Leica IIIf RD DA

Naked beauty
I can’t stop admiring this incredible camera. It is working just about perfectly now, having had its view- and range-finders cleaned following its invasive surgery a couple of weeks ago. It is fitted with one of my absolute favorite lenses – the Canon 50mm f1.2 screw mount. This wonder appeared in 1956, so it is of the right age to fit onto the Leica IIIf, although my copy was made in 1961. An accessory viewfinder is essential as this lens shuts out over half of the viewfinder.
The astute reader will have by now realised that I have a thing for 50mm “standard” lenses. I am ashamed to say I have and use (oh dear) a 1949 Canon Serenar f1.9 collapsible; a 1953 Leitz Summicron collapsible; this wonderful Canon f1.2; a Leica Summicron M from about 1990 (4th version); 3 Super Takumar f1.4’s, as well as a couple of older sibling 1950s Takumar zebra 50mm f2 and f2.2 from well before automatic iris mechanisms appeared; a Tessar from Carl Zeiss Jena (another particular favorite of mine); a box of about twenty other various 50mm M42 mount versions yet awaiting their time; a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 AI from 1981; a Tomioka 55mm f1.2 (the fastest M42 ever produced); several FD 50mm f1.8’s; not to mention my trusty Canon EF 50 f1.4. God help me. Perhaps it’s because my first SLR was a Zeiss Contaflex Super (thanks Dad) that was fitted with a Tessar that could not be easily swapped for anything else, so it became my go-to (read only) lens for a very long while. And that list doesn’t even have regard for the ones I don’t own anymore.
This picture was shot with my five dollar Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens that was originally fitted to the Nikon FM2n I showed a little earlier. It’s a fabulous lens, now fitted to my Olympus E-P2 (my rangefinder for the digital age) through a cheap and cheerful Chinese made N-to-M43 adapter. That combination shot this image (f5.6, hand held, 400ASA at about 1/30 sec).
If you haven’t yet got into using beautiful legacy glass on a digital camera body, you really do owe it to yourself to trawl the Goodwill shops until you find one, and get an adapter for your particular SLR of choice. They can open up the old fashioned world of think first, shoot second that I believe must only improve one’s image making that is denied to us in the auto-everything non-thinking digital age of cameras.
I am renovating its leather half case now, so a bit more camera pron should appear soon when that little task is sorted out, so stay tuned.

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