Leica II, Chrome question.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by adrian bastin, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. This 1933 Leica II is of the early type with large speed dial and rounded housing, beneath. I have seen only one other like it in chrome and that had a 108*** serial No, also. Is anyone here familiar with these ? I'm not interested in it's monetary value - just it's curiosity value. It's rather lovely. Being mechanically simple I can see how it was an ideal camera for Wilfred Thesiger to take into the Empty Quarter and the marshes of Iraq. I believe he took tens of thousands of pictures with a Leica II before changing it (and his rifle) for a Leicaflex. Will be glad of anyone's observations, etc. Thank you. Adrian.
    00JTEg-34376384.JPG
     
  2. My dad had a black II. I can remember it being in the house as early as the mid-to-late 40's. A few years after that I started to shoot with it. Around the mid-50's it was stolen from the car while dad was on a trip, and he replaced it with a IIIf red dial.

    I remember the II quite fondly. It does have an appealing simplicity, though not as mechanically refined as a IIIb, which in turn is not as developed/evolved as the IIIc, which to me is the best (if you don't need flash sync). I will probably pick up a II, when I see one I want. I'll probably get a black one, for old time's sake--though I am beginning to feel that the Barnacks look best in chrome. That is a nice example you have there, Adrian.
     
  3. I am not familiar with these Adrian but it does look like a Leica IID some 15000 where made in chrome 52000 all up . No strap lugs and speeds only to 1/500.Interesting story about Wilfred Thesiger , not sure changing his rifle was such a good thing.
     
  4. The Leica II is a fantastic camera capable of taking some amazing images. This site was
    shot entirely with a Leica II:

    http://bey-yul.net

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00JLTl&tag=
     
  5. The large speed dial on the smaller housing makes changing speeds a little easier. The housing was enlarged on the III, in 1933, to make room for part of the slow speed mechanism and from then on, used for the II as well. The dial was probably reduced in size just to cut down the mass of moving shutter parts. I wonder if the drum was made lighter also, to balance the two curtains.

    The chap who sold it said his father bought it in 1938. It has a Wallace Heaton label inside the case which, over 70 years has scuffed the top of the camera a little and pitted the chrome (they should be told about these things !) And there's a small label on the camera back.

    Do all IIs have the plugged hole in the back ?
     
  6. I guess the Leicaflex alone was plenty enough to carry, and by then, (he's quoted as putting it at 1959, which can't be right) a good substitute for the rifle. Anyone know what lens/es he used on the II ?
    00JTUO-34380584.JPG
     
  7. Adrian - Your Leica II was one of the last of a batch made in 1934. Thesiger took some superb pictures with his Leicas and was very jealous of his cameras. He sent the exposed films home for developing in most cases - all the way from Africa in the 1930s.
     
  8. Adrian - Thesiger bought a new Leica in 1946 to replace his Leica II but I'm not sure which model. He then as you rightly say bought a Leicaflex.
     
  9. Anthony. Thanks for that.

    Maybe he had the Kodak, that he spoke of, in the 30s and the Leica II in 46 ? The Leicaflex didn't exist until the mid 60s, so he was a bit out, there.

    According to Sartorius 108*** is 1933. Just checked Cameraquest and that agrees.
     
  10. Adrian. Your camera was in the batch 107757 - 108650 made in 1934.
    This is according E.Leitz Wetzlar.
     
  11. Adrian. I've just checked Cameraquest and their date agrees with the one I gave you. No certain how you got your info.
     
  12. Aha - I have it ! You are absolutely right, Anthony. However, this one is 1088**, which, strangely, puts it into a batch made in 1933, before two batches with lower numbers. Or they kept the numbers back and then used them in the next year: One batch is III model F and one II model D.
     
  13. This batch is from 108701 to 109000; quite small. Perhaps using up the obsolete top covers etc.
     
  14. Looking at the picture of the only other II I've seen identical to mine, it's serial No is 1082**, putting it into one of the 1934 batches, after all.
    00JU0v-34385984.jpg
     
  15. Adrian. - I've looked at your camera more closely and the serial number appears to be 108631 not 108831. that would explain the date.
     
  16. Anthony, yes, I haven't actually stated what it is. But if it had been this other identical camera, it would have been 1934, which is pretty surprising.
     
  17. But it IS 1088**
     
  18. Adrian - I can see you are right, it's a conundrum. thanks for the pic.
     
  19. Only the earliest Leica IIs had the plug in the back. The plug was intended for use on non-standardized Leica Is (Models A, B and C) and was (I believe) used to enable the technician to establish the correct back focus before the back focus distance was standardized in 1931. If you look at the pressure plate (with the shutter open and the lens off), you'll see that the plate has a hole which allows screwdriver access to the plug from the inside. The general assumption seems to be that the first IIs used up the remaining early body shells incorporating the plug. I have a '32 II with the plug, and a '34 II which (to the best of my recollection) doesn't have it.
     
  20. Timothy. The body has the plug but the pressure-plate does not have the hole. I know what you mean because I have a I(C)(unstandardized). But the II's pressure-plate is a bit too clean for it's age and it has circular machining, which looks too modern.
     
  21. OTOH it may well be original because it is circular and does not reach the corners of the gate, same as the I(C).

    Thanks for raising that - it adds weight to the 'using up obsolete parts' theory.
     
  22. Some years ago I acquired a Leica II serial #1088**, a number listed for the 1933 production series, all assumed to be produced only in black, according to Rogliatti and several others. This particular body is the early chrome finish and, also has what appears to be factory installed strap eyelets. It is the only chrome body from the black series of the model II I've ever encountered, in more than fifty years as a Leica user. It has the large speed dial with round depressed housing. It appears possible a few of the 108 series Leica IIs may have been produced in chrome to test the waters!
    Ted Storb
     
  23. Some years ago I acquired a Leica II serial #1088**, a number listed for the 1933 production series, all assumed to be produced only in black, according to Rogliatti and several others. This particular body is the early chrome finish and, also has what appears to be factory installed strap eyelets. It is the only chrome body from the black series of the model II I've ever encountered, in more than fifty years as a Leica user. It has the large speed dial with round depressed housing. It appears possible a few of the 108 series Leica IIs may have been produced in chrome to test the waters!
    Ted Storb
     
  24. Ted. Thanks for adding to this thread so long after I started it and a pleasant surprise to have the email alert.
    I suppose its possible both our cameras started life in black paint and were later returned to the factory for chrome finishes and for yours, strap eyelets ? With the camera developing so quickly at that time, a lot must have been sent back for upgrades.
    Mine was bought at Wallace Heaton Ltd., London in 1937 by the father of the Gentleman I bought it from. It has a transfer of that Co. on the back of the camera and a label inside the nose of the case. Plenty of possible reasons and opportunities there for a fashionable upgrade.
    It came to me with a nickel Summar, which looks a bit strange, but I believe it was the lens originally supplied with the camera.
    Adrian
     

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