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  1. #1

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    Buying Leica LTM

    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. #2

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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. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Excuse my ignorance, but what does LTM stand for?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4
    MDR
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    Leica thread mount = screwmount Leicas

  5. #5

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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...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by summicron1 View Post
    ...(tree sap, really)...
    "Canada Balsam"

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



    s-a
    I photograph things to see what things look like photographed.
    - Garry Winogrand

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by semi-ambivalent View Post
    "Canada Balsam"

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



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

  8. #8

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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.

  9. #9

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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.
    Last edited by kokoshawnuff; 08-02-2012 at 12:12 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: superfluous "if"

  10. #10
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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 ;-)

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