Tag: leica

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 32 – Sloppy Seconds

Classic Camera Revival – Episode 32 – Sloppy Seconds

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One thing is for sure when it comes to film photography unless you have the big bucks, you’re buying used gear. But there’s so much out there, what is a good way to buy this gear, maintain it, or even sell it! The gang jumps into a lively discussion on what to and not to do when buying used gear. Including on how to spot a fake Leica. You can also find additional information at Johan Niel’s site. Talking about optics including the dreaded fungus. Also, we decode Ebay for purchasing your used gear, and how to spot a bad deal!

Looking for a good spot to get your gear and material fix check out Burlington Camera (Burlington, ON), Downtown Camera (Toronto, ON), Film Plus (Toronto, ON), Belle Arte Camera (Hamilton, ON), Pond’s FotoSource (Guleph, ON), Foto Art Camera (Owen Sound, ON). Out West there’s The Camera Store (Calgary, AB) and Beau Photo Supply (Vancouver, BC). Additionally you can order online at Argentix (Quebec), buyfilm.ca (Ontario), the Film Photography Project or Freestyle Photographic.

Also you can connect with us through email: classiccamerarevivial[at]gmail[dot]com or by Facebook, we’re at Classic Camera Revival or even Twitter @ccamerarevival

CCR Review 56 – Leica R3

CCR Review 56 – Leica R3

It’s the red dot special, but not the red dot you were probably expecting. While Leica is best known for their rangefinder cameras, both the older Barnack and the iconic M-Series Leica produces a line of single lens reflex cameras in response to the cameras coming out of Japan. While the early cameras were strictly manufactured by Leica, by the mid-1970s, they had teamed up with Minolta. The agreement produced the Leica CL/Minolta CLE both rangefinder cameras, and the Leica R3/Minolta XE! The first time I picked up this camera, having never used a Leica SLR before I was hoping for something special, but I soon found out there’s a reason these cameras aren’t that popular. Special thanks to James Lee for loaning out this beauty for review.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Dirt

  • Make: Leica Camera AG
  • Model: R3
  • Type: Single Lens Reflex
  • Format: 135 (35mm), 36x24mm
  • Len: Interchangeable, Leica R-Mount
  • Year of Manufacture: 1976-1979

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Good
There are two good points about the R3, first and foremost it’s a tank, but it’s a tank with balance, it just feels right to shoot, short throw on the film advance, and all the knobs and that thrice-damned stop down lever. The viewfinder is big and bright, and the needle-on-shutter-speed metering system is clear and visible. And of course, there’s the optical quality which is what we’ve come to expect from Leica. And this is despite the lenses being much larger than their M-Mount cousins.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Bad
The R3 is not an easy camera to operate; it took me about three rolls of film to finally get the hang of it. And it all has to come down to how the camera meters. Despite having a decent TTL meter, you need to manually stop down the lens to get it to pick up on the correct shutter speed, then half-press the shutter button, release the lever then press the shutter release down the rest of the way. I gave up by the third roll and switched to metering with my Gossen Lunasix F and running the camera in full manual. And finally there’s the weight, this is a well-balanced camera, but heavy. It’s not one that I would enjoy carrying around all day and shooting with, especially with the 135mm lens on mounted, even the shorter 50mm is still a pain.

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

CCR Review 56 - Leica R3

The Lowdown
The R3 is not a Minolta, it may be Minolta on the inside, but it certainly isn’t on the outside. And while you can purchase the bodies for a reasonable price, don’t expect the lenses to be on the inexpensive side. The R3 is not a camera for the beginner, or for someone who is unfamiliar with the operation of Leica SLRs, there’s a steep learning curve, and it takes away from the decent “feel” of the camera. Despite the image quality and certain cache that comes with shooting a Leica, my honest opinion, do yourself a favour and get a Minolta XE-7. You’ll get an easier camera to operate, with comparable optics and you won’t break the bank building a lens system.

All Photos Taken in Oakville, Ontario
Leica R3 Electronic – Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 1:2.8/135 – Kodak Tri-X 400 @ ASA-400 – Kodak D-23 (Stock) 7:30 @ 20C

CCR Review 36 – Leica IIIc

CCR Review 36 – Leica IIIc

Before the infamous red-dot there were the Barnack Leica’s. These compact rangefinders were designed by Barnack to take motion picture (35mm) film so that he could carry them around without giving him trouble with his asthma. The Leica III was the companies World War 2 camera and was the direct competitor to the Zeiss Ikon Contax line (which is why the Contax IIIa was featured earlier this month). I do like this camera but it really is one I like to hate so I don’t want to get rid of it really, it’s an excellent camera mostly due to the lens and it is small enough to fit in any sort of pocket and of course has the cache of being a Leica with everything that entails.

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

The Dirt
Make: Leica
Model: IIIc
Type: Rangefinder
Format: 35mm, 24×35
Lens: Interchangeable, Leica Thread Mount (LTM)/M39
Year of Manufacture: 1940-1951

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

The Good
Despite my personal issues with this camera which I will discuss in the next section this really isn’t a bad camera. It’s small, fairly light, without feeling cheap. Add a collapsible lens like the Summitar or Elmar and you can easily toss this camera into a pocket and go out onto the streets. And as for the camera it’s pretty low key, low profile and I can really see why street photographers and combat photographers would use them. Along with the simple construction comes a simple and easy to use design, remember these were designed by a man who had aesthma and needed something small and compact. And finally…I can’t let this go without mentioning the amazing optics that you can get for this camera!

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

The Bad
Despite this camera holding pretty high status among photographers there are two things that for me really keep this camera more on the shelf and the lens mounted on an M39 to E-Mount adapter for use on my digital camera. The first is the loading, drop in, from the bottom. Yep and it is really difficult to master and get it working as you also have to pull out the leader and re-cut it so that everything catches…if you’re lucky (I was lucky this time around and it worked the first time). The second is the dual window rangefinder/viewfinder. The rangefinder is incredibly small and hard to work with I have missed the focus several times because of this.

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

CCR - Review 36 - Leica IIIc

The Lowdown
I like this camera, I really do, but because of the two major sticking points, I tend to leave it at home in favour of something a little easy to use on the go. Not to say you shouldn’t get one, they are really well built cameras with top notch optics that are equal to Carl Zeiss. So if you like this style of camera and want to fashion yourself after Henri-Cartier Bresson and do B&W street photography in Paris by all means. On the plus side these are the cheaper of the Leica cameras on the used market. But if I had a choice, I’d spend the extra money and pickup a Leica M2 or M3 body and mount Voeitlander glass or use an adapter to mount the Summitar I have.

The one thing I will point out is on the used market there are a tonne of copies out there that are branded Leica but really aren’t. Probably the easiest way to tell is if they are marked with Third Reich (yes, Nazis) military markings you’re actually holding a Ukrainian copy by Zorki. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area and have a Leica III series camera and need it identified I suggest North Halton Camera Exchange, one of the owners is a former Leica Employee and will gladly give you a hand!

All photos taken in Oakville & Burlington, Ontario
Leica IIIc – Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 – Kodak TMax 100 @ ASA-32 – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 8:45 @ 20C

Adapt This!

Adapt This!

In my previous entry about the wonderful Sony a6000 (seriously, I haven’t been this excited about a digital camera since I got my first digital SLR the D70s) I mentioned that there were a pile of adapters for the E-Mount to allow users of the camera to mount older lenses like M39, Nikon F, Contax G ect, well I went into Burlington Camera and was talking with one of the co-owners Joan about it and she happened to have one of the better adapters out there in stock for M39 also known as Leica Thread Mount (LTM). The adapter is manufactured by a company called Fotodiox and have probably the widest range of adapters.

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Yes, that’s a Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 lens mounted…cuts a fine figure eh?

Unlike the Nikon digital SLRs and using old AI and AI-S lenses is that with the a6000 you have to first enable the “Release without proper lens” setting in the menu, once you’ve done that you’re ready to rock. You also don’t have much in the way of full automatic control so you have to run in either Aperture Priority or full Manual. I highly recommend Aperture Priority. Now I really only have the one lens, but I had on loan at the time a Fed-2 and a couple Russian 50mm lenses as well, so with three different lenses I figured it was good to put them all to the test with the adapter.

ЮПИТЕР-8 2/50
First on the camera was the JUPITER-8 this is a 50mm f/2 lens and is one of the more common Jupiter lenses available. Performance wise on the camera is did a bang up job, good coverage edge to edge sharp, and very little vignetting even with the aperture wide open. The results, well they speak for themselves.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 1

Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2
Nothing like throwing on a classic piece of German optics and man the lens even though it’s from 1948 still rocks on a modern body. Honestly only the a6000 could handle such an amazing lens.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 2

Индустар-22 f=50mm 1:3.5
The Russian copy of the Leitz Elmar lens, the Industar-22 was probably the weakest of the group not because it had poor optical performance because the images were great, it’s more the design of the lens and the focus lock lug keeps it from locking to infinity. Which isn’t really much of a problem, it’s just harder to work with. A non-collapsible version might have better performance.

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Fotodiox M39 to E-Mount - Test 3

Don’t dismiss these old lenses, many of them have a large number of blades in the aperture which makes for very pleasing bokeh (the descriptor for the out of focus blur) than the average consumer grade lenses. Not to mention they’re usually cheaper than most. Plus the adapter is about 30$ in change.

Suits and Canada Day

Suits and Canada Day

I wore a suit into Toronto for Canada Day, I was meeting up with a group of friends later on that day, but I took advantage of the beautiful weather and the bustle of the city to get some street photography in, and looking dapper there was only one choice in cameras, my Leica. I haven’t been giving my Leica love recently mostly because it’s a bit of a pain to use, bottom loading, cutting the film leader, making sure there’s enough tension so that the sprockets catch. But after some choice words I managed to load up a roll of classic Kodak Plus-X and hit the streets. Even met a fellow Leica IIIc shooter along the way.

Toronto - July 1st

Toronto - July 1st

Toronto - July 1st

Toronto - July 1st

Leica IIIc – Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 – Kodak Plus-X (125PX)
Dev: Kodak HC-110 (Dil. B) @ 20C for 5:00.

Project:52 – Week 45

Project:52 – Week 45

Excuse me, but have you seen Bob? This neat little worldwide photo project seemed to grab my attention so for week 45 I took my “Bob” along and photographed him in and around the area during my errands, mostly through Hamilton’s downtown. Needless to say I got a couple strange looks as I photographed this cardboard character in various spaces. Some people even wanted to know what I was doing, so I happily explained, some continued to give me the strange looks while others thought it was kinda cool.

Project:52 - Week 45
No, Bob hasn’t been around since 1958, but Burlington Camera has, and they even had the required yellow filter for my Summitar 50mm f/2 lens.

Project:52 - Week 45
Bob on some boarding keeping the Royal Connaught Hotel sealed.

Project:52 - Week 45
Bob on the freshly restored Lister Block.

Project:52 - Week 45

Project:52 - Week 45

Project:52 - Week 45

Project:52 - Week 45

Project:52 - Week 45

Leica IIIc – Leitz Summitar f=5cm 1:2 – Rollei Retro 100

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