Leica Screw Mount Repair

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by arthur_gottschalk, Mar 13, 2021.

  1. For some strange reason I'm considering the purchase of a Leica IIIF camera. I do own a 50mm F2 Summar lens, which I occasionally use on my M6 as this lens actually gives the Leica Glow when shot wide open. But now I want to use it on a screw mount camera, a device I've always admired. The example I'm considering, however, seems to run slow at the lower shutter speeds. How easy or difficult is this to set right? Can it be fixed?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    DAG Camera Repair is one option to check. Did a good job for me years back.
  3. It needs a CLA (clean, lube, and adjust). If you're buying the camera, make sure you take this into account. I believe a full CLA runs around $250 on a LTM camera, but don't quote me on that - I'm not sure.

    Contact Don Goldberg ("DAG"): dagcam[at]chorus[dot]net
  4. SCL


    Once you get it send an email to Youxin Ye and he will respond quickly. He did a great job last year for me on a iif. as best as I recall it ran about $200 and was well worth it. His address is yyecamera.com, and if you prepay his est. + return shipping, his turnaround for me has always been within 2 weeks. DAG frequently takes longer depending on his workload, but he just fixed a lens for me in 10 days out and back.
  5. I've found Don's turnaround on lenses (and other non-camera/CLA repairs) tends to be much faster (a month or less). CLA turnaround is at least 3-months. So Youxin may be the way to go if turnaround is important (I don't know of anyone I'd use who's reported CLA turnaround is faster).
  6. First, I'd find out just what the speeds are and, more importantly, if they are consistent. If that is done, then live with it a while and see how you like using it before putting more money into it.
  7. Arthur, when you ask "how difficult" do you mean "for you" or for an experienced tech?
    It can certainly be fixed easily, whether you can or not, is your call. - There are free repair manuals available online and if you have the tools, skills and courage, nothing is stopping you.
    If you send it in, a good tech will likely insist on performing a full CLA. In EU a reputable repair person will charge around €250 + VAT. If the shutter curtains need replacement that will add around €150 + VAT to the bill.
    I currently have a IIIf in line for service. It has the same problem and the prices above were the quotes I received.
  8. Thanks Niels. No, I would never attempt to fix it myself. For sure going to an experienced tech. Just hope it can be fixed.
  9. Youxin cleaned my screwmount Leicas. Did such a good job that I could dispense with the add on contrast filters for using rangefinder. The slow speeds are the first to go. A reminder that it's time for a CLA. Go for it! I have my Leicas serviced every 30'yrs.
    SCL likes this.
  10. Youxin has done CLA for five screwmount cameras, 1 Leotax, and one Nicca. PLus an M2. I would send it to him.
    I did a CLA including flood cleaning the slow speed escapement of a Leica IIIa given to me. It was free, was able to do it myself. Which gives real appreciation as to why it is well worth Paying what the professionals charge.
    SCL likes this.
  11. DAG is very busy right now. I sent him a 50mm Summicron lens for focus calibration in November (four months ago) and I'm still waiting. I would try Youxin Ye first.
    SCL likes this.
  12. Recently got my IIIF back from Youxin. It took almost 5 months as he must be very busy, but the camera is like new in every respect. Needed more than I had expected, including replacement of both shutters, but it was worth it.
    SCL likes this.
  13. Late last year Gus Lazzari at TLC Camera Repair finished restoration of my 1946 black dial IIIf along with its f3.5 Elmar 50. Except for the peeling chrome problem endemic to early post war Leica cameras, it handles and feels like a new camera as all the internals are rebuilt. He evaluated and tested three Elmar 50s that I sent to him and sent one back as it was so badly worn and scratched it wasn't worth restoring. As the IIIf lacks the self timer and the shutter speeds are the old style, the repair costs may not be at the usual level. Gus has only one standard of work and the M3DS and M4-2 restorations together with their lenses feel and function like new cameras. The M4-2 needs to be mentioned regarding the viewfinder/rangefinder; the whiteout and flare problem is gone due to Gus's recommended installation of the viewfinder upgrade kit which greatly reduces the flare problems. When Gus received my order, he examined and then sent a report of all the needed repairs and the cost estimates. His timeframe for repairs can go many months and for a period he was not taking new orders. You can contact him through the TLC Camera repair website.
    SCL likes this.
  14. Update: DAG finally recalibrated and returned my 50mm Summicron lens, but only after 11 months, and only after I bugged him by phone. My lens focuses perfectly now. But because he's so busy, I would query other repair services first. DAG already has more work than he can handle. I would reserve him for difficult repairs that other people won't tackle, not for routine work.
    SCL likes this.
  15. I used a Leica III in professional work. While the experience did not scar me for life (unlike the Kodak Signet 35, which did), it was nowhere near an uplifting experience.

    For that kind of camera, I very much prefer the FED-2 (Wetzlar East?) as detailed in my little report on that camera (FED-2 - ФЕД-2 in Soviet red, even). So far, they always have worked right out of the tobacco smoke impregnated paper wrapping and the total cost used to be much less than a real Leica clean and adjust.

    I do confess that my opinion of the M3 is almost entirely positive :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2022
  16. Ha! In 1994 I reviewed the Fed 5C for Shutterbug magazine. I commented: "The very next step after loading the camera is to wrap the leather eveready case in a plastic bag and stash it in a closet. I don't know what process was used to tan the leather, but take the word of an old farm hand -- it smells worse than the cow did when it was alive."
  17. The pool of competent Leica repair/restoration specialists will continue to shrink going forward. John van Stelten did wonderful work prior to his retirement and we should expect more retirements going forward. The days of sending a camera and lens out for repair and having it back in a couple of weeks are behind us. If I had another early Leica or lens that meant a lot to me, I'd be sending it out now and feel lucky if I had it back in six months. I liked JDMvW's comment on Russian cameras. I was given a "No Name" Kiev Arsenal copy of a Contax II and the best thing about it was the Nikon f1.4 lens that came with it.
  18. More people will have to learn to do their own repairs. People develop their own film and do their own printing- doing some simple repair is not out of the question. Send the hard stuff to the repair shops, do the simpler ones yourself.

    Start Here:

    Learn Camera Repair: Home

    I picked up a Kiev, 1972 meterless- and is very smooth. But- it came with the lenses, was used to test them.
    The 1932 5cm F1.5 Sonnar that came with it is from the first week of production. Also came with KMZ J-3, J-9, J-12, and very early KMZ turret finder. Bought for the lenses, body included.
  19. Did the paper look like this? Got these from Ukraine (ex USSR) a couple of months ago and the paper smells like your description:

  20. mine was brown wrapping paper tied up with twine
    (one of my favorite things)

    The smell is a distinctive mixture of weird tanned leather and mahorka tobacco

    The Soviet kasseta are actually quite nice. Wish I had more of them

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