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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Tom A.'s M2
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
SimonSawSunlight
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Tom A.'s M2

I am not quite sure if I shared this story on RFF but since I seem to have overlooked a little detail before, I will do it again.



On November 9th of 2016, Tom Abrahamsson sat down with me in his living room in Vancouver and handed me this camera. "I suppose you can have this one." He asked for 500 Canadian Dollars, but I could tell he didn't care about the money either way. I simply had insisted on buying it - or any M2, really. He said that it was rather unusual for him to part with an M2. I told him, we'd make a deal then: "Whenever you happen to need another M2, you can buy this one back for the same price." He just laughed and said: "But that's never going to happen!"
Tom was like a grandfather to me and he believed in me more than I ever did or ever will.
I left for Berlin that same evening. It was the last day we spent together. Tom died almost exactly two months later.
I carry this camera every day, wherever I go, with one to ten spare rolls of film in my pocket.

I wrote this about a year and half ago. Today I casually scrolled through a list of Leica serial numbers and stopped and wondered. I checked and double checked and cross checked with some other lists and databases out there. The camera Tom let me have seems to be from one of two 1965 batches of 100 M2s made in Canada (1132901 - 1133000). I don't know if he knew or did it on purpose, but I wouldn't put it past him.

If these lists are to be trusted, Tom gave me an even bigger piece of himself than I knew, a camera that was a European original turned Canadian, like himself. I like that idea.

PS:
The camera has been serviced by Leica Germany last month for a couple of minor issues. It is working perfectly again and it's still with me all the time. Most of the pictures I post here and on other platforms at the moment were taken with it.

PPS:
I just remembered: After I gave him the money for the camera, he said something along the lines of it coming in handy for the next camera swap meet, then looked at me and the camera and said:

"That's really a nice strap you know."

"I'll pay you for it."

"Oh, no no no... but it is a good strap."

Then he laughed.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
Timmyjoe
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Thanks for sharing that story Simon. Tom was something special, I miss him.

Best,
-Tim
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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That's really beautiful. Something about photography is the people you meet and love, not just the taking of images, but the giving of yourself.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Thanks for sharing that interesting story! Miss Tom A's presence here on the forum.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Tom and Tuulikki jumped through a few hoops, along with my mother, to ensure I got my M2 Rapidwinder, while I was deployed to Iraq in 2004. I shot about 100 rolls with it on deployment I think. It was sold to a friend after I got back to the states and from there I'm not sure where it went. It is M2 Rapidwinder #003 in case anyone out there has it.
Your story of this M2 is awesome in so many ways. The camera production uniqueness, the Canadian connection, where that camera has been and what light passed it's shutter blinds, but finally who sold it to you. I still have my soft releases that were made by Tom. Just that connection is so special.
Phil Forrest
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Right camera for right person!

If I ever get another film Leica, it is going to be M2 ELC.
But I'm thinking more and more of letting it all go to get Monochrome...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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The craftsman passing his tools to the next generation, a great moment, thanks for sharing.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Legend.

I once owned the very first IXMOO Rapidwinder...only 100 ever made. What a brilliant device!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Thanks for the story, Simon.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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i miss tom...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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I wish I had known him. All the stories and pictures I've seen tell me he was an exceptional person. Not too many around. You're a lucky so and so.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Very moving Simon. I get the feeling Tom knew it would be as well used in your hands as an M2 was in his.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Tom made mention that he was in need of a battery pack for his Nikon F motor drive, and since I figured I'd never get mine to run again, I sent the one I had rebuilt to him. He seemed pretty happy about it later on when he posted a video of his F running at full speed.

Later on I received a box in the mail from him containing six of his beloved film canisters for Nikon rangefinders and F SLR, along with a print of a photo with his seal stamp on it.

I never asked anything in return for the battery pack, but that's the way Tom was. I didn't know him for long, but he did give me some great advice on what model Nikon rangefinder I should start with, and I always enjoyed his little film and lens tests. He will never be forgotten.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Thanks for sharing a story about a wonderful man. Although I only got to share his company a handful of times I still greatly miss his spirit and his generous sharing of knowledge.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Thank you Simon for that story... I do miss Tom... fitting you got one of his M2s...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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What a wonderful, affecting story! Thank you for sharing, Simon. You're fortunate to have something of Tom's that's always with you.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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Don't mean to detract from the wonderful sentiment of this story, but is that a duck in the photo?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aizan View Post
What a wonderful, affecting story! Thank you for sharing, Simon. You're fortunate to have something of Tom's that's always with you.
that is very true. i also have some other things of his that i hold very dear, like a black M2 rapidwinder he used for testing. he just gave that thing to me when i had merely asked to try one. i was 23 and couldn't even dream of when i would be able to afford one.

i know for sure that that one was made in canada.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WJJ3 View Post
Don't mean to detract from the wonderful sentiment of this story, but is that a duck in the photo?
i wish they were real, but they are two massive bronze ducks at my grandmother's place. they have hurt many a foot.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonSawSunlight View Post
i wish they were real, but they are two massive bronze ducks at my grandmother's place. they have hurt many a foot.
Massive bronze objects on the floor definitely sound like a stubbed toe waiting to happen. They are doing a good job of livening up the background though!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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What's the lens on the M2?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james.liam View Post
What's the lens on the M2?

a 35mm f2.5 color-skopar pII that i bought used 10 years ago and that i'm still shooting today. it went very wobbly on me after a year or two. the local repair shop couldn't fix it properly (they actually put it back together the wrong way the first time around), ringfoto couldn't fix it long-term (started wobbling again after a month), so i took it to Tom and Tuulikki the first time i stayed with them in 2011.
tom took of his glasses, looked at it for a moment, then got a matchstick from his pipe supplies and some locktight and fixed it in a matter of seconds. no wobble to this day! it was a simple fix, he knew instantly because he had his hand in designing the thing, and i know what to do if the locktight ever wears off.

when i was living and shooting in istanbul in 2013, the glued-on front ring with the lens designation etc. on it fell off. i got some super-glue from a small diy shop and glued it on backwards, thus un-branding it. looks alright, no?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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I am guilty of taking the presence of many people for granted, as if they will always be there.
With my recent career change and now my long internship at a physical rehabilitation hospital, I feel both the resiliency, yet fragility and ever present transience, if life.
Tom touched so many people, yet he did it so subtlely.
I have only realized how far reaching and profundly his influence is.
The ripples of his life hit the opposite shore, here and there, and continue to travel around the world.
Phil Forrest
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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Great story Simon, thanks for sharing it.

Here below is one of two of Tom's images that I proudly hang (this one in my office which is a loft area where a big open wall provides nice visibility Tom gave it to me after I arranged for a gallery show at the University here in Bellingham. It featured images he and Chris Cameron put together following their first Cuba visit....back in 19__?

I learned a lot from Tom. I recall the first time I saw him was at one of the Vancouver Photo Swap meets. A friend and I had a table and some Leica gear on display to sell. He sauntered over and gently shared his opinions on this or that piece. When he left I thought (sneeringly....who is this guy?!

David

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Thanks for sharing that touching story and what a kind person Tom was. You could tell from his posts here he was the type of person anyone would love to know.

Didn’t know it at first but a Olympus Pen FV I bought on ebay was from the estate of Peter Dechert. It was featured in his Pen monograph that he very generously made available for free download several years ago. I still have that printed up and in a binder along with other Pen literature.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DwF View Post
Great story Simon, thanks for sharing it.

Here below is one of two of Tom's images that I proudly hang (this one in my office which is a loft area where a big open wall provides nice visibility Tom gave it to me after I arranged for a gallery show at the University here in Bellingham. It featured images he and Chris Caldwell put together following their first Cuba visit....back in 19__?

I learned a lot from Tom. I recall the first time I saw him was at one of the Vancouver Photo Swap meets. A friend and I had a table and some Leica gear on display to sell. He sauntered over and gently shared his opinions on this or that piece. When he left I thought (sneeringly....who is this guy?!

David


Thanks David, nice one! You must mean Chris Cameron, great man. I've slept on his couch. It was a very small couch. Good times.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
Thanks for sharing that touching story and what a kind person Tom was. You could tell from his posts here he was the type of person anyone would love to know.

Didnt know it at first but a Olympus Pen FV I bought on ebay was from the estate of Peter Dechert. It was featured in his Pen monograph that he very generously made available for free download several years ago. I still have that printed up and in a binder along with other Pen literature.
What a find Zuiko! You could call that the golden age of ebay And yes he was the consummate gentleman.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonSawSunlight View Post
Thanks David, nice one! You must mean Chris Cameron, great man. I've slept on his couch. It was a very small couch. Good times.
Thank you for that Simon, and timely as I was able to edit my post. Writing it, a red flag was trying to pop up. I realize who the other Chris was (another from my past) that I confused Chris Cameron's name with.

David

PS Please send Chris my best regards if you see him.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonSawSunlight View Post
he believed in me more than I ever did or ever will.
I share that same feeling with you about Tom.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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Lovely story and a great connection. Do you feel it gives you a sense of wanting to do it justice? - I have a camera belonging to a friend who is a very fine film photographer, and it does make me feel some additional inspiration.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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Lovely story and a great connection. Do you feel it gives you a sense of wanting to do it justice? - I have a camera belonging to a friend who is a very fine film photographer, and it does make me feel some additional inspiration.

i don't know if i would call it that, but on top of all sentimental value, i definitely feel a lot of responsibility towards the camera.


here's a picture of it with the rapidwinder and 35mm f2.5 i mentioned in my comments above.


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More about Tom A
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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More about Tom A

More about Tom A and also his early experience with Leica in Sweden in the early days and so on.
http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2019/02...undit-and.html

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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Great stories in this thread. Thnaks Simon for sharing this. Tom touched a lot of lives in a very positive way.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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Can someone please inform me where I can see some of Tom's images.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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Quote:
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Can someone please inform me where I can see some of Tom's images.
They have over 40k images on their Flickr page. Start at the beginning to see more of Tom's images.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rapidwinder/
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Quote:
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Can someone please inform me where I can see some of Tom's images.
someone here probably can but least I remember his posts and presence here, rather than any imagery posted. most photos he posted were new lens test shots etc. (?)
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/Tom%20Abrahamsson/
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #37
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Quote:
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Thank you.
I see there's more 'of him' than 'by him'. Is he better known for making accessories and for lens / camera tests / reviews, than images making per se?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #38
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Yum to a Good story, more than a good story
Yum To Tom !
Yum to Simon carrying the Torch !
the Eternal Flame lives on
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #39
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Love the strap!

Tom will always be a legend round these parts
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #40
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As an M2 lover I thank you Simon for sharing such a fantastic and heartfelt experience with photos of the M2.
Secondly like Darth feeble, I never got to meet him or email him
BUT I sure do appreciate his mind, talent, heart and stories...

Thank again Simon
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