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Leica Screw Mount Copies Classic Leica Copy forum as listed in the book 300 Leica Copies, including but not limited to Nicca, Leotax, Honor, Canon etc. At one time there was a major part of the camera industry just trying to make a lower cost copy/dirivitive of the original Leica.

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Leotax, Nicca, And Others Vs Barnacks
Old 09-21-2015   #1
wjlapier
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Leotax, Nicca, And Others Vs Barnacks

How do the Leotax and Nicca type cameras compare to the Barnacks? Some are really cheap in price. Cheap in manufacturing? Any brands to stay away from? I was thinking of adding a Barnack again to my collection but came across some Leotax and Nicca cameras that caught my interest.

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Old 09-21-2015   #2
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My Tower Type 3 (which is a Nicca) is a terrific camera. I really have no idea how much use it had before it arrived at my house but it has been ticking along like a little clock since I picked it up. I have seen no reason to consider it less reliable than my Barnacks.

It is also my understanding that the Leotax is a very good camera but I have never owned one.
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Old 09-21-2015   #3
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What's wrong with the Original?
My IIf was CHEAP, fresh, flawless and beautiful.
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Old 09-21-2015   #4
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Plus one for the original which can be found quite well priced these days. Having said that the Canon LTM's are really nice. I have one and its really solid and has been stone reliable. I also like that 3 different magnifications on the IIf that I have.

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Leotax, Nicca, And Others Vs Barnacks
Old 09-21-2015   #5
maxmadco
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Leotax, Nicca, And Others Vs Barnacks

I have a tower, a Nicca and a Leotax and they are all fine cameras. I originally bought them for the lenses that were attached to them for the cost was much less than the lens was worth. The cameras to my surprise are really nice and with some features the Barnacks do not have such as a back that opens and some have a lever for film advance.
Since they are made much later than the Barnack's they are usually in fine shape not needing a CLA. Look for one with a good lens on it and you can save some money. If you are patient you will find something reasonable in price. If the brand Leica is important to you than nothing else will do.
I use my Leica Barnack's more but I like the way they feel and look.
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Old 09-21-2015   #6
wjlapier
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The Leicas are fine. I have a IF I use occasionally. I had a nice IIIc I wished I kept. And a IIa I sold recently. I was just wondering about the other Barnack type cameras out there. A lot from Japan that look interesting and cheap.
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Old 09-21-2015   #7
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Like others here I bought a Nicca 3s from e bay for the Nikkor 50mm f2.0 it came with. I paid $227 for a wonderful lens and found I got a camera I like. I mostly use a IIIc stepper but I like the Nicca and may have its shutter serviced and put it back to work. The finder is at least as good as my IIIc and seems like a smooth, quality camera. The shutter sometimes caps but the test roll looked good. Joe
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Old 09-21-2015   #8
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They were fine Barnack copies, the best were the Leotax and the Nicca/Tower and the bottom rung one was the Tanack.
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Old 09-21-2015   #9
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The finest Barnack copy that I ever handled was the British made Reid.
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Old 09-21-2015   #10
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The Canons are very nice, with an adjustible eyepiece for different focal length lenses, with different magnifications. Oh, and it's a combined rangefinder/viewfinder, no need to switch the eye over after focusing. Their chrome never peels, and neither does their coverings. Really, a better camera than a Leica, to me.

Niccas are also very fine cameras, with many innovations that blow Leica away. If you want the cream of the crop, look for a Nicca 5L or Tower 46. https://www.cameraquest.com/nicca.htm Get one and try it out, you'll see!
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Canon IIs2?
Old 09-21-2015   #11
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Canon IIs2?

Decided to give this one a try. Add says IIs revision from '55. Seems it might be a IIs2, but I know next to nothing now, while I research for more info.
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Old 09-21-2015   #12
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Have had a few Niccas, they are quite good, their coverings tend to be more robust than Leica vulcanite, but like so many cameras that are 50+ years old it really depends on the storage conditions they've endured over the years.

Currently using a Nicca type 3, made in occupied Japan, from about 1950, with a 1948 Nikkor collapsible.
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Old 09-21-2015   #13
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I own a couple of Leotax's now and use them from time-to-time. They are not as well made as any Leica Barnack I have seen. They are however really cool cameras to own and use if serviced - lots of fun. The Leotax F is rather common and not very expensive these days.

The early Nicca's are pretty impressive judged by the one or two I've had, but I don't have that much experience using them.

In my opinion (and I'm sure I'll take some heat for this!), the Canon Leica copies are the best of the copies overall - really damn good examples of that genre, with some superior features such as switchable finders for 50, 100, and 135mm. Many Canons have only seen seen light use, which is great for todays collector/user crowd. The Leica's are still better made - built by hand like vintage Swiss watches, particularly some models, like the II series (and maybe the I series, of which I have only limited acquaintance). The surviving Leica Barnacks have typically seen a fair amount of use as working cameras (but most have held up).

All that said, the Leica IIIg, essentially a Barnack, is an unrivaled opto-mechanical 35mm masterpiece, deserving a place in the museum of camera greatness right next to the early double stroke M3's.
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Old 09-21-2015   #14
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My Nicca needed shutter curtain replacement. Once CLA'd it behaves quite like my barnacks with added features

That said, my leicas needed shutter replacement as well.
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Old 09-26-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nukecoke View Post
I noticed later Leotax has large viewfinders. Does anyone have experience of using them?
Easier to see the edge of the frames than Leica II & III copies?
The Leotax model TV has a larger viewfinder with a light yellow line defining the 50mm lens. Around the outside of this is a small clear area and seeing the entire viewfinder is easy even if you wear glasses.
Another thing is that the focusing window has a slight tint to it making focusing easier because of the enhanced contrast much like having an Orako on a Leica but it is built in.
In my opinion an improvement over Leica but I still love the Barnacks.
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Old 09-27-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxmadco View Post
The Leotax model TV has a larger viewfinder with a light yellow line defining the 50mm lens. Around the outside of this is a small clear area and seeing the entire viewfinder is easy even if you wear glasses.
Another thing is that the focusing window has a slight tint to it making focusing easier because of the enhanced contrast much like having an Orako on a Leica but it is built in.
In my opinion an improvement over Leica but I still love the Barnacks.
Thank you for your informative answer!
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Cannon IIs2
Old 09-28-2015   #18
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Cannon IIs2

Quote:
Originally Posted by wjlapier View Post
Decided to give this one a try. Add says IIs revision from '55. Seems it might be a IIs2, but I know next to nothing now, while I research for more info.
Well this camera arrived Saturday. Beautiful condition. Everything seems to work fine so far. The magnifier is interesting. 50, 100, and 135. Wished it went the other way! Got a roll of Trix in it and will see how it really does. The rangefinder window is a challenge compared to my M7 or the Zeiss 25/28 finder on the IF.
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Old 12-07-2015   #19
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I couldn't help myself, and had to buy another Nicca III-S, because of the excellent 50/1.4 Nikkor on it! That lens is pretty much my favorite LTM lens.
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