The Leica IIIF RD has been the subject of a lot of my articles lately, and for good reason. It has been quite the ride. I first purchased a IIIF RD from KEH last year when I discovered it had pinholes in the shutter curtain. You can read about that here. I was happy to be able to send it back for free for repair and it was returned with the statement that it was completely overhauled, CLA, and the curtain replaced.
However, it wasn’t long before I realized the sound of the shutter speeds didn’t sound right and then noticed the shutter speed dial wasn’t quite lining up with the numbers. I again was allowed to return the camera but this time for a refund. At this point I had invested a lot in a lens, the Leitz Summitar 50mm f2, a viewfinder to accommodate other lenses, not to mention several rolls of film for tests, and the chemicals used to develop them. To say the least, I was very frustrated and discouraged.
At this point I wasn’t going to give up on the IIIF so I kept an eye out for another on their site. As soon as I returned the broken one I saw it listed on their site at the same price I paid but this time with the caution that shutter speeds weren’t accurate. I was surprised to see it sell quickly. Then another one came up for sale on their site. This time not a red dial version. I decided against my better judgment to give them one more try. I thought maybe it was just that camera and besides, I’ve always done fine with cameras from this company.
This was the last straw. This one arrived completely broken. the shutter curtain was cracked and didn’t advance at all. I returned it without even an apology for all of this trouble, just blame put on the mail. This really disappointed me.
The Leica IIIF Silver Lining
Now, I didn’t write this to discourage you from purchasing from KEH. Like I said, otherwise I have always had great luck with cameras purchased from there, and from what I’ve heard, they’re just not a good source for Leica’s. Who knows, but I am just passing on my honest experience.
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I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, and this bad experience led me to eBay where I found a guy who repairs Leica thread mount cameras and sells them. He had great reviews, great communication, and others in the community have purchased from him. It cost a little more than what I paid on KEH but it was worth it if the camera worked.
I received a beautiful CLA’d Leica IIIF RD in the mail and I have been so happy using it since. He even sent it with a Leica case.
After a quick test roll around my neighborhood, I was so happy to develop the film and not see any problems! Seriously, I could’ve cried tears of joy.
If you have been following me on here or Instagram, you know I injured my neck and have been dealing with nerve pain down my arms and hands, so it’s been difficult to shoot lately.
The great thing about this camera is that it is very light, so for right now, it is my main shooter. I am just glad I finally have a working Leica IIIF RD in my collection and that the nightmare is over. Steve if you are reading this, thank you.
Have you ever had an experience like this with a camera that just gave you so much trouble that you questioned if you would continue fighting for it? Let me know in the comments.
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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.
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