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Pecole

How many Leica I ? - 5th part

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I always had a special interest in Leica I (C) with non-standardized mount, since I consider it is the joint between the "small camera" and the "Leica system". That's the reason why I had so many of them - a total of nine - from the one with the complete serial number engraved on the three lenses to the one with only the three last digits of the serial, and including one with the Hektor 50mm. The earliest one is nº 37380 (with the 3 lenses engraved with the complete number), the latest one nº 53043. It is interesting to note that my first one, dating 1930, is the eleventh produced : indeed, the production of non-standardized started at nº 37280 (Lager, Vol. 1-Cameras, page 37). The production terminated in 1931 with nº 55401, and I had nº 53043 next to 53042 (rare sequence!), 53024, 52591, 52503, 49434 and 472887. Lager says also that an Hektor 50mm was supplied with nº 49107; my two including Hektor lens were nº 49434 and 53043.

That's all for details, now the images. I start evidently with The Leica I (C) nº 37380 and its three Elmar lenses 35, 50 and 135 mm, all three engraved 37380. It came in an ETGAM outfit case including, next to the LESOR Leica with its 3 lenses, a VISOR universal viewfinder, a WINTU right angle viewfinder (probably a WINKO at the origin), a FISON hood, three close-up lenses ELPRO-ELPIK-ELPET, four filters and two aluminium cassettes for film.

Next, nº 52591, also with three Elmar lenses, has these only engraved with the three last digits of the serial. It came in its original outfit case including, next to the LESOR, a VISOR, a FODIS, the 3 close-up lenses ELPRO-ELPIK-ELPET and 3 filters.

I have to finish here due to the limit in size of images charged, but I will add a "5th part-bis" to-morrow.

 

 

scan0091 copie réd..bmp

scan0094 - Leica I interchangeable not normalised nº53024 and its matching Elmar 50mm copie réd._edited-2.bmp

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thx Pecole for this interesting topic. Let me add some more facts. Information provided below is taken from v.Einem (10 Varianten of Leica I....), articles puiblished in Vidom by Bawendi and my observations.

 Leica I Model C non-std was produced for one year only. Started in May 1930 with SN 37280. Reported are 2995 IC with Elmar with non-std mount produced. Already in May 1931 Leitz decided to produce Model C with standartized mount only (SN 55401 was last non-std). Reported 117 cameras were shipped with lenses engraved with 5-digit number. Model IC was produced alternatively with Model A. Many of non-std were equipped with a set of 3 lenses, but some were shipped with 1 or 2 lenses only (see Bawendi article). Standard (50mm) lens was predominantly Elmar, Hektor 50mm may be found occasionaly. I indentified 12 Hektors with non std mount and 3 digit number.

It has to be noted that many of non-std sets have been converted to std mount in a later time (you may find an additional "0" on the lens), some of cameras propduced as IA and being IC now are as well result of conversion.

Hahne list is the best available source on early LTMs, however as well not 100% accurate. With exception of SN 472887 (number misspelled) all other SNs listed by you are as well listed in Hahne list as IC non-std

 

 

Edited by jerzy

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2 hours ago, jerzy said:

thx Pecole for this interesting topic. Let me add some more facts. Information provided below is taken from v.Einem (10 Varianten of Leica I....), articles puiblished in Vidom by Bawendi and my observations.

 Leica I Model C non-std was produced for one year only. Started in May 1930 with SN 37280. Reported are 2995 IC with Elmar with non-std mount produced. Already in May 1931 Leitz decided to produce Model C with standartized mount only (SN 55401 was last non-std). Reported 117 cameras were shipped with lenses engraved with 5-digit number. Model IC was produced alternatively with Model A. Many of non-std were equipped with a set of 3 lenses, but some were shipped with 1 or 2 lenses only (see Bawendi article). Standard (50mm) lens was predominantly Elmar, Hektor 50mm may be found occasionaly. I indentified 12 Hektors with non std mount and 3 digit number.

It has to be noted that many of non-std sets have been converted to std mount in a later time (you may find an additional "0" on the lens), some of cameras propduced as IA and being IC now are as well result of conversion.

Hahne list is the best available source on early LTMs, however as well not 100% accurate. With exception of SN 472887 (number misspelled) all other SNs listed by you are as well listed in Hahne list as IC non-std

 

 

Thanks for all details, jerzy, and sorry for the misspelling : the actual number is 47828. Next to that, it seems that figures given for start and close serials given par Lager are confirmed. I was very careful in verifying serials when I bought my "non-standardized", but I am always happy to have a confirmation by an expert.

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Thanks Pecole and Jerzy. I am going to go off on a slight tangent. I have a I Model C that came with an ETGAM case such as the one (the second case) shown above by Pecole. That one is the closest to my one that I have seen and they all seem to have different interiors, fully fitted and not removable, presumably for different I Model C lens combination sets as described by both of you above. My one has the lens holders at the side and the ELPIK etc holders at the end, but, in my case, the camera fits under the lid opening - see photo below. It seems that each case was unique and bespoke and built for the customer eg my case is built in the reverse direction to Pecole's case.The holders inside cannot be removed or changed as far as I can see. I have an early Leica catalogue from 1931, but, while the cases are mentioned, there is no reference to interior fittings. It seems to be the case (pardon the pun) that when a customer went into a Leica dealer in 1930 or 1931 to order a I Model C set, they were offered options as regards lenses and filters and other accessories and were then invited to order a case to take that set. It seems also to have been possible to indicate where the various holders should go. 

I could not imagine such a bespoke case today (I am sure that someone will correct me on this). Today we have Velcro and we can make up our cases according to whatever we are carrying as we head out to take some photos. The ETGAM seems to have been the very first outfit case (certainly for a Leica outfit) and the fore-runner of all those fancy Billinghams and Lowe-Pros etc that we have today. It was possibly to vary the outfit a bit with the fixed fittings eg I have a Mountain Elmar in this where the 135mm lens should be - my 135mm is currently sitting in a press.

William

 

Edited by willeica

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You guys add the most interesting posts.  For me the ultimate case was the Benser Model II with a wide variety of inserts.  I ordered one new in 1975.  I could very rapidly change lenses and cameras from this case.  Unfortunately Leica equipment has grown over the years (thicker digital bodies and fatter lenses), and now the Benser inserts are just too small.  I'd be first in line to buy an undated Benser system case.  The Think Tank stuff I use now for DSLRs (backpack and belt pouches) is way too big for Leica equipment.

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 A friend of mine has a slightly smaller Benser case. It is a hard case like the ETGAM and other early cases. It is interesting that the inserts could be changed unlike the early Leica cases, which had fixed inserts. My comments above were led somewhat by the fact that Jerzy mentioned that non standardised I Model C outfits shipped with different numbers of lenses and perhaps accessories as well and I saw the bespoke case inserts as an offshoot of this. In today's world, I find that most Leica photographers use a Billingham bag of some kind, generally a Hadley Small or a Hadley Pro for walk around photography, as they are very comfortable to use. I could not imagine myself walking around with a hard ETGAM case hanging out of my shoulder, even though it is quite a small case, much smaller than a Billingham Hadley. I imagine that something like the Benser Modell II would largely be used for A to B transport for the same reason.

William

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I never bought a Benser case back in the late 1960s when I bought my first Leicas, but I admired the designs, and some years later bought a sheet of cowhide leather and made a scaled-up version to hold both my M4 and LeicaflexSL with the few lenses I had, and inserts for film, etc. I used it for years, but too big and heavy to carry around much. In recent years I picked up both large and small Bensers with a group of inserts. Very nice concept. The original inserts are basically thin cardboard, so the don't take up much space. Today most bag "inserts" are rather thick padded foam. I think the ltm Leicas were more rugged than today's cameras, and didn't need the padding. Or maybe people were just more careful then.

In the '60s I did use the "Benser pouch" instead of an ER case for my M4 and Leicaflex. They were a zippered thin kangaroo-leather very flexible pouch that didn't offer much padding, but did offer some protection. They were made with large eyelets on the back for the round-braided Benser camera neckstrap to go through, so when you used the camera the pouch just rode up on the strap. Clever idea.

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The Benser Model II is really not that big.  I always had it on my shoulder when I used an M2.  I took it all over the US and to the UK and Belgium.  I quick flip to open the lid, there was a reserved place to put the removed lens, and an easily grabbed lens right were it was supposed to be to put on the camera.  Very fast operation.  Also worked well with the film insert for rapid changing of film; push the one out from the bottom; put the exposed film on the top of the stack.  The inserts are cardboard, but they are lined with soft fabric.  I found the Model I to be a little too small for the stuff I carried.

The modern soft inserts are too amorphous for me.  Nothing stays exactly where I want it, and the inserts are not sealed to the bottom of the bag so things can get loose under the partition.

I've never looked at Billingham or Hadley bags.  I probably should consider them.

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