Leica IIIf Red Dial ST 1955

Tomei Collection


The IIIf red dial with self-timer was arguably the pinnacle of the original camera design that began with the 1932 IID (assuming of course that the IIIg can be considered a transitional model).  In all variations this model was produced from 1950 to 1957.  During the last 4 years Leitz also marketed the new M3, and in the end the IIIf was replaced by the IIIg which did not have several of the endearing shortcomings of the IIIf.

The 5cm f/2.0 Summicron lens remains one of the finest lenses ever produced by Leitz. This body was built in 1955 and is serial number 810,232.  Attached is a contemporary  f/2 Summicron lens, no. 1,316,784 with an IROOA hood.


If anyone wonders why photographers have had such reverence for a camera, pick up a IIIf  with practically any LTM lens on it, load it with film and shoot some pictures. 













Provenance of collector cameras is important as well as interesting. This camera appears to have had a particularly interesting life in the 1950's and 60's during the Cold War days in Berlin.  It had been purchased by Joseph Schaff, an Attaché in the French Government who worked in the French sector of Berlin.  Schaff was a member of the Resistance during WWII and later a member of the National Constituent Assembly (Moselle) at the time the Leica was purchased in March, 1957.  Above is shown the original document that indicated purchase from a Berlin dealer and permitted the owner to carry the camera, lenses and other accessories across the military checkpoint and eventually into France.  

The original receipts for purchase from the Berlin Leica dealer are also among the documentation for this camera. In 1956 in Berlin, DM156.95 is equivalent to $2781.50 in 2006.  It would appear that the value of good cameras and accessories has remained fairly constant during the past 50 years. Of course, the dealer provided a 17% discount presumably in defference to the Attaché's position.


Seen mounted with a four element Nikkor-Q f/3.5 13.5cm lens no.253932 and 13.5cm viewfinder

Shown with vintage 1936 f/6.3 2.8cm Hektor and TUVOO/VIOOH finder.

With the Taylor Taylor & Hobson f/2.0 2 in. Cooke Amotal Anastigmat lens 299128.