Leica IIIf

35mm MF film rangefinder camera



Production details
Order No.:LOOHW / 10050 - body without lens
LOOPN / 10055 / 10056 - body with ELMAR 50/3.5
LOOKX / 10060 - body with SUMMITAR 50/2
LUOOX / 10061 / 10063 - body with SUMMICRON 50/2
LOOIT / 10065 / 10066 - body with SUMMARIT 50/1.5
LOOHWSOONC / 10070 - body with SUMMARON 35/3.5
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 - 1/1000 + 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

From the LEICA photography magazine (Christmas 1950, Vol. 3, No. 12):


E. Leitz, Inc. is proud to introduce the new Leica IIIf with built-in flash synchronization for all flash bulbs and all shutter speeds up to 1/1000 and strobe.

This long awaited innovation has been the subject of years of experiment and research by the Leitz Works at Wetzlar. While built-in synchronization is no new development, a built-in system which synchronizes perfectly at all shutter speeds is a novel addition. In true Leitz fashion, all the skill and craftsmanship that made Leica the forerunner in 35mm. photography has been utilized.

The automatic synchronizer dial is located at the base of an improved, easier-to-read, shutter speed dial. This dial is calibrated from 0 to 20. Before setting this dial, choose the desired flash bulb and shutter speed and locate the flash factor on the handy reference table supplied with each flash unit (this card fits readily into the back of the Eveready carrying case). When the correct flash factor is located on the table, a red figure indicates the proper dial setting. After moving the notched dial to the proper location you may fire away. The correct setting for zero delay strobe units is also given and no modifications to the camera or extra accessories are needed.

One exclusive feature is the miniature flash unit - the most compact, powerful unit of its type yet developed. A special plastic holder accepts four standard pencil-type batteries and supplies 6v of power for surer, faster firing.

Only a handful in size, the miniature flash unit weighs 9 1/2 ozs., including batteries, and fits easily into your pocket or combination case. NO FACTORY INSTALLATION IS NEEDED. Simply slide the shoe of the unit into the camera accessory clip.

In addition, a synchro-contact point has been added to the camera near the view-finder window. The synchro-contact plug of the connecting cord fits on the point easily, rotates 90°, and locks securely into position. The pins of the connecting cord plug are of an especially polarized type which fit snugly. They have different diameters and are marked for proper insertion so that they assume the correct polarity of the electric circuit.

A revolutionary part of this compact unit is the dull-finish, aluminum reflector which folds like a ladies' fan. It diffuses light and eliminates hot spots. The handle has four notches which permit adjustments in height so that all size bulbs are correctly centered.

Slipping easily and securely into the regular bulb holder, is a midget bulb adaptor. Also, a new spring-clip ejector is built-in to the adaptor - no need to burn your fingers. Built-in to the battery case base is a threaded tripod socket which permits the unit to be mounted independently. For those interested in multiple flash, a special three-way socket is available.

Another outstanding feature of the Illf is the new, handy film-speed indicator built-in to the winding knob, which "remembers" the type film in the camera in both A.S.A. and Weston ratings.

After loading, but before setting the counter to "0", lift the knurled knob and turn it to the right for black and white and left for color (the "color" dial is red).

Manufacturer description #2

This is the LEICA that has helped to establish amateur and professional photographic reputations the world over. It has every feature that makes the name "Leica" famous. One of the things you will like best about it, is the way you can build a marvellously versatile outfit around it. Unsurpassed for all-around use to begin with, the III f makes you master of every specialized branch of photography as you add accessories. Choose from among over 200.

Accepts any of 10 superbly corrected, interchangeable Leica lenses in screw mounts, focal lengths 35-400 mm. Twin-eyepieces for coupled, built-in range finder (with 1.5 X magnification) and viewfinder for 50 mm lenses. Focal plane shutter speeds 1 sec. to 1/1000th, "B" and "T"; synchronized for electronic and conventional flash. Simultaneous shutter wind and film advance, built-in delayed action timer, film-type indicator, semiautomatic exposure counter.

Manufacturer description #3

Similar to Model IIf, but with focal plane shutter from 1 to 1/1000 of a second, with built-in synchronization for all flash bulbs and zero delay strobe flash units, and with film speed indicator built into the winding knob which "remembers" the type of film in the camera in both ASA and Weston ratings. The Leica Model IIIf is the finest photographic instrument for 35mm. photography.

Manufacturer description #4

The Leica IIIf is the most versatile of the cameras in the "f" series. It has shutter speeds from 1 second to 1/1000th second including Time and "bulb". You get a built-in viewfinder for the 50mm lenses and a coupled rangefinder which magnifies 1.5X for extreme accuracy of focus. You also get a built-in self-timer for taking your own picture or tripping the camera on an unsteady support.

Manufacturer description #5

Black synchronizing dial without self-timer, available from 1950: as model III c, but with built-in full flash synchronization and film indicator built into film winding knob. Serial No. from 525000.

Red synchronizing dial without self-timer, available from 1952: as before, but international shutter speeds. Serial No. from 615000.

With self-timer, available from 1954: as model III f with red synchronizing dial, but with self-timer of approximately 12 seconds delay. Serial No. from 685000.

Manufacturer description #6

From the LEICA photography magazine (Winter 1952, Vol. 5, No. 4):

NEW FEATURES ON LEICA CAMERAS... In accordance with a recommendation by the International Standards Association to standardize the shutter speeds of cameras, all current Leica models are now supplied with the following shutter speeds: slow speeds (Model Illf only) - time, 1, 1/2, 1/5, I/10, 1/15 second; fast speeds, 1/25, 1/50, 1/75, 1/100, 1/200, 1/500, 1/1000 second and bulb.

Leica cameras with these new shutter speeds have their synchro-scales marked in red to distinguish them from previous models. Accurate synchronization requires the use of the correct flash factor card.

On the baseplate of all recent models is a new vertical bar which has been added to keep film in position while it is being wound through the camera. Previously, there were some cases where the film was out of alignment due to the variation in cartridge tolerances. This alignment bar can be added to all Ic, lIc, IIlc, llf, and Illf cameras, and our Repair Department now offers this service.

Manufacturer description #7

From the LEICA photography magazine (Summer 1953, Vol. 6, No. 2):

CORRECTION... Recently we announced that the new speeds on the Leica camera were changed as a result of the International Standards Association recommendations. This was an error, since there is no I.S.A. in existence. These speeds were changed because more cameras throughout the world are so calibrated.

From the editor

The Leica IIIf introduced in 1950 was the successor to the IIIc. The innovation par excellence was built-in flash synchronization controlled by selector dial at base of top shutter speed ring. Mechanical specifications and operation similar to IIIg except for smaller viewfinder, no bright-line field indicator and no automatic parallax compensation. Some early production did not have built-in self-timer. As with the IIIc, the top plate consists of one piece. The diopter compensation is also located under the rewind button. As with the IIIb, the eyepieces of the viewfinder and rangefinder are located directly next to each other.

The IIIf was manufactured in Wetzlar from 1950 to 1957. As a rule, the body had chrome finish, however a small batch was made in black finish for the Swedish army and engraved with three crowns.

In total, Leitz produced 184,100 units of the IIIf. 5,367 cameras were made at the Canadian plant in Midland.

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
Notify of

Copy this code

and paste it here *

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2012-2023 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

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.

Unable to follow the link

You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

Cannot perform comparison

Cannot compare the lens to itself.

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.