Help needed from Leica experts!

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by Jonboy2312, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Jonboy2312

    Jonboy2312 TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I'm new to these forums. I like it here, though, and will definitely start contributing and pestering others soon enough :D

    First things first, though. I promised an acquaintaince of mine that I'll try to find some info on the internet about a certain Leica he has in his collection.

    I don't know anything about Leicas, but he says the serial number on his specimen doesn't match the features. I photographed the thing all around and I'll just throw the photos in here, hoping that someone might be able to tell us just what the heck we're looking at, precisely.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    What we know for sure is that it's a REAL Leica, not a FED nor a Zorki. This is rather obvious and even an ignorant in thhis field such as myself can tell - there's a diopter adjustment on the viewfinder and a number of details that were never there on the Russian copies (and I'm pretty knowledgeable in THIS particular field). The engraving was obviously done mechanically (no chemistry, no lasers) and seems genuinely OLD.

    Some of the features that my acquaintance finds odd, especially when found all at once on one camera:

    - Obviously, this thing is black.

    - 5-digit serial number (he says it doesn't match the features found on the camera...)

    - No s/n on the lens, just a small "0" on the side of the base

    - Extra shutter speeds

    - PC sync socket (we're assuming it was added later, as the hole for in in the leather camera case seems to be just drilled and not finished in any way)

    Can anyone please shed some light at this problem? WHAT exactly are we looking at? Which model, which year? It's not a fake Leica as such, but maybe a genuine Leica "converted" to look like a more rare model?
     
  2. Jonboy2312

    Jonboy2312 TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I've done a bit of thorough research, and I can say I'm a lot smarter now as far as Leicas go...

    Okay, so what we're looking at is a Leica F. The PC terminal could have been added later. But what I don't understand, is why does it have such a low serial number?
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  4. Jonboy2312

    Jonboy2312 TPF Noob!

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    That's precisely why we're so confused! It's clearly not a Leica I, it's got a rangefinder and a slow-speed dial. With the top speed of 1/500, separate cover for the rangefinder assembly, viewfinder spread far apart, it can only be an early Leica III (a.k.a. Leica F), built anywhere between 1933 and 1939.

    The PC connector had no right to appear back then... but that can be explained as a hack job.

    It's just the serial number that remains a mystery to us. According to the s/n, it should be a humble Leica I...... We've been brainstorming over it till our brains boiled, and didn't come up with any reasonable explanation.

    A mistake of the engraver at the factory? Or a Leica I that was factory-rebuilt into a III (I read such things actually happened...)? But did they really do such far-going conversions?
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You will most likely get more exposure to this question at rangefinderforum.com
     
  6. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If I can throw in my 2 cents of wisdom... I know it's not much but perhaps it'll suffice.

    Upon close examination of the pictures, it seems that the camera had a paint job done. My guess is that this camera is in fact a Leica III (Model F) that has been repainted and the last digit of the serial number has been filled in and painted over so it looks like an earlier Leica. The serial number in your picture seems a little displaced, as there was room for one more digit at the end of the SN. There are a few known cases where a repaint job masked the last digit of the SN so it can commend more money when sold. The AFOOV (code word for the Leica III) were made in both versions, chrome and black paint. There were 27366 black ones and 49091 chrome ones made between 1933 and 1939. The Elmar lens is a nickel lens, not common by the ways of lacking a SN. I have seen many though like this.

    I hope this clarifies the issue a little more. Please feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
     
  7. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oh, by the way... If indeed is a Leica III and the last digit of the SN was covered with paint I can safely assume it was made in 1937. They made 1,000 black ones and 6,500 chrome ones during that year.
     
  8. Jonboy2312

    Jonboy2312 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the enlightment :)
    It's possible... it would be great though if we could compare it with another black Leica. Here's the full-rez shot of the engravings -
    [​IMG]
    It seems like the paint is melted away, as if by a hot engraving drill. What does this aspect look like on 'proper' black Leicas?
     
  9. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    More enlightment, even for me... It seems that the Leica factory converted many Leica I into Leica III (adding rangefinder, slow speeds/dial, etc.) just before the WWII. Here is a link:

    http://www.iol.ie/~corkflor/blackleica1.html

    Also, Ritz Camera has one for sale. Here is a picture:

    [​IMG]

    Yours could be a converted Leica I but with a bad home paint job, I cannot explain why the black paint looks the way it does now.

    Hope this makes more sense now.
     
  10. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Correction in regards to the Leica III picture. It seems to be a Leica IIIf black paint, still a conversion from a Leica I.
     
  11. Jonboy2312

    Jonboy2312 TPF Noob!

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    I guess that explains everything, then. And I got the same reply from the rangefinder forum :0 Thanks a lot! :) :) :)
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mitica.... you are being way way too modest! 2 cents of wisdom? more like few hundred bucks worth...
     

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