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working Ur-Leica?

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The "original" Ur Leicas replicas made at the factory in 1970s couldn't take pics, but some were modified (in Italy, too) to be able to. Then there are numbers of "replicas of UR Leica replicas" ....

of various flavors (working, golden...).

 

As Lincoln said the "original" O series replicas were indeed fully working.

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How can I have my UR-Leica modified to take pictures. I have the original 42mm Milar lens that was used on the original camera by Barnack. I think this camera replica is very special and have always enjoyed the photographs taken by it. I. Would be willing to send to have it modified to be operational.

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http://www.photographica-auctionen.de/eng/

 

Have a look at photograhica catalogue 30 pg. 2 from the previous auction, section Leica, there is an Oberlaender Ur-Leica.

Unfortunately Mr. Oberlaender is no more with us...

Thomas

p.s.:

one more:

 

http://www.auction2000.se/auk/w.Object?inSiteLang=&inC=FHR&inA=20131112_1202&inO=206

Edited by duckrider

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Thank you for the quick response to my question. I looked at the examples provided and they look like the same camera. That may not be true as they may have been part of a batch made by Mr. Oberlaender. What really struck me was that they look like a modification of the UR-Leica Replica that has been modified to work as a full functioning camera. Also I note that they no longer have the slider to cover the lens when one advanced the film. 

 

Since I live in South Korea I have worked with many of the camera repair people for over 12 years and  one in particular could carry this transformation off I think. He really is a craftsman and has designed his own film cameras and does very careful work. He is also an expert with manufacturing parts when not available.

 

At at the same time I wish that I had more technical information on the construction of the only existing UR-Leica. I would like to modify the UR-Leica Replica to be as true to the original as possible. What to me is unique about the Leica  Wetzlar camera is that it has many moving parts inside including a curtain and way to tension it and a button that when pressed causes the curtain to progress across the built in focal plane. It also has sprockets to hold the 35mm film. There is also a iris diaphragm and lens where the 42mm 

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Milar lens is located. It is almost like they were thinking of making a functioning camera when Leitz designed and manufactured this Replica back in the 70s. Maybe the problem of the lens caused them to back off. But anyone who looks carefully at the Replica realizes that this is not a camera replica with just an empty inner housing. It is not just a housing that looks like the original but contains a surprising number of internal parts. I only wonder how similar true they are to the original. 

 

If I do plan to follow forward with making this a functional camera, I plan it to be like the original as much as possible. That means having to cover the lens to prevent the fogging of the film. Also the shutter speed being controlled by the tensioning of the shutter.  I also plan to share this transformation with the forum as I am sure others would like to make their replica operational too. The biggest advantage is that I have the original lens that that is believed to be the one Barnack used, the 42mm Milar lens.

 

If if anyone knows of diagrams of the construction, these would be most appreciated. How wonderful it would be to take photographs with a camera as similar to the original Museum #67 camera now located in the Wetzlar headquarters. In fact this interest may cause Leitz Camera to make a functioning UR-Leica and complete the job they had started 40 years ago!

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It has been a while since I have been on this UR-Leica forum but it does not mean that I haven't been busy. I now have a working model of the UR-Leica camera. I purchased one of the UR-Leica Replica on eBay and had my camera technician make it a working model. I have the 42mm Sommer lens that Bernacke used. I have had that since the 70s as I used it in microscopy. The original camera had a 42mm lens and the only one that Ernest Leitz made was the 42mm micro-Summar. My mistake above in the above reply was to say it was the Milar lens. In doing research on this I have found that the Milar lens came as a 40mm lens. Only the Summar lens made in the early 1900s had one of which is 42mm and f4.5.

 

I had my camera technition make up the UR camera with this lens and it works very well. I have always admired the photos that were taken with this camera as they, to me, are special and even sharper than I would expect. With the films we have now the sharpness of this 6 element lens really is impressive Now as background, I do have the O series camera and have used it for B/W photograph. The lens is sharp and cartainly improved from the Leica 1a with the uncoated Elmar lens.

 

Let me describe the experience of using this UR camera. First you must load it in the darkroom as a 35mm cassette will not fit in this small camera. To do this you must remove the film from the cassette and cut a long tongue on the leader. Also in the dark you must attach both spools to the film, winding the film tightly onto the supply spool, and place both spools into the camera at the same time. Related to this one spool must be cut down slightly to fit the location where the film is initially stored. Then you must fit the bottom onto the camera and screw closed the trap door bottom.

 

Now you are ready to take pictures. Start by winding the film and taking two blanks to ensure that the film is being taken up. To do this I put my ear to the camera and listen to the film moving across the pressure plate. So far I have never miss loaded the camera. Then to take a picture you must extend the lens. Slide the lens cover over the lens opening and close it as this camera has only one shutter. That means that as you wind onto the first frame the camera lens must be closed. Then winder uses the knob that is coaxial with the shutter, just as in the M3! Now you can open the lens by sliding the cover aside. Now set your focus and f stop as you would with any camera. Next you can set the shutter speed. There are three speeds, slow, medium and fast. These are set using the knob adjacent to the view finder. It rotates twice, the two extremes are fast and slow. In between is medium speed. I have estimated these speeds to be from 100 to 300th of a second with the 8mm slit on my camera. I have found I must use 400 asa film to get the photos with correct exposure so the shutter speeds may be faster (I am still learning about this). After finishing the roll you must go to a dark room to remove the film. At first I used scotch tape and rolled the film back into the used cassette to take it to a developer. Now that I do my own developing, I load the film right into a developing tank.

 

My feelings about this camera are that it is like a small digital camera in size. The interesting thing is there is no obvious method to ensure that the film is winding except listening. There is rewind knob to view or tension the film with. So you must use a sense we seldom use, your ears. Also the lens extension has no lock so you must check to be sure it is extended before pushing the shutter button. In closing I would like to share photos of the camera but do not know how to do this in this forum.

 

If there are others who wish to make their UR-Leica Replica a working model and join the fun, please contact me. I will be watching for such requests. I will then share particulars on the amount of money to do this and the lens that you must supply. I note that it is listed on eBay presently.

Edited by George Furst

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Mr Kim, my camera technician, used to work in the watch industry so he has all the tools to make the gears for the working UR-Leica. He spent three months designing the upgrade to an operational camera. The challenges are many. First there is only a small location for the shutter. That means that the diameter of the drums for the shutter curtain are relatively small. That limits the size of shutter opening. In this case we went with an eight millimeter opening. We understand the original had a forty millimeter opening but can not understand how this can be. Also the films now are much faster than in 1913-14 when the original UR was constructed. Therefor the 8mm slit on the shutter curtain works out very well. The Leica O model has a 5 and a 10 mm slit available so the 8 mm is in between these two slit openings.

 

Another challenge was the spindles for the shutter. In this case one must provide a screw mount camera to supply the parts for the internal mechanisms. I gave Mr. Kim an old Leica IIIa that had a bad shutter curtain and cracked vulcanite covering. The other item needed is the 42mm macro Summar lens. As I said before this lens is available on eBay now. Everything else is already in the UR camera. Mr. Kim cut all the gears and parts not available in the UR plus donor camera. If you are interested in upgrading your UR camera to use it to experience UR photography, I would be willing to help have it done.

 

As I said I am very pleased with my working model. The gears work like those in a watch. Also Mr. Kim is a legend here and there was even a movie made about him so he always has film cameras on his desk.

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I'd very appreciate some pictures of & with this camera!

Especially of the modified inner parts I'd like to see some details.

 

thanks & healthy 2017

Thomas

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Well, I never had a working UR-replica - neither working Null-serie replica -  but, when collecting, I used to be in close and friendly contact with the Italian "artist" Alberico Arces (mainly thanks to another Italian friend/collector, Ghester Sartorius) who sold me a few of his hundreds marvelous replicas. Here are images os both replicas from my archives (I already published - long ago - a thread on Arces copies). On the two first images, the UR-replicas as "copy of the original" and in different finishes, the three last images being of the Nullserie replicas (with both folding or tubular viewfinder) and of the parts of same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'd very appreciate some pictures of & with this camera!

Especially of the modified inner parts I'd like to see some details.

 

thanks & healthy 2017

Thomas

I would love to send pictures of the final UR-Leica working model as it looks very much like the original, inside and outside. I did find a photograph of the internals of the original camera on page 10 of Leica publication "NINTYNINEYEARS". I fact there are many pages in the front of this book about the original camera including a number of full page photographs and a photograph of the section from Barnack's notebook where he on March 1914 stated that he finished the UR camera and wrote those fateful words "Lilliput camera with cinema film ready." The rest is history as this prototype lead to the O series 10 years later and the commercial camera, the 1a the following spring.

 

My problem is I have not been able to upload the pictures off my iPad. Every time I tried, I received a message that the "file is too large." I asked the administrator for help but so far no answer. Can someone advise me on this problem? As I said I have pictures that I took from the tare down of the dummy, the gears he made, the exact UR micro lens used in the original , and the final camera. Also a number of photos using the camera. Except for wear on the original, and the writing on the top of the latter, one can not tell them apart. Any help appreciated and I will share the photos of my UR-Leica!

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I would love to send pictures of the final UR-Leica working model as it looks very much like the original, inside and outside. I did find a photograph of the internals of the original camera on page 10 of Leica publication "NINTYNINEYEARS". I fact there are many pages in the front of this book about the original camera including a number of full page photographs and a photograph of the section from Barnack's notebook where he on March 1914 stated that he finished the UR camera and wrote those fateful words "Lilliput camera with cinema film ready." The rest is history as this prototype lead to the O series 10 years later and the commercial camera, the 1a the following spring.

 

My problem is I have not been able to upload the pictures off my iPad. Every time I tried, I received a message that the "file is too large." I asked the administrator for help but so far no answer. Can someone advise me on this problem? As I said I have pictures that I took from the tare down of the dummy, the gears he made, the exact UR micro lens used in the original , and the final camera. Also a number of photos using the camera. Except for wear on the original, and the writing on the top of the latter, one can not tell them apart. Any help appreciated and I will share the photos of my UR-Leica!

 

Hi, George.

Re your picture, you have to download your original on your PC ant "treat" it, - wit Photoshop? - to reduce the size to the maximum authorized on the Forum, being 1024 pix for the larger size. We wait with impatience for the image.

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Here are my first pictures taken with the working copy of the UR-Leica. As stated above the camera has the same lens that Oskar Barnack used. It is a 42mm macro-summar lens

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I wish to add a few comments to the above photos taken with the UR-Leica. First, they are the first photos I have uploaded onto this website. Second, I note that there are duplicate photos as it was late when I did the uploading. Third, some of the files are very small and do not do justice for the quality of the original photograph. Forth, there is a light leak showing as a vertical streak in some of the picture. This I will have to deal with as this camera is still a work in progress. I think it came from the bottom of the camera that was not fit correctly. In the future I will download pictures of the completed UR-Leica Camera.

 

What did surprise me is the excellent coverage of the whole film area with this diminutive lens. It is barely an inch in diameter with a minimum f stop of 4.5 and contains 6 elements in a classic Double-Gauss design. Since it is a micro lens it is optimized for close up photography but seems to do well at infinity focus too. Also the photographs do have a low contrast which is typical for a lens of over 100 years old. And finally as a person interested in Leica history, I understand why Barnack chose this lens and he and Ernest Leitz used it for their photography for ten years. It was also the pictures that inspired the company to venture into the world of "Small Camera, Big Picture" and we know the rest of that story!

Edited by George Furst

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I wish to correct the statement at the end of the last reply. Barnack stated in his write up about his seminal camera "Small negative, big picture." He did state in the same article that his goal was also a small camera, but he always emphasized that the negative size on cine film with fine grain was his inspiration. The other unique aspect of this camera was it was a precision instrument made by a microscope manufacturer and it was made with metal not wood, the usual material of camera manufacture at the time.

 

I must thank the Leitz company for making a exact replica of the original UR-Leica. Without that foundation it would have been cost prohibitive to make the working model. In answer to the original post on this topic, there was much more required than just adding a correct lens. The copy made by Leitz did have a shutter curtain but just for show, not for taking pictures. Also there was no film transport mechanism in the camera. These had to be fabricated in Mr. Lee's workshop in Seoul.

 

As a design professor I always emphasized that all the "functional requirements" (what you want the design to do) must be met with a "design parameters" (how the functional requirement was met in the design) and in this camera most were met. A few were not. It is not easy to load. This functional requirement was met later with the film cassette and this forced Leitz to enlarge the camera size. Another functional requirement not met was the ability to have many precise shutter speeds and this was done by the design parameter of using two shutter screens rather than the one. This also meant the final production model had to be enlarged. Before retirement I used the evolution of the Barnack camera as an excellent example of the design process.

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I will try to upload a few photos of the internals of the UR camera. This photo shows the curtain with an eight millimeter gap. It also shows the gear teeth that adjust the tension on the shutter spring to change the shutter speed.

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Here is a photo of the uncoated 42mm micro-Summar lens that I used in my UR Leica replica. Note that it fits perfectly into the location where the dummy lens was placed.

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Here is a photo of the original Barnack UR Leica. You can use this to compare with the internals of my UR Replica camera. The bottom photo is the Replica that we made by modifying the dummy UR-Leica made by Wetzlar back in the 70s.

Edited by George Furst

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The above photograph of the original UR-Leica came from " NINTYNINEYEARS ". The Leica publication mentioned above. Now I will show you the original lens used by Barnack in the UR-Leica camera. It was a microscope lens and that was my first encounter with the lens. back 45 years ago. At the time I was surprised that it had a iris diaphragm as they are seldom used in microscope lens. When I changed jobs I requested this lens and as it was very (over 80 years old at the time) and seldom used, it was given to me. So now I will show the list of Microsummars that I found in "The Leica Story" by Emil Keller, an excellent collection of information about the early days of the Leica camera and its manufacture.

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