Leica IIIa - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Leica IIIa


E. Leitz G.M.B.H.



Image of Leica IIIa

f2, 5 cm Summar, iris diaphragm to f12.5, marked in continental stops. Screw mount. Serial no. 285854 (1936).

Focal-plane, speeds 1 - 1/1000, Z. Speeds are varied by delaying the second blind.

Vulcanite covered metal body.

36, 24 x 36 mm exposures on 35 mm cine film held in standard cassette, film is re-wound into cassette.

Helical to 1 metre.

Coupled rangefinder, swing prism type, double image. Direct-vision (lens/lens) view-finder.
Auto-stop on film advance coupled to shutter. Film advance tensions shutter. Exposure counter.

Serial Number:
202928 (1936) .


  • f6.3, 2.8 cm Hektor, iris diaphragm to f25, focus to 1 metre. Introduced 1936. With lens cap. Serial no. 357317 (1937).
  • f3.5, 3.5 cm Elmar, iris diaphragm to f18. Helical focusing to 3.5 feet. Depth-of-field scale. With lens cap. Serial no. 438775 (1938).
  • f4, 9 cm Elmar. With lens cap. Serial no. 320997 (1936).
  • f4.5, 13.5 cm Hektor, iris diaphragm to f36. Helical focusing to 1.5 metre. Depth-of-field scale. Serial no. 241064 (1935).
  • f4.5, 20 cm Telyt, iris diaphragm to f36, focus to 3 metre. Introduced 1935. Silver lettering. Serial no. 272502 (1935).
  • Lens cap for 5 cm Summar. Red box for Summar lens.
  • 10" cable release. 3 cassettes in tins.
  • Adjustable lens hood FIKUS for 3.5 - 13.5 cm lenses. Introduced 1933.
  • Filters, A36 fitting: Yellow 0, in red box. Yellow 2, in red box. Green 2, in red box. Graduated.
  • Universal view-finder. In red box.
  • Reflecting (waist-level) finder. Late model with accessory shoe. Box.
  • Angular finder.
  • 13.5 cm sports finder. In red box.
  • Rapid winder. In red box. Introduced 1936. Ever-ready case for camera with rapid winder.
  • Intermediate ring. For fitting Elmar close-up lenses on a Summar. Introduced 1936. Version with silver lettering. Close-up lens 1. Close-up lens 2, in red box. Close-up lens 3, silver lettering.
  • Close up apparatus (Setting device BEOOY). For use with supplementary lenses 2 and 3. Comprises: Collar, 4 legs, 4 extension rods. Some Leica negatives taken with the device.
  • Optical Near-Focusing Device. For 5 cm Summar lens. Scale of magnification: 1:6.5 - 1:17.5. Introduced 1935. Automatic parallax correction and view-finder adjustment. For distances between 3.5' - 17 ⅜".
  • "The Optical Near-Focusing device for the Leica" - pamphlet, English text d. Aug 1938. "Leica Cassettes" - pamphlet, German text d. Oct 1935. "Directions" - instruction book, German text d. Aug 1935. Leica General Catalogue 1936. "Leica Zubehor" - pamphlet, German text d. Sept 1936, covers accessories. "Hilfs-Gerate" - instructions, German text d. July 1936, covers the BEOOY. "Lens Tables for use with the Leica camera" - booklet, English text d. Nov. 1937, depth of focus tables.
  • A number of Leica negatives.
  • Outfit case ETGUS.
  • Reflex Housing
  • Reflex housing for use with 20 cm lens. Without accessory shoe. Fixed magnifier. Serial no. 2203.
  • Telyt Lens hood. Lens cap to fit on reversed hood, rear cap. Double cable release. Yellow filter 2, marked Telyt, screw fitting. Instructions German text. d. December 1935.
  • Leather outfit case for Telyt lens, reflex attachment, filters and cable release.
  • Short focusing mount to attach the 13.5 cm Hektor lens head to a Reflex housing. Focus to 1.5m. Depth-of-field scale.

The IIIa is similar to the III but has a higher top speed of 1/1000. It was often advertised with the f2 Summar as a speed combination. The IIIa continued to be made until 1950. The price was £43 with a Summar lens.

Some frames of the negatives with this example show vignetting characteristic of the Summar at full aperture. Subjects include Kew Gardens, portraits and Oxford.

With the BEOOY three settings are possible:
Lens no. 3 and camera lens at 3 ½ feet, object size is 5" x 3 ⅜".
Lens no. 3 and camera lens at infinity, object size is 6 5/16" x 4 1/4".
Lens no. 2 and camera lens at 3 ½ feet, object size is 8 ½" x 5 ⅝".

With the addition of the extension legs BETAB an additional setting of:
Lens no. 2 and camera lens at infinity, object size is 12 5/8" x 8 7/16".

The legs are marked with yellow and white rings for the Summar for the Elmar lenses respectively.

Optical Near-Focusing Device
This was a variable extension tube with parallax compensation to the view-finder and rangefinder. It allowed the standard 5 cm lens of the Leica to focus down to 17 ⅜", the magnification range was 1:6.5 - 1:17.5.

In use the lens is secured to the unit by its bayonet, the focusing mount of the lens is not used. An optical wedge is aligned over one of the rangefinder windows and a mask aligns in front of the view-finder window. The latter automatically adjusts for parallax and reduction in field size but in use was not very precise due to the small finder window.

Pre-war Leitz made different versions of the device:

  • Nooky (1935) for the 5 cm Elmar lens. In 1939 a reproduction scale was added.
  • Nooky-Hesum for the 5 cm Hektor and Summar. In 1939 a reproduction scale was added and the engraving included the 5 cm Summitar.
Early models were available in a black and nickel finish later only chrome were made.

Rapid Winder
The Rapid winder SCNOO replaces the base plate of the camera. A trigger shaped finger grip is pulled across the length of the base which rotates the film advance spindle. The ever-ready case attaches to the camera by a bayonet surrounding the open/close lever for attaching the camera base.

Telyt & PLOOT
The 20 cm Telyt was the first telephoto lens for the Leica, mainly used in conjunction with the Reflex Housing PLOOT. The PLOOT has a manually operated mirror - pressure on the release raises the mirror, when the pressure is removed the mirror drops back. For vertical exposures the unit can be rotated 90°. Later models had a mirror lock, accessory shoe and removable finder.

Code Names:
ADKOO - Camera. FINOT - Cable release. FILCA - Cassette. FIHEL - Yellow filter 0. FIPOS - Yellow filter 2. FIGAM - Green filter 2. OBEN - Graduated filter. 7348c - "Directions". 7586c - "Leica Cassettes". 7652 - Pamphlet on Leica Near focus attachment. 7335c - "Leica Zubehor". VMCOO - Intermediate ring. ELPRO ELPIK ELPET - Close-up lenses 1 2 3. BEOOY - Setting device. BETAB - 4 extension rods. NOOKY-HESUM - Optical Near-Focusing Device. ETGUS - Outfit case. VIDOM - Universal view-finder. AUFSU - reflecting findeer. WINTU - Angular finder. SEYOO - 13.5 cm sports finder. SCNOO - Rapid winder. EPZOO - Ever-ready case for camera with rapid winder. FIKUS - adjustable lens hood. OTPLO - 20 cm Telyt. PLOOT - Reflex housing. POOCI - Telyt filter. 7555b - Telyt instructions. EMTOO - Telyt case. ELANG - 90 mm lens. HEFAR - 13.5 Hektor. HOOPY - 28 mm lens.

References & Notes:
Leica shutter. BP 479453/1938. BJA 1936, pp.268, 514. Leica Cat. 1936. Hasbroeck, Leica


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