Recently my good friend Paul Sokk added this wonderful Leica IIIc to his collection of 35mm rangefinder cameras from the late 1940s and 1950s. The Leica is an original design made in Germany and the Nicca and Leotax are considered copies or clones made in Japan.
The Leica IIIc (front) is from 1946-47, the Nicca 3-F (middle) is from 1956, and the Leotax K is from 1955-58. These cameras use what is known as L39 (LTM) screw mount lenses of which literally thousands were made and thousands are still available today in a wide range of focal lengths.
If you’re looking to get into film photography with a totally manual camera then these should be on your list to take a closer look at.
On the left, the Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa and on the right the Nicca built Tower Type-3.
Pictured above are a couple of contenders from 1951. The Contax is an original design from the 1930s and was manufactured in Germany. The Tower branded camera was made by Nicca in Japan and features a Nippon Kogaku Nikkor f/ 2 5cm lens. The Contax sports a Carl Zeiss Sonnar f/ 1.5 50mm lens. The Contax also has an attached selenium cell exposure meter that can be useful for setting the correct aperture and shutter speed. A word of caution about these 70-year-old meters, if they are working (responding to light) then assume that it’s not accurate until you can check it against a modern meter. Most of these types of meters have long since failed.
Zeiss Ikon Contax IIIa with selenium meter (top center) flap opened.
Paul’s beautiful Leica IIIc
Paul’s gorgeous Leotax F with Topcor f/ 3.5 5cm lens.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope my post stirs some interest in these wonderful cameras. I do have a Tower (Nicca) set available in my camera shop at http://www.ccstudio2380.com if you care to take a look at it, pop on over.
Take care and stay safe! – Chris
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