Leica IIIb 35mm Camera

Contributed by Ant Smith

Leica IIIb 35mm Camera

The Leica series of cameras, developed by Oskar Barnack prior to the First world war, liberated photography from the Studio and the tripod. A compact camera that allowed photography to capture life as it happens in its own territory.

The 35mm film gave the camera a compactness that allowed Robert Cappa to document the Spanish Civil War; Henri Cartier Bresson to capture the lives of The Europeans; and Walker Evans' documentation of the Great Depression.

This camera was made in 1938 and continues to document the life around us today. Modern mass produced cameras, especially of the digital variety, have strictly limited shelf lives. This camera, with its mechanical precision and simplicity has the capacity to continue working for another 72 years.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 17:55 on 13 June 2010, Classic-Cam wrote:

    Hi, while it is true that Oskar Barnack made prototype cameras just before and just after the first World War, it was not until the early 1920's that Ernst Leitz made the decision to produce the camera commercially, and it did not reach the market until 1925. The Leica IIIb shown represents a considerable development of the original design, for example, interchangeable lenses and a built in rangefinder. Robert Capa (one 'p', not two) may have used a Leica in the Spanish Civil war, but perhaps most famously he used the rival Zeiss Contax for his work during World War II, including the D Day landings.

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Wetzlar, Germany




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