DBP/IIIa Identification--Monte en Sarre?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by charlesk, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. I am having difficulty identifying this Leica. Here are its main features:
    1. It is a Leica IIIa and has the 1/1000 shutter, even though the serial number, 236864, indicates a Leica III batch from 1937.
    2. Has flash sync and sync ring under Shutter Speed Dial.
    3. "DBP" indicating a post-war camera.
    The camera lacks the "Made in Monte en Sarre" stamp on the topplate, but has all the other signs of being one of these cameras.
    There is no doubt that this is a Leica and not some sort of replica. It came from the estate of a serious collector and professional photographer.
    For readers who do not know what I am referring to, I copied this from the Net:
    In the period 1949-1951 about 500 Leica IIIa cameras were assembled at St. Ingbert in french occupied zone of germany by the Saroptico company. These cameras carried the engraving "Monte en Sarre" (assembled in Sarre) beneath the word "Germany" on the top-plate. In this way they avoided the high tariff imposed on foreign cameras imported into France. They were all sold in France or the French colonies. Later examples had a film speed reminder in the wind-on knob as introduced on the Leica IIIf in 1950. Some also have IIIf-type synchronization, although this may have been fitted later as a conversion.
    Click on picture for larger image.

    I have some more images posted HERE.
    I would appreciate any opinions on this.
    Thank you,
  2. Could it be a IIIa returned after WWII to be updated with a flash sync a la IIIf? I understood Leica retrofitted new top plates engraved with the original number.
  3. New top cover. The plate will be original.

    Sorry to be pedantic, Huub because I know that's what you meant.
  4. Sync is the IIIf kind, but the wind on knob was not changed.
  5. As has been said it looks to me like a factory update with synchro in the correct place for a Wetzlar modification.
  6. I agree, though just to be clear, I think it was a III, converted to a IIIf. Pretty much whar Huub said, only I think it started as a III not a IIIa.
  7. If it was a III which was retrofitted after the war, then it would have retained the pre-war manufacturing marks (DRP)--so, the entire top cover would have to have been replaced. Why would they bother doing this when all they needed to do was modify the existing III cover?
  8. ive got a IIIc converted at the factory to IIIf and they replaced the top cover with the dbp marking and kept the old serial number
  9. This camera has the post 1954 engraving of the REPLACEMENT tops constructed at Leitz for conversion upgrades, what you have is a FACTORY Leica III to Leica IIIFBD conversion, this includes the 1000th speed, the flash sync and flash number value engravings

    Leitz redid all the Leica III and eariler tops this way, due to the flash sync and values stamped on premade newer tops, only Leica IIIB and IIIC cameras retained their original factory made tops after conversions

    And this has NOTHING to do with Monte en Sarre
  10. And this has NOTHING to do with Monte en Sarre
    Calm down, Tom. It's just a camera and I am putting this out for people's opinions. I was very careful in my OP not to make any unsubstantiated claims. I am not a "Leica Historian," so I try to tread carefully when I post here.
  11. This is just a normal Post-War conversion of a Leica 111(1937) to Leica 111F specification.It is not a "Monte en Sarre".
    All "Monte en Sarre" cameras have a separate serial number listing in the "Hahne List of Leica Screwmount Cameras" and you will find that this camera is not listed as a "Monte en Sarre" but is listed as a 1937 Leica 111.
  12. Thank you very much, William, Tom, Mike, Rob, Huub, Adrian, Mukul, and Anthony for taking the time to respond to my post with thorough and useful information. Whenever I need expert advice on all things Leica, this is the forum I come to. Glad you're all here ;-)

    <p>umm... any chance this camera was assembled after the war from spare parts at the secret underground Nazi base in Antarctica?
    <p>just a thought :-/
  13. Can someone say what has been changed internally ? There has been a black II Mod.D on the auction site for some time which looks like it has the IIIf innards, by the look inside the bottom cover. What bearings does the shutter have and is it the lightweight type ? And if it is, how is it all held together in that sheet-brass chassis ?
  14. I repeat, reiterate, and re-emphasize: it is a III by serial number, converted to a IIIf. Charles: you have a really good point: maybe there was, strictly speaking, no overarching need to replace the top plate. But they replaced it. How do we know this? Look at the frame around the front finder window. If it were the original top plate, that frame would have a little dog-ear tab at the lower right. Post-1939 Leicas no longer have this shape. Q.E.D.

    I don't mind not being believed. I'm not a recognized expert. (I am an LHSA member, but there are "experts" and then there are EXPERTS.) Tom Eitner is an EXPERT! (I'm just an "expert.") But you know, we have a good consensus here: Tom says it's a III; William says it's a III; and I say it's a III. So, in the words of Lewis Carrol, "The proof is complete-- if only I've stated it thrice." (He was a mathmetician, you know!)

    I enjoyed this little exercise in Leica history!
  15. Rob, did you read my last post where I thank everyone in the forum for the "thorough and useful information" they posted here? I even mention you by name. If you go to the Auction Site Which Shall Not Be Named, you will find I used the term Tom had provided--IIIFBD--in the title of my item description. I also give credit to the people on the forum at the end of the auction listing. So, I am not challenging any of the Leica authorities here or trying to prove that this is a Monte en Sarre camera. The possible existence of an "Antarctica Leica" was not a serious comment. How would I possibly know what cameras the Nazis are making in their secret underground base on that continent? (they probably use the Leitz ball-bearing shutters, though.)
    My advice to both you and Tom is to twist up a fatty and STAY AWAY FROM THE CAPS LOCK and exclamation points!!!!!
    Jesus... yelling is so ANNOYING!
    btw, Lewis Carrol was an overrated photographer and a degenerate.
  16. 'Top plate' and 'top cover' are not the same.
  17. I'd love to know how (nearly used caps there) ball and needle bearings were put into sheet brass shutter crates. Even the first die-cast crates (pre-war IIIC) had plain bearings, I believe. I've asked this every time one of these hybrids show up but nobody even answers. I guess folks, especially experts, don't like to say they don't actually know.

    To find out how these things work I bought a very smashed IIIA and straightened it out, (it now works beautifully)(and with only one new part) which was an education in the evolution of the Leica to that date.
  18. Adrian: In re: how they got ball bearings into the shutter: If you frequent the RFF (RangeFinder Forum), look under "LTM" threads, and then under "Halfrace." DrLeoB has posted a thumbnail that gives an idea of how the half-race bearings were installed. I don't know if this LINK will work. Probably depends on whether you are an RFF member.
    Charles: I used the upper case, not to be shouting, but to emphasize the difference between Tom Eitnier's knowledge vs. mine. Upper case vs. quotation marks, implying that Tom knows more than I about it. I didn't mean for you to take offense. You didn't say anything wrong. Please note: I said you had raised a really good point.
    Adrian: (Back to you): Yes there is a difference between top plate vs. top cover. You are right about that. I was careless to say "plate" instead of "cover." Thanks for keeping me on my toes.
  19. And thanks for the link - am learning a bit more.
  20. Sorry we got our signals crossed, Rob. I always value the information here.
    I have another piece from this same collection which I am also
    having difficulty describing. It's a IIIfBD but with "DRP" on the
    topplate. Did Leitz use topplates from the war to build cameras in 1951?
    Would appreciate any input on this.
    Camera #587444
    (Image expands)
    More photos HERE.
  21. DRP - Deutsches Reichspatent was used during the post-war era until the legal codes were rewritten for the Bundes republik in the 1950's.

    By the way, I believe that DRP was in use before the Third Reich came into existence as well.

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