Lomopedia: Leica III


One of the most popular Leica models, the classic Leica III was introduced in 1933 alongside the Leica II series. Find out more about this iconic 35mm rangefinder camera in this installment of Lomopedia.

In 1933, a year after German camera maker Leica introduced the Leica II, it began making the Leica III model. The 35mm rangefinder was made at first in black, but chrome models were also made from serial number 116,001.

The Leica III has a coupled rangefinder that is different from the viewfinder. It also has an accessory socket for use with alternate viewfinders, since it’s set for use with 50mm lenses; shorter or longer lenses will require a different viewfinder to be attached on the accessory socket.

One of the most popular Leica models, the Leica III was said to be one of the cameras of choice of iconic photographers Stanley Kubrick (during his tenure as a Look staff photographer), Robert Capa (some say he used a Leica III early in his career, yet there are also those also dispute this and say he actually preferred Contax), and Gerda Taro (many say Capa gave her his Leica III).

Photos via diong on Flickr

Technical Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: Leitz, Inc.
  • Place of Manufacture: Germany
  • Date of Manufacture: 1933-39
  • Focusing System: Coupled rangefinder (39mm base length); * 1.5x magnification factor; Separate viewfinder (50mm focal length framing)
  • Lens Mount: Leica M39 screw mount
  • Shutter: * Horizontal focal plane shutter (cloth); Slow: T, 1 sec, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/20; Fast: 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, 1/500 sec + Z (B)
  • Metering System: None built-in
  • Flash: External cold shoe (no flash synchronization ability)
  • Film type: Type 135 film (35mm standard)
  • Battery type: none
Credits: anushreegavas, gauthierdumonde, kelvin_wx & ricoinbrooklyn

All information for this article were sourced from Camerapedia, Leica III on Wikipedia, and Photoethnography.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2013-07-03 in #reviews #lomopedia #35mm #1933 #rangefinder #leica #leica-iii #lomography


  1. lokified
    lokified ·

    That's cool! And the shots looks great. I found a mutant non-rangefinder version when I was in germany, the Leica If: www.lomography.fr/magazine/reviews/2013/01/30/leica-if-the-…

  2. rjschell
    rjschell ·

    The IIIf has flash sync (red dial up to 1/50, black dial up to 1/30). Double exposures are easy - simply wind the rotating shutter dial on the top. I owned one in 1970, traded it in on an M3 in '72, which I used for 30 yrs. until it was stolen. I have recently bought another IIIf on Ebay.

  3. paulm99
    paulm99 ·

    @rjschell I also bought the iiif and it's amazing! But i think i also will exchange it into a M3 in a year :)

  4. gauthierdumonde
    gauthierdumonde ·

    I have two 1938 Leica III's an they are incredible handy. I use zone and hyperfocal focussing because the two viewfinders make it a bit difficult for fast focussing. The camera is very compact and that's just great. I also use an M4, that one has great viewfinder allowing you to focus fast. But it is bigger. It is still a small camera, but the III fits my pocket and the M4 does not.

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