This is my “pics or it didn’t happen” post. I’ve made claims about owning a bunch of Leica gear, and this one is the proof. I’ve sold all the rest of my Leica gear off, except for this lens and camera body – which we consider a family heirloom from Cindy’s father. It’s a 1954 Leica IIIf RDST (Red Dial, Self-Timer) 35mm rangefinder camera, matched with a 1955 Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50/2.0 Collapsible LTM (Leica Thread Mount) lens, vented lens hood, and lens cap – and the two photos below are from the last roll of film that I put through it several years ago.
Why not continue shooting with it? For one thing, it’s 67-years old. Yes, people shoot film with old cameras all the time, but finding a good technician capable of repairing an old Leica LTM camera is getting tough. Believe me, I know. This specific camera has spent a total of over 3-years in the hands of vintage camera repair techs since it was gifted to me back in 1997, for a wide variety of issues over that period of time. The camera works perfectly now, and is in mint condition, so we’d like it to stay that way by making it a shelf queen.
The two monochrome photos shared here were taken on a summer day back in 2018, from a balcony on the old Newseum building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. They aren’t the greatest photos because I used the wrong ISO setting for the film I had loaded and grossly over-exposed them. Unlike all of the other film images that I post here, other than adjusting the exposure and contrast, I haven’t cleaned these up in post-production, so you can see what the raw images look like straight out of the camera. However, this lens and camera combination is capable of taking some beautiful photographs, as you can see from this collection of photos on Flickr here.
One of the neat things about a very old Leica camera like this one is that you can still buy brand new lenses for it from third-party lens manufacturers – lenses with current designs and lens coatings – something that can’t be said for the majority of other cameras on the used market.
Shots from Pennsylvania Avenue
The old Newseum building
Ilford Pan F+ 50
1955 Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50/2.0 Collapsible LTM Lens
1954 Leica IIIf RDST 35mm film camera