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Leica Screw Mount Copies Classic Leica Copy forum as listed in the book 300 Leica Copies, including but not limited to Nicca, Leotax, Honor, Canon etc. At one time there was a major part of the camera industry just trying to make a lower cost copy/dirivitive of the original Leica.

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Leotax Elite
Old 05-18-2006   #1
flashboxx
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Leotax Elite

Hey guys,
This is my first post here, so I am going to keep it short and sweet.

I recently came across a Zorki 4 on Philadelphia's craigslist page, and i promptly snatched it up for $20. The body was a little ragged, and i had to do some reconstructive repair on the interior rangefinder cam, but all in all, it wasn't too terrible, except for the fact that the viewfinder showed about an 85mm field of view and the second curtain shutter didn't close correctly. Ok, ok, so zorki's are pieces of garbage. BUT it came with a cute little Jupiter-8 50/2 lens, and believe you me, that was worth every penny(all 2,000 of them!) Add to that the fact that this guy is a nimrod and doesn't know what anything is worth, and you have a classic poster boy for my favorite saying: "never underestimate the power of stupid people with internet connections". So i figure "ok, i have this zorki that works about half the time, so its not so bad". But then it gets OH so much better.

Exactly one week later, I get an email from him saying he got another batch of cameras at an estate sale, and proceeded to rattle off what he he had plundered. Among the usual Brownie's, Polaroids, and an AE-1, was this "stupid little Leotax thing".

So, 30 seconds and a quick ebay search later, he had a response asking how much he wanted for the Leotax. Needless to say, being a LeoTARD, he sold it to me for $10. Now if you run a little background check, you will see that these fine pieces of Japanese engineering generally far outsell their Wetzlar counterparts (a Leotax Leica III copy generally sells for 800-1200USD). So, aside from aquiring a MINT collector's grade Leica copy, I had just received my first real dose of that sweet sweet drug known as "Leicaphetamines" or "the red dot special".

I quickly slapped the Jupiter on there and shot 2 rolls of tri-x. I finally developed them yesterday, and all I can say is "WOW". I was expecting very little to come out thanks to the (or so i thought) crappy russian lens. They were sharp as a tack, the exposures were good, and they were far contrastier than i was expecting. Sure, there was some flare when i was aimed in the general direction of the sun, but all in all, the results were stellar. I will have some scans up here tomorrow sometime.

Believe it or not, after only one day, I had already pawned off some of my possessions to feed my addiction:P I traded a 1979 Raleigh Professional team issue racing frame for a Canon Serenar 85/2 with the original case and finder, plus a 50/2.8 Schneider Componon-S enlarging lens. Yes, these are the confessions of a budding Leicaholic(not to be confused with leicaphile), and what you hear is the Leitz, the whole Leitz, and nothing but the Leitz. Good night and good luck!

Alex Cowperthwaite
AKA The Funnyman
Flashboxx Photographics
Attached Images
File Type: jpg leotax 3.jpg (228.3 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg leotax 9.jpg (251.9 KB, 110 views)
File Type: jpg leotax 16.jpg (257.7 KB, 127 views)

Last edited by flashboxx : 05-19-2006 at 14:35.
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Old 10-17-2014   #2
paniolo
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what about size and weight compared to a Leica II or IIIf?
How high is the viewfinder magnification and is the viewfinder colour neutral like on a Leica or tinted?

Regards
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Old 10-18-2014   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paniolo View Post
what about size and weight compared to a Leica II or IIIf?
How high is the viewfinder magnification and is the viewfinder colour neutral like on a Leica or tinted?

Regards

DID YOU NOTICE WHEN THE ORIGINAL POST WAS MADE??????

And even ignoring that very basic and obvious problem - how on earth would anybody know what the viewfinder magnification is of a camera they just picked up?

Where is common sense these days?
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Old 10-18-2014   #4
HuubL
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Why the harsh reaction?

I would have thought that after 8 years he should have an idea about that... ;-)
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Old 10-19-2014   #5
tunalegs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL View Post
Why the harsh reaction?

I would have thought that after 8 years he should have an idea about that... ;-)
Was the reaction harsh? I thought I was being helpful.

(PS: guy has a habit of posting in threads that haven't been touched for several years to ask posters who no longer post on this forum questions they wouldn't know the answer to even if they were still around).
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Old 10-19-2014   #6
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checked out some earlier posts and i see what you mean

Paniolo seems to have a problem with camera viewfinders...
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Old 10-19-2014   #7
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And you guys take too much care about your post counter credibility.

Of course anyone is allowed to answer my questions about the Leotax Elite.
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Old 10-20-2014   #8
tunalegs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paniolo View Post
And you guys take too much care about your post counter credibility.

Of course anyone is allowed to answer my questions about the Leotax Elite.
You know what would be a really smart idea? A single thread about LTM camera viewfinders.

There is no good reason to keep digging up old threads. Even if people know the answers - the answers are going to scattered all over the forum which is of no help to anybody.
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Old 10-23-2014   #9
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How about a special room/forum area just for Paniolo and the incessant questions about viewfinder magnification and tint? That I could lock and ignore....
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Old 10-23-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashboxx View Post
Hey guys,
This is my first post here, so I am going to keep it short and sweet. I recently came across a Zorki 4 on Philadelphia's craigslist page, and i promptly snatched it up for $20. The body was a little ragged, and i had to do some reconstructive repair on the interior rangefinder cam, but all in all, it wasn't too terrible, except for the fact that the viewfinder showed about an 85mm field of view and the second curtain shutter didn't close correctly. Ok, ok, so zorki's are pieces of garbage. BUT it came with a cute little Jupiter-8 50/2 lens, and believe you me, that was worth every penny(all 2,000 of them!) Add to that the fact that this guy is a nimrod and doesn't know what anything is worth, and you have a classic poster boy for my favorite saying: "never underestimate the power of stupid people with internet connections". So i figure "ok, i have this zorki that works about half the time, so its not so bad". But then it gets OH so much better. Exactly one week later, I get an email from him saying he got another batch of cameras at an estate sale, and proceeded to rattle off what he he had plundered. Among the usual Brownie's, Polaroids, and an AE-1, was this "stupid little Leotax thing". So, 30 seconds and a quick ebay search later, he had a response asking how much he wanted for the Leotax. Needless to say, being a LeoTARD, he sold it to me for $10. Now if you run a little background check, you will see that these fine pieces of Japanese engineering generally far outsell their Wetzlar counterparts(a Leotax Leica III copy generally sells for 800-1200USD). So, aside from aquiring a MINT collector's grade Leica copy, I had just received my first real dose of that sweet sweet drug known as "Leicaphetamines" or "the red dot special". I quickly slapped the Jupiter on there and shot 2 rolls of tri-x. I finally developed them yesterday, and all I can say is "WOW". I was expecting very little to come out thanks to the (or so i thought) crappy russian lens. They were sharp as a tack, the exposures were good, and they were far contrastier than i was expecting. Sure, there was some flare when i was aimed in the general direction of the sun, but all in all, the results were stellar. I will have some scans up here tomorrow sometime. Believe it or not, after only one day, I had already pawned off some of my posessions to feed my addiction:P I traded a 1979 Raleigh Professional team issue racing frame for a Canon Serenar 85/2 with the original case and finder, plus a 50/2.8 Schneider Componon-S enlarging lens. Yes, these are the confessions of a budding Leicaholic(not to be confused with leicaphile), and what you hear is the Leitz, the whole Leitz, and nothing but the Leitz. Good night and good luck!
Alex Cowperthwaite
AKA The Funnyman
Flashboxx Photographics
Short?
Sweet?
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Old 06-09-2015   #11
paniolo
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any new information about colour tint and vf magnification of the leotax?
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Old 06-13-2015   #12
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Any reason you can't be happy with the 37 different tint and magnifications you've asked about so far?
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Old 06-16-2015   #13
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I am happy but I am still curious.
If you cant find anything about it in the whole internet, this should the place to be to ask for it, right?

So, who owns a later Leotax?
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Old 12-16-2015   #14
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I recently acquired a Leotax T2L "Elite". Here are some impressions:

I was reflecting on my collection of old cameras. Comparing pros and cons and came to the conclusion (without getting into a lot of detail about those other cameras) that I missed the smaller size and feel of the Leica II/III series screwmounts and the various copies.

I've previously owned a IIf, a IIIa (black conversion) and a IIIf (in that order) and really enjoyed them. The IIf was sold to move onto and exploration/side-trip into the M series ---another story. BUT the IIIa and the IIIf were stolen I tried other stuff before settling on the excellent, but rather odd Mamiya Magazine 35mm rangefinder system.

And though the knob wind, squinty finder, bottom load, and relative cost of buying did not make me too happy... I missed the Barnack experience.

Thus, the Leotax Elite! Lever wind and built-in brightline finder -- yes, it's still a bottom-loader Got it-- Load with old Fuji Superia, try the Nikkor Tokyo 5cm F2 and it's pretty dang good! Quick results from the first roll; no post-processing:












NOT gonna dump the Mamiyas, but I really see some potential here! Very excited about the features and performance of this set-up. Glamour shots of the camera itself to follow
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Old 12-16-2015   #15
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Old 12-16-2015   #16
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Now you need an LTM Topcor or Fujinon lens for that Elite.
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Old 12-16-2015   #17
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Hmmm... GAS is evil....must "focus" on shooting what I have

Perhaps a brightline finder for my 35mm LTM Canon?
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Old 12-16-2015   #18
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Well, the OP's post may be old, but I suppose everyone can learn a lesson from that.

Still, I've never really understood how people can be so cynical, and keep a straight face and happily accept gear for give-away prices.
- When they know (or find out pretty quickly) that the gear is worth so much more. In addition hinting that the person they dealt with, is somehow lacking in the intelligence department?

How about saying: "Hey man, that thing is worth $800-$1200, are you sure you want to give it away for $10"? or "I got your camera, but when I checked online, I saw that the camera you sold me for $10 actually goes for $800-$1200, that's not right".

One thing is getting a good deal, another is performing a "deal" while knowing that the seller loose a whole bunch of money.

Never understood why some people are like that....it's not very ethical, IMO :/
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Old 12-16-2015   #19
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This thread is straight out of the twilight zone!
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Old 12-16-2015   #20
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Nice shots with the Elite. The rapid wind and film counter are somewhat (theoretically) superior to a bottom loader, and the camera looks great, but I agree it's really an evolutionary camera rather than a major step forward in usability, perhaps without the major advantage of a Barnack: small size.

I own a Tower 48 (sold by Sears, but Nicca-made) which appears in many ways similar to an Elite, but it is quite small and light and has real nice "precision feel" to it that's sort of hard to describe - a very smooth and positive film advance for instance - like an M3 ("Leica like" might be the description).
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Old 12-17-2015   #21
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I think the real surprise for me is the brightline frame for the 50mm built into the finder. Pretty small list of the small Barnack bodies with frame lines! The Leica IIIg and that about it? Not sure the later Canon screwmount models count 'cause they got pretty large (body size)....

The advance is nice! And it's ratcheded (sp?) so you can pretend like it's a Double Stroke M3

The diecast body shell is 139mm long... just a bit too long for an old half case lying around from a IIIc.

As far as continuing this old thread....I debated about starting my own new topic but decided the existing title would help people find my updated comments. Hopefully they can wade through the initial strangeness
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Old 12-18-2015   #22
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I applaud you for being so determined with the Mamiya 35 F/2 and hope the shutter situation gets resolved. You probably curse me everytime you think of this camera, but it was probably the rarest camera in my collection. Now you may be the only person in the world to own two of the F/2 models.

The thread is interesting as I have a Leotax FV and TV2 with a Topcor 5cm/F2 and Fujinon 5cm/F2 respectively on these models. They are my favorite Leica Copies, so much so I recently sold my mint condition Tower 45 with it's 5cm/F2 Nikkor. I didn't get quite it's worth but it was time to move it along to someone who was most interested.

I may have a Leotax case if you are interested. Please PM me or contact my email address: [email protected].

Hope the Mamiya returns soon!

Regards,
Gary
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Old 12-18-2015   #23
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Hi Gary-
Good to hear from you! I DON'T curse you at all when it comes to the Mamiya--- the glass on that camera is flawless (better than my other f2.0) and it's rarity is worth all the trouble so far. It's a fascinating camera and under-rated as a user/collector in my opinion! It should be repairable...

I'm reminded that we have similar tastes in cameras....the Mamiyas , the spring-wound Auto Terra cameras, and the Leotax All of these are sort-of odd ball cameras with interesting features. Hmmmm

-Dave
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Auto Terra
Old 12-21-2015   #24
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Auto Terra

Ah yes, the Auto Terras, probably my fave fixed lens camera which maybe shouldn't go under this topic as it truly is a Other RF or Fixed lens RF.

I'm not sure in our conversation if I told you I got one of my all-time( Probabaly Will Never Find Cameras), a Auto Terra Super L with accessory spring drive booster, Original hood, wide and tele accessory lenses, and Auto Terra filters, obviously with the 45/F1.8 Zunow lens. it wasn't cheap but finding this all together was a minor miracle. The Zunow on this camera really lives up to it's reputation and probably is the exact same lens as on a Neoca SV Super which is my favorite small P/S rangefinder camera.
Love these cameras as well as the Mamiyas which can not be underrated for uniqueness.
Happy Holidays,
Gary
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Old 02-09-2016   #25
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Recently saw a Auto Terra Super L sell on the big auction site for over $400... it was tough not to bid! Meanwhile I am having fun with the Leotax/Nikkor set. Let's see if I remember how to link some samples photos from a recent roll:







These are straight from the scanner with no post processing:
Leotax Elite, Nikkor Tokyo 5cm f2, Agfa 200 film
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Old 06-18-2016   #26
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More to share with this combo - Leotax Elite with 5cm Nikkor Tokyo:









Nice vintage "glow" under the right conditions-- but I really want a different option when it comes to 50mm lenses. Here's my only other choice right now- the Canon 35mm f2.8 ---samples:












Little Canon is decent!
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Old 06-18-2016   #27
tunalegs
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I don't know. I'm seeing nothing remarkable from that lens, I suspect it's either really dirty inside or the reputation of those old Nikkors is a bunch of baloney.

The Canon lens on the other hand seems to do quite well.
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Old 06-19-2016   #28
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I bought a Leotax, I think TV2 or "Merit" (it has the self timer with wind lever), and it is solidly built with superbly accurate rangefinder. The viewfinder is nice also. The camera is solidly built and is like new. My understanding is this was close to the last Leotax model and probably was assembled while in bankruptcy. The rangefinder is more accurate than any of the Canon models I have except for the Canon 7 which I would say is an equal. My 2 cents.
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Old 06-19-2016   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
I don't know. I'm seeing nothing remarkable from that lens, I suspect it's either really dirty inside or the reputation of those old Nikkors is a bunch of baloney.

The Canon lens on the other hand seems to do quite well.

I agree--- the Nikkor is tricky to use and I'm not even showing you the not so good shots! My particular example of the lens had really bad spots (many) on the internal elements. Repairmen said "not repairable" and it was too obscured to shoot. I took it apart myself after doing some research and was able to clean it up but the damage left permanent scars on the glass. If the conditions are just right you can get decent results but it is tough

I'm hunting for another 50mm

The Canon 35mm was not on my list of favorites for a long time but I never sell it because it does seem capable and has decent resolution--- I espcecially like it with Tri-X.
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Old 06-19-2016   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shafovaloff1 View Post
I bought a Leotax, I think TV2 or "Merit" (it has the self timer with wind lever), and it is solidly built with superbly accurate rangefinder. The viewfinder is nice also. The camera is solidly built and is like new. My understanding is this was close to the last Leotax model and probably was assembled while in bankruptcy. The rangefinder is more accurate than any of the Canon models I have except for the Canon 7 which I would say is an equal. My 2 cents.

I've got one of the Merit models as well... I really love these cameras and I have to remind myself not to buy more bodies when it's the lens that takes the picture

Here's my set (kit) Elite in front with Nikkor, Merit in back with Canon 35mm (using a brightline Olympus viewfinder)

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Old 06-19-2016   #31
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I agree--- the Nikkor is tricky to use and I'm not even showing you the not so good shots! My particular example of the lens had really bad spots (many) on the internal elements. Repairmen said "not repairable" and it was too obscured to shoot. I took it apart myself after doing some research and was able to clean it up but the damage left permanent scars on the glass. If the conditions are just right you can get decent results but it is tough

I'm hunting for another 50mm

The Canon 35mm was not on my list of favorites for a long time but I never sell it because it does seem capable and has decent resolution--- I espcecially like it with Tri-X.
FWIW, I recently brought a Summar with damage far more extensive than what you're describing back from the dead with cerium oxide polishing. There's a thread in the LTM forum (and another related one in the Repair forum), but you can PM me if you want further details. I suspect considerable improvement is possible.
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Old 06-23-2016   #32
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In an attempt to return this thread to its original subject, I'll just say that I've recently bought my 3rd Leotax, an Elite imported from Japan. I love the Leotax range for their build quality and reliability.

The Elite has a larger brightline viewfinder which is almost as nice to use as the Leica iiig, and combined with the excellent lever wind, it makes it possibly the best of all the pre-M3 Barnack style cameras (including Leica).
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Old 06-23-2016   #33
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I agree, the later Leotaxes are beauties, despite the brightlines being reflected (rather than projected like the IIIg) and non-moving. I do think the finder is a bit brighter than the IIIg in fact.
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Old 02-10-2017   #34
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Trying out the Super-Rokkor 50mm F1.8 LTM on my Leotax Elite in January. Here's some results:











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Old 02-13-2017   #35
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Please dont hurt me but.... is there any color tint to the viewfinder? Probably blueish`?
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Old 02-13-2017   #36
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The late model Leotax cameras are really great machines, basically a Leica IIIf with a more convenient sync, lever wind, and a MUCH larger and generally better VF with 50mm brightlines. I have had a few of these apart, and in my opinion the build quality is equal to contemporary Leicas, with the exception of the slow speed escapement, which I consider more robust than the rather troublesome Leitz part. They are slightly larger than the Barnacks, just about the same as the M3.
This would be the perfect bottom-loader, if only it also had the hinged back from the Nicca 5 series. Those are also larger than the Barnacks. I have both a Leotax Merit and a Nicca 5, but as I am on the road at the moment I don't know if the bodies are exactly the same size. I wonder if it would be possible to graft a Nicca body shell onto a Leotax, and get all the best features in one camera. Has anyone seen such a hybrid done?
Yes I realize that some of the Yashica descendants of the Niccas added a much improved VF, but those cameras have completely lost the classic Barnack style that is still there in the Leotax cameras.

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Dez
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Old 05-10-2018   #37
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Hi guys,

Reviving an old dicussion here as I need some advice here on either the Leotax FV, Eilite (T2) or Merit (T2L).

How does one attach a cable release to these machines as the advance/rewind switch is also the shutter release button's collar. As such, it does not screw out like the normal bottom loaders of most makes.

Thanks!

Cheers,
Benny
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Old 05-25-2018   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennyng View Post
How does one attach a cable release to these machines as the advance/rewind switch is also the shutter release button's collar. As such, it does not screw out like the normal bottom loaders of most makes.
Ok. Figured out the answer to the above.

The old style cable release for barnack type cameras will screw right into the collar. There's no need to remove it all. Quite nifty as you will never lost that bit again!


Leotax FV with Chiyoko Super Rokkor 45mm f/2.8 LTM


These cameras seem pretty well built too.

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