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Leica MDa.......why?

phill kneen

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My assistant came to work this morning with the most freaky looking

camera I have ever seen- a Leica MDa. Why doesn't it have a

viewfinder? She only paid £180 for it, so I suppose she got a good

deal. The only use I can see is that it would be used with a 21 or

24mm with a finder?


Do tell, please.

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Back in ancient times the MD/MDA were used with the Visoflex(I, II, III). They are(were) an extension of the Leica I.

I use am M3 with my Visoflex set-up(Close-up, portraits with the HeKtor 125, etc.) I'd jump at the chance for a MDA so I could use the M3 for what it's best suited for.

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LEICA- MD an later MDa-cameras (the latter in times of the M4) where also used in conjunction with the LEITZ-copystand. These were the times prior to the copymachines we all enjoy today. Something which many newbees can´t imagine I´am afraid.


Many companies, institutes at universities, clinics etc. had these for general copying purposes.


The viewfinder was omitted for cost reasons.


Would prefer one to a BESSA-camera any time to use with my 15mm-HELIAR to be honest.


Best regards

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These were fitted to or came with many scientific instruments from microscopes to colposcopes. They were considerably cheaper than buying an M2 or M4 body. Amazingly many were brought into the U.S., with Leitz's knowledge and blessing, by various companies that supplied them with their products from Germany. Leitz USA would honor the guarantee.
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And lastly the "a" denotes the last of the non-RF models that Leitz made. It having the attributes (canted rewind arm, etc.) of the M4.


At 180 pounds she did get a pretty good deal if it is operational. The best body for Viso or dedicated wide angle work w/handheld meter.





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I believe the screw mount predecessor to the MDa was the IG. I was given one by father who used the body with a microscope for medical research. The IG is vintage 1950's, and I believe only 5,000 or 6,000 were made (I know there are folks who will jump all over with the details). I traded the body in for $600 (not mint, closer to $1,000 mint) towards a new M6TTL.
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I used one with a leica Reprovit for years. It was a copystand that held the

MDa body on one side and a viewing screen on the other. You would slide

the viewer in front of a built-in light source and it would project the frame/grid

onto a two dimensional piece of copy (picture, letter, etc.). You then focused

the projected grid with the focusing nob and then slide the body across i take

the picture. It was in ingenious system and quite efficient. It was also used

with microscopes because they had separate viewers.

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  • 1 year later...

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