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I've got itchy fingers, please help...


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10 hours ago, Pyrogallol said:

With lenses from the 30's the condition of the glass of the individual lens makes more difference than any other consideration.

Now, that the shopping frenzy subsided a bit I'm starting to worry about the vagueness of statements from the seller. It's the Austrian Boris guy from PhotoAlps

Here's the conversation we had.

Hello,
How are you?
I have a few questions about the Leica I A you're selling.
1. Do you know when it was last serviced?
2. What is the condition of the shutter screen?
3. Is the leather original or has it been replaced at some point? Also are there any cracks in it which are invisible in the photos?
4. Is the viewfinder clear?
5. What's the condition inside the lens? Fogging? Scratches? Oil on the blades?
I assume all the mechanical parts work fine as per your description. I'm so sorry for all the detailed questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
A.


----

Hello, we guarantee you that the camera is in perfect original condition rm, the leather shutter and other levers are all old vintage original, we also guarantee that the camera is in 100% working condition.

----

That was pretty much a non-answer to any of my questions so I replied:

So there are no scratches or wiping marks on the lens elements and camera is in no need for a CLA then?
And other than the top to bottom crack in the leather on the back of the camera there are no other bits cracking or falling off?
OK, I'd like to make an offer on the camera. Would you sell it for 2400EUR?
Please let me know!
Thank you!


----

Hello!
no scratches or wiping marks on the lens elements!
The camera will be serviced before shipping as we have Leica service directly in my company and all items receive a full service and inspection!
Fix price only sorry


----

After a bit of back and forth he eventually did agree to a 200EUR discount which was really nice. The camera looks to be in excellent condition judging from the photos. Probably in top 5-10% as I've seen many beaters when looking. But I'm worried as I couldn't get any info on what exactly was done to the camera.
Does anybody have any experience with the PhotoAlps Leica service?

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7 hours ago, ravenxarmy said:

Except that now I'm all grown up and shit so I'm trying to override that need with a more common sense approach: don't use it, don't keep it.
It's making me feel miserable but I believe in the long run it's likely to be better for my mental constitution :))
Or at least I hope so...

I'm 74 going on 75 and I'll never be grown up. I don't feel miserable either. Enjoy the Hektor. Personally, I have a 'thing' for the Summar, a lens that is completely underrated. I now have a dozen or more of them in what I call an 'accidental collection'.  I had a lot less when I wrote this article https://www.macfilos.com/2016/12/05/2016-12-1-leitz-summar-review-the-last-rose-of-summar/ , but my views on the lens have not changed.

William 

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6 minutes ago, willeica said:

Personally, I have a 'thing' for the Summar, a lens that is completely underrated. I now have a dozen or more of them in what I call an 'accidental collection'.

For 5cm I myself am a Summitar guy. Actually that's a lie. My most used 5cm lens is Topcor-S (controversial opinion ahead, if sensitive please skip the next 9 words) just because it's better than anything Leitz I ever tried. I do have a mint L39 Summicron but rarely ever use it. I only really keep it because it looks brand new.
I once briefly considered getting both a Summar and a Summarit, just to try, but I was so happy with the Summitar that I sold the Elmars and picking up either of the Summ's never really materialised. Now, after reading your little article I will have no choice but to find one. Cheers for that 🤣

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7 hours ago, ravenxarmy said:

Now, that the shopping frenzy subsided a bit I'm starting to worry about the vagueness of statements from the seller. It's the Austrian Boris guy from PhotoAlps

Here's the conversation we had.

Hello,
How are you?
I have a few questions about the Leica I A you're selling.
1. Do you know when it was last serviced?
2. What is the condition of the shutter screen?
3. Is the leather original or has it been replaced at some point? Also are there any cracks in it which are invisible in the photos?
4. Is the viewfinder clear?
5. What's the condition inside the lens? Fogging? Scratches? Oil on the blades?
I assume all the mechanical parts work fine as per your description. I'm so sorry for all the detailed questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
A.


----

Hello, we guarantee you that the camera is in perfect original condition rm, the leather shutter and other levers are all old vintage original, we also guarantee that the camera is in 100% working condition.

----

That was pretty much a non-answer to any of my questions so I replied:

So there are no scratches or wiping marks on the lens elements and camera is in no need for a CLA then?
And other than the top to bottom crack in the leather on the back of the camera there are no other bits cracking or falling off?
OK, I'd like to make an offer on the camera. Would you sell it for 2400EUR?
Please let me know!
Thank you!


----

Hello!
no scratches or wiping marks on the lens elements!
The camera will be serviced before shipping as we have Leica service directly in my company and all items receive a full service and inspection!
Fix price only sorry


----

After a bit of back and forth he eventually did agree to a 200EUR discount which was really nice. The camera looks to be in excellent condition judging from the photos. Probably in top 5-10% as I've seen many beaters when looking. But I'm worried as I couldn't get any info on what exactly was done to the camera.
Does anybody have any experience with the PhotoAlps Leica service?

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

The price you paid is about right, but bear in mind that you are paying that price because this is a collectible camera, not because the lens is any better than the Elmar. I have never bought anything from Boris, but I have met him at Leica meets and auctions. He is a pretty ubiquitous figure at such events. The standard of repairs in Austria  has gone up lately. Ottmar Michaely in Wetzlar sold his equipment to Leitz Auction and he told me that he had trained in a number of young technicians in Vienna, including a young watch repairer who I have met in Wetzlar on a number of occasions. Jo Geier at Mint and Rare in Vienna has in house repairs, possibly done by his father. Our good forum friend Jerzy also does Leica repairs in Vienna. With all of that going on, I would imagine that Boris would have to get his servicing in order to stay competitive. 

4 minutes ago, ravenxarmy said:

For 5cm I myself am a Summitar guy. Actually that's a lie. My most used 5cm lens is Topcor-S (controversial opinion ahead, if sensitive please skip the next 9 words) just because it's better than anything Leitz I ever tried. I do have a mint L39 Summicron but rarely ever use it. I only really keep it because it looks brand new.
I once briefly considered getting both a Summar and a Summarit, just to try, but I was so happy with the Summitar that I sold the Elmars and picking up either of the Summ's never really materialised. Now, after reading your little article I will have no choice but to find one. Cheers for that 🤣

I have a couple of Summitars myself and technically they are a step up from the earlier lenses generally, but lacking a bit in 'character'. I have a Topcor lens on a Leotax and it is superb. The Summicron is a definite 'improvement' on the Summitar. The Summarit f1.5 is also fine, so we are spoilt for choice. I never pixel peep and judge what I have got from normal viewing distance. What is the old saying 'paralysis by analysis' ?

William 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, willeica said:

Our good forum friend Jerzy also does Leica repairs in Vienna.

Coincidentally I am actually talking to Jerzy right now about fixing that crack in vulcanite on the back of the camera. Hopefully he will take the camera in and have a good look at it.
 

1 hour ago, willeica said:

With all of that going on, I would imagine that Boris would have to get his servicing in order to stay competitive. 

Hopefully. It's the lack of precision in answering questions with regards to the camera, or rather lack of answers at all, it's what worried me in the first place.
 

1 hour ago, willeica said:

I have a Topcor lens on a Leotax and it is superb.

Just a Topcor? Or Topcor-S?
I think Topcor was a Sonnar design (not 100% sure but it's what the very faded bit of info in the back of head is telling me) while Topcor-S is a Biotar design therefore swirl and swirl and swirl we go...
I once compared Topcor-S to the 17-bladed Biotar (same settings, just to be sure) and other than slightly zoomed out (50 vs 58) the pictures came out identical. The colour, the swirl, the whole shebang.

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If not for the slight zoom difference you wouldn't know which is which. I dislike SLR but love Biotar so was quite happy to find a Leica equivalent. Edited by ravenxarmy
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2 hours ago, ravenxarmy said:

Coincidentally I am actually talking to Jerzy right now about fixing that crack in vulcanite on the back of the camera. Hopefully he will take the camera in and have a good look at it.
 

Hopefully. It's the lack of precision in answering questions with regards to the camera, or rather lack of answers at all, it's what worried me in the first place.
 

Just a Topcor? Or Topcor-S?
I think Topcor was a Sonnar design (not 100% sure but it's what the very faded bit of info in the back of head is telling me) while Topcor-S is a Biotar design therefore swirl and swirl and swirl we go...
I once compared Topcor-S to the 17-bladed Biotar (same settings, just to be sure) and other than slightly zoomed out (50 vs 58) the pictures came out identical. The colour, the swirl, the whole shebang.

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Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!



If not for the slight zoom difference you wouldn't know which is which. I dislike SLR but love Biotar so was quite happy to find a Leica equivalent.

A few things which occur. That Hektor on a I Model A will probably have a 33mm mount rather than a 39mm mount (see my recent YouTube video which dealt with this) which will mean that you cannot use it on LTM M39 cameras. If Jerzy is having a look at the vulcanite on the camera you should ask him to check if the lens is properly matched with the I Model A camera, probably using shims behind the mount.

I won't comment on Boris's answers - they are between you and him.

My Topcor lens is the one shown in the photos below. These are from the auction, where I bought the camera, about 7 years ago and the camera 'cleaned up' beautifully when I got it. I only bought it to get an example of a Japanese LTM copy. A friend here in Dublin has many Japanese copies and he thought that my one was very nice.

The image quality from the lens is very nice.  This is the one which I have  https://collectiblend.com/Lenses/Tōkyō-Kōgaku/50mm-f3.5-Topcor-(M39).html The Topcor S is a slightly more expensive lens https://collectiblend.com/Lenses/Topcon/50mm-f2-Topcor-S-(M39).html To be honest, I would not be particularly interested in comparing the two lenses. However, I do have an FSU Jupiter 3 Sonnar copy https://collectiblend.com/Lenses/Krasnogorsk/50mm-f1.5-ZK-(M39).html which I bought in St Petersburg about 6 years ago, largely as a 'souvenir'. It does do sort of a 'swirly thing' and I wrote an article about it here.https://www.macfilos.com/2018/05/14/2018-5-11-russian-lens-galaxy-from-sonnar-to-jupiter/

William 

 

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I've never had any of those f3.5 Elmar lookalike Topcors. Only the f2 ones. 

In the f2 line there's also a non-S version. That's the one I meant.

I really liked your article on the Russian lenses.

Is it worth getting into the Russian scene? I only really have the Helios 40 in M42 which, again, is a copy of the f1.5 Biotar which I never really pulled the trigger on because of the price...

I do have a thing for CZJ Biotars though... One day I'll pick one up in place of that Helios.

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1 hour ago, willeica said:

A few things which occur. That Hektor on a I Model A will probably have a 33mm mount rather than a 39mm mount (see my recent YouTube video which dealt with this) which will mean that you cannot use it on LTM M39 cameras. 

I was under the impression that the lenses in I Model A were permanently fixed to the camera so couldn't be used on any other camera? 

Could you please forward me the link to your YouTube video? Id like to watch it.

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, willeica said:

My Topcor lens is the one shown in the photos below. These are from the auction, where I bought the camera, about 7 years ago and the camera 'cleaned up' beautifully when I got it. I only bought it to get an example of a Japanese LTM copy. A friend here in Dublin has many Japanese copies and he thought that my one was very nice.

The 50 f3.5 Japanese lenses are generally fine performers, about equivalent to the Elmar / Tessar. I've received several on Japanese ltm clones. They made many changes to the lenses through the few years they made them - Japan must have had shorter product cycles than Leitz even back then. Here are 5 of my samples. The top two are Tokyo Optical "C.Simlar" & later named "Topcor", which are pretty much exact copies of the Elmar even to the front aperture nubbin. The C.Simlar has the older european fstop scale, and distance in meters. Willeica's Topcor must be later with the changed aperture ring.

Center is a Hexar by Konishiroku, which has the more modern aperture ring.

Bottom are two Canon lenses: left is a Serenar, right is after they changed lens names to just "CANON LENS". Note the Serenar is "5 cm" and the other "50 mm" - following changes Leitz made also.

The Hexar and "CANON LENS" version have moved the diaphragm location deeper in the elements, while the others are just behind the first element like the Elmar.

The Hexar came with the small (17mm?) Kenko yellow filter that fits just in front of the lens (which also can fit both Canon lenses), and the later Canon with a 34mm filter as the outer rim is threaded for filters (as is the Hexar).

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A side view shows the aperture setting rings on the Canons and Hexar. Note the Serenar has a smaller diameter ring than the later Canon, and the rotation direction is reversed.

I didn't bother showing the Russian versions I have...

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12 hours ago, ravenxarmy said:

So many prototypes under that link :)

Any chance for that youtube link please?

Prototypes will be expensive, of course. Just concentrate on the production models and you will be kept going for a long time. Note that the first two digits in the SN denote the year of manufacture for some of those models. Variations can be subtle and hard to follow. 

If you mean my recent YouTube Video on British Lenses and Lens Conversions here is the link.

Bear in mind that these are very rare and expensive collectors' items and having them for everyday use might not make practical or economic sense. In addition, some of the lenses have 33mm rather than 39mm mounts and, so, they can only be used on a I Model A. I did some example shots on an M10 with LTM mount versions of some of those lenses just to show that they could produce 'nice pictures'. If I was going to use a lens of roughly the same focal length as the British 3/4 inch lenses on a 1930s LTM Leica, I would use either a 7.3cm Hektor or a 9cm Elmar.

William 

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On 3/10/2024 at 11:43 AM, ravenxarmy said:

Coincidentally I am actually talking to Jerzy right now about fixing that crack in vulcanite on the back of the camera. Hopefully he will take the camera in and have a good look at it.
 

Hopefully. It's the lack of precision in answering questions with regards to the camera, or rather lack of answers at all, it's what worried me in the first place.
 

Just a Topcor? Or Topcor-S?
I think Topcor was a Sonnar design (not 100% sure but it's what the very faded bit of info in the back of head is telling me) while Topcor-S is a Biotar design therefore swirl and swirl and swirl we go...
I once compared Topcor-S to the 17-bladed Biotar (same settings, just to be sure) and other than slightly zoomed out (50 vs 58) the pictures came out identical. The colour, the swirl, the whole shebang.

Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!



If not for the slight zoom difference you wouldn't know which is which. I dislike SLR but love Biotar so was quite happy to find a Leica equivalent.

Very nice comparison,

just for info, is this the early chrome version of the topcor or tha late black aluminum barrel one?

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33 minutes ago, Sharpdressed said:

Very nice comparison,

just for info, is this the early chrome version of the topcor or tha late black aluminum barrel one?

There are actually 3 different Topcor-S

Silver

Silver with some black bits

Black

 

In that order. 

I've had all of them and kept the nicest looking one. Which was the black one.

As far as I could tell the differences were only cosmetic on the outside. Inside there was no difference.

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