Leica IIIa/Leica 3a

This time, I would like to introduce the Leica 3a that took many of the photos on this site. This camera is a very good utility camera for taking architectural photos.

Production of the Leica 3a began in 1935, 70 years ago. The reason why 35mm film (also known as Leica format) became so popular today was the release of the Leica 1 in 1925. It is a camera with a long history, which is very close to the origin of the 35mm camera.
Of course, the loading and rewinding of the film and the shutter speed are all mechanical and must be operated manually. However, each movement is light and comfortable to use. The texture of the body, which is not die-cast, but carefully crafted with sheet metal, gives it a dignity that is not found in today's cameras. It is probably impossible to realize the goodness of construction that can be used comfortably even after 70 years in the present day when we rely on electronic devices.
The greatest feature of this camera is the rangefinder, which allows you to check the frame only through the viewfinder with a rangefinder, unlike the single-lens reflex camera that allows you to check the real image through the lens through the viewfinder. This in itself is nothing but a disadvantage, and may be the reason why rangefinders have become obsolete with the advent of single-lens reflex cameras. However, unlike single-lens reflex cameras, the structure that does not require a mirror between the film and the lens actually creates a great advantage.
First and foremost is body size. It is very compact because it has no mirrors. The size is sufficiently compact compared to compact cameras currently on the market. Also, there is no rude shutter sound. The quiet, comfortable feeling is unique to the Leica. Of course, there is no mirror shock and it is difficult to shake.
However, the biggest advantage is that the film and lens can be brought as close as possible because there is no mirror. This means that the degree of freedom in lens design is extremely high. Ultra-wide-angle lenses make the most of this feature. The closer the distance between the film and the lens, the more advantageous the wider the angle. Rangefinders and compact cameras like the Leica, Contax, and GR21 can take advantage of this feature. Among them, Leica has many lens options and can be selected at a low price. The photo on the left is with the UltraWideHeliar 12mm ultra-wide-angle lens attached. It's really compact, there's almost no curvature, and the image quality is excellent. In order to create an ultra-wide-angle lens for a single-lens reflex camera, it would be expensive and huge to realize a complicated optical system, and even so, it would be difficult to control the curvature. In other words, single-lens reflex cameras are structurally unsuitable for wide-angle photography.
Architectural photography also doesn't require autofocus. Most of the wide-angle lenses I use are 15mm, but even with the aperture wide open, everything from 90cm to infinity is in focus. In other words, you don't have to worry about focusing. Since the built-in viewfinder is only for 50mm, I use the external viewfinder that comes with the lens. The only drawback is the large difference between the finder image and the real image.
Speaking of Leica, it is a camera that has a lot of fans with a high degree of taste because of its tasteful images and unique lenses. But my obsession with the Leica is not nostalgia. This is the result of our pursuit of sharp, distortion-free images, wide-angle and compact portability, cost, and necessary functions.