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KOOBF Cassettes for Leica 250 Reporter

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The Leica 250 Reporter was a popular camera with walking photograph operators mainly in seaside towns. I believe some companies engraved the cassettes with the owner’s name. I have heard that William Foster Brigham used Leica 250s at Bridlington and that his KOOBF cassettes were professionally engraved with “Brigham Bridlington.”  A KOOBF cassette has come to my attention that is crudely hand engraved with “Movie Snaps.” I wonder if any member of this forum has a KOOBF cassettes with other photographers names on them?

Edited by g8jbd

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2 of my 4 KOOBF's are also professionally engraved Brighams of Bridlington, who it is believed, were the original owners of my 250FF camera. Brighams had a number of these cameras, both FF and GG models. They later cannibalised the less good cameras to keep the better ones working. My one has no dings and is in reasonable condition but is fairly well brassed. The original nickel wind-on and film tensioning knob, has been replaced by the chrome one off a GG model. My 250FF has just gone off to Malcolm Taylor, who probably has the last stock of 250 spare parts in the world, for a full service to bring back to optimal user mechanical condition. The lovely condition (probably too good to be ex-Brighams) early 1933 nickel Summar has gone with the 250 for cleaning, lubrication and collimation.  Below a picture of one of my Brigham KOOBF's on an AFLON winder and my 250FF Reporter. 

Wilson

 

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I had a long conversation with Malcolm Taylor who almost certainly knows more about the 250 than any other living person. He was telling me that unlike what most people think, that there were three types of 250, DD (only 2 made, based on a Model II and maybe, both converted to FF), FF, based on a Model III and GG based on a IIIa, there are actually nine sub-variants over the entire manufacturing history. Leica continuously improved the camera, based on user experiences. There were even a few assembled from spare parts post-war. There are at least three variants of the electric motor drive, including one with ball races (Kugellager), for low temperature aviation use. A significant number of electric motor drive 250's were mounted in the belly of JU-87 (Stuka) aircraft, along with a smaller, electric motor drive, large cassette Robot Camera in the tail, for post attack photographs. These had to be manually switched on by the pilot, who may have had his mind on other matters and often forgot. With the high attrition rate of the JU-87 aircraft, this is why there are not many 250 Reporters around nowadays, out of the total production, believed to be 983 cameras (2DD, 246FF and 735 GG). I have been told by someone else, that it is possible that the early production, wartime black 85mm/f1.5 Summarex lenses, were for aircraft use with the motor drive 250 cameras, as for aviation use, the very shallow DOF would not have been an issue and the fast lens speed a very positive benefit. 

For the civilian version of the 250, Leica made a special SCNOO rapid winder. At least one of these still survives. These maybe were not very successful, due to having to pull the film from and wind into the large KOOBF cassettes, they must have been very stiff to operate. This load is also what causes the slip clutch in the wind on mechanism to wear out, like the one on my 250. Malcolm has spares to repair this. 

Wilson

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On 12/6/2018 at 8:16 PM, jc_braconi said:

Hi Wilson

Do you think the number '16' is to identify one in the "park" of 250 used by Brighams ?

Some 250 were used too in the snow stations.

JC, 

My guess is that the 16 was engraved by the same man who engraved my KOOBF cassettes as the font and size are identical. I believe that Brighams were the largest user of Reporters in the UK and for each of their branches, at seaside resorts all up and down the east coast of England they would have had two or three Reporters. The 16 may have been a branch number or camera number. Someone on the British Photographic History is researching the British seaside walking photography businesses, so I may get more information at some point. 

The south coast was the preserve of another company, based in Brighton. Malcolm Taylor used to service their Reporters, when he worked for Mr. Derek Grossmark of The Hove Camera Company, the well known Leica dealers, repairers and instruction book publishers. The Reporters went out of favour in the late 1960's to early 70's for a number of reasons. With increasing prosperity, more seaside visitors now had their own cameras, the Reporters needed frequent and costly service to keep them in good running order and finally with the move to colour film, whereas it was easy to process 10 metres of B&W film with dip and dunk, for those lengths of colour film, you really needed an expensive 35mm cine film processing machine. The seaside photographers who were still in business, generally moved to regular 36 exposure 35mm cameras, often second hand M3's, which had a very good reputation for reliability and longevity. 

Wilson

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Hello Wilson,

 

We have corresponded before via British Photographic History and email. I’m the one who bought the GG from Red Dot earlier this and has an interested in walking photographs and seaside photographic history. 

 

When my GG was sold in 2015 by SAS it had a KOOBF cassette marked “Brigham Bridlington 21” with it. When I bought the camera it did not have this but it did have a KOOBF that was hand engraved with the words “Movie Snaps.” I am still on the trail of Movie Snaps and a firm of that name traded in Rhyl and Aberystwyth after WW2 and also in Scotland. There was also a Movie Snaps in Jersey but they may not be connected with the Rhyl and Aberystwyth firm.

 

I was interested to read about the Leica and Robot cameras mounted into Stuka aircraft. 

 

In the 1950s Barkers of Great Yarmouth had 6 Leica 250s and a few Leica 3s. These had been bought to take walking photographs and to replace the old pre WW1 wooden cine cameras they had been using to take 3-in-a-strip walking still photos. They also used Ilford Advocates and Agfa Silettes that were by comparison with the Leicas troublesome  and were often worn out in one season. By 1969 all of Barkers Leicas had seen better days and were sold off in very poor condition to a Leica dealer before colour processing gear arrived at Barkers works.  Barkers continued taking black white walking photographs using coupled rangefinder Japanese cameras. Barkers invested in colour developing and printing gear in about 1971 and their walking photos were then taken in colour but they still continued using the low cost Japanese 35mm cameras.

 

Paul.

 

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