Ok, so another Leica Barnack camera … I am not a collector, nor a user of these cameras … but they do feel cool in the hand … anyway … sometimes I stumble upon these cameras for a cheap price (probably because they are being sold as parts/repair) and I get to pick one up.
This is a story about my latest … the Leica IIIC … LOOHW !!
Now, like most Leica Barnacks (and other clones) it is not that easy to tell what you got … like a box of chocolates … until you closely examine them, and also get the serial number. Since I bought this as a parts camera it could easily be a number of different Leica parts put together in one sale … well maybe not.
Back to the story … the IIIC was produced between 1940 to 1951. Leica made physical improvements on this model by making the internal body as a single piece die cast part, single piece top plate, and improvements to internal mechanisms.
Ok, go look on the Web … you will find lots of docs and discussion about anything Leica.
This camera that I have in hand started as a bit of a mystery because of the paint colour … the only image that was presented showed that it has a black top and bottom plate.
During WWII many Leica devices were made for the military but there was also a shortage of materials, and they tried to reduce usage of them … so there were Leica IIIC’s that were painted grey/black over the top and bottom brass plates due to lack of chromium, or the use of nickel plating on the knobs. Many of the cameras made for the military were painted grey (and typically are engraved).
The serial number indicates that it is a post-war model, so it is not one of those. There were some black paint models that were make for people within the company that are labeled Leitz-Eigentum (Leitz Property). There were also some special order cameras that were custom ordered black.
Once I had it in hand, I realized it is not any of the above.
Mine (sadly) is as a repaint … definitely not done by Leica. It does appear that whoever did it was knowledgeable enough to remove the chrome, and then apply the paint (which probably was baked).
Remember in Star Wars – Empire Strikes Back, when Chewie was left with a bunch of C-3PO parts that he had to put back together … well that’s what I recieved. I purchased the camera knowing the major parts were disassembled (and some small parts missing) … the below image shows it loosely fitted together.
The restoration of this one will have to wait until I get the missing parts, and replace the shutter curtains.