Friday, 30 December 2016

Latest Leica arrives- from Santa

On December 13th I published an extract from a Mail Order catalog that contained what was destined to become the hottest Christmas gift item in the world of Leica enthusiasts and camera collectors.I speak,of course, of the Leica M3 tin of Humbugs which seems to have fallen in price since my last post and which has,quite erroneously, been called a P***** in several parts of the press. Little did I know that I would receive one of these in my Christmas stocking (forget the red tricycle!) and this has permitted a fuller analysis of the reproduction of our favourite camera in some detail.
The Body is numbered 779068 which must exist somewhere accessible to the designer as it is a 1956 serial matched with non mathematical speed markings on the speed dial which is correct up to serial No.854001 and it would have had double wind, unless converted. as below 915251. A good attempt is made to reproduce all of the external features, except the lens, which gives rise to some interesting points.

Judged as a copy the lens is rather attractive and has a most conventional mount that, had it appeared in 1955, would have been accepted as a streamlined improvement. However the designer of this copy was given free range with his choice of markings where the iris is marked f5.6 down to f45! Likewise in the choice of shutter speeds(ON THE LENS!) these are 500 down to B when they change to green and go to 125 seconds in the manner of later Synchro-Compur shutters. Similarly, the lens has 'moving' red depth of field tabs in the style seen, for example, on Hasselblad shutters of a certain age. The synchro post is reproduced alongside the letters VXM but the fp and electronic sockets are shown on the back of the top plate- in the right place .Hidden away on the lens are the words Made in West Germany and a Compur code for the speed scale and light values. I can only assume that a Leica lens was not available and detail has been taken from a leaf shutter lens of the period.

All in all an incredible amount of detail is shown on what is, after all, a sweet tin selling at about £7.99-with edible sweets inside- and a real effort has been made to introduce a high degree of realism. The names on the top plate have been altered which I assume is to keep on the right side of Leitz but the mystery remains as to why advertise it as a P*****?A few more pictures follow.

Friday, 23 December 2016

A Happy Christmas to all our readers! -1937 style.

From the days when Christmas included Snow! These covers from the 'MCM' of December 1937 and January 1938 would have served to take one's mind off the bombing of Barcelona and the war in China, for a few minutes at least. The new King made his first Christmas address over the Wireless.

Looking back on 1937, he noted the "shadows of enmity and of fear" hanging over parts of the world and expressed his hope that the spirit of peace and goodwill shall prevail.

Nothing changes.     Happy Christmas All!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Don't see many of these-replaces a bit of black paper!

The subject of today's ramblings is shown below and this one has a rather chequered background, I acquired the item some years ago and it is a spring steel half moon cover that snaps onto the 32mm column of the Valoy 1 enlarger. The covering is dead matt felt both sides. It can be fitted to any 32mm column- provided that you are making prints that send the head up by 40cms, plus the depth of the column foot. I gather from some authorities that it originally came with the Valoy 1 and quickly located the head at a height that gave a full frame 8x10 print. I am more inclined to suggest that it's main use is in limiting reflection of light from the bright metal columns beloved of Leitz. The use of  the R word (Rare) is far too frequent in Leica literature,but I have never seen another, nor an illustration.

In the magnificent book Leica Collectors Guide (Hove-1994 edn.) on page 324 is listed an item with the code word  VIPRO which is a New York item described as Light Protection Tube for the Focomat 1b but, if used in the way described, the tube is longer than the baseboard to split pin distance on a Focomat. However,the spillage of stray light may have been negligible at low positions of the head.

M2 for comparison of size only!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Leica ? -Christmas Present-Suggestions Dept

A Leica for £9.99!  Just the overall size of the M3 in front of me and now available at your favourite Sweet Shop, and by Mail Order.Sorry they called it a P*****

Giant Wooden Leica surfaces

A wooden Leica model described as 'Monumental' has been spotted in the Advertisement of  a Luxury Gifts Gallery in the West End, I have a feeling that some readers may be familiar with this camera, or a similar replica, which was on display at a much loved London Camera Shop for many years. This is possibly the sole way of making a Leica copy which could be completed by a skilled craftsman outside the factory! The ideal Christmas present!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Leica Society Day at Bruton Place

The Hon. President in discussion with Members at the buffet lunch kindly provided by Leica in the Lecture Theatre. A full selection of products was on display and available for trial in the mini-studio. All present were encouraged to try the  instant camera now available under the Leica name which produced colour prints about 6x4.5 cms which takes one back to contact prints of many years ago!  I was delighted to learn that a Black and White 'emulsion' is available which has been a sadly neglected area of SX type packs available here in the past, although it has been seen in Japan for some years. At the risk of derision here are the three prints I came away with-

I think I should avoid distant subjects such as landscapes and bear in mind the limits of the flash in poor lighting but sharpness was evident and for an instant print there is nothing quite so small and convenient.


Spitalfields Life-Photojournalism Lives.The Legacy of Colin O'Brien

At the suggestion of a friend I have been prompted to make a formal reference to the work of Colin O'Brien as Contributing Photographer on the Spitalfields Life site, where a search in past postings-which are almost daily-will reveal a massive back catalogue of work by the late Colin . Quite apart from the photographic quality the site contains in excess of 30,000 illustrations which will contain,I guarantee,much of interest. Above all it contains PEOPLE and excels at the environmental portrait.(Catch 'em doing something) Have a look now.