Leica IIIa

Leica IIIa

Some good news bad news on the Leica front. My folks sent me my grandfather’s Leica IIIa the other day. I jumped online and watched some Youtube videos on loading the film and shooting. I’m a bad blogger, I meant to make a note of the sites I found helpful and list them here. Next time.
The trick with the old Leicas is that the film take up spool worked with the longer, narrower film rolls used back in the day. My grandfather’s camera was made in the late 1930s (1937?). To load the camera with modern film you need to cut the lead, making sure to leave two sprocket holes exposed.

I picked up some Kodak TMAX 400 black and white film and headed over to Little Oddfellows to load it in their well-lit cafe (and have a biscuit). Loading the film wasn’t as difficult as I thought, and I allowed a little optimism to creep in. That may have been a mistake.

Leica Little Oddfellows Capitol Hill Seattle

When I was checking out the camera (empty) during the instructional videos I fired the shutter a few times. It had that always gratifying, distinct shutter release sound. Now this is a machine. Even after 70+ years the gears were still turning. But after I loaded and advanced the film, that rewarding shutter release sound is gone. I can press the shutter and advance the film, but my instincts tell me something’s not right.

I’m hoping that I’ve just loaded the film incorrectly, but I suspect the shutter’s timing mechanism may be off. I also haven’t figured out how to read the exposure counter. I thought I had that set correctly, too, but with each advance it falls on a different number.

I’ll take the film in to Panda this week and report back.