Over the years I shot many Leica cameras. I loved them all but in the end I had to admit that one model really stole my heart due to its unprecedented simplicity: the early Leica II. But, what are nice screw mount lenses to use with that Oscar Barnack designed camera?
Enter the elusive 58mm 1.5 Sonnar lens in Leica screw mount.
Every now and then you see them for sale on auction sites. The ever returning question is, are they real, or are they Russian fakes? I have a theory on their history…
Some time ago, I suddenly was certain I needed a trigger winder on my 1938 Leica IIIa. Not having a transport lever on the camera made it a bit slow in use when I am shooting in the streets.
The Leica-made trigger winder is in fact a trigger bottom plate. It takes the place of the normal bottom plate, it has a spring to make the trigger return and that construction has one flaw: the trigger is connected to the film winder axle with the spring by means of a silk ribbon. And these ribbons sooner or later always snap.
The Tower type ’45’ camera was a screw mount Leica clone built by Nicca from Japan. It was sold exclusively by Sears in the United States, who commissioned cameras with their ‘Sears’ brand name with various Japanese and German camera manufacturers in the late 1950s and 1960s.
The second half of the 1950s saw the Japanese camera manufacturers face some difficulties in their production. Many of them (Canon, Nicca, Leotax, even the British Reid & Sigrist) had built their empires on copying the German design of the Leica IIIc. The Germans had lost their patents after World War II and the Japanese and other manufacturers had jumped on the opportunity to create their own versions of what had proven to be very well-built and highly effective cameras. But then, the Germans took the market back by releasing the Leica M3, which was a whole new level of camera and it was patented again too! The Japanese copy-cats were left lightyears behind.
But, they quickly figured out that Leitz had filed for a combined patent of all new features and had not filed the single alterations and improvements for patent too. And they set out to close the gap between their own (very capable!) models and the Leica M3.
And it got us some interesting developments.
What is it that gets people excited over a Leica that is painted, instead of chromed? For some people, a Leica in black paint is irresistible. As if it were covered in pheromones. An article on the magic of Leica Black Paint cameras. How unique are those cameras really?
Leica gear is well-loved, most-wanted and highly sought-after as a result, as we all know. But some Leica stuff just trumps it all: the black paint items from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. That’s were the truly big bucks can be found, that’s the stuff that dreams and collections are made of. Every collector hopes to one day scoop up a prime example for a handful of nickels and dimes.
So it is not that strange that sales of the coveted Black Paint Leica gear command larger attention, but also are a larger risk due to bigger bucks being involved.
With the modern day new mirrorless cameras like the Fuji X-T2 and the Sony A7-II, there’s great fun in finding less-than-usual lenses in abandoned lens mounts, and adapt them to fit the camera of your choice.
There’s a lot of adapters available for peanut prices if you want to try something exotic and this article lists a lot of options to get your lens and camera connected.
Don’t forget to get a bunch of macro rings to add between camera and lens if that is your thing!
In this article I try to compile a comprehensive guide to adapting lenses to various types and brands of cameras and lens mounts. As you will have found out by now (or you wouldn’t be reading this article), most camera manufacturers used their own, proprietary lens mounts to make sure that once a customer (that means you) bought into a system, they’d be hooked forever.
Shortly after World War II started, Leitz found itself in a sort of a predicament. The foreign shipments of shutter cloth material had seized due to the outbreak of the war. All that was left in stock was an experimental shutter cloth, which had different rubber layering and was red in color. Cameras that were ordered by the German Army, Navy and Air Force had to be delivered to Berlin, they were part of the war effort that German companies had to make.
Leitz decided to use the red shutter curtain material, even though there were doubts on its durability. And over time it became clear that the shutter cloth indeed gave in, the rubber started to desintegrate and left sticky black spots of goo on the shutter.
As a result, wartime cameras with red shutter curtains are pretty rare nowadays.
The Ricoh GXR is a remarkable camera. It is built by a unique concept, where changing a lens means you also change the sensor.
Ricoh Launched the GXR in november 2009. It was designed to be a Compact System Camera (CSC), which means it is a small camera and it featured exchangeable lenses. But Ricoh decided to not just manufacture exchangeable lenses, but incorporate lens and sensor in a single unit, called a ‘lensor’. The idea behind this was simple: different lenses could benefit from different sensor sizes.
The A12 GXR Mount lensor isn’t quite a lensor, in that it has no lens incorporated! Instead it has a Leica M mount in the unit that also houses an APS-C 12MP sensor.
This particular Leica M2 started out it’s life in 1963 and was used by German press photographer Herbert Ahrens until his death. When I bought it, the sticker from his ‘Pressedienst’ was still on the bottom plate. It looked very beat up but was still working flawlessly.