Is this Leica real or a Russian copy?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by babouphoto, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. A friend of mine found this Leica in his father's house. I cannot tell if it is real or fake. I think it is a fake but is there a way to know for sure? Thanks!
    I uploaded all the pictures here:
  2. Kinda looks real but...
  3. It looks like a Russian copy. The DOF scale of the lens has F11 and F16 on it, the Leica lens would have the old
    F12.5 and F18 on it.
  4. Zorki. No Leica was ever made with that kind of shutter release.
  5. OK. Thank you. That was my feeling!
  6. Curious that it is all dressed up with WW2/Nazi-era looking verbiage including "Totenkopf" (Totenkopfverbande?)and yet they wimped out and put an imperial Maltese cross instead of a swastika in the insignia. Amateur stuff.
  7. ROFL!
    Another classic example of the great sense of humor of many technicians in the former USSR.
    for a hoot.
    I'm thinking we need to start a group dedicated to conserving old Zorki Is. I think there were only some 835,000 or so made, and surely many of those have already been converted into "Leicas"?
  8. I can't resist a "is this a real Leica" thread.
  9. Tarted up Zorki 1 with the typical Russian camera case.
  10. I sure like the real sturgeon leather covering. Though shark skin with its micro-teeth has definitely more grip. It would stick to your woolen pullover like velcro. No strap needed anymore.
  11. Hah, Totenkopf is the name of the mysterious German scientist behind the robots in the 2004 SF movie "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow," starring Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. Totenkopf is portrayed by a digital avatar based on Sir Laurence Olivier. Polly, Gwyneth's character is a journalist who totes around an Argus C3 rangefinder in the film (albeit a far more sophisticated one than a real Argus C3). Like the movie serials from the early 20th century that inspires it, Sky Captain is a B&W film, though it has extensive CGI. See:

    The film's a hoot if you like films that don't take themselves too seriously. It's pure entertainment, not a masterpiece of cinema, just fun. I wonder if the camera is a prop (though I don't remember seeing it) or somehow connected to the production.
  12. I toyed with the idea of starting a new thread elsewhere on how many of the "is this a real Leica" threads actually involved a "real Leica".
    I found it too complicated for me to track down through a site search on If anyone has the time and inclination to do so, please let us know the results.
    Perhaps (like jelly beans in a jar) we could have a competition to see who guesses closest to the actual result. I'm sure that I or someone here could offer a suitable, LTM Soviet prize of some sort to the lucky winner. Lex could hold the prize, or whatever, likely.
    I'd have to think more, but I honestly don't remember a real Leica, ever.
    To paraphrase J. P. Morgan,
    "If you have to ask if it's a real Leica, it isn't".​
  13. Steven, it is an enjoyable film.
    In the context of this fake Leica, Totenkopf is a SS insignia. Apparently, the faker was trying to make an association between the "Leica" and the SS. Gross!
  14. The eagle on the camera, apart from having the German cross in place of the swastika, is the SS-eagle by the shape of the wings. The initials LSSAH, stand for the the SS-division: Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler, that had its origins in the SS Totenkopf Division. The latter supplied concentration camp guards. So much for a nasty piece of history!
  15. It's funny that the artisan who did the engraving did nothing to oxidize the bright brass. A WWII vintage camera would not have bright metal in the grooves anymore.
  16. You can't cheat an informed person, to paraphrase W.C. Fields.
    I find it hard to believe that these were seriously made to defraud anybody, at least not in the last ten years or more. Early on, my understanding is that these were seeded into 'flea markets' for 'lucky', but ignorant, people to 'discover', perhaps even with some story about Uncle Igor bringing it back from Berlin in 1945.

    I think the FSU folks are just having a bit of fun. Mostly these are offered at very modest increases over a 'straight' Zorki on that great flea market in cyberspace.
  17. I kind of agree, and I suppose the supposed SS or Waffen-SS engravings are meant to be attractive to Third Reich fanciers. But in this case if someone was clued in enough to realize what LSSAH means or even Totenkopf, they would know that it needs a swastika not a Maltese cross. They would have been better off just putting a proper SS Eagle, or Luftwaffe wings on it. I guess they were trying to be different.
  18. Com'on folks,
    those thousands of fakes, mean thousands of NEW Pnet registrants...

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