A Leica camera that was acquired by my grandfather over 80 years ago. Together, we will follow the camera from its restoration to mastering its capabilities and accompanying the camera on its travels. #leicarebirth

Camera Background

This Leica IIIa was purchase sometime before World War II by my grandfather. The camera's serial number is 244697. Using this Leica table found online I was able to determine the model and the year the camera could have been manufactured which was sometime between 1937 and 1938. The camera was handed down to my father sometime in the early sixties and not used since then and kept in storage. A few years ago, it was handed down to me. I have been displaying it with other old cameras, projectors, and other old artifacts that I am now collecting.

The Leica IIIa Before Cleaning


Before attempting to use using the camera I wanted to have it looked at by a Leica expert. I sent the camera to YYecamera. Youxin Ye is well known for performing quality repairs on vintage Leica cameras and receives cameras from all over the world. I have asked him to take photos of the camera as it is being serviced. He will perform a CLA (Clean, Lube, and Adjustment) on the Leica and recommend any improvements.

Leica IIIa Leather Case

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The original leather case and strap had become very dry and damaged. I dropped it off at my local leather repair shop, The Country Cobbler, to have the leather conditioned and a new carrying strap made.

Leica IIIa With New Case

The original case was too delicate to use on a daily basis. Searching on the internet, I found Luigi Cases located in Rome, Italy. The case is beautifully made with a built-in hand grip like what is found on modern cameras. If you have an old Leica screw mount, M series or even a new digital camera, I would highly recommend the cases made by Luigi.

About the Project

After the Leica IIIa has been serviced, cleaned and tested with a roll of film it will be ready to venture out into the real world. The Leica Project takes a 1937 Leica IIa screw-mount camera into the hands of eight local photographers. The camera was ahead of its time being the first 35mm compact camera system. With its built-in rangefinder, removable collapsible lens, and fast shutter speeds, it allowed photographers to take pictures like never before. The Leica Project blends the old with the new. Each photographer will have up to two weeks to try to master the vintage camera. Some of the photographers have experience with film, and some do not. The preferred film is B&W, but the photographers can choose their own film. The subject matter is also left up to the photographers. The film will be processed by the same developer for consistency and scanned digitally. I hope you enjoy this photography voyage into the past.

Leica Test Photo - Lebanon Library

Leica Test Photo - Kimball Street

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