This tutorial is covering an almost complete teardown of one of the first rangefinder cameras ever produced, the Leica F (or Leica III), produced from 1935 to 1940.
This tutorial covers the first model of Leica III. You will find great similarities with models IIIa and IIIb. Models from Leica IIIc are really different by design.
By "almost complete disassembly", I mean allowing access to most parts of the camera, if the curtains are dead of course, you will have some more screws to remove.
- Several small flat screwdriver if possible magnetized . Note that the so-called " precision " commercially screwdriver may be too big for the watch .
- A clean brush to remove dust ;
- A flat nose pliers if you want to try removing the rangefinder in warrior mode.
- A box with compartments in order to place as and when the various screws you remove .
If you want to adjust the curtains' tension, there's no need to teardown the whole camera, this setting is at the bottom, by removing the small black screws that release the adjusting gears.
Step 1 - Removal of the camera body
Begin by removing the base and the cylinder of the film.
After locking the lens, remove it.
Remove the four screws that secure the support of the lens.
Warning , the bottom two screws hold a small metal plate. Avoid dropping it on the curtains.
Remove the last screw holding the upper plate.
You should be there.
Remove the three screws on the front panel of the unit.
Remove the scew that secure the slow shutter knob, remove the three screws that sits behind. Memorize how these parts are mounted, if necessary by taking pictures.
Remove the five screws that hold the top of the unit to the housing. There are two in front, three behind.
You can now slide the camera from the case. Pay close attention to the rangefinder arm, which should be kept inside during the operation.
The first step is now complete.
Step 2 - Removing the rangefinder cover
To give you an idea, here is the final result we want to achieve.
Remove the screw that secures the left viewfinder.
Remove the viewfinder by gently pulling it backwards.
Loosen the rear screw.
Remove the main viewfinder by unscrewing it (if necessary use a pair of pliers, without forcing on optical)
Unscrew the rangefinder right lens.
Turn the unit and remove the screw shown in the picture.
Remove the optical pull strap of the rangefinder left lens by unscrewing it.
Remove the optical by turning it very gently (with a pair of pliers if needed).
Remove the top plate which is held by three screws, remove the small screw from the shutter time selector and unscrew it.
Normally you're there. You can now remove the top cover.
You now have access to the shutter mechanism ...
... and to the rangefinder.
To reassemble, follow this tutorial in reverse, and TAKE YOUR TIME. There is nothing worse than having to re-disassemble the whole stuff because you forget a screw.