Leica III (Model F)

35mm MF film rangefinder camera



Production details:
Order No.:AFOOV / LYDRO - body without lens
LYDROCHROM - same as LYDRO, but chrome finish
ACOOS / LYMAR - body with ELMAR 50/3.5
ACHOO / LYSUM - body with SUMMAR 50/2
LYSUMCHROM - same as LYSUM but chrome finish
LIHIG - body with HEKTOR 50/2.5
System: Leica SM (1930)
Imaging plane:
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica screw mount [28.8mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Speeds:1 - 1/500 + B
Exposure metering:None
Exposure modes:Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder:
Finder magnification:1.5x
Actual rangefinder base:39mm
Effective rangefinder base:58.5mm
Bright-line frames:-
Parallax compensation:-
Physical characteristics:
Weight:<No data>
Dimensions:<No data>
Body cap:14055
LOPEN / 35355

Manufacturer description #1

Model III Leica Camera (also known as the Model F) is basically the same as the Model IIIa with the exception that it does not have the 1/1000 sec. shutter speed. Maximum speed is 1/500 sec. Made with the top and bottom metal plates finished either in satin chrome or black lacquer.

Manufacturer description #2

As model II, but with extended range of shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 sec., rangefinder with focusing telescope (1.5x), eyelets at sides for carrying strap. Serial No. from 109000.

Manufacturer description #3

For the past nine years, LEICA has been carving for itself an enviable reputation in the field of miniature photography. Nearly every year it has soared to new heights. New models have appeared with outstanding improvements and refinements, yet basically the Leica has remained the same in design - the best evidence that the LEICA is sound in design and principle. In other words, the Model A, the first LEICA, is basically like the latest Model F, yet what a difference there is between them in accomplishment!


The introduction of the Model F extends the use of the LEICA even still further, for this model permits SLOW shutter speeds as well as the faster speeds which have been standard on all LEICA Cameras from the Model A on. The standard shutter speeds from 1/20th to 1/500th second are now supplemented by another set of speeds, controlled by a secondary knob, small and inconspicuous, located near the lens, on the upper front of the camera.


The secondary knob is engraved with the following figures: T (Time), 1, 2, 4, 8, and 20. These represent 1 second, 1/2 second, 1/4th second, 1/8th second, and 1/20th second, respectively. However, this is not all.

Intermediate speeds may also be secured by setting the indicator between the calibrated figures. For example, should an exposure of 1/6th second be wanted, the indicator is merely set between the 4 and the 8. A true 1/6th second exposure will result. Setting the indicator between 1 and 2 will result in an exposure of 3/4ths second.

In actual use, the Model F does not differ greatly from the Model D. When using the secondary slow speed knob, the regular shutter indicator dial on top of the camera is always set at 20 (1/20th second), after which the slower speeds become effective. When the usual faster shutter speeds are used, the regular knob only is used. Only when 1/20th second exposure is wanted must the two knobs be set on the 20 mark.


The automatic range finder is now equipped with a special compensating eye-piece which is adjustable to suit the requirements of various eye-sights. It is particularly valuabe to those wearing glasses, for, by merely moving a tiny, conveniently situated lever, the focus may be altered. The field in the range finder is somewhat different from that found in previous models - there is no longer a yellow field with a white spot in its center, instead, the entire field is clear white and moves over the full area so that there can be no possiility of failing to note the slightest change in focus.


Still another added feature is the pair of eyelets which are built into the body of the camera. These are located at the extreme ends of the Model F LEICA, and are provided to permit the use of a special neck-strap by means of which the camera can be carried about or used without the aid of the Eveready carrying case.


The Model F LEICA is in no way intended to surplant the STANDARD AND MODEL D LEICA Cameras. There are three distinct fields in LEICA photography to-day, each suited for using the Model E (known as STANDARD), the Model D, and the Model F.

The Model E remains the basic LEICA for those who do not wish to invest in the Model D or F because of limited funds, yet do want to partake of the pleasures of LEICA photography. The Model E can be converted at any future time into the Model D or F if desired.

The Model D satisfies the largest group of enthusiasts, those who want a general-purpose camera equipped with a built-in, automatic range finder focusing device.

The Model F offers the photographer the fullest range of uses with the LEICA, and because of this, is of tremendous value and exceptional popularity.

Manufacturer description #4

In 1933 the Model F LEICA was introduced. It possesses even more valuable features than the Model D, among them being the SLOW shutter speeds, ranging from 1 full, measured second to 1/20th second, besides the usual speeds from 1/20th to 1/500th second, an enlarged and improved field of view for the automatic range finder, and metal eyelets on the camera case for a neck-strap by means of which it may be suspended from the neck or shoulder without the aid of the carrying case.

The automatic range finder on the Model F LEICA is endowed with a magnifier which produces an enlarged image. The image seen is 1 1/2 times magnified over that seen in the range finder of the Model D. The field is clear over its entire area, whereas in the Model D it is pale yellow, with a white disc in its center, by means of which the two images are coincided for sharp focus of the camera lens.

An adjustable eye-piece is provided on the range finder of the Model F by means of which accurate registration of the image is secured at all distances from three feet to infinity.

Manufacturer description #5

The model F LEICA is very similar to the model G excepting that it lacks the 1/1,000th of a second shutter speed. It is available in black lacquer as well as chrome finish. Aside from these two differences. what has been said about the model G applies equally well to the model F LEICA.

From the editor

The Leica III was produced from 1933 to 1939. A total of 49,091 units were made: 27,366 in black finish, usually with nickel controls, and 49,091 in chrome finish.

Similar cameras (41)

35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Rangefinder • Leica screw mount mount

Model Shutter Metering Modes Year
Canon 7 M, 1/1000 Window M 1961
Canon 7s M, 1/1000 Window M 1965
Canon II-A M, 1/1000 -- M 1952
Canon II-AF M, 1/500 -- M 1953
Canon II-AX M, 1/500 -- M 1953
Canon II-B M, 1/500 -- M 1949
Canon II-C M, 1/500 -- M 1950
Canon II-D M, 1/500 -- M 1952
Canon II-D1 M, 1/500 -- M 1952
Canon II-D2 M, 1/500 -- M 1955
Canon II-F M, 1/500 -- M 1953
Canon II-F2 M, 1/500 -- M 1955
Canon II-S M, 1/500 -- M 1954
Canon II-S2 M, 1/500 -- M 1955
Canon III M, 1/1000 -- M 1951
Canon III-A M, 1/1000 -- M 1951
Canon IV M, 1/1000 -- M 1951
Canon IV-F (IV-S) M, 1/1000 -- M 1952
Canon IV-SB M, 1/1000 -- M 1952
Canon IV-SB2 M, 1/500 -- M 1954
Canon L1 M, 1/1000 -- M 1957
Canon L2 M, 1/500 -- M 1957
Canon L3 M, 1/500 -- M 1957
Canon P M, 1/1000 -- M 1959
Canon VI-L M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Canon VI-T M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Canon VL M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Canon VL2 M, 1/500 -- M 1958
Canon VT M, 1/1000 -- M 1956
Canon VT de luxe M, 1/1000 -- M 1957
Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2000
Minolta-35 Model A M, 1/500 -- M 1947
Minolta-35 Model B M, 1/500 -- M 1947
Minolta-35 Model C M, 1/500 -- M 1948
Minolta-35 Model D M, 1/500 -- M 1949
Minolta-35 Model E M, 1/500 -- M 1951
Minolta-35 Model F M, 1/500 -- M 1952
Minolta-35 Model II M, 1/500 -- M 1953
Minolta-35 Model IIB M, 1/500 -- M 1958
Yashica YE M, 1/500 -- M 1959
Yashica YF M, 1/1000 -- M 1959
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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

LOPEN / 35355

Lens opening cover of metal for LEICA screw-mount cameras.


Protection cap, for camera body with screw thread, chromium plated.


Protection cap, for camera body with screw thread, black finish.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.