem with the Summar is that the type of glass used was comparatively soft and very prone to scratching/cleaning marks which reduced its contrast & sharpness. The Summar lens on my IIIa when I bought it 30+ years ago was awfull, I quickly bought an Elmar to replace it. Since then I've found an excellent Summar, but in reality films were nowhere near as good when the cameras & lenses were manufactured and the photographers of the time did not have our current expectations of quality from 35mm.

My 12" Dagor of similar vintage was factory coated after the war, I wonder how much better the Summar would be if it had been similarly coated.

Used as it would have been you'll get excellent results, but unlike modern multicoated lenses you can't shoot into bright lighting, unless you want the flare!
I have a Summar which is clean and excellent, also one which has been coated but untested. I have been told that Summars varied in quality a lot.
A friend a I did a little lens test some while ago and yes the later Summicrom performed best but the real surprise was some old Takumars with the radioactive yellow elements-almost too sharp
Mark
 
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