A Leica II D without a serial number???

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by valentin_manus, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Hello everyone! I just bought this camera, that was in a very bad shape. I have restored it and put a snake skin that looks, I think, interesting... let's say.
    The camera is a genuine Leica. It seems to be a Leica II mod D, but with a strange top. No serial number, odd Leica markings. And a strange-looking hole in the right side, maybe for an adaptation (maybe flash syncro).
    What camera do you think it is?
    Thank you very much!
    Vali
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  2. The top cover look to be a Zorki 1, as does the shutter speed dial. The front VF window looks to be the real deal for a Leica II.
    http://www.russianplaza.com/Zorki%20I%201%202%203%204%205%206%20C%20M%202.htm
    Plus, the camera body has lugs to attach a camera strap - which the original Leica II lacked.
     
  3. Upon further research, at least some early FED 1 cameras had a notched surround on the front VF window - just above the access screw for adjusting the rangefinder..
    http://www.sovietcams.com/index.php?414372438
     
  4. Not real IMHO
     
  5. Hey guys, I have put several pictures. It seems that nobody was looking at them.
    Like the roller cam follower from the rangefinder, the hole in the left for the low-speed dial, the shutter release, etc... No fake in there.
    The top cover I think is Leica, as you can see from the VF window.
    No Fed / Zorki had the strap lugs. And the writing is pretty clean and neat.
    And if the camera would have been a fake, trust me, it should had the serial number!
    I have never seen a Leica copy without the serial number.
     
  6. Interesting, the "Leica" engraving is completely off, but a number of thing are Leica style, not Russian style: The roller cam is a Leica style. The shutter release looks like a Leica with the collar missing. The infinity lock stops where a Leica should.
    I think it's fake, but not a fake Russian. I think it is a faked Leotax.
    From flickr user UsedCam Man, a Leotax Special IID f
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    Another Leotax:
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  7. Having collected forty plus pre-war FED Leica model II copies, I've never encountered one with a round range finder cam. FED cams are usually oblong or rectangular with rounded ends. I have a Leica model A and II with strap eyelets, factory added, and have seen others, so not unusual. An interesting oddity.
     
  8. Nice idea, Christopher! Thanks for the post and the pictures of the Leotax.
    But that camera does not explain the strap lugs and the holw for the slow-speed dial (Leotax is missing that).
    What do you think about the Leica engraving? Look at each letter how clean it is. It seems genuine to me. Why the serial number is missing - no idea!
    AND ONCE AGAIN - ANY FAKE HAS THE SERIAL NUMBER, as I personally know. That's why we call it fake :)!
     
  9. Here's a crop. Sorry for my fingerprint! I would bet that no russian guy did that.
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    I have noticed some things that are not Leica - the flash shoe and maybe the two round visors in the front.
    I also have Zorki 1, Fed 1, Fed NKVD, and several Leicas, not only LTM. And this sounds like one and it feels like one. Maybe is fake, but not a russian fake for sure!
    I am not pretending that this is a rare / uncommon camera, I just want to know what model it is, original or fake, etc. I have paid 100 Euros for it with an Elmar (it seem fake to me), so not that much.
     
  10. Nope, the engravings are the worst part of this cobbled together camera. This wasn't put together at Wetzlar.
    Below is my Leica II - Note the different shutter speed dial and winder knob. It also doesn't have the middle screw on the top cover - which on your camera is above the lens.
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  11. Perhaps its a slightly different version of the Leotax. From another photo.net thread, this Leotax version has strap lugs and slow speed dial. The view finder, shutter release, and cam match yours. Your slow speed dial may have been removed judging by the patched vulcante around the spot where it should have been. [​IMG]
    The "Leica" engraving is always scripted, never in block lettering. The "Ernst Leitz Wetzlar" is in a different font and down towards the edge. I've never seen a photo of a real Leica like this. Sorry, but I think it is a fake. Below is my Leica IIIa:
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  12. Here's a II with the third screw that you're missing, so there are cameras... and cameras. I have seen some II D's with only half of the screw visible outside the ring:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b3/Leica_II_Canon_lens_14162384_6cd2a80124_o.jpg
    I agree that the shutter speed dial and the winder look russian. As someone said before, there are II and even I with strap lugs. What about the other Leica elements?
     
  13. Thanks Christopher again! But I don't think is Leotax - the top cover, around the shutter speed dial, is perfectly round, but in Leotax is slightly curved.
    I have several Leicas and fakes, so I can make some diffrences between them. But this camera is really strange... And again: where the hack is the serial number, true one, or fake? :D
    Another oddity, that at least, I know what it is: II C (serial number) factory transformed into a III F BD with Self Timer.
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    And my very first Leica with a genuine Sonnar in LTM 2/50
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  14. Andrew Yue is also right about the shutter speed dial and the knob wind. These match the Leotax, not the Leica.
    I think your perception that " the top cover, around the shutter speed dial, is perfectly round, but in Leotax is slightly curved" is just a optical illusion based on the angle. There is a chance it is not a Leotax, but there is no chance it is a Leica.
    The lack of a serial number is irrelevent, since the engraving of the rest of the top plate is so off. You might also ask why the font is tremendously off.
     
  15. Whatever it is, sure is an interesting camera, Valentin. (not passing judgement on the camera, I'm not enough of an expert to have a valid opinion on this).
    I wonder what that the other hole in the body shell was for. One was a slow-speed dial surely, but the other?
    A flash socket? They even cut out room for it on the shutter crate! o_O
    As for weird Leica markings. I'm sure Tom Eitnier once mentioned to me that early post-war Leica cameras, markings and finish, were somewhat rough. Mainly manufactured from left-over parts. Even some recycled parts like top covers with bad/non-standard engravings and spelling mistakes.
     
  16. Thanks everybody for your opinions! Yes, it is an interesting camera - because I don't know what it is. Maybe is a copy - not russian for sure, maybe a hibrid.
    And the other hole - on the right side - lets you put the imagination to work.
    Here, in Romania, we had a very rich Secret Service with huge budgets, during the communist era, so they were using Robots and Leicas. And now, you can find these very cheap if you are lucky. I also have a Tochka - the russian Minox or the KGB Minox, a very rare espionage miniature camera, from a guy that also had like about 20 Robots and lenses, because he was a secret agent 25 years ago.
    Maybe this was used during that time, maybe that's why it doesn't have any serial number.
    Now it rests with other goodies behind the glass :)
    All the best!
     
  17. I have been looking through some font catalogues and the Leica engraving seems not to be a true DIN1451 variant (which originated in 1936). Some letters look right but some don't, especially the e and a: the 'L' seems rather crudely engraved too. Put another way, I'd expect Leitz factory to have made a better job of the engraving.
    Also, the font used just hints at much later, post-1960s, interpretation of the DIN1451 style. Font variations are notoriously difficult to identify, but the engraving does look (to me) almost home-engraved fron a stencil rather than precision engraved from an engineer's template.
    One might speculate that maybe it was a blank top-plate (possibly whole camera) that found its way out of the factory unofficially at the end of WWII? A Frankenleica! Just guessing!
     
  18. Oh! I should add, Valentin, I admire your boldness in tackling the restoration and congratulate you on the results. Whatever it really, truly, actually is, it looks great!
     
  19. Hello, Valentin.
    What I think is that the top your "Leica" it is somewhat russian, not sure if what exactly, but surely one of early 50s zorki or fed.
    Because of rewind position is marked with "B", not western"R". "B", or "V" in russian stands for "VOZVRAT", which means back or way back. Don't worry about serial number, it could be easily masked and then re-chromed when all new engravings done.
    How much did you pay for it?
     
  20. I don't think that the top plate comes from a russian Leica copy. Except for the very first series they are all missing the "step" above the rectangular viewfinder window. Those who have a "stepped" window frame have a value of their own, and converting them to a fake Leica would rather decrease their collectors' value. The few FEDs I ever saw with a "stepped" window frame looked rather crudely made, as if the top cover had been hammered manually, and they originally had no accessory shoe.
    http://www.ussrphoto.com/Forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1887
    It would be helpful to have a look at the innards, i.e. the parts visible when the bottom plate is removed, the russian copies look quite different from real Leicas.
     
  21. Hello again! Yes, I don't either think that the RF-housing comes from a russian camera. Maybe just the top plate.
    I am pretty sure that the housing has the original engravings, weather those are Leitz or not. Those are the only ones ever been engraved on that cover - I have Leica fakes and you can see the erasing work that has been done on them.
    About the early Fed that look like this one: this is not it. From the link Winfried gave, the russian Fed is very... "Spartan", finishings were not russian's strong point :D
    ps: the camera was 100 Euros, along with an Elmar that seems fake
     
  22. " finishings were not russian's strong point"
    I do not fully agree. I have both a FED1g (last series) and a Leica IIIa, and the finishing quality is almost equal on both. However, this does not seem to apply to the very first FEDs (1a), they look pretty handmade.
     
  23. Back again!
    The RF system doesn't look to be russian. I have opened a Fed 1 and it is veru different.
    It has a number stamped on the top plate: 9482.
    Again, to me, the RF housing looks to be Leica - just my opinion.
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