Buying Leica LTM

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by puketronic, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I'm interested in getting a bottom-loader and some LTM lenses, particularly that summitar and summicron.

    Now many of these bottom loaders are probably running slow and the lenses hazed up. It might* be cheaper and overall a better idea to just get any decent shaped body/lens and have them CLA'd.

    1. The go-to people seem to be Youxin, Sherry, and DAG. Maybe a few others but they spring to mine. I haven't shopped around but Youxin's prices seem fair and his reputation pretty good: $120 for a bottom loader CLA and $50 for a cleaning. How are the rates of Sherry and DAG, somewhat similar? DAG seems to have the best reputation, so I'd expect 50%-100% more. When I have the lens/camera at hand, I'll give them a call and shop around a bit.

    2. I wouldn't get a lens that is heavily scratched, has fungus, or excessive dirt, but it's safe to get one with a stiff aperture and/or light haze, right? I'm especially concerned because of Leica's soft coatings.
     
  2. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    sherry and dag charge close to $200 for a cla -- and they both tend to be pretty backed up.

    I actually got a very good CLA on a IIIf from Essex in New Jersey. Worth checking.
     
  3. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Excellent decision. I bought my 5 LTM cameras from an collector and they were shining like newly manufactured. I used Summitar and Summicron and their only competitor was Zeiss at their age. When you cut the rolls leader at home , it will be extremelly fast to load the camera. Now I am using a FED1g from 1954 and damn sharp. Try to buy your camera from a repairperson you mentioned and it will be fine.
     
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  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Excuse my ignorance, but what does LTM stand for?
     
  5. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Leica thread mount = screwmount Leicas
     
  6. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i might add, krauter tends to resist servicing screw mount leicas, she prefers to concentrate on Ms.

    Your mention of willingness to buy lenses with a slight haze or a few scratches is being way to pessimistic -- there is a lot of really good old glass out there, don't settle for less than excellent. Some of that haze can be very old lens cement (which was tree sap, really) that has gone bad, or etching from oil outgassing. Older Canon lenses are also really very good.

    you will also read a lot of discussion about trimming the leader using a special tool -- don't waste your money or time, just hack off about 3 inches on one side so it looks a lot like the picture on the bottom of the camera's inside and you're good -- precision is not critical, all it has to do is get past the pressure plate...
     
  7. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    "Canada Balsam"

    (We're talkin' Leica here, remember...)

    :smile:

    s-a
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Canon ...? prffff
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Canada Balsam is a resin. Sap is something utterly different, as anyone who has tapped maple trees and boiled syrup is aware.
     
  10. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

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    Regarding the loading of the "bottom feeders" (including the Canons) -- you can use a business card inserted between the film plane and the film, over on the sprocket side, and it works like a charm to seat the film properly. No trimming needed.

    I believe Karl Bryan works on the bottom feeders also -- very reasonable prices and fast. I have only used him for Minolta Autocords, though.
     
  11. kokoshawnuff

    kokoshawnuff Member

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    I purchased a iiic from Youxin Ye for $300. He basically buys cameras that need work, fixes them (CLA, new curtains, shutter breaks, etc) and then sells them. Contact him with what you want and he'll likely be able to get for you ready to ship in a week or two.
     
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  12. carbon_dragon

    carbon_dragon Member

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    I got mine serviced by Mark Hama in the Atlanta, GA area (you can google him). He's a retired Yashica/Kyocera repair guy but he does a lot of different cameras, especially older ones. Mine came out great.

    Beware the bottom loaders aren't created equal. My M2 is a lot easier to load than my IIIf. And I HAVE the appropriate tool too. Loading that thing requires talent and practice. I think the IIIf and the Summitar are nice choices, though the Elmar 50/3.5 is tempting because it is so iconic. Also these rangefinders may be harder to focus today than they once were because of degradation of the rangefinder over time. Not sure what that would cost to fix. On the other hand finding someone to fix your Leica III is a lead pipe cinch compared to finding someone to fix your Contax IIA or IIIA. I think Henry Scherer is about the only one that can really fix those things.

    The III's (IIIc, IIIf, IIIg if your wealthy) can be rewarding cameras to use, but if you really want it for taking pictures rather than experiencing 1940s technology, go with an M2 or M3. Not as pretty, but much better to use in my opinion. And you can use LTM lenses with a screwmount to M adapter. You can get Leica ones at a cost or non Leica ones cheap. You might look cooler with the IIIf though ;-)
     
  13. carbon_dragon

    carbon_dragon Member

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    Oh, and at the risk of being tarred and feathered, the Canon P, Canon 7, and Canon 7s are worth considering. They're screwmount and not as "Rolls Royce-ey" as the Leicas, but they're really nice user cameras. And if you go M, don't discount the Leica CL either.
     
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  15. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I bought a 1946 IIIC from a Army General which is not used past 50 years !!! Listen the advises and buy from repair persons.
    I used 2 IIIF and Summitar is an Rolls Royce. Try to buy SUM family , they are more elegant.
     
  16. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    Thanks for all the wonderful advice. Just to clear things up:

    My RF experience:
    I started with a Konica Auto S2, then moved on to Canon LTM (P, IIVSB), and then now I'm a Leica M person.

    My lust for glass:
    I don't have Leica lenses, but there is this mystique to them. I don't want to get in a war on which is better and whether they are worth the cost or not. I do like my Japanese lenses (well, some of them) but I just want to atleast try some Leica lenses. Mostly interested in LTM Summitars and Summicrons and the M rigid/dr 50mm Summicrons. I lust not for a Noctilux, Summilux, or anything ASPH. An Elmar, maybe, but way in the future because it seems less useful for me as I shoot mostly in the f2-f4 range.

    What I'm looking for:
    A more compact system to compliment my M. I'm not looking for a rapid shooter, as I'm more of a slow/deliberate one. Even if I could afford it, I wouldn't pursue a IIIg or Rigid Summicron LTM even if they were at the same price as the IIIc's and collapsible summicron's. I want something compact and Leica seems to be the most complete package.

    What I'm dismissing:
    Canon bottom loaders: The combined RF/VF is neat but I found myself using high magnfication to focus then switchign to low magnification to compose. For a VF this size, I think that Leica's system is most complete.

    Retina IIIc: I have one and I'm content with it, but although I'm not looking for shooting speed, the ergonomcis are a bit slow and quirky.

    Japanese FL RF's: I don't like the build mostly. I hated the lens on my XA but I do have an Epic, but that's because I found it for $7.

    Rollei 35: Still a good choice, but I felt that an LTM is more suitable for me because I shoot at f2-f4 frequently.

    Well, I emailed youxin and he gave me a very good price: $600 for a 'tar and IIIc. A III, I wouldn't mind as I don't plan on using this camera for rapid shooting but I'll shop around and look into it more.
     
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  17. kokoshawnuff

    kokoshawnuff Member

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    $600 is probably fair. Unless you know the person you're purchasing from its just kind of difficult to trust that everything about a 50+year old camera will be in good shooting condition. That's why I suggested Youxin Yi when purchasing the camera, it just takes the worry about possibly needing a CLA out of the purchase--you'll pay the same for a freshly CLAd camera from him as you would for one that likely needs a CLA from a private seller. As for the lens, it's easier to trust the descriptions of private sellers. As long as it doesn't have fungus, separation or extensive haze you'll be ok. A Summitar in good shooting condition will probably sell for anywhere from $225-$350.
     
  18. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    Of course you could find a Contax IIa or IIIa with a Sonnar, easier to load focus and shoot for less than a IIIf....
     
  19. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I have two Sonnars and not at the level of worst Leica lens.
     
  20. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Nice try Mustafa.
     
  21. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Yes , keeping the man with his Leica becomes harder and harder. I have Sonnar clone at my Nikon and Rollei 35S with Sonnar 40 and no , they are not matching with Leicas.
     
  22. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I do not see any advantages to this.

    My main objectives are to:
    1. Try Leica LTM glass. Mystical or not, I want my own eyes to judge. I do not think Zeiss makes bad glass, but it's Leica LTM that I've always wanted to try. Moreso, than Leica M, even.
    2. It isn't smaller (I don't think). I wouldn't even get a IIIg. Leica IIIc + Collapsible Summitar, is considerably smaller without feeling too small (like an XA).

    I don't want to get into who makes better glass or cameras but I view the Contax more of an alternative rangefinder to the M not really a compliment....but that is beyond the point of this discussion.

    I may not even like a screwmount after a few rolls, but reselling the body would be very easy at minimal loss.
     
  23. carbon_dragon

    carbon_dragon Member

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    Great cameras but hard to find good ones

    I love my Contax IIA's, but it's not so easy to find a good one. Aside from Henry Scherer, I'm not sure who I would trust who can really fix these cameras when they have issues. And he's just one guy so it can take forever to get through his queue. If you get a good one, the lenses are really excellent for the era (and not so bad for today). But even then, the ergnomics aren't as good as the Leica screwmounts, and are further behind the M's. But they're great cameras. They are much easier to load and they're easy to focus if you're using the 50. If you're using any other lens, you can't use the finger focus control so it's the same as the Leicas.

    No, if you want a retro classic, the IIIc or IIIf is probably the way to go. If you want a camera to be your workhorse which you will grow to love as a photographic tool, buy an M2 or M3 and, if necessary, the same screwmount lenses you were considering and upgrade later to a nice summicron 50/2.
     
  24. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    After using Summitar or Summicron , you will not be able to believe how colors can be so natural and degrades elegant , how glass , winter light is elegant with the first one and if you go dark , it will turn wild and gives the most elegant skin details than any other lens , cron is a magic also , it is more colorful than summitar and you will not believe your eyes how street photographs , most ordinary pictures keep many other picture subject in it , post box , telephone box , any ordinary thing turn in to painting. They are matchless and I dont like M camera bodies.
     
  25. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    a canon 25mm f 3.5 lens is one of my favorites, although it does go soft at wide open so I keep it to f 5.6 or smaller, but it is amazingly sharp and has a lovely feel. It works great on my Leica CL or my IIIf, or M3 for that matter.

    so some canon glass is really good and worth looking at.
     
  26. kokoshawnuff

    kokoshawnuff Member

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    +1

    The 28mm f/3.5 is an excellent lens and the 50mm f/1.4 is wonderful too. But for $100 or so an Elmar 9cm can't be beat and as you already know, the Summitar is a uniquely excellent lens. Many options in the LTM world