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Leica Luftwaffe?
Old 10-31-2017   #1
Mrphantom
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Leica Luftwaffe?

Hello guys!

Let me first say, I know next to nothing about cameras so please forgive me for not knowing the terminologi etc.

I came across this camera in a window, but the shop was closed. From the research I have done it could be a Leica camera issud for the German Luftwaffe during WW2.

It is marked No. 346612 and FL No 38079.

I have studied similar cameras, but I can't find Leica with the "stud" left to the lens. Also the lens is marked 50mm instead of 5cm which I see on other Leica cameras. And you can also see it says "Germany" on the lens.

Can someone shed some more light on this piece? Is it a fake or should I make an effort to get more pictures?
I don't live in the city where it is, but I have friends there who could help me out.

Any information on estimated value would also be nice. I don't want to get ripped of.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 10-31-2017   #2
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The camera is definitely a real Leica IIIb with a custom flash contact.
I couldn't comment on the authenticity of it being a true Luftwaffe camera, but a few folks here could tell you more about it.

The lens looks okay to me, but I think it might not the one it was originally paired with.
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Old 10-31-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post
The camera is definitely a real Leica IIIb with a custom flash contact.
I couldn't comment on the authenticity of it being a true Luftwaffe camera, but a few folks here could tell you more about it.

The lens looks okay to me, but I think it might not the one it was originally paired with.
Thank you for your reply. So the "stud" next to the lens is the flash contact then? Is this a rare configuration?
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Old 10-31-2017   #4
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrphantom View Post
Thank you for your reply. So the "stud" next to the lens is the flash contact then? Is this a rare configuration?
I agree with Mr. Fibble.

The flash modification can be made somewere in the fifties, but not by Leitz. There are many ways to synchronize an LTM-Leica. A good repairman can remove it. The camera will look much better then.

Indeed, the front of the lens is somewhat strange on a camera of this vintage, but the back of the lens looks authentic for this period with the "GERMANY" mark on it. Maybe the original front of the lens was damaged and was replaced by an older one.

In a shop like this cameras like this can be found quite cheap. However, I have no idea of its value.

Erik.
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Old 10-31-2017   #5
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I've seen several different modifications to use flashes on pre-war/wartime Leicas. Most were done by non-leica shops/technicians where the connectors were placed on the front or the top of the housing.

Leica themselves offered the option to convert older leicas to -SYNC versions in the 1950s (using the flash delay mechanism as found on the If/IIf/IIIf cameras) I have a Leica III and a wartime IIIc that were converted this way.
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Old 10-31-2017   #6
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Interesting input guys. I have made arrangements to get moro photos. Hopefully the camera is still there. I will let you know.
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Old 10-31-2017   #7
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I can't quite read the aperture marks, do they go to f18 or f16 or even f22?

Regarding the camera, I agree with all the above. Removal of the flash sync is a good idea but leaves the need to make a clever patch, recovering the camera knocks the value down and is best avoided.

As to value, others will comment but it seems to me that the value of everyday ltm bodies is on its way down. Of course, this is not exactly an 'everyday' camera...
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Old 10-31-2017   #8
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Are we talking three og four numbers (USD)?

Now that I know this is a real leica, the question is; is it wartime and are the Luftwaffe markings correct.
I would be nice for my friend to have a number in mind when he goes to the store. For example if the seller says 300 usd or 1000 usd it would be nice to know if this is a good price to pay or if it's standard marked value.
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Old 10-31-2017   #9
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346612, delivered in a batch to Berlin with 346601-346762, February 26, 1940, shipment 7989, LEYOO (which means that it was a IIIb delivered with an Elmar lens).
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Old 10-31-2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
346612, delivered in a batch to Berlin with 346601-346762, February 26, 1940, shipment 7989, LEYOO (which means that it was a IIIb delivered with an Elmar lens).
Thanks for that info Vince!
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Old 10-31-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrphantom View Post
Thanks for that info Vince!
You are welcome! Can I ask how much they're asking for the set? Are they advertising it as a 'Luftwaffe' Leica? When you have a chance to see it more closely, are there any other Luftwaffe markings on either the camera body or the lens? Lens serial number would also help.

BTW don't know if you realize this, but Jim Lager is one of RFF's contributors, and he literally wrote the book on Luftwaffe Leicas (and it was his book I used to verify the serial number of this camera). It might be worthwhile to run it by him.

As far as 'value' goes, I've not really been keeping up with them. I've had a few Luftwaffen Leicas and sold bodies in the $1200 - $1800 range. The $1800 one was a pretty rare IIIcK repaint with the FL#. Lenses not so sure, though I did see a 'sold' Elmar on eBay for $525 (marked Luftwaffen-Eigentum). So maybe $2500? If that Elmar is the original Elmar to this body, maybe more? I'm not sure if collectors are still actively seeking these out, and if the prices are still up there.
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Old 10-31-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vince Lupo View Post
You are welcome! Can I ask how much they're asking for the set? Are they advertising it as a 'Luftwaffe' Leica?

BTW don't know if you realize this, but Jim Lager is one of RFF's contributors, and he literally wrote the book on Luftwaffe Leicas (and it was his book I used to verify the serial number of this camera). It might be worthwhile to run it by him.
Yes, it is advertised as a Leica Luftwaffe 1940. I donīt know their asking price as the store was closed when I was there. I have a friend who will go by and see if itīs still there, take photos and ask for the asking price. Thank you so much for this info. Now I have some numbers to go by.

I will definitely run this by Jim Lager if I get a hold of this camera. Can you please tell me his nickname on this forum?

Thank you. Cheers.
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Old 10-31-2017   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrphantom View Post
Yes, it is advertised as a Leica Luftwaffe 1940. I donīt know their asking price as the store was closed when I was there. I have a friend who will go by and see if itīs still there, take photos and ask for the asking price. Thank you so much for this info. Now I have some numbers to go by.

I will definitely run this by Jim Lager if I get a hold of this camera. Can you please tell me his nickname on this forum?

Thank you. Cheers.
I think you can send Jim Lager a private message via this page: https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...er.php?u=72678

Another word about price -- are you looking to buy and resell? I think the addition of the flash plug takes a bit of value off it, but not really a whole lot. Personally if I bought it I'd leave it as-is -- it's just part of the story of this camera.
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Old 10-31-2017   #14
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Thank you.

Iīm not sure what my intention is. I collect ww2 stuff and I find new interesting things to collect all the time. Is there any chance this camera can still be functional? Might be cool to have and take photos like they did during ww2.
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Old 11-01-2017   #15
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Here are better pictures. Looks like someone burnt away the Luftwaffen Eigentum marking in the leather. Looks be the real deal doesn't it? He is asking 2000usd. Should I try to negotiate or is this a good price? He claims the camera in in working condition, but how can I know?

11.jpg

22.jpg

33.jpg
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Old 11-01-2017   #16
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more.44.jpg

55.jpg
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Old 11-01-2017   #17
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He also has a Leica IIIa from 1935 without Luftwaffe-markings. Also in working condition he says. 750usd is asking price. Good price or a rip off?


11.jpg

22.jpg

44.jpg
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Old 11-01-2017   #18
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No great bargains. I'd pass.

Did you notice if the Elmar lens has Luftwaffen markings?
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Old 11-01-2017   #19
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Too expensive and a shame the markings were burnt off. With the markings present and the original lens it would have been a USD 1500 camera tops in the current market.

Now, I'd say about half, tops. USD 600 is more like it. Due to flash sync, burnt off markings and unknown provenance of the lens. If the camera is fully functional, that is. If it isn't venture in a CLA for another USD 150 and subtract that from the price.

but, just my 2Ē.
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Old 11-01-2017   #20
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I have to agree with above responses. While I'm not often buying wartime Leicas, the price is much too steep for what you describe.

I can say for sure the IIIa is overpriced. At least its overpriced compared to the market I see around me. A nice simple (no known CLA history) IIIa runs $200USD, sometimes even less. If it has a run of the mill 50/3.5 elmar that's not hazy or damaged, add another $200, perhaps $250 if its particularly nice. That's prices I see right now around me (western US, Oct. 2017).

Edit: Just noticed the IIIa has a Summar. Same pricing, maybe even less becuase they often have haze and issues with the soft objective (front lens).

Last edited by rfaspen : 11-01-2017 at 10:22. Reason: Noticed pics in above post
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Old 11-01-2017   #21
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Thank you for all your input guys! I trust your judgement regarding the prices and I donīt think I will be able to negotiate the price that much. These will have to pass. I found some online selling for 3-4-5000usd, but this must be fantasy prices.
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Old 11-01-2017   #22
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Thank you for all your input guys! I trust your judgement regarding the prices and I donīt think I will be able to negotiate the price that much. These will have to pass. I found some online selling for 3-4-5000usd, but this must be fantasy prices.
A guy I used to know who owned a shop always said "Keep in mind, when you look on eBay, you're seeing cameras listed at those prices, not what they're actually selling for".

Point being, yeah those are probably fantasy prices unless there's something super special/specific about them.
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Old 11-01-2017   #23
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Quote:
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A guy I used to know who owned a shop always said "Keep in mind, when you look on eBay, you're seeing cameras listed at those prices, not what they're actually selling for".

Point being, yeah those are probably fantasy prices unless there's something super special/specific about them.
I find when you're looking on eBay, go to the 'Advanced' page, then you can specify 'sold listings'. As you say, current auctions don't tell you much, but looking at 'sold listings' are a bit of a help.
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Old 11-02-2017   #24
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Good advice.
One last question in general. Is there any way you can see if a camera like this is in working condition just by looking at the pictures? How do they work? Is all manual or do they use a battery?
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Old 11-02-2017   #25
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No battery, when purchasing a camera that old I always figure on $250 - $300 additional expense for a CLA, might not need it but best to figure that into the cost


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Old 11-02-2017   #26
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I can also add for me I am most concerned with the cosmetic condition and in this case the "specialness"


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Old 11-09-2017   #27
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Greetings Mrphantom, 346612 is a IIIb shipped to Berlin on 26.2.40 on shipment 7989.
It is a Luftwaffe delivery. It appears to have the expected Fl.No.38079. It may have the legend Luftwaffen-Eigentum on the back vulcanite. I have handled a Luftwaffe IIIb very close in number at 346598. Can you supply the serial number of the 5cm Elmar? Thank you, Jim Lager.
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