Saturday, July 04, 2020


Despite having had it for years, I'd never actually loaded film into the old Leica IIIb. It's a complex process and the penalty for screwing up means trashing the shutter curtain in an 81-year-old camera.

During World War II and Korea, war correspondents did that at night in shell craters...under artillery fire. Wild. I reckon anything gets easier with practice.

I think everything worked out, and after deliberately wasting a roll of Fuji 400 from the local CVS to make sure I was doing it right, I loaded a second roll and shot off a bunch of frames to see if it works. This old camera has no training wheels; not so much as a built-in light meter. If using the all-manual FM2n with a built-in exposure meter is driving stick shift, the IIIb is driving stick without synchromesh.

I dropped the test roll off at Roberts yesterday morning, so we'll see...

Here's an interesting piece on a U.S. military issue camera from WWII, the PH-47, better known on the commercial market as the Speed Graphic.