|image by Tony Kemplen (Image rights)|
The main feature of the Leica IIIa is the shutter speed range from T (shutter remains open), 1 second, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/20 on the front dial; 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, 1/500, 1/1000 and Z (shutter remains open while release button is depressed) on the top dial.
The Leica IIIa was made only in chrome finish. Black Leica IIIa's are earlier black cameras upgraded to IIIa in the Leica factory.
After the war, about 500 Leica IIIa's were assembled in the Saar (France), by the optical firm of Saroptica, carrying the inscription "Monté en Saar" in the top plate.
The Leica IIIa was produced from 1935 (serial number 156,201) to 1948 (serial number 356,550) in Wetzlar, and from 1948 to 1950 in the Saar (356,701-357,200), with approx. 91,000 total units made.