For Sale: The Leica That Didn’t Take the Famous Photo of Che Guevara


Alberto Korda and his Leica IIIc

A Leica III camera belonging to Alberto Korda, he of the famous photo of Che Guevara looking revolutionary, is currently for sale on the Dutch auction website


Korda’s Leica III

The Leica III is being sold by Korda’s son, Dante, who describes the camera as follows:

My father, Alberto Korda, was one of the few cuban photojournalists responsible for capturing the world’s attention with the Cuban Revolution Propaganda. He followed the Cuban leaders around and became Fidel Castro’s personal photographer for more than a decade (request from Fidel Castro, who was one of his admirers). My father’s passion and exceptional skills as a photographer made every event of the revolution a magnificent moment, a genuine representation of an era of changes and beauty.

This camera was one of the favorite cameras of my father. My father actively used this camera in the fifties and sixties and kept it the rest of his life. That’s why it’s likely that my father took with this camera one of the world’s most famous photo’s ever made. The iconic image of the freedom fighter Che Guevara.

Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and provenance from Dante Korda

Unfortunately for Dante, this is not the camera his father used to take the iconic shot, which was taken with a Leica M2.


Korda took the photo on March 5, 1960, at a funeral service for Cubans killed when a ship carrying arms to the revolutionaries in Havana sunk. He attended on assignment for the newspaper Revolución, carrying a Leica M2 with 90mm. Castro, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Che were on the speaker’s platform. When Korda approached the platform, he immediately noticed Che. “I remember his staring over the crowd on 23rd street.” Struck by Guevara’s expression, Korda lifted his Leica M2 loaded with Plus-X and took just two frames — one vertical and one horizontal — before Che turned away.

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4 thoughts on “For Sale: The Leica That Didn’t Take the Famous Photo of Che Guevara

  1. Emilio Rodriguez

    Cheers, I dont know much about collectibles, but I thik this is a IIIc, I would love to have one of these, I just bought a Rollei TE black (no good exposimeter) and dream that is a Leica standard…

  2. Andre Weigand

    In the shown picture Alberto carries a Leica IIIb and definitely not a IIIc. Look at the screw on top of the dial for the slow shutter speeds. More obvious is the two piece top in stead of the one piece top of a IIIc. On a IIIc the lens is not quite surrounded by the vulcanite, the metal top extends from a quarter to until a quarter after from the diameter of the lens. See for yourself on the picture of the Leica III shown. So, in the picture Korda carries a IIIb. The lens, by the way, is a Summaron f/3.5 35 mm.

  3. David Murray

    The Leica screwmount cameras are brilliant for street photography. I use my 1935 model 111 with a 3.5cm f3.5 Summaron lens and a homemade wrist strap. I keep it wound on, aperture to suit the light, shutter at 500 (it’s top) and focus set to the hyper focal, usually to about 10 feet. I keep my camera in my pocket and when I see my shot it comes out, up to the eye, click and back in the pocket. Few notice what I have done. Film is Ilford XP2 400 iso. Negs are scanned to disc for me so my Leica is a digital camera. I have an accessory called a WINTU. It enables me to face away from my subject but the lens faces them. I really do recommend these cameras, you will get a good one from Peter Loy in London. A very knowledgable chap.

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