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IIIf Red dial Self-Timer advantages over a III or II.
Old 09-23-2017   #1
Richard G
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IIIf Red dial Self-Timer advantages over a III or II.

The IIIf red dial is a reasonably well sought after Barnack Leica. I picked up a recently serviced one whose only blemish is a slight ding to one edge of the baseplate. It musn't have been used much and never had a strap on it that I can see. Might have been used in its case. I was puzzled by its lack of signature red dial numerals. After a few days I realised that they were indeed red, but perhaps very slightly dirty.

I had started with a Leica II which I loved for its simplicity. I would use Z (B) on a tripod and guess speeds lower than 1/30 when I needed them. A Leica III soon followed, with wonderful black paint with only a little brassing, but the RF dioptre adjustment is loose and the RF mirror needs replacing.

This IIIf has no faults at all. The RF was recently cleaned, and rumour (here) has it that their RFs hold up better than some earlier cameras.

The RF is right next to the VF and it is really very easy and convenient to use. The surround is plastic so it wont's scratch your glasses so easily. Most important for me is the VF. I can see and frame quite well with the IIIf VF with my glasses, so that much as I love the SBOOI, which is really indispensable on the the III and the II, I like to go without it on the IIIf so that I can more easily fit it in my pocket or hide it in my hand. For the same reason I don't think I will put a strap on it.

The slow speed dial has T, a function I first encountered on my X100. The shutter button releases the first curtain and the gate remains open until you move the slow speed dial a little. This is exploited by those who load uncut film, reaching through the shutter to wiggle the film between the rails. I have done this with the Leica II particularly, on Z, but I have had less success doing this with the IIIf, still having sprocket holes on view, and I will stick to the original loading instructions for now. The baseplate has a tongue that pushes into the camera to aid correct film travel.

There is a dot on the shutter button that rotates with advance and rewind. If you need to change films half way through you can see when the dot on the shutter button stops turning during rewind, ensuring you don't wind too far and lose the leader.

And the camera has 1/1000s.

The self-timer runs for exactly 10s.

There's a film loaded reminder in the advance knob. Tri-X was not around in 1955 so I have ASA 40 to denote that.

The baseplate lock is like on the M cameras, locking closed when the release key is pushed flat again. On my III the lock is loose and there is nothing to stop it rotating and possibly unlocking inadvertently. Will get to fixing that sometime.

The Leica IIIf really is a wonderful machine. The IIIg is no doubt better, but I agree with the head bartender here that the IIIf is much more beautiful.
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Old 09-23-2017   #2
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It is also easier to remove the vulcanised body shell on models from IIIc on. One does not need to fiddle with the lens mount which is fixed on the shell, on earlier models. Taking the shell off from a IIIf is just as easy as taking off a sweater. So testing shutter accuracy and doing lens calibration (T shutter speed helps again here!) on a IIIf are much easier and less time consuming.


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Old 09-23-2017   #3
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I have found that the original semi silvered mirror of the RF held up better on the lll, llla and lllb than on the lllc and lllf models. The lllf RD ST has a slightly larger VF view than the plain old lllf and better than the pre war model Leicas.
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Old 09-23-2017   #4
Robert Lai
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I had a IIIF RD+self timer. A nice camera to shoot. The main advantage for me is flash synch. At the time, I used only electronic flash, and having to remember the two synch dial numbers depending on the shutter speed was annoying enough.
Now that I use flash bulbs, I can see the benefit of the variable synch delay for S, M, F, FP class flash bulbs.
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Old 09-23-2017   #5
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In truth l should stop reading these threads as GAS attacks follow, I currently shoot a IIIg, a lovely camera, but l really do regret getting rid of my IIIf RD ST a few years back. The IIIf really is a bonny looking camera
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Old 10-10-2017   #6
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I sold a mint one (that still had a roll of half finished long leader Kodachrome in it) to find one that had a summicron on it (big mistake, the lens was garbage and the body, while mint clean, had a dent on the baseplate) - live and learn...
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