View Full Version : british leica copy?
i never knew there were other leica copies aside from the eastern block cameras!
reid camera (http://cgi.ebay.com/REID-III-Type-2-Leica-copy-w-Cooke-2-cap-xtra-fine_W0QQitemZ7571421243QQcategoryZ15234QQssPageNa meZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)
There were lots of Japanese Leica copies (e.g. Tanack, Honor) as well as Leica-inspired cameras such as the early Canons (basic Leica design with various improvements.)
There was even an American Leica-like, the Kardon. I believe both the Kardon and the Reid originated during the Second World War, when military services that had standardized on Leicas found the originals difficult to get, so commissioned domestic manufacturers to design and build substitutes. Both continued in production after the war for domestic sale.
I've never handled a Reid, but am told it was made to a very high standard. Its manufacturer, Reid & Siegrist Ltd., was a respected precision-instrument manufacturer in the UK.
wow. thanks for the great info! it sure looks like it was made to a high standard! and taylor-hobson/cooke is no slouch in the optics department either!
The Reid II is arguably the closest leica 'copy' since it was entirely made using the stocks of Leica parts and tooling removed from the Wetzlar factory under the 'Reparations Scheme'. Most of the cameras went to the RAF for use as osciloscope cameras during the early work on radar development.
Reid and Sigrist were makers of research and experimental airframes including a special aircraft for experiments with "Prone pilot" flying.
The Reid was indeed a response to the wartime shortage of high-quality cameras, but its direct origin is similar to that of the Soviet Kiev. In 1945 the western allies seized various German patents - including those covering Leica cameras - as war booty. The British Leica was intended to inaugerate a world-class 35mm camera industry, but the project was effectively killed by delays caused by constant government interference. By the time the cameras were produced in any numbers, the Leica IIIg and M2 were available - and I believe the Reid was more expensive than a Leica.
Yet at risk of causing upset, I remember an item in "Amateur Photographer" which claimed the Reid was better built and optically superior to Leicas! Quite a boast!
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