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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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Just Arrived Today! - My Sears Roebuck & Co Tower 3-F w/f2.0 50mm Nikkor HC
Old 09-04-2008   #1
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Cool Just Arrived Today! - My Sears Roebuck & Co Tower 3-F w/f2.0 50mm Nikkor HC

I was waiting over a week and a half for it (I HATE SELLERS WHO USE FED EX and UPS!) but finally it arrived here today.........





























I included these photos so everyone can see a Tower camera in detail

Here`s my personal opinion about the camera:

The Pros

Very Fine Construction with the Highest of Quality......as good if not EVEN BETTER than comparable era Leica IIIF production

The Everday case is BETTER than the Leitz one and has snaps to take off the Front/Top so you have a workable "half case"

Loading is just as a Leica IIIF

Tower included a very neat Credit Card sized instruction manual that fits in the back of the camera case, *it`s made out of plastic - so it won`t be damaged too easily*

This camera has a built in RANGEFINDER ENHANCEMENT FILTER just like later mid 1950`s Canon`s (IIF2 & IVSB2 etc,) somewhat brighter viewfinder/focus window makes it easier/faster to focus

Film Transport is EXCEPTIONALLY SMOOTH almost as if I was using one of my Leica IIIC K`s

Great Lens - the f2/50 Nikkor HC, well no one has to say how good this is....and this one`s got "click stops"

The Cons

This version of the camera doesn`t have a diopter lever

Film spool doesn`t Pop Up.........Canon had everyone beat with that one

Top Shutter Speed is only 500/Sec , well that`s not really a big deal.....

Tower/Nicca IMPROVED this camera design with a "hinge-back" loading and added diaopter lever etc. with the Tower 5 model, that also was made with Knob and Lever Film advance as I`ve been told, the different versions often have me confused, they are harder than Canon RF`s to properly identify.....

I don`t know much about these cameras, but I would like to learn, if there`s a Tower/Nicca Guru out there in Internetland I`d very much like to talk to you

Please write me at [email protected]

Thank You

Hope Everyone finds the photos interesting and helpful

Happy Shooting

Tom

PS: My particular camera looks like it`s NEVER been used and stood in Deadstock for many years and now was freshly sold from an estate sale - if it had 5 rolls of film though it that would be a surprise.....
Amazingly all the speeds work and it`s deadon with focusing etc. I will try to get in a TEST SHOOT this weekend with one of my models if I can get the time.....stay tuned!
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Last edited by LeicaTom : 03-20-2009 at 02:03.
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Old 09-04-2008   #2
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These are a few of the pages that I have used in the past to learn a little more about these cameras.
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/iannorris...es/index_n.htm
http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/iannorris...es/index_t.htm
and
http://corsopolaris.net/supercameras/nicca/nicca.html
Hope this helps a little.
By the way, that is an incredibly clean looking set.
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Almost a Year Later...Here`s an update on my Tower 35 camera
Old 03-19-2009   #3
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Cool Almost a Year Later...Here`s an update on my Tower 35 camera



Well, after being very patient and fussy about what I was bidding on, I FINALLY won a mint/boxed 1950`s era Tower Light Meter for my 1957 Tower 35

It`s working 100% and looks like it was never used, has the original instructions, neck strap, case and it`s box.

I searched for one of these now for over a year, and it just goes to show it pays off to be patient and selective about what you bid on even if it`s rare

Enjoy!

Tom
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Last edited by LeicaTom : 08-08-2009 at 14:24.
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Old 03-19-2009   #4
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I'm old enough to remember when Sears used to sell super- high quality products. Great purchase!
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Old 03-20-2009   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill58 View Post
I'm old enough to remember when Sears used to sell super- high quality products. Great purchase!
I agree, that`s what impressed me the most the great quality of this camera, a camera as good and equal to the contemporary Leica IIIFRD at that time.
*The shutters whisper quiet and film advance extremely smooth, it reminds me of my Leica IIIC K (honestly)*

It`s a shame that most LTM users buy Tower`s just to strip the Nikkor lenses off the camera and they discard/sell the bodies off without ever trying them, they would be very suprised.

Tom
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Old 03-20-2009   #6
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Here is my Nicca IIIs , a little brother.



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Old 03-20-2009   #7
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Here is my Nicca IIIs , a little brother.



Hey EZ!

Just have red X`s

I wanna seeee!

Tom
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Old 03-20-2009   #8
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Very pretty piece. - Ben Marks
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Old 03-20-2009   #9
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I bought two days ago online a CLA'd Nikkor-HC 5cm 2.0 Tokyo LTM in "mint-" condition. I am thrilled...
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Old 03-20-2009   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill58 View Post
I'm old enough to remember when Sears used to sell super- high quality products. Great purchase!
anyone remember the Sears photography catalogs? an entire catalog dedicated just for cameras. i think i remember them having movie cameras, too. man i'd love to find one of those old catalogs.

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Old 03-21-2009   #11
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The very first RF I purchased was a Nicca and from there I have purchased 3 Canons, 1 Leica, 1 Tower, 1 Cosina/Voit R and I love them all. I have slowly added to the lenses also and it has been great fun testing them all. A couple of them had to be repaired locally and two Leica lenses have been sent to Sherry K. I have put down my SLR and shoot with the RF's almost exclusively. The Nikon 50f1.4 SM is the best of the lenses with the Canon 50f1.4 offering great contrast.
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Old 03-23-2009   #12
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Very nice camera ... very nice. How are the shutter curtains? These are the Achilles heel of bottom loaders.
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Old 03-23-2009   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris91387 View Post
anyone remember the Sears photography catalogs? an entire catalog dedicated just for cameras. i think i remember them having movie cameras, too. man i'd love to find one of those old catalogs.
I never saw a Sears photo catalog, but I know that the general big "wish book" catalogs had cameras and movie projectors and such in them.

The big Spiegel catalog had them as well.

This is a very interesting thread. I knew of the Tower brand (and even the etymology of the name "Tower") but I only knew of cheaper Tower box cameras and such, never a Leica clone.
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Old 03-23-2009   #14
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I remember the Sears Photo Catalogs well. They offered all kinds of photo equipment, many different SLR's and darkroom gear. My memories of them are mostly from the 1970's, though.
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Old 03-24-2009   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris91387 View Post
anyone remember the Sears photography catalogs? an entire catalog dedicated just for cameras. i think i remember them having movie cameras, too. man i'd love to find one of those old catalogs.

- chris
Hi all,

I've got a Sears catalog from 1955 that I would be more than happy to scan and post somewhere if there is interest. I do not have the ability to convert to PDF, though... maybe someone else can help out. And maybe a "host" location for the files too?

I did a check last night to see if the Tower 35 was included, and sure enough, there are a few pages dedicated to it even. What a great catalog!

Just let me know,
Blake
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Old 03-24-2009   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Murphy View Post
Very nice camera ... very nice. How are the shutter curtains? These are the Achilles heel of bottom loaders.
The cameras like new, maybe it has had 10 or 20 rolls of film through it, if that?

The case has some slight wear marks, but it is really a clean N.O.S. camera, I was very impressed by the build quality and even the advance, smooth as butter and HONESTLY feels like a Leica IIICK ~ crazy!

Tom
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Old 03-24-2009   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake Werts View Post
Hi all,

I've got a Sears catalog from 1955 that I would be more than happy to scan and post somewhere if there is interest. I do not have the ability to convert to PDF, though... maybe someone else can help out. And maybe a "host" location for the files too?

I did a check last night to see if the Tower 35 was included, and sure enough, there are a few pages dedicated to it even. What a great catalog!

Just let me know,
Blake
Wow!

If you could please forward the pages with the Tower 35 to my email

[email protected]

I`ll condense it and carry it over the Photobucket and post it here!

Thank You

Tom
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Old 03-24-2009   #18
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Quote:
I will try to get in a TEST SHOOT this weekend with one of my models if I can get the time.....stay tuned!
The camera is very nice, but how're the pictures from it?
Rob
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Old 03-25-2009   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaTom View Post
Wow!

If you could please forward the pages with the Tower 35 to my email

[email protected]

I`ll condense it and carry it over the Photobucket and post it here!

Thank You

Tom
Hi Tom,

I'll get the scan together tomorrow afternoon and send it off to you. And if there is more interest in the entire catalog, I'll be happy to do the whole thing.

Blake
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Old 03-26-2009   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeicaTom View Post
Wow!

If you could please forward the pages with the Tower 35 to my email

[email protected]

I`ll condense it and carry it over the Photobucket and post it here!

Thank You

Tom
Hi Tom,

Just emailed the catalog images to you. If anyone else wants them or would be willing to host the catalog for others to be able to access, please do let me know. The set of four parts (76 pages total) is approx 20 megs total.

The catalog is full of awesome images and info...
Blake
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Old 03-27-2009   #21
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Thanks for scanning this, Blake! It's been an interesting read. I'm on one of those hurry-up-and-wait projects this morning and it makes the wait phases go much faster.

Tower Ortho Film, huh?
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1955 Sears Catalog Scan posted
Old 03-27-2009   #22
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1955 Sears Catalog Scan posted

Hello All,

I found a friend that has the ability to host these scans for us. And we've already got them up for all to see--in four parts:

http://www.codehappy.com/transfers/S...g1955part1.pdf
http://www.codehappy.com/transfers/S...g1955part2.pdf
http://www.codehappy.com/transfers/S...g1955part3.pdf
http://www.codehappy.com/transfers/S...g1955part4.pdf

I suppose I should post this elsewhere in its own thread for others to see.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-27-2009   #23
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I bought one of these cameras with 50/2 Nikkor on ebay recently for $201. Seller said that the shutter was not operating. Turns out that the shutter worked just fine, after you turned the top-mounted rewind wheel back to shooting position.

Nice camera
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Old 03-27-2009   #24
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Blake,

Thank you so very much for sharing this

I`m on the search now for a 1957 or 58 catalog so I can see if my late 35 is in it as well?

Good Reading and a trip back in time.....

Tom
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Last edited by LeicaTom : 08-08-2009 at 14:25.
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Old 03-27-2009   #25
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Quote:
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I bought one of these cameras with 50/2 Nikkor on ebay recently for $201. Seller said that the shutter was not operating. Turns out that the shutter worked just fine, after you turned the top-mounted rewind wheel back to shooting position.

Nice camera
Was, that the camera with the lens with the damaged front ring?

I was bidding on an early Tower with a Nikkor HC like in the #614xxxx range (very early rigid lens) and I don`t remember I think I was outbid at the last minute?

Tower`s are a treasure and people regretfully buy them JUST for the Nikkor lenses and then they discard the body or try in vain to sell it alone on evilbay.......

Dex this was a great buy and I hope we see some photos taken with her soon!!!

Tom
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Old 04-09-2009   #26
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Okay Tom, you're not the only one who can get fancy shmancy LTM copies...



Leotax T2. Don't know much about it, but we'll see how it works out (should have it by Monday).

I'm sure trying to find the matching Topcor lens will be loads of fun (not to mention loads of $$$).
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Old 04-16-2009   #27
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Okay Tom, you're not the only one who can get fancy shmancy LTM copies...



Leotax T2. Don't know much about it, but we'll see how it works out (should have it by Monday).

I'm sure trying to find the matching Topcor lens will be loads of fun (not to mention loads of $$$).
Now isn`t that neat

Nice catch Vince!

Tom
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Old 04-16-2009   #28
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Tom,

Your Tower is really sharp lookin!! Especially with the meter. Great find!

Cheers,
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Old 04-20-2009   #29
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Now isn`t that neat

Nice catch Vince!

Tom
Nope -- sent it back. Problem with the shutter.
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Old 04-20-2009   #30
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Nope -- sent it back. Problem with the shutter.
Hmmm well, something that Youxin could`nt fix???

That was a pretty rare camera, they only made something like 3,000 or so of them from what I`ve been told.......

Tom
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Old 04-20-2009   #31
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Youxin will only work on Leica's. The copies all have their own idiosyncrocies that can make them a PAIN to work on.
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Old 04-20-2009   #32
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Leotax quality started to slip with the later models.
the last model, the Leotax G was known as a bit of a lemon.
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Old 04-21-2009   #33
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Hmmm well, something that Youxin could`nt fix???

That was a pretty rare camera, they only made something like 3,000 or so of them from what I`ve been told.......

Tom
I thought about it for about 5 seconds, and decided not to pursue a repair. I paid $ 245.00 for it, and shutter work could've added another $ 80.00 or more. At that point, is it worth it? I didn't think so, and I sent it back. Guess I just have to be content with all my other cameras.....
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Old 04-22-2009   #34
davelrods
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Gorgeous. I remember lusting over one of them when I was a kid in the 50's. That one looks brand new.
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Got Mine!
Old 05-01-2009   #35
Blake Werts
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Got Mine!

Hey Tom,

Wanted to show off my own Tower Type 3 that came in this week. Currently spinning a roll of film through it and should have some results this weekend.

Meanwhile, take a peek at this sweetie! ;-)















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Old 08-10-2009   #36
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Awesome! I bought an Anscoflex and a developing tank from that catalogue..
Thanks for posting..
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Old 08-10-2009   #37
flip
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I have a 5F and Tower equiv. I, too, love the build. The lever wind and hingeback are also nice. ;-) Honestly, I bought the camera and felt it deserved better glass than the Nikkor! Enjoy this sleeper!

Side note - if you want to see high prices, try to track-down the Nicca 4. I have seen sharks go for hese far more than even the 5, simply due to the limited production numbers.
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Old 07-04-2011   #38
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Gee I miss this old Tower.................and my Nikkor

Anyone have a Nikkor HC lens like this? In the same serial number range - 72xxxx?

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/phot...gversion/cat/7

Tom
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Old 07-05-2011   #39
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Youxin Ye has repaired one of my Tower Cameras and it is as quiet as my Leica IIIf's
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Old 07-05-2011   #40
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Tom, that is a pretty one ...
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