The Leica III is a rangefinder camera introduced by Leica in 1933, and produced in parallel with the Leica II series. Several models were produced over the years, with significant improvements.
The Leica III uses a coupled rangefinder distinct from the viewfinder. The viewfinder is set for a 50mm lens; use of shorter or longer lenses requires installing an alternate viewfinder on the accessory socket.
Introduced in time for Christmas 1950. Featured in-camera user selectable flash synchronization for the multitude of flash bulbs then available. Two versions produced, (1950-52) with non geometric shutter speeds and had black flash synchro numbers. Collectors refer to this model as a "Black Dial, aka BD". Second version (1953-56) switched to modern geometric speeds and was distinguished by red lettering on flash synchro numbers. Collectors refer to this model as a "Red Dial, aka RD". A self timer was offered as a factory installed option in 1954. Many owners of the first IIIf version opted to send their cameras to Leica for self timer retrofits. Collectors add the suffix ST (self timer) to the BD and RD nomenclature. BDST and RDST are used to identify models with self timers.
change in body configuration to facilitate manufacture of larger and brighter viewfinder. Projected frame lines and automatic parallax correction for 50 and 90mm lenses. Rare.
^Unification of the rangefinder and the viewfinder occurred with the introduction of the Leica M3, allowing quick framing and focusing in a single operation. The M3 viewfinder is also able to display viewlines for 50, 90 and 135mm lenses