Rangefinder in LTM w/ no battery

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by timothy_smith|1, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. Hello,
    For reasons that I don't want to go into here (but am perfectly willing to discuss, off-line), I am looking for a working rangefinder camera that takes Leica threadmount lenses, but does not contain a meter with a battery. My ideal would be a Leica IIIg or IIIf, but working examples of these are priced in collectors' currency, and not suitable for my aims.
    So, can anyone point me to a possibility? I am thinking mostly about the Canon P and Canon 7 (not the later Canon 7S with its CdS meter). I keep reading about Canon Ps with "wrinkled shutter curtains". Is this a fatal flaw? Can it be repaired?
    Camera would be used just about exclusively with my 50mm Elmar f/2.8 collapsible.
    Thanks for any and all feedback.
  2. The wrinkled shutter curtains on Canon Ps generally don't affect function. There may be counterexamples to this, but in general it's only a cosmetic issue. It may scare away collectors, which is good. The wrinkles are the result of ham-fisted owners brutalizing them from behind while loading the camera, and they're present in most second-hand Canon Ps.
    I like my Canon P, although I'm sure I'd be happy with other rangefinder cameras. Loads from the back, intuitive in use, simple viewfinder. There's a few reviews of the Canon P on the web-- check the Dante Stella site, for example.
  3. The wrinkled shutter curtain is not a fatal flaw as long as it's not too severe. The 7 has a non-battery operated Selenium meter. With the P you need to get the accessory meter if you want one. I don't believe you can use a collapsible lens on the 7, though. Not sure about the P.
  4. I just sent you an email, Tim.
  5. I'm surprised that you can't find a good working IIIF black dial or non-self-timer red dial for reasonable money.
  6. Get a Leica IIIf RD. It's your best bet. In the long rung it's money well spent. I have one and a If.
    I've had about 6 other LSM bodies over the years and they are a joy to use.
  7. Look at KEH and on fleabay should be able to find one.
  8. (Sorry - should have said, IIIf)
  9. Avoid the Voightlander/ Cosina with collapsible lenses unless you wrap "Dymo" label sized tape around the lens barrel to avoid collapsing the lens completely which will damage part of the double curtain used in these cameras to prevent light leaks. Try to find an ugly user version of Leica IIIc unless you really need flash synch. I've also had great luck with battered prewar models II and III black Leicas with various cosmetic issues (cracked and missing vulcanite, scarred paint, lots of brass showing). I had these CLAed by independent repair for "short" money (Youxin Ye in Canton, MA comes to mind)
  10. The Canon IV series is pretty reasonably priced. You really need to state a price limit, though. Most meter-less rangefinders are 50 years old now (or more), and often require some maintenance to get back into shooting shape. You should also handle one before buying; the screwmount viewfinders are very small and unpleasant compared to modern cameras.
  11. Canon P can be used with collapsible lenses. I've used mine with Summitar 50mm/2 and Elmar 50mm/3.5 with no problems. I like my Canon P so much I recently sold my Leica M4-P because it didn't get any use.
  12. Big fan of the Leica iiif. Have a Red Dial (no timer one) myself, with a collapsible Summicron 5cm. It is just a joy to shoot with. Not battery, no meter, fully manual, and boy does it fit comfortably in your hand.
    I'm sure the Canon's will work fine, but the iiif is a camera to have a long term relationship with. :)
    Just my two cents.
  13. 2 Questions:
    Would you consider a Russian LTM camera ? Fed 2 or 3, Zorki 3 or 4. I like my Zorki 3m.
    Would you consider a clip on selenium meter that attaches to the accessory shoe of the camera ? If so this would increase your available options considerably.
    Best, Ross
  14. Difficult to see why something central to the question cannot be stated openly. Two suggestions. One, a camera with a battery powered meter can be used without a battery. Two, there are several more options if a fixed lens camera is acceptable.
  15. I have a IIIa and a IIIf RD ST. I love them both. I use them with an Elmar 50/3.5 and a Summaron 35, which are terrific lenses, and an Elmar 90/4, which is decent when stopped down. The VCII meter looks like an OEM accessory clipped on top, although you'll need the shoe for a finder if you're using wide-angle or telephoto lens. (I find it easier to use a small hand-held meter when precise readings are necessary. When they aren't necessary, you don't need a meter, just Sunny-16 and bracketing.)
    Between the two cameras, the IIIa is the better deal. They're dirt-cheap and plentiful, and among the best-made cameras in the history of the planet (at least those made before 1939). The IIIf RD ST has collectors' cachet, a disease that spikes the cost the camera out of proportion to its working value. (Even more so the IIIg, a weird and ungainly M3 hybrid which now sells for around the same price as an EX+ M4.)
    There's no need to put a VC lens on an LTM Leica. Classic Leica lenses in good user shape can be had for the same money.
  16. Canon P. Has 35/50/100 framelines. Wrinkled curtain does not affect the image. Can use voitlander lenses. No collapsible lenses. check cameraquest and photoethnography websites for more information. A Leica IIIf BD would be an alternative as they are less expensive than the IIIf RD.
  17. Thanks for all the info and suggestions. In response to Mukul Dube: I didn't want to bring up the why of this because it's a bit complicated to explain, and not really central to rangefinder cameras. But, in short, I am thinking of a longish trip, by bicycle, that would involve taking NOTHING with a battery (no GPS, no cell phone, no digital camera, no iPod, etc., etc.). Am I a bit crazy? Perhaps. :)
  18. Timothy,
    Done a few of those myself over the years, much fun, but folks do think of you as crazy.
    One thing to keep in mind for your trip. Traveling light by bike will bring up film storage. If you're shooting black and white, it's not as big an issue with temperatures. If you're carrying color film, OTOH, you need to take that into consideration. Color film can be ruined if it gets too hot or is at an elevated temperature for too long. Also, how much film will you be carrying, how are you planning to keep it dry, and will you be sending the exposed rolls off along your route, or hanging onto everything until the trip is finished? It can get a bit complicated, so plan ahead. That way you won't lose any of the wonderful images you're sure to encounter along the way.
    "Keep the rubber side down" and have a great trip.
  19. Just how hard is it to take the battery out from (or simply not put it in) a camera?
  20. I'm with Paul W. on the tiny IIIc LTM.
    The Canon P is larger, but in many ways a much better camera:
    1. Loading is a breeze
    2. The metal curtain doesn't get pin holes from age or burn in
    3. Multiple bright lines in the RF (35, 50 & 100)
    4. Self-timer
    5. Flash sync
    6. Rapid rewind and advance
    The pictures I provided have the Leica 50mm f/2.8 collapsible Elmar mounted. The furthest you can push, is approx 40% in.
    You can see that the upper shield would be struck if pushed any further. (Next page) Otherwise it's just fine.
  21. From rear of Canon P set to "Bulb"
    If you don't mind altering a future collectible; a "no harm" trim will allow the f/2.8 to collapse.
  22. a longish trip, by bicycle, that would involve taking NOTHING with a battery (no GPS, no cell phone, no digital camera, no iPod, etc., etc.).​
    Is there a headlight on your bicycle? Are you bringing a flashlight? Does your watch have a battery in it? :p
  23. Both my headlight and taillight run from a front hub generator. I have an auto-wind mechanical wrist watch. I also have an old acetylene caving lamp for headlight backup and flashlight.

    Any other questions? :)
  24. Just which variety of primevalism is it which permits the generation of electricity but not its storage? I do not mean to be unpleasant: I truly am bewildered.
  25. "Just which variety of primevalism is it which permits the generation of electricity but not its storage? I do not mean to be unpleasant: I truly am bewildered."​
    If primevalism it be, it's a relative form of it. I do own an acetylene lamp, and a mechanical watch, but I would probably take a battery-powered LED flashlight, and a digital watch.
    The goal is simply to avoid most of the electronic impedimenta that weighs down, both physically and mentally, the 2010 traveller.
    But this brings up an interesting point, related to photography. I was originally planning to take my Mamiya 7 rf. But it occurred to me that 120 film, especially in B&W emulsions, would not be easy to obtain outside of very large cities. That's when the idea of a "mechanical" rangefinder came up. (Even so, I suspect that 35mm B&W film is now becoming just as difficult to find.) As well, the Mamiya, while compact for a medium format camera, is still a bit large and fragile for bicycle travel.
    Cell phones are another example: it becomes increasingly difficult to find working public pay phones in the US and Europe. In a few years, cell phones will become a travel necessity. And then of course you have to bring along the charger. A similar point could be made about the availability of paper maps. And so it goes.

Share This Page