You can be one of the lucky few to own a red anodized version of the Leica APO Summicron f2 ASPH, soon to be available from Leica for $8950. That’s only $1200 more than the black version. Only 100 pieces will be made, (not counting any further fabricated under licensing agreement with Third Man Cameras in Stuart, Florida).
******UPDATED BELOW: AFTER FURTHER INVESTIGATION, IT’S CLEAR THIS IS A 100% FAKE. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS******
Another “Original Black Paint” Leica, this one an M2, for sale by “Third Man Cameras” on ebay (Ebay http://www.ebay.com/itm/332015997511?rmvSB=true). Is it “real”? Who knows. If by “real” you mean an actual Leitz made M2, yes, it’s real. If you mean an actual Leitz M2 painted black by the factory, debatable. The serial number, 929348 puts it in a 1958 lot of 2000 chrome M2’s. The first known factory BP M2 starts with serial number 948601. However, it could be a camera done in black by Leica on a client request, which wasn’t unusual back in the day.
According to the seller,
This camera was ordered through Leica New York in 1958 and then the camera was produced at the Leitz Leica factory in Wetzlar, Germany. The original owner said that he had to contact Leica via postal service to order the camera. This is why it still has an original L-seal. It was produced by Leica / Leitz Wetzlar in 1958 at the factory in Wetzlar, Germany. The original owner had some position in photography while in the military because he has many camera items in his Air Force trunk. This website shows the camera to be an original black M2 ( http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-…n/index.php/M2 )
First of all, that explanation looks awful suspicious. It claims both that “the original owner said,” implying that he had spoken to the owner….and that the original owner “had some position in photography because he had many items in his Air Force trunk” – implying he doesn’t have first hand knowledge of the owner (it’s called a “tell.”) Erik van Straten, who generally knows such things, thinks it’s fake, and posted the following two photos below of a legit early BP M2 on a popular Leica forum to illustrate the difference. (Editor’s note: I think any reasonable person not completely blinded by Leica insanity would say most BP Leicas look like shit– if you want to see a black Wetzlar made Leica film M that doesn’t look like its been beat to death the way black paint M’s invariably do, find yourself a black chrome M4. I’ve got a BC M4, made in 1974, that looks like it just came out of the box).
The wear on the camera looks contrived to me, less a product of long usage than someone’s idea of what that usage might produce ( google “Lenny Kravitz Leica” for further edification). For me, the ‘tell’ that it’s not legit is the documentation. Real Black Paint Leicas, sold through reputable sources i.e. not Ebay, almost never come with original purchase documents…because almost nobody would have saved these documents for 60+ years. It was just a camera, a working camera for someone. Nobody buys a a BP M2 back in 1958 and then fastidiously files away the paperwork for 60 years with the idea they’d someday need it to prove its authenticity. I could be wrong, however, but, like most things Leica, I’m probably not.
OK, so this one is a stone-cold fake, sold by Third Man Cameras in Stuart, Florida (whose motto is “Measuring Integrity.” True). I ‘thought’ it looked suspiciously like a previous “Original Black Paint M3” I had written about some time ago. I went back and compared the two auctions. In the first auction, for the M3, is a certificate of ownership said to be from Leitz Wetzlar to the original purchaser, a “Busby Cattenach” from “Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.“. In this new M2 auction is included a certificate of ownership from Leitz to the original purchaser who is listed as “Archie Baldwin” at the exact same address as Mr. Cattenach in “Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.” So, either Busby Cattenach and Archie Baldwin lived together back in the 50’s and shared a fondness for one off Black Paint Leicas; and both kept all the supporting documentation; both made sure to leave it all with the camera once they died; and then this seller just happened to find both cameras at different estate sales at different times, both in Florida…or these are fakes.
I contacted a genealogist friend and asked her to track down any “Archie Baldwin” who had served time in the Air Force and lived in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin in the 50’s. Nothing. No Archie Baldwin showing on any census records or public directories in Wisconsin, now or ever. No “Busby Cattenach” showing on any census records or public directories in Wisconsin, now or ever. Clearly, the provenance of these cameras – Leica M2 #929348 and Leica M3 # 756902 – have been extensively faked.
The larger question is whether Third Man Cameras is an unwilling dupe or a scammer. It just so happens that Third Man Cameras happens upon a lot of extremely rare Black Paint Leica items with extensive provenance. Third Man Cameras eventually sold the fake Black Paint M3 mentioned previously, Mr. “Busby Cattenach’s,” for over $10,000 to someone through Ebay, even after they, the seller, had been alerted that the camera was a fake and had responded to the person alerting him of that fact as follows:
“My God your [sic] right. Thank You so much for pointing this out. I acquired this item at an estate sale. Before I purchased the camera I checked to see if this company called Leica ever made cameras in black during that time and I found that they did. So I proceeded with the purchase. I checked your information and you are 100% correct. I am going to contact the estate sales lady in the morning. I guess I will also remove the auction. This is terrible news for me. I wonder if there is any way that this could still be authentic? Any more information you have would be appreciated greatly. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I have a lot of work to do to cancel this auction. I’m going to start now. Thanks again and please let me know if you have anymore info regarding this camera. Regards”.
Which, of course, is such incredible bullshit it defies logic that anyone with any critical reasoning ability would not see through it – He sees this camera at an estate sale, knows nothing about Leicas (“this company called Leica”) yet holds off buying it until he confirms that the company made cameras in black at that time? Right.
They’ve since sold a Black Paint screw mount Summicron (with sketchy looking certificate) for $15,000, and another for $4500. The interesting thing about this seller is that seemingly every vintage Leica item he sells is accompanied by suspicious amounts of “original paperwork” claiming to authenticate the item for what it claims to be. Invariably, the Black Paint items are accompanied by a surfeit of certificates, invoices, letters, sales tags, boxes etc. How this guy in Stuart, Florida keeps finding these incredibly rare collector’s gems, while reputable auction houses almost never turn up the same amount of stuff, and certainly nothing with the extensive purported documentation this guy seems to produce for every item he sells, I’ll leave to the reader’s better judgment.
And clearly, this seller knows a lot more about “this company called Leica” than he cares to admit. From trolling through his feedback, it looks like he came into possession of a bunch of spare parts from Leitz – “Leica Camera Parts – Massive Inventory – New Stock – M2 M3 M4 M5 M6 M7 SL” – a few years ago and probably found the means there to fake various invoices, tags, certificates etc that might establish fake provenances for repainted cameras. It was after this inventory sale that the “Official Black Paint” items start appearing for sale on his site at fairly regular intervals.
Further investigation reveals that Third Man Cameras is operated by a Henry Obert of Jensen Beach, Fl, (a mere 5 mile jaunt down the road from Stuart) in Martin County, Florida, and the “Office Manager” of Third Man Cameras is an Erica Obert. Some auspicious googling turned up the following on photo.net in 2012:
|Leica Airbrush paint
Henry Obert , Jan 29, 2012; 07:47 p.m.
and then these pictures of a “Henry Obert” and “Erica Obert” from the Martin County Sheriff’s office:
Can’t make this stuff up.
He’s been contacted and the fake Black Paint M2 auction has been taken down without explanation. In contacting him, I offered him the chance to explain the various discrepancies as noted here. I’ve not yet received a response of any sort. If I do, I’ll be happy to publish it. Suffice it to say, his explanation better be good. Really good.
Alberto Korda and his Leica IIIc
A Leica III camera belonging to Alberto Korda, he of the famous photo of Che Guevara looking revolutionary, is currently for sale on the Dutch auction website catawiki.nl.
Korda’s Leica III
The Leica III is being sold by Korda’s son, Dante, who describes the camera as follows:
My father, Alberto Korda, was one of the few cuban photojournalists responsible for capturing the world’s attention with the Cuban Revolution Propaganda. He followed the Cuban leaders around and became Fidel Castro’s personal photographer for more than a decade (request from Fidel Castro, who was one of his admirers). My father’s passion and exceptional skills as a photographer made every event of the revolution a magnificent moment, a genuine representation of an era of changes and beauty.
This camera was one of the favorite cameras of my father. My father actively used this camera in the fifties and sixties and kept it the rest of his life. That’s why it’s likely that my father took with this camera one of the world’s most famous photo’s ever made. The iconic image of the freedom fighter Che Guevara.
Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and provenance from Dante Korda
Unfortunately for Dante, this is not the camera his father used to take the iconic shot, which was taken with a Leica M2.
Korda took the photo on March 5, 1960, at a funeral service for Cubans killed when a ship carrying arms to the revolutionaries in Havana sunk. He attended on assignment for the newspaper Revolución, carrying a Leica M2 with 90mm. Castro, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Che were on the speaker’s platform. When Korda approached the platform, he immediately noticed Che. “I remember his staring over the crowd on 23rd street.” Struck by Guevara’s expression, Korda lifted his Leica M2 loaded with Plus-X and took just two frames — one vertical and one horizontal — before Che turned away.
Lately, in a conscious quest to simplify my life, I’ve found myself thinking:
- Why exactly do I own what I own?
- What could I sell and not miss, practically speaking?
- Do I really need that?
- What is it costing me to own that?
I have way too much stuff. Cameras and lenses to be exact. It’s a first-world problem, no doubt, a function of an affluence we often don’t recognize because it’s become so common. It starts with the best intentions, but usually ends up where I find myself – with a surfeit of beautiful, shiney, pleasing things I never use. Which is a shame, because the mechanical cameras and lenses I’ve collected – whether they be Leicas or Nikons or something else – deserve to be used.
When I hold onto camera I don’t use, even though just the possessing gives me pleasure, (and this is especially true for the mechanical cameras I tend to buy and collect), it does indeed cost me something, if only in the time spent organizing, contemplating, and/or servicing the camera I’ve accumulated. And it costs the larger gearhead community something too – a camera that could be being used by someone as opposed to sitting on a shelf.
So, I’ve decided to start selling off the things I can’t justify sitting on my shelf. It’s difficult, as I can always find a reason to hold onto something. But usually the reason I find is the same reason I bought it – it’s beautiful/cool/iconic/historic etc and I want it. Good enough reasons, I suppose, but not compelling enough to convince my wife, who is currently in desperate need of a shiney, new, large capacity refrigerator.
With this in mind, I’ve started a new page you can reach from my homepage entitled, simply enough, “For Sale.” Everything you’ll find there is mine. It all works. There’s nothing wrong with any of it. I’m not selling it for any other reason than I just don’t need it.
I’ll be listing further items as current items sell, so feel free to check back in for other items in the future.
I’ve shaken hands with Royalty, and it was no big deal. The woman I was with at the time – an Anglophile who had been married in Westminster – informed me I should feel special. I didn’t, even though Prince Charles had sought me out to shake my hand, and not vice versa. [Editor: absolutely true story.] What, I wondered, should I feel special about? He certainly seemed nice enough, no doubt, maybe a bit peculiar looking the way old money can be, but, had I not known who he was, that knowledge freighting the encounter with a myriad of social, class and political assumptions, he would have been just another middle aged guy exchanging social pleasantries. He spoke to me briefly, idle chat about the Shakespearean production we’d just seen, and then he was whisked away in his Aston Martin. Must be Nice, I thought.
As a good American, I’ve never understood the public fascination with Royalty. It’s a great gig if you can get it, I guess: live in a castle on the government’s dime, your solemn face on the local currency. Have parades in your honor, squat at the Ritz in Paris, meet with important and influential people, all of them deferring to you. Snap your fingers and people instantly appear and cater to your every whim. And you don’t have to work, even though hardworking British taxpayers will subsidize your family to the tune of $50 million pounds a year. When you strip away the pageantry, it seems little more than a monumentally obscene public-assistance program to one family of inbred layabouts. Makes me wonder about the Brits.
Not that we’re any better. America is a nation of rapaciously selfish, vacuous, violent and ignorant people who think they, as Americans, can do as they want because, when you get down to it, the reality is that God wants it that way. Go to any Donald Trump rally and you will be gobstruck by the complete lunacy of a large portion of our citizenry. Even so, we Americans possess the dignity of free idiots, beholden to no one but our capitalist overlords, able to indulge our endless stupidities without the need to subsidize a Royal Family to legitimate it all. We are above such nonsense.
In their defense, the current generation of Royals – Princes William and Harry – seem stand-up guys, both having served their time on the front with the British military, which is more than I can say of the plutocrats who send American kids off to war for a variety of crazy reasons. With the exception of a few principled Democrats, their kids stay home while average American kids go to be maimed and die doing the country’s dirty work.
But I digress.
That’s the Queen, above, Prince Charles’ “Mum,” with a beautiful Leica M3 and Summicron. She is, apparently, an avid photographer. For all the useless photographs we have of her, it’s interesting to see the Queen on the other side of a lens – in this instance a 50mm f2 rigid Summicron fastened to her beloved Leica M3. Leitz Wetzlar gave her this particular model, specially engraved, in 1958.
In 1986, when asked to choose a stamp image to commemorate her 60th birthday, she chose a picture of her with her Leica M3, which is sort of weird, if you think about it, unless, of course, the Queen is a hard-core Leicaphile. If so, I’d be interested in knowing why, way back then, she preferred the M3 to an M2 or even a IIIg. Does she still have her M3? Was she ever tempted to trade it in for a newfangled M5 in those crazy 70’s? Still shoot film? And what, pray tell, does she think of this whole new digital thing? Now that, and not some idle chitchat about the latest stuffy production of some long dead playwright, would be an interesting topic of conversation, one I’d be happy to engage in were she to approach me. In any event, I’m not sure what she’s shooting now, but whatever it is, she probably didn’t pay for it.
By Wayne P.
Upon return of my first Pentax AP (the first Pentax M42 screw-mount SLR marketed in US) from Scott Hendrickson’s outstanding CLA service, one of my first thoughts was that this might be very close to what Oskar Barnack would have designed, had he been compelled to design an SLR. This impression did not come from merely the obvious similarities in the way shutter speed is selected – not to mention the fact that maximum shutter speed is 500 – but comes from the feel of the advance lever, the sensation of the shutter release, the sound of the shutter, the solid feel; the overall gestalt of construction and mechanism. It is as if someone very knowledgeable and satisfied with the design of a rangefinder put it to themselves: “how can I best design a camera with the advantages of SLR focusing, but retain as much of the rangefinder camera convenience as possible?” And in doing so they rendering a masterpiece.
The chrome finish is very similar in appearance and feel to my Leica IIIc and IIIg. The tension and overall smooth feel of the film advance lever is very similar to the M2…but not nearly as long in stroke. The shutter, although a bit louder – and I mean “a bit“ – has the same general sound as an M camera. Nothing rattles; whether cocked or not, it feels and behaves as though chiseled out of a solid block of metal; furthermore, exclusive of the prism hump, the overall size and weight of the camera is about the same as an M2.
The view through the finder is enough to make any nostalgia buff smile: the central region is a large ground glass area surrounded by fresnel rings…that’s it; reminding very much of the focusing screen of a Hasselblad 500C.…. No lines, needles, LED light; no numbers, lettering or anything else to distract you from the various parts of the scene that magically fades in and out of focus as you compose. Again, to stick with the main comparison, it is as close to the simple magic of a rangefinder patch as is possible with an SLR prism arrangement. The camera is doing nothing for you; you experiment, moving your eye toward and away from finder window, finding what works best for you….making the experience entirely your own. Any improvement in result will come purely from improvement in your skill and effort.
If I may …. an exposition on an aspect of OVF (optical viewfinder) not often expounded upon in the great OVF vs. EVF debate: that being, the EVF robs you of some cherished moments with the unique characteristics of fine old glass – or even, fine new glass. With EVF, you never do actually get an opportunity to view the world through the lens. With Pentax AP, you do get this opportunity, and in the most raw interpretation of the act. Even if the photograph does not turn out exactly as you envisioned, and you walk away without the prized, perfect image, you still have the view, the joy, of that vision in your head. You were there. You saw it through that magical Zeiss 50mm 1.4 Planar….. With an EVF, well, you watched the video.
On the subject of lenses, this is another aspect of the AP that will sit well with those used to rangefinder photography. While not as small as the delightfully tiny and lightweight lenses used on a Barnack Leica, they are small. The AP, packed with Pentax M42 55mm f2, 35mm f4, and and 105mm f2.8 does take up more room than my IIIC with comparable lens set, but can be packed- with IIIC, including comparable lenses- in my Domke F-5XB……a shoulder bag not much larger than my shaving kit. Oh, and there is still room for the superb, and cheap, M42 Takumar 50mm 1.4 – if you feel the need for a fast lens.
At this point, given the length and breadth of modern comprehensive camera reviews I have read over the past few years, I begin to feel somewhat inadequate to this task. There is not really much, beyond the sensation, i.e. “haptics,” of use to expound upon. it is, quite literally, in substance, nothing more than a metal box to facilitate: storage and advancement of film; manual focus of lens; selection of shutter speed, and activation of shutter. But for a mechanism of that type, it is superb.
There you have it: spartan in feature; elegant and solid in design; able to stand up to the test of time; convenient in size and weight; unobtrusive and fulfilling in operation. I am pretty sure Oskar would have liked it.
OBTW, I own two. One came with a Takumar 58mm f2.4 lens attached, the second came with the Takumar 58mm f2.0. In both cases, camera and lens, together, resulted in a raid on the family treasure of about half the value that either of the lenses, alone, would normally demand.
If you see one for sale, pick it up and give it a fondle.
Schouten Select Cameras is offering a Leica KE-7A on Ebay for $45,300. Apparently the fact that it comes in a bag pushes the price up by $5000:
As said the camera is offered as originally sold in a sealed and unopened paper bag. A x-ray photo is included to show the contains of the box. You see these kind of camera more but the rarity of this camera is that it is offered in the original sealed paper bag. Although I do not advise I can open the bag to inspect the camera for you at a Euro 5000 nonrefundable deposit. If you decide not to buy at any reason the deposit will not be refunded as the value will then be less. The set is offered without any warranty. Bank transfers only for this item. Picture no. 7 is a sample photos and not photos of the actual item (thanks to Leica Store Lisse – Foto Henny Hoogeveen).
Only you can decide if the bag is worth an extra $5000. Here is the actual bag:
Does that mean a buyer can pay $40,300 and have Schouten keep the bag?
Apparently, Schouten also gives you the option, not of buying the camera (or the bag) but of looking in the bag – for $5000. You don’t get the bag, you just get to look in it. How many looks you get for $5000, or whether they charge $5000 a look, remains unclear.
In any event, Schouten promises you there actually is a Leica KE-7A in the bag, and not a brick. They’re offering an X-Ray, purportedly taken of the bag, as proof. How you could possibly tell that what you’re looking at in the X-Ray is a KE7A, or whether the X-Ray is even of the bag (could it be an X-Ray of another bag?) I’m not sure. For $43,500, you’re simply going to have to take their word. Whether they plan on charging you to look at the X-Ray remains unclear as well.
If a Leica In A Bag is not exotic enough for you, or if your inability to look into the bag absent handing over $5000 in cash to some Dutch guy selling the bag is a dealbreaker for you, Schouten will sell you a “Fake Leica Leitz Sculpture” for $83,750, and they’ll throw in One Day Shipping, anywhere in the world. Absolutely Free.
Apparently, the guy who made this made several editions: a “Huge Fake Leica”, a “Small Fake Leica”, a “Fake Leica” in gold and a Fiberglass model. Offered is the “Small Fake” one. It is not in a bag, and is available to be looked at. As best one can tell, you will not be charged to look at it.
What model Leica it purports to be is unclear. It has the angled rewind crank of an M4, a red dot of an M4-P, a battery housing of an m6 or m7, and a slow shutter speed dial of a Leica III, which leads me to surmise that the guy who made it is Russian.