Leica IIIa

Leica IIIa

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Usage conditions apply
Accession no. 2011.0268, catalog no. 2011.0268.08. Note: Accession no. 2011.0268 covers a large donation of four Leica cameras more than 100 accessory items owned by John W. Hanes. The Hanes Leica Accessories items are listed in the accessories section after the cameras.
The Leica IIIa was introduced in 1935 and differs from the Leica III in having a top shutter speed of 1/1000th second compared to 1/500th for the Leica III. The competing Zeiss Contax 35mm camera had had a top speed of 1/1250 since its introduction in 1932. This is one of the most common Leica screw mount models, over 90,000 were made, almost all in a chrome finish like the example in the PHC.
The 28mm f/5.6 wide angle Summaron lens on this camera is not contemporary with the camera body. Zeiss made a 28mm f/8 lens for the Contax in 1932 and in 1935 the Leitz 28mm f/6.3 Hektor lens was introduced to compete. However, the 28mm f/5.6 Summaron wide angle lens was not introduced until 1956 and about 6,000 were made up to 1963. All known examples are in Leica screw mount even though Leitz had introduced M series bayonet mount Leica cameras in 1954. Also included in the collection is a Leitz 28mm bright line viewfinder for use with Summaron lens. The viewfinder mounts in the camera accessory shoe.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
mid 1930's
Ernst Leitz
place made
Germany: Hesse, Wetzlar
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in x 2 1/4 in; 6.985 cm x 13.97 cm x 5.715 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
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Work and Industry: Photographic History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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