The late 1990s and early 2000s were an experimental period for Leica. It’s during this period that Leica started producing its affordable compact point and shoot cameras. One of these cameras was the Leica C3.
Produced between 2002 – 2005, it is a premium 35mm point and shoot camera. Being the last camera in the LEICA Cx series, the C3 came with some incredible features making it one of the best point and shoot film cameras you can own.
Here’s a breakdown of some of these features.
Features of the Camera
Anyone who has used the Leica C3 can attest to the high-quality photos the camera takes.
Thanks to the 28mm-80mm Vario Elmar Leica zoom lens, all the photos you take with this camera will be very sharp, contrast and will have incredible color saturation.
And that’s not all!
Since the C3 lens can achieve a focal length of 28mm, this camera can take better wide-angle photographs than its old siblings.
Like its siblings, the C3 comes with an automatic focusing system, making your work as a photographer easier. Together with the automatic exposure mode, taking photos with this camera is extremely easy and straight forward.
No need to think about the technical details. Just point and shoot.
The camera also comes with a multi-mode flash system. For low light situations, you can always set the camera to have the flash on. For well-lit scenes, you can choose to switch the flash off.
You can use the auto flash setting, which automatically turns the flash on in low light scenarios.
And unlike previous Leica point and shoot cameras, the C3 saves your chosen flash mode. You don’t have to reset flash every time you switch off the camera.
This camera also comes with a red-eye reduction and flash synch mode.
As if that’s not enough!
It also comes with an exposure compensation mode with a value of +2EV. Thanks to this feature, you can take photos in very bright scenes, without them being over-exposed.
When it comes to shooting, the Leica C3 is a quiet camera, making it an ideal street camera.
This camera also comes with a zoom viewfinder with an adjustable diopter. If you wear glasses, you’ll love this feature.
Depending on your chosen focal length, the Leica C3 viewfinder has either a magnification of 0.33X when using the 28mm focal length and a 0.83X magnification when using the 80mm focal length.
Design and Physical Build
The Leica C3 is an elegantly designed camera.
The silver and black exterior gives the camera a lovely contrasty aesthetic. Thanks to the aluminum casing, this C3 is a sturdy camera that inspires confidence when shooting.
The use of the aluminum casing also helps to make this camera extremely light. At only 260g, you can carry the C3 in your hand all day without getting tired.
And that’s not all!
The C3 also comes with a rubberized pad at the top and bottom to help make it more comfortable to hold. The camera also has a rubberized finger grip on the front to help improve handling. (If you’ve used the C2, then you know how slippery the aluminum finish can be)
Shortcomings of the Camera
The Leica C3 main weakness is its focusing system.
The AF system is not very good at close range focusing and is also not the most accurate in low light conditions.
The shutter is also a relatively slow (max speed is 1/350 sec.), making taking photos in fast-paced scenes in bright light impossible.
There’s no doubt that the Leica C3 is a premium point and shoot camera.
It’s elegant, lightweight, has an incredible AF and AE system, and comes with a great lens capable of taking high-quality photos.
It’s also relatively affordable for a Leica, making it a worthy addition to your vintage classic camera collection.