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Vintage Leica Camera
Old 12-31-2008, 03:59 PM   #1
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Vintage Leica Camera

I AM NOT SOLICITING HERE, but I have an old 35mm camera that my father passed on to me. It hasn't been used in over 30 years. As far as I can tell thru internet research I am pretty sure it's a (1956) Leica IIIf (ELC) Red Dial w Self Timer, and several accessories (which I've also identified). If so, it could be worth hundreds or more. I will probably go the eBay route, but I don't want to unintentionally mislead a potential buyer until I am certain what it is. I am a real novice WRT cameras/photography. Anyone here knowledgeable, or know someone, who might help me figure out how to proceed fairly? Thanks...
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I have an old 35mm camera that my father passed on to me. It hasn't been used in over 30 years. As far as I can tell thru internet research I am pretty sure it's a (1956) Leica IIIf (ELC) Red Dial w Self Timer, and several accessories (which I've also identified). If so, it could be worth hundreds or more. I will probably go the eBay route
Yow. Aeons ago, when I did photography I lusted after this camera.

There's a mint condition one on eBay right now with a 'Buy it now' price of $1179.95, and another, just the body, for $708.

This thing, with accessories, could be worth quite a bit. The folks at photo.net, in the leica rangefinder camera forum, might be able to help.

http:/photo.net/leica-rangefinders-forum/
An older thread there on leica appraisals...
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:38 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what it's worth but it is a true classic. I think you have it identified correctly. If you can't get several hundred dollars for it with the accessories you should keep it. In this economic climate there are few investments that are more solid. My Dear departed father had one like that and it was sold as part of his estate. I did save some other cameras from his collection.
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Old 12-31-2008, 09:25 PM   #4
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We have a 1961 Leica M-3. The one we have has a dual range Summicron lens and the accompanying set of granny glasses that make it a close up range finder. We used to collect old cameras (before kids) and when we sold them all this was the one we kept. I know they can be worth a lot. The Summicron lens we have may be worth more than the camera body.

In our photography days we used to use this camera often. The pictures are stunning. Many times we'd both be taking pics, one of us would use the Leica, the other one would use a Pentax K-1000. After developing the pictures (remember doing that?) we could always tell which set of prints came from the Leica.

If you are into photography at all, get a roll of film and use this camera before you decide to sell it. Does the light meter still work? We have a similar one and it still works, it's just that there's a learning curve in how to use it. It quite different than more modern light meter systems.

When digital cameras first got popular the prices on Leica's seemed to go up a lot. I'm not sure if they've stayed high or come down. Do you have the original case?
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Old 01-01-2009, 01:28 AM   #5
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Does the light meter still work?
Do you have the original case?
The needle still bounces around in response to different lighting if that means it still works.

And yes I have the case, the manual, etc.

From what I can tell, the ones on eBay have mostly been restored by professionals, mine would strictly be as-is. It appears to be in very good condition, but not "mint" by any means. And I am going to put a roll of film in it and see what happens as you suggest, but I am not going to keep the camera.

I do not have a Leitz lens, it's a Nikkor from the same era. I get the impression it would be more valuable if I had an original Leitz lens.

Thanks for the leads everyone. The search has been fun so far...
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Old 01-01-2009, 04:14 AM   #6
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Keep it, Keep it, Keep it. There just isn't quality equipment like that being made anymore that is remotely affordable. It's Art, pure and simple. I was a Camera Guy, basically a salesman of such from around late 70's to early 80's. Many a nice Camera came thru my hands, and many got away, I obviously couldn't keep them all, nor should I have, obviously couldn't predict digital, I remember trying to sell Super 8 when people could by VHS portable's. It was suicide. Still Leica, and Leitz were special. The salesman would put the current Leica on the floor and stand on it, full weight as the demo. Fun stuff.

You really should keep a fine film camera like that, you'll never come across one that will take a better 35mm picture. Just a fact. The later ones like M-3 above or my M4-2 just added convenience features, but by the era of your's, 35 mm Leica photography was more or less perfected. I have rarely used mine in the last decade, but I will never give it up nor the Two Summicron lens (50 & 90). Someday I'd like to add a wide angle. I'm surprised the values have held up so well in the digital age. Good for us.
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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I had close to the twin of your setup. Different lens but same camera, meter and meter boost cell, etc. When I sold off all my film cameras a few years ago when I completely went digital I could not part with the Leica, because of how long I had lusted for one, and gave it to my Father who has a small collection of vintage Leicas, the newest being an M3. It filled a hole in his set (he had a I and II) and he was pleased and I knew it would be well cared for.

Not sure if the prices will hold up or not. Many of my other cameras that I thought were classics brought a fraction of what they would have sold for 5-10 years earlier.

Jeb
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:09 AM   #8
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Cool. Even before you put film in it, you can click through the slowest shutter speeds on up. It's easy to hear a difference until you get up to above ~ 1/100 or so. That would give you some indication. With the back open, look through the shutter, just to see if everything is opening and closing as you expect. You can inspect closely in "Bulb" mode - the shutter should stay open as long as you hold it down.

DD recently needed a film camera for a class, we dug our ~ 30 year old (non-classic) Fuji SLR out of the closet, and I ran all those tests in manual mode before 'investing' in a new set of batteries and film. Worked perfectly! Some real engineering and craftsmanship in these things.

-ERD50
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:42 PM   #9
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I'm glad you have the instruction book. On ours the film loading and light meter usage are quite different than anything else we had at the time. And you even have the case for the light meter. Sweet!
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