More Fish than Fowl – Leica IIIg

Toronto. 1956 was an exciting year for Leitz Germany and Leitz Canada, the small factory established in Midland as Ernst Leitz Canada. The company made the IIIf, IIIg, and M3 in Germany and assembled them there and in Canada. For traditionalists, a screw mount IIIf was offered and for the brave innovators, the post war designed M3 using the new bayonet mount was offered. (My doctor’s father, a Mr Holzapfel emigrated to Midland after the war and became one of the sales representatives for Leicas and Leitz.)

Those who wanted some of the new features of the M series but were reluctant to leave the screw mount cameras behind, could buy a IIIg. It was small like the IIIf and its ancestors, but had a better viewfinder, easier flash synchronization, and more modern speed dial steps. Those who felt only Germany made “true” Leicas could buy a Wetzlar camera, others could buy a Midland made camera (usually marked as GMBH Wetzlar Germany in those days, anyway).

If you missed out but want one for your collection, our fall auction this November the 19th will feature a 1956 IIIg and an f/2 collapsible Summitar lens with a six leaf aperture. Yes, many sites show the IIIg as manufactured beginning in 1957, but the serial number confirms it as a 1956 camera as do both Rogliatti and Lager. This body is marked Wetzlar but the serial number was allocated to Midland. The camera has is a bit of verdigris from the zipper of the Benser case used to protect it but a careful wiping should restore it to its original sheen. Made for just a few years, the IIIg was the last of the screw mount cameras. The M series took over sales with a bang!

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