I bought a Leica III for $50 but there's a catch...
Old 12-21-2019   #1
jrose125
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I bought a Leica III for $50 but there's a catch...

I recently picked up what appears to be a 1939 Leica III and accompanying 50mm f/3.5 Elmar for (what I think is) a stupid cheap price of $50 USD but there's a catch - the shell is in remarkably good shape but inside the camera there is quite a bit of corrosion. The rewind and advance knobs are stuck in place and of course, the shutter will not fire. Despite the shape of the 50mm Elmar on the body seems to be quite clean, at least there are no scratches on the front element that I can see (even with a strong light). Unfortunately though, the lens will not screw free from the body no matter how hard I try.

I'm guessing the body will have to be totally stripped and rebuilt if there's any hope of it functioning again, something that I'm not interested in funding anytime in the near future - the lens however, I would love to get it off the body and get it CLA'd so I can use it on my IIIc.

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for getting the lens off the body? Any direction at all would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 12-21-2019   #2
B-9
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Since the camera is going to need a overhaul - and the lens will be a CLA - penetrating oil between the lens and body mount.

Light taps to the base of the lens will help the oil penetrate.

Persistence!

Also you could begin to dismantle the lens so your just left with the mount on camera without risk to the optics.
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Old 12-21-2019   #3
jrose125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-9 View Post
Since the camera is going to need a overhaul - and the lens will be a CLA - penetrating oil between the lens and body mount.

Light taps to the base of the lens will help the oil penetrate.

Persistence!

Also you could begin to dismantle the lens so your just left with the mount on camera without risk to the optics.
Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't thought of taking the lens apart - smart thinking there!

Penetrating oil... like WD-40? Perhaps something more specialized than that?
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Old 12-21-2019   #4
Ko.Fe.
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You can't see if shutter is jammed or not in III without lens removed. Nor you could say it is corrosion.

Apply WD-40 and wait for two days. Apply second time and wait few hours, then use micro-fiber small towel to hold lens while it is at the stop stick and rotate camera, lens.
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Old 12-21-2019   #5
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WD-40 is not a penetrating oil. You want something like Kroil or PBlaster, or better yet CRC Freeze-Off, which is a combination of penetrating oil and a rapidly evaporating carrier that quickly cools (and shrinks) the metal to open the gaps and allow the oil to penetrate.
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Old 12-21-2019   #6
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02Pilot has elaborated very nicely for me. Thanks!
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Old 12-21-2019   #7
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With one exception. Lens barrel better to be extended, then momentary freeze about to be applied.
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Old 12-22-2019   #8
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Yes, you'd want the barrel extended. I don't know that I've ever mounted or removed a collapsible lens without extending the barrel, so I didn't think to mention it.


Come to think of it, the CRC stuff might also cause the vulkanite to crack or lift - something to consider if you're trying to preserve it.
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Old 12-22-2019   #9
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CRC will most definitely have an effect on original vulcanite.

No need to be sloppy with it - and in reality vulcanite should be last concern.
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Old 12-22-2019   #10
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I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who has offered some advice up to this point! An update on the matter:


I bought some PB Blaster penetrating oil today and was able to work the lens enough to get it to move around, but the lens mount is still screwed into the camera. I figured that if I removed the little post that prevents it from screwing 360 degrees that I could get the lens body off - thankfully that turned out to be true.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the lens mount free from the body!
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Old 12-22-2019   #11
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And here is a picture of the lens mount still on the body:


Does anyone have any ideas for getting it off?
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Old 12-22-2019   #12
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Be patient, it's soft material. Give the penetrating oil a week to work in. You might also try gently heating the camera to about 150 degrees (F) and then setting the lens mount down on a block of ice. Good Luck, Joe
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Old 12-23-2019   #13
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A flat sheet of rubber or similar laid flat on it might give you enough grip to do it but all the oil etc would need to be removed first.

An old trick is to tighten it a fraction and then try unscrewing it.

A long, long time ago you could get a product called "Cat's Tongue" in sheets to do this and many other things involving a firm grip under pressure but I've no idea if it's still made or available. Something similar is used to open jar taps but it is no better than using rubber gloves imo.

Anyway, I'll wish you luck; I guess a lot of us are crossing their fingers for you.

Perhaps we could set a time for it and then see what happens with a bit of elbow grease and hundreds of crossed fingers around the world ;-)

Regards, David
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Old 12-23-2019   #14
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Double sided tape all around the flange? Pressed onto a flat base that might provide enough grip.
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Old 12-23-2019   #15
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Someone who shall be nameless approached this problem differently. When all else failed they put the camera in a very well padded vice and tapped the infinity lock catch bit on the flange quite smartly with a hammer and small bit of softwood. It worked.

A lot of care went into preparing the padded vice...
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Old 12-23-2019   #16
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with 2 CLA's, you will end up paying around the same what a normal working Leica III would cost
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Old 12-23-2019   #17
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Another update - I let the penetrating oil do it's magic overnight and this morning, I cleaned the surface of the lens mount and camera with a rag soaked in isopropyl to get the oil slick off of it. With a clean rag I was able to get enough of a grip around it to slowly but surely spin it off the camera:


The lens, other than some debris and a tiny bit of haze, is remarkably clean. I looked hard for scratches on the front element but couldn't find any - i'm guessing this camera/lens has sadly spent most of it's life in the leather case it came in, likely tucked away in somebody's damp basement.

The aperture tab on lens is locked into place - the next project is to get it CLA'd. I haven't decided whether I want to tackle that myself or take the easy way out and take it to somebody
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