Black Leica ii questions
Old 08-15-2018   #1
Delrizzo
Registered User
 
Delrizzo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 4
Black Leica ii questions

Hello everyone. This is my first post so apologies if I am not doing this correctly. I have just purchased a 1932 Leica ii and overall I am delighted with this wonderful camera. There are inconsistencies, however, and I was hoping that someone here could shed some light. Firstly, the serial number is from a batch of Leica Standards not iis. Secondly, the word No on the top plate has no line under the o. I have looked at a lot of Leica LTMs and there is always a line under the o. Finally, the viewfinder window is not bevelled as the early Leicas were it is more in keeping with a much later Leica iii. Are these inconsistencies fairly normal or might it have had work carried out as with the viewfinder window. I would be fascinated to know your thoughts and any other information you might have about the Leica ii.

  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #2
B-9
Devin Bro
 
B-9's Avatar
 
B-9 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,191
From the serial number it looks to be a Standard that was factory converted to a II later in life. That would explain the late viewfinder bezel. Another big giveaway is the "0" on the lens mount which suggests it was at one time a Standard.
__________________
Made in Michigan

RangefinderGuy @ Instagram
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #3
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
Looks like a prewar conversion. The "O" in the lens mount is normal. The pictures are very close up so I can't get a good image of the whole.

The lettering on top is normal for after 1935 ("D.R.P." right under "Leica"). "Germany" means that it is an export model. The "No" without the small line under the "o" and the "1" without a flag are maybe mistakes by the worker who did the conversion but it is more probable that the conversion was done abroad, probably in the US.

The condition of the paint is very good. Personally I prefer a Leica III, but the camera looks very good to me.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #4
Delrizzo
Registered User
 
Delrizzo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 4
Thank you for the quick replies. Do you think the conversion affects the value of the camera? I paid about 500USD for the camera. I have posted a wider shot which shows the camera more clearly.

  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #5
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
This is an excellent buy (if the lens is clean and without scratches). The paint work is beautiful and the vulcanite and the lens are like new (from the pictures). Can you make a picture of the front glass of the lens?

The Leica II is a common camera. Conversions are relatively rare. Value is a personal thing.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #6
Delrizzo
Registered User
 
Delrizzo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 4
Thank you and value is a personal thing but it's good to know that I did not pay over the odds. Is this the angle you would like to see?

  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #7
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
The flash is a bit disturbing, but it looks quite good. I do not see any scratches or haze. Haze can be cleaned, but scratches are forever. These old Elmars can be amazingly good. See the thread on LTM Leicas. The lens is from 1933.


Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #8
Jerevan
Recycled User
 
Jerevan's Avatar
 
Jerevan is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,120
I think the conversion must be a bit later than 1935, probably -37 or later, since it has the newer viewfinder window. It looks like it is in very good condition, as Erik says. The original black lens cap is also a good sign that the camera was taken care of.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #9
Jerevan
Recycled User
 
Jerevan's Avatar
 
Jerevan is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,120
As time went on, the II (converted or not) became a sort of "budget version" I suppose, since the III line had longer shutter speeds, the distance correction ("diopter") and the eyelets for a strap.

I have the feeling that many IIs are in comparatively better condition - maybe they were more "sunday cameras"?
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #10
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerevan View Post
I think the conversion must be a bit later than 1935
I agree, I said "after 1935". The conversion could also be done during or after the war, as long as "Woods metal" lettering was used.

Yes, in another thread I've said that Leica II are often in good condition. Leica III were professional cameras.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #11
Gregm61
Registered User
 
Gregm61 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 464
Beautiful camera. Congratulations on the find.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #12
Jerevan
Recycled User
 
Jerevan's Avatar
 
Jerevan is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I agree, I said "after 1935". The conversion could also be done during or after the war, as long as "Woods metal" lettering was used.

Yes, in another thread I've said that Leica II are often in good condition. Leica III were professional cameras.

Erik.
I defer to your expertise, Erik. I have no idea where in time the breaking point for the newer styled window is, but my latest "I can't let this one get away" camera is a chrome II from 1937. Cleanest Leica I've had to date.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #13
Delrizzo
Registered User
 
Delrizzo is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 4
Fascinating information and very useful, thank you all. A short story from my side - My Grandfather was Hungarian and lived in Berlin from 1920. He always owned Leica cameras adopting or converting to the latest model. I wanted a Leica II as it was a clear part of the history of Leica and my grandfather's story. Strangely enough this camera followed the same route as my grandfather. He escaped to the US in 1938 and then on to the UK which is the same journey it seems, from the information gathered above, that this little Leica II took. His final trade in Leica was for a Leica M2 which he felt was a good place to stop. Final question from my side. Would it not be unusual to convert a Standard to a Leica II, would it not usually be a Leica III conversion?
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #14
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7,462
"Would it not be unusual to convert a Standard to a Leica II, would it not usually be a Leica III conversion?"


Well, yes and no; that's because it's a personal thing and some want this and some want that and not everyone can afford what they'd like. Also the war created difficulties, no new spares and so on. We don't know the camera's history and so we can only guess.

FWIW, I prefer the model II, the IIIc and M2 for photography but own and use the 1926 and later Standard ones from time to time. I often think, but don't know the others' opinions, that inconsistency is a typical Leica/Barnack trait.

BTW, you are lucky to have the shutter button guard; that and the lens caps often vanish or get replaced with something "wrong". Some say cycle tyre valves were adapted to make the button guard...

Regards, David
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #15
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,601
Standard to II is a fairly usual conversion, although I do not have any references to pre war conversion costs it would have been cheaper than converted to III.

Unless extraordinary the value of a conversion is now roughly the same as the value of the camera it now is. Unfortunately this can be a lot less than the value of what it once was!

(Though not in this case, II's seem to fetch more than Standards)
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #16
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,947
The first Leica I ever used was no. 23010, a II conversion. It had the small pin on the base-plate and a pressure plate with a hole in the middle for setting up focus.

Cheers,

R.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #17
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post

(Though not in this case, II's seem to fetch more than Standards)
Yes, but not more than I's in original condition.

In use, I prefer the I and the III. This is not a rational choice, but is using 80 year old gear rational anyway.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #18
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,601
The I with a 'hockey stick' now seems an expensive camera.

The only time I have seen a premium on conversions was when I thought of offering a 'set' of postwar black conversion (II non syn and syn, III non syn and syn) for a Westlicht auction. In the end I decided to keep them.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-15-2018   #19
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dralowid View Post
The only time I have seen a premium on conversions was when I thought of offering a 'set' of postwar black conversion (II non syn and syn, III non syn and syn) for a Westlicht auction. In the end I decided to keep them.
For most people the conversions are a complicated matter. Far too complicated. Most people like a simple evolution, first the first model, then the second etc. They see conversions as a kind of forgeries. The older a camera is and the least unaltered the more they like them.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #20
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,601
And what a shame that is. I suppose they also believe that a unconverted camera is a better investment(OK so it is).

To me conversions at least show that the owner at the time was sufficiently interested in their photography to want to upgrade, after all when Leitz started offering a camera with a coupled rangefinder it must have seemed like something very special. Upgrading something rather than buying new fits the psyche of the time. All this gives the camera a little bit of 'back story'.

Pity the poor Contax I owners who only sent their cameras back to the factory so that they could be made to work again...for a while.

I collect 8mm movie cameras. They have no use and no value and yet the cheapest allowed families on a budget to take poor quality films that are now seen as something rather special, snapshots in time too fleeting to be social documents but none the less fascinating. To think that you could buy a film splicer on the high street...

I do wish that people who have an interest in old equipment (whatever it may be) try and build up a raison d'etre for their ownership of the item that is more than just its value...not necessarily provenance, maybe just historical context.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #21
johannielscom
Ich bin ein Barnacker
 
johannielscom's Avatar
 
johannielscom is offline
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Universitas Terre Threntiae
Posts: 7,363
Question, is there a good book on the conversions, that covers possible conversions over time etc?
__________________
Gegroet,
Johan Niels

I write vintage gear reviews on www.johanniels.com |

flickr | instagram |
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #22
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,947
Quote:
Originally Posted by johannielscom View Post
Question, is there a good book on the conversions, that covers possible conversions over time etc?
Not really, because "conversion" is a very flexible term, and Leitz would do almost anything if you could afford it. That's before you start on "bitzas" such as the famous Mortimer Street Specials cobbled together by the English branch of Leitz, mostly during the war, or by repairers. All you can do is spot archaic features such as small-pin baseplates on seemingly later cameras. Some conversions that were not officially done may have been done anyway, at the factory. I can't remember the details -- it was 30 or 40 years ago -- but a friend had a Luftwaffe IIIc that had been converted to a IIIf and was no longer grey: only the overspray from the previous paint job gave it away. Well, that and the serial number.

Cheers,

R.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #23
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,601
Roger's post about a book on conversions explains its absence succinctly. I would add that it would also spoil the fun!

For prewar cameras assume that anything from a I can be converted up to IIIa.

(I have never seen I or II to IIIb with combined eyepieces).

After that the body size changes and you get IIIC to IIIf post war etc.

In the 'conversions' thread there is a price list for post war factory 'standard conversions'. It is a start.

All that and everything in between.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #24
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7,462
And then there's people selling on ebay to add to the fun...

And, of course, the poor old FED and Zorki messed up for ebay cameras.

Regards, David
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #25
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
There is no book because there is no system at all. All cameras are different. That is the fun. The other participants in the discussion said about the same.

Today there is the la carte business. And all those digital variants. What a mess.

Now look at this: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Leitz-Leica...0AAOSwJZlbc-Rg

(I have no connection to the seller.)

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #26
presspass
filmshooter
 
presspass is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,217
Every now and then I see an ad for a III converted to a IIIf. How was this done, considering the different sizes of the two cameras? Was the III serial number put on a new IIIF shell or did Leitz actually manage to squeeze the IIIf flash synch into a III shell?
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #27
Dralowid
Michael
 
Dralowid's Avatar
 
Dralowid is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,601
Quote:
Originally Posted by presspass View Post
Every now and then I see an ad for a III converted to a IIIf. How was this done, considering the different sizes of the two cameras? Was the III serial number put on a new IIIF shell or did Leitz actually manage to squeeze the IIIf flash synch into a III shell?
It is simply a question of mis-naming. A III that has been synchronised in the same manner as a IIIf is called a IIIa syn to be precise, as per factory records.

If the eyepieces are close together then it started life as the larger IIIc.

Have a look at the conversions thread, lots of interesting stuff.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #28
Erik van Straten
Registered User
 
Erik van Straten's Avatar
 
Erik van Straten is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,452
Personally I hate those conversions with an added synchronisation on the pre-IIIc cameras. The shutter is often obstructed by it. It looks ugly too.

Erik.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-16-2018   #29
Roger Hicks
Registered User
 
Roger Hicks is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Aquitaine
Posts: 23,947
Around 40 years ago a really interesting camera turned up in London: a thorougly ratty 2 conversion with a hideous synch hole on top. A friend-of-a-friend bought it in a camera store for 30, as far as I recall, because (unlike the seller) he noticed the serial number: 136.

Cheers,

R.
  Reply With Quote

Old 08-17-2018   #30
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7,462
Talking of war time recycling, I saw an appeal in a war time magazine for film spools and backing papers as the makers were running out of them...


Regards, David
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:35.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.