Leica III(F) 1934-39
Every collection has a few veterans of decades of rough use. This model III(F) is neither rare nor is it a fine example of the model. However, it earned its place in the collection for having arrived sporting, unexpectedly, a very nice f/6.3 2.8cm Hektor lens.
This model marked the continued improvement of the Leica cameras having appeared in 1933 just a year after the II(D). The Leitz code was AFOOV and it was known as the Model F in the United States. Competition had heated up with Zeiss Ikon and their formidable Contax I model had begun to erode the market for the Leica cameras by 1934. The addition of slow shutter speeds from 1 sec through 1/20 sec on a front mounted dial made this model popular and competitive through the end of the production in 1939.
Two notable changes were introduced with this model: First , an improved rangefinder optical design that provided a magnification of 1.5x. Second, lugs finally appeared on the body permitting use of neck straps that did not depend on use of the everready case.
The example shown here has serial no. 155685 indicating a production in 1935. Relatively few variants can be identified by external changes among these even though it had been produced through 1939. It is curious that this model is the first to have been equipped with the red-blind shutter material according to van Hasbroeck (1983).