Early lens in red-scale mount?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by l._david_tomei|1, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. I had to ask this question: There is a Leica up (170124203606) that has a
    serial number dating back to 1930 or so but the front element is clearly coated
    and mounted in a red-scale focusing assembly that dates to 1951 or later. Did
    Leitz coat and remount the very old Elmars? The red-scale marked a change in
    lens design as well as a reduction of minimum aperture to f/22. ...or is
    something wrong with this picture?

  2. Sometimes a repair is made using old parts, however that ring with the serial number is an
    unlikely part to need replacing.
  3. Sure, Leica would take uncoated lenses back and coat them. They would upgrade a II to a IIIf if you wanted.

    Neat thing was that there was no Excise Tax on repairs, so you beat the tax man. (There were pretty stiff Excise Taxes in the US on cameras well into the 1950's. A luxury tax.)
  4. The odd thing is that the diaphragm would have to be changed as well as the entire focusing assembly. The result is a lens that now stops down to f/22. I can't see Lietz doing that with the old optics that were meant to be stopped down to f/16. According to the usual sources, the red-scale mount and reduction to f/22 required a redesigned lens.

  5. If there were another numeral at the end it would be a 1952 lens, and right for a red-scale. It may be there, faint and not blacked in, or maybe, obliterated when the paint was removed from the rim.
  6. Seller confirms the number is not 6 digits.
  7. Take on trial basis. The lens is a mutt that may or may not work. You may not determine what is wrong until after a trial.
  8. I have a 1930 (the first thread-mount) Elmar and it has no number on the front rim. And the aperture control is, at least part, nickel plated. Are there any 5 digit Elmars, at all ?
  9. All early Leica lenses were numbered internally,but from approximately Serial number 92000 the lenses were externally numbered from then onwards to the present day.The bulk of the 5 digit lenses were mainly the standard 50mm F3.5 Elmar and the 50mm F2.5 Hektor,with 90mm F4 "Fat" Elmars and 73mm F1.9 Hektors,135mm F4 Elmars,and 35mm F3.5 Elmars accounting for the rest.
    During the late 1940's and early 1950's particularly, Leitz would upgrade both cameras and lenses to special order and it is possible that this early Elmar was returned to Wetzlar to be upgraded for use on the then current range of cameras in production namely the "c" and "f" range.These cameras were in chrome finish and the original 5 digit standard lenses would be nickel finish and would have looked mismatched cosmetically on then current chrome cameras,so the lens cells were remounted in the then current standard chrome mounts,to match a chrome camera.
  10. The seller has provided very nice quality images of the lens and body and it certainly appears to be genuine (these are available if anyone wishes to see them). The lens indeed has a 5 digit serial number and the engraving detail looks fine especially since the paint is long gone and the digits are more clear in the bare brass. The front optical surface is coated and the rest of entire mount including the internal diaphragm are red-scale and stop down to f/22. I can only conclude, as suggested by William, that this 1941 IIIc and lens were completely upgraded by Leitz some time in the early 1950's and the old lens serial number which probably not engraved on the original front ring, was re-engraved on the new one. The body upgrade isn't surprizing but the lens is quite odd having retained a serial number that predates 1933. It was an extensive upgrade and must have been a rather costly one at that, I imagine. Anyway, it is in accord with the seller's description of the camera's history.


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