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To begin with I would like to say that this camera is a trophy of World War II and totally original from the moment when my family started use it. So, I have some questions to "Leica specialists" on this forum: 1) Why is the number "№8012", as I know, from Leica IA? 2) As I heard the body of the camera is simillar to II(D), but has lugs for strap from Leica III? 3) Due to my analysis it has Elmar 50mm f/3.5 lens without any marks of Serial Number or stuff like that. So it means that it was made in 1930 or earlier. 4) ??? 5) HELP! And some photo: PHOTO_0252 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0251 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0250 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0249 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0248 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0247 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0256 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0255 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0254 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! PHOTO_0253 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
In the first 8 years of the Leica camera, aside from a few Gold plated cameras, black paint was the only finish available. Camera "hardware" such as knobs, dials, shutter button and lenses were nickle plated. Leitz had been using nickle plating for microscopes and other products for many years. The match of the black lacquer paint and the bright nickle was quite beautiful. Chrome plating became commercially available in the mid to late 1920. A detailed history is easily found on the internet. The perception that chrome was high quality and the definite improvement in wear properties convinced Leitz to offer chrome plating in 1933. Begining with the Model II at serial 99132,the Model III at 111501, and the Standard at 105201 cameras were produced in "all" chrome. Often chrome cameras with lower serial numbers are found, but in most cases these are chrome replated versions of original black cameras. Chrome plating was also used on many accessories. At a slightly lower cost, the black paint cameras with nickle hardware continued until 1936. Then Leitz started using the chrome hardware on the black cameras The customer demand for all chrome cameras had a dramatic effect. The new Models IIIa and IIIb were nearly exclusively all chrome. Factory data suggests that 800 black IIIa's were made, but only a few have been noted making this unlikely. Reportedly 5 Model IIIb cameras were finished in black for test purposes. By 1935, only 34% of all camera production was black paint, the following years: 1936---20%, 1937--6.9%, 1938--4.4%, and finally 1939--3.9%. By 1936, Leitz began replacing the nickle hardware with chrome, and the so-called Black and Chrome cameras were made until the war. Then, only all chrome (IIIc) and some gray paint cameras were made. The Black and Chrome Leicas have become somewhat collectible. This chart shows the number of black paint cameras produced in the four years before the war. The black/cjhrome Standard maintained sales a little better than the delux ( II and III) cameras as the market for the Standard was primarily scientific/microscope applications and the extra cost of all chrome was a factor. The transition from paint facalities to chrom plating must have been quite a factory undertaking. From 1939 onward, black paint models were limited. The black MP, M3 M2 , M4 and Leicaflexes' were a relatively small percentage of production. A new finish of Black Chrome anodize was introduced on some lenses and the M5 in 1971. I have always sought to collect the pre-war black and chrome Leica's, and have more than 40. Here is a poor photo of some of them in the display case. The lowest Black/Chrome camera I have recorded is 193358 and the highest is 330247.