Leica IIf/IIIf screws question
Old 11-05-2015   #1
Mr_Flibble
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Leica IIf/IIIf screws question

Not sure if this been asked before...

When did Leica start omitting the screws that normally hold the shell to the top cover?

I assume this started with the Leica If/IIf/IIIf series.


The openings are still there in the body shell of my IIf (nr.614xxx) but not the holes for it in the top cover.

This camera is a weird one anyway. It came with a front shutter plate that had a slow speed dial on it, but no slow speed mechanism, only the linkage arm going to the bottom of the camera.

Before restoration:


After restoration:
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Old 11-05-2015   #2
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Rick,

By the way, that restored IIf looks great!

I just had a look through my copy of Jim Lager's book (Vol. 1 - Cameras) and it does appear that the lack of screws begins with the IIIf and IIf. However, the If pictured in this book still has the screws and I think the If I recently sold had them as well.

In general, the IIIf and IIf probably did not have the screws any longer but it appears there are exceptions to this. In the same Lager book, in the section on the IIIf (page 69), there appears a black IIIf (apparently a genuine, special order order item from Leitz) that clearly has the screws in place.

I assume the body shells were produced with the holes, which were either eventually filled with screws, or not, depending on which camera model was assembled with the shell.

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Old 11-05-2015   #3
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I'm using a III f and it doesn't have the screws. it's like yours.

I have a 1936 III A and it does.

Taking a guess, would it be something to do with the change with the the body around 1940? Didn't Leica go to a one piece aluminum body?

I'm making photos of our new 1 week old grand son!

Fun and lots of smiles.
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Old 11-06-2015   #4
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Thanks James

In Hove's Leica Pocket Book there is a sample of a IIf Black Dial with serial 574xxx, that does have the screws.
I'm starting to think this change happened with or just after the introduction of the Red Dial version of the IIf and before the top shutter speed was increased to 1/1000th of a second on these cameras. Trying to verify this with images of these cameras that I can find online.

Congratulations on becoming a grandfather, Bill.
The IIIc did introduce a better shutter crate, but all six of my 1940-1945 IIIc cameras have those screws around the top cover.
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Old 11-06-2015   #5
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Rick, you may well be right about the red dial/black dial distinction, which I did not consider. I no longer have the If that I mentioned but I did find some pictures of it. It was a red dial and did not have the screws, after all.

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Old 11-07-2015   #6
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I can confirm: IIIf black dial in the cupboard has screws. I no longer have a red dial to compare....sorry about that. But, the emerging pattern is holding so far:

IIIf (and II, I) BD have screws, IIIf (II, I) do not. Need more data?
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Old 11-07-2015   #7
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My iiif red dial, self-timer does not have screws and my iiic does have screws.
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Old 11-07-2015   #8
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I should clarify my earlier post. The pattern I think we're uncovering is:

Temporally (over the years), everything up to the III,II,If BD has screws in the top cover plate. Everything starting with the III, II, If RD does not have screws in top cover plate. I'm going to check my friend's RD later this evening and a IIIg sometime later.

Of course, the interwebs has tons of images of these models. Could do my research there I suppose.

Now,....what about conversions? A IIIa converted in 1960 to IIIf specs seems like it would retain the screws because the top plate of the pre-diecast models is...obviously different. But, a IIIc converted in 1960 to IIIf might get a new top plate without screws?
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Old 11-08-2015   #9
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Well, I'm convinced

I was wondering if there was a specific reason for leaving them out from this point on. Was Leica trying to cut down on production cost/time and were these found to be superfluous?
As the shell is only held on by 2 screws to the shutter crate, I can imagine this would cause light leaks between the shell and the top cover.
But there's no evidence that says it was a problem at all.
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Old 11-08-2015   #10
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Early postwar IIIc had even 5 crews, until 425xxx. Th fifth was on the left side, above the lug. With BD IIIf the four screws were gone, additional screw, under the frame counter was added.
Very nice restoration job, looks like even the shell is new. You wrote that accessory shoe has 2 screws. This means that it was originally IIf.
As a curiosity: late IF and IIf with new speeds (1/25 instead of 1/30) have slow speed mechanism but no slow speed dial. Full frame is fully opened at 1/30, slow speed mechanism is needed to build 1/25
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Old 11-08-2015   #11
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That IS curious.

My camera does have the newer speeds (1/25 1/50 and 1/75) on the dial. But the slow speed mechanism does not appear to have ever been in it.
Like I said, it's a weird one. Presumably repaired with parts from other cameras at some point in it's life. Perhaps the shutter speed dial was replaced as well.
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Old 11-08-2015   #12
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The IIf/IIIf part list agrees that version of the IIf should've had a slow speed mechanism for the 1/25th speed. Well [email protected] Guess the restoration isn't finished yet and I need to find the escapement for it.

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Old 11-08-2015   #13
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Rogliatti has a photo of a IIIf that does have the screws, but the serial number isn't legible. He doesn't comment about the screws. He does say the change from black to red dial occurred in 1952.
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Old 11-09-2015   #14
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yes, switch to red dial (and new speeds) was about 1952. For IIIf it was starting with 615xxx, however for IIf it was 574xxx (still 1952). Your camera was originally IIf, it could have been factory converted to IIIf (by adding slow speeds dial). Slow speed dial on the foto before restoration shows 25 which is correct for RD.
Nevertheless, in order to build 1/25th slow speeds mechanism is needed. Assuming the curtains are adjusted properly you will have now 1/30th instead of 1/25th. Not a big issue though, only cca 15% off.
Not a big issue to add slow speeds mechanisms, assuming other components are still in place (rod, spring, etc).
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Old 11-09-2015   #15
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I hadn't thought about that. Of course it could be an upgrade to IIIf as you say. It makes sense having the dial on there.
Everything is still there except the clockwork mechanism. Weird that someone has scavenged it.

Well, the camera was cheap. And as noted, the difference between 1/25 - 1/30th isn't that bad.
I only bought it to see if I could bring it back to life and to get a bit more experience working on Leica cameras.
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Old 11-09-2015   #16
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Just to add some more data, I have a IIf RD without screws and s IIIf BD with screws.
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Old 11-09-2015   #17
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my 1fRD has 4 screws. SN 673xxx
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Old 11-09-2015   #18
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FWIW, I'd suspect any Leica bought in Europe dating up to the early 50's to be a bitsa version. They were scare* and often cannibalised for parts and worse; meaning one made from 2 damaged ones...

Regards, David

PS Oops, "bitsa" is a corruption of "bits of this and that", or else called a "Bassett's" after that firm's liquorice allsorts... Both expressions date me.

* Required in large numbers for the war effort by both sides and damaged. And then to the early 50's only for export to the USA; although some say a small percentage (5?) were sold in Europe.
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Old 11-09-2015   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
FWIW, I'd suspect any Leica bought in Europe dating up to the early 50's to be a bitsa version. They were scare* and often cannibalised for parts and worse; meaning one made from 2 damaged ones...

Regards, David

PS Oops, "bitsa" is a corruption of "bits of this and that", or else called a "Bassett's" after that firm's liquorice allsorts... Both expressions date me.

* Required in large numbers for the war effort by both sides and damaged. And then to the early 50's only for export to the USA; although some say a small percentage (5?) were sold in Europe.
Hence the popularity of conversions!
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Old 11-09-2015   #20
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Thanks for all the additional data, guys.

Looks like I'll be ordering some more parts from Dan Goldberg for this thing, when I find some more disposable income.
He has got slow speed gear trains for $30 on his website.
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Leica IIf/IIIf screws question
Old 11-10-2015   #21
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Leica IIf/IIIf screws question

my IIf (653xxx) was due for CLA anyhow... this is how it looks inside. Note simplified clockwork, the only one speed to build was 1/25th. For comparison clockwork from IIIf
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Old 11-10-2015   #22
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Thanks Jerzyw
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Old 11-10-2015   #23
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My Red Dial IIF 679XXX also doesn't have the screws; but I was surprised when I first got it of the very much smoother sound than my early IIIF. The IIIF was CLA'd by DAG 5 or 6 years ago and it still sounds more like my Leica III's than this IIF. The IIF just has a smoother more modern sounding shutter...wondering if something was changed or upgraded with these later cameras. With a 50mm Elmar it sure is a joy to handle.
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Old 11-11-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZivcoPhoto View Post
...wondering if something was changed or upgraded with these later cameras..
Yes, the number of bearings increased. The first IIIf BD had just three ball bearings; one on the upper part of big curtain drum and two on the gear located in the lower part of the release shaft. Starting from 615xxx additional ball bearing was added in the bottom of the big curtain drum. Additionally, the brake was modified as well. If this however has an implication on the sound I cannot judge. It could be as well a question of lubricating but as well brake adjustement. Btw, the biggest number of bearings was in IIIcK, late wartime IIIc were so called half-race, bearings on the wind and rewind axis were abandoned. In postwar IIIc the number of bearing was reduced and then increased again with IIIf RD.
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Old 11-11-2015   #25
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Hi,

There were problems getting ball bearings in Europe during the war and after for a while. That was why the RAF's air-sea rescue radios were made in the USA by Bendicks (hope I've spelt that correctly). BTW, the radio was hand cranked to run a generator and was a copy of the Luffwaffe's one.

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Old 11-18-2015   #26
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My IIIf BD has the screws, but not my IIf RD



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Old 11-19-2015   #27
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Thanks, rodt16s. That seems to confirm that the change was made with the introduction of the IIf/IIIf Red Dial.

Can someone confirm that they left the screw holes out of the body shell as well after they ran out of the old shells? Or did those not change?


Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
That was why the RAF's air-sea rescue radios were made in the USA by Bendicks (hope I've spelt that correctly).
Wasn't that Bendix?
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Old 11-20-2015   #28
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Hi,
I was wrong stating earlier that screws were gone with introduction of Red Dial. I just came accross Red Dial 628785 which still has four screws, My other red dial SN in a range of 720xxx does not have screws, neither shell has holes. As usual, in transition time you could possibly find shells with holes but top cover without screws
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Old 11-21-2015   #29
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Not sure if statistics matter in your research, but I'll throw my report in; it confirms what you already have read: 1951 IIIf BD has screws.
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Old 11-22-2015   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerzyw View Post
As usual, in transition time you could possibly find shells with holes but top cover without screws
This is definitely true. Also with the upgrades Leica offered you might run into a different type of camera than the serial number would suggest.
Different style top covers for a particular model is something I've run across a few times. Certainly with III and IIIa cameras.

Quote:
Not sure if statistics matter in your research, but I'll throw my report in; it confirms what you already have read: 1951 IIIf BD has screws.
Well, it's not like I'm writing a book or anything. But it's an interesting detail to know about the evolution of the design.
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Old 11-22-2015   #31
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I've run a test roll of film through the IIf RD, the camera is fine but needs a small tweak to the rangefinder. And 1/30th instead of 1/25th is not a big deal.

But the 50mm f/3.5 Elmar that came with it needs help. There is too much play in the lens tube and/or focusing mount. One of the bayonet lugs of the tube has broken off, probably when the camera hit the pavement.
For a solution I'm thinking of turning this into a non-collapsible Elmar by glueing the lens tube in place in the focusing mount .
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Old 11-22-2015   #32
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My IIIf RD 621286 has four screws.
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Old 11-23-2015   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Flibble View Post

There is too much play in the lens tube and/or focusing mount. One of the bayonet lugs of the tube has broken off,
broken lug might not be a problem, there are still other two. To eliminate play between the barrel and focusing mount I would try with replacing the velvet in focusing mount before converting into fix Elmar (althugh it would be then very unique and maybe reaching in something like 50 years a collector value as a "prototype"
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Old 11-24-2015   #34
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The missing lug causes some sideway movement of the front of the lens. And I think the focus mount threads are damaged as well as there's some some forward/backward play on the mount.
I'll see about replacing the velveteen first, before doing anything drastic

Ah well, another chance to take an Elmar apart. An opportunity to clean the lens surfaces and smooth out the aperture movement.
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Old 11-24-2015   #35
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If you are going to pull the Elmar apart can you do a step by step for those of us who find it a bit of a wrangle?

Michael
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Old 11-24-2015   #36
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Check. I'll snap some pictures when I get round to it.
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Old 11-24-2015   #37
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Thanks, that would be great!
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Old 11-24-2015   #38
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the lugs are 0.7mm thick on the right side and 0.95 on the left (at least on the Elmar on which I am working now). Although hard to believe that the lug could be broken on camera hit (other damages would be much more visible), who knows. Anyhow, due to increasing thickness you should be able to fix the lense if turn enough when locking. You should have no play forward-back. You might possibly have some play up-down due to missing lug, but this should be compensated with new, maybe slightly thicket velvet.
Inserting the barrel into focusing mount is always tricky. Therefore i made a tool for myself, see foto. On one side it goes into barrel, the other side is smaller in diameter and this is where the focusing mount is pushed onto.
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Old 11-24-2015   #39
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..one thing more....taking Elmar apart requires that the inner lens barrel is unscrewed and removed. Unscrewing the retaining ring on red scale Elmars is problematic, due to the black paint used. it is sticky and it may fully block the ring after few turns, it goes between the windings. Therefore I try to remove as much of this black paint as possible before I start unscrewing. Of course, after assembling you need to apply new anti glare paint.
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Old 11-24-2015   #40
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Thanks for the tips.
Concerning paint in the threads, That explains why someone before me already stripped most of the paint and damaged the screw driver slots in the retaining rings. -_-
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