Thinking about buying a Leica body but you are uncertain which model will fit your photography needs best?
This little page conveniently lists the specifications of all 'regular' Leica film models, made from 1955 to 2003. The tables shown below are also downloadable as a PDF file (see below), or you can (right-) click them to download them to your computer.
Prices are estimates from 2013. With Leica cameras, prices greatly vary with camera condition and provenance. Old, run-down camera's with rare specifications or provenance by a well-known photographer can be real jaw-droppers, both for their looks as for fetched sales prices! In the future, I might extend these lists with the rarer models, but prices on those cameras vary even more since collectors are interested in them.
So if you have or want a camera that isn't that 'standard' and you want to know what it's current price would be, try camera dealers or completed eBay listings to assess the price. Remember, camera dealers often offer a warranty (which comes at a price), and eBay drives up prices due to commission and PayPal charges, so for private sales, knock 15 to 20 percent off the prices you find with camera dealers, eBay and online auctions. Venture in the cost of a CLA (Clean, Lubricate and Adjust).
In case you're wondering where the Leica CL listing is: it's not there since technically, it's not a Leica M. But, after having received some questions about its specifics, I'm including them here.
The Leica CL (order nr. 10700) was produced from 1973 to 1976. 65,000 were made. It has TTL exposure metering, but flash needs external metering. Its frame lines are suitable for 40, 50 and 90mm lenses. It was also badged 'Leitz Minolta CL', made for the Japanese market. When the CL was discontinued, Minolta bought the design, improved on it and launched the Minolta CLE.
That's it on the CL. Oh, and don't worry about the weight of it, it weighs next to nothing, being a very capable camera at the same time! Nowadays you can find them cheap, often with a broken meter but it's a fully mechanical camera so if you leave the battery out, it'll work just fine with a hand-held meter. Improves on the M3, M2, M4-kinda feel of it!
Download the above tables as a PDF here.
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The Tower type '45' camera was a screw mount Leica clone built by Nicca from Japan. It was sold exclusively by Sears in the United States, who commissioned cameras with their 'Sears' brand name with various Japanese and German camera manufacturers in the late 1950s and 1960s.
The second half of the 1950s saw the Japanese camera manufacturers face some difficulties in their production. Many of them (Canon, Nicca, Leotax, even the British Reid & Sigrist) had built their empires on copying the German design of the Leica IIIc. The Germans had lost their patents after World War II and the Japanese and other manufacturers had jumped on the opportunity to create their own versions of what had proven to be very well-built and highly effective cameras. But then, the Germans took the market back by releasing the Leica M3, which was a whole new level of camera and it was patented again too! The Japanese copy-cats were left lightyears behind.
But, they quickly figured out that Leitz had filed for a combined patent of all new features and had not filed the single alterations and improvements for patent too. And they set out to close the gap between their own (very capable!) models and the Leica M3.
And it got us some interesting developments.
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The history of the Komura brand lenses is little-known. Information on the company and the lenses it produced is difficult to find online. But, many of the Komura lenses are very good, both in build quality and in optical results!
The company started out with making lenses for Large Format cameras. But in the 1950s they also started manufacturing rangefinder lenses for Leica thread mount cameras, and switched over to making lenses for Nikon rangefinders in the 1960s. Later, they also manufactured enlarging lenses, lenses for various medium format systems and also briefly produced lenses for various models of SLRs. Komura probably was the first brand to build a 1.4/85mm lens in Nikon F mount!
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