SATOH Hirotaka Architects
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leica IIIa / Leica 3a


2005.12.04

leica.jpg Introducing this time is the Leica 3a, which took many of the photos on this site.This camera is a very good practical camera for taking architectural photos.

 Production of the Leica 3a began in 1935, 70 years ago.The reason why the current 35mm film (also known as Leica format) became so popular was that the Leica 1925 was released in 1, and it is a venerable camera that is very close to the origin of the 35mm camera.
 Of course, the film attachment / rewinding and shutter speed must all be mechanically operated by hand.However, each movement is light and comfortable to use.The texture of the body, which is not die-cast but carefully sheet metal by craftsmanship, has a dignity that is not found in current cameras. It is probably impossible to realize the goodness of construction that can be used comfortably even after 70 years by relying on electronic devices.
 The biggest feature of this camera is that it is called a range finder, and while a single-lens reflex camera can check the image in the real image through the lens with the finder, it can check the frame only through the finder with a rangefinder.This is only a demerit, and may be the reason why the rangefinder has become obsolete with the advent of SLR cameras.However, unlike a single-lens reflex camera, the structure that does not require a mirror between the film and the lens actually creates a great advantage.
 The first thing that is easy to understand is the body size.It is very compact because there is no mirror.The size is sufficiently compact compared to the compact cameras currently on the market.In addition, there is no unsophisticated "basha" shutter sound.The quiet and comfortable sensation is unique to Leica.Of course, there is no mirror shock and it is hard to shake.
 But the biggest advantage is that the film and lens can be brought very close to each other because there is no mirror.This means that the degree of freedom in lens design is very high.And it is the ultra-wide-angle lens that can make the best use of this feature.The wider the angle, the more advantageous it is for the film to be closer to the lens.Rangefinders and compact cameras such as the Leica, Contax, and GR21 can take advantage of this feature.Among them, Leica has many lens options and can be selected at low cost.The photo on the left is with an Ultra Wide Heliar 12mm ultra-wide-angle lens attached.It's really compact, with almost no curvature and a great image.In order to create an ultra-wide-angle lens with a single-lens reflex camera, it becomes expensive and huge to realize a complicated optical system, and it is still difficult to suppress the curvature.In other words, a single-lens reflex camera is structurally not suitable for wide-angle lenses.
 In addition, autofocus is not required for architectural photography.Most of my wide-angle lenses are 15mm, but even with the aperture open, everything from 90cm to infinity is in focus.In other words, you don't have to worry about focus.Since the built-in viewfinder is exclusively for 50mm, the viewfinder uses an external viewfinder that comes with the lens.The only drawback is that there is a large difference between this finder image and the real image.
 Speaking of Leica, it is a camera with many fans who have a high taste for the image and the individuality of the lens.However, it is not a nostalgic hobby that I stick to Leica.The conclusion is that we pursued sharp and distortion-free image quality, wide-angle and compact portability, cost, and necessary functions.

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