Weblog Archives

  Sunday  December 10  2006    10: 40 AM

another camera project

I seem to think of these camera projects faster than I can complete them. I saw a recent post about a gold plated Lecia fake made from an FSU camera and my two remaining brain cells arced and made a thought. There have been some very pretty Leica Standards in the Show off your Leica I/II/III/LTM Camera thread at Rangefinder Forum. I've been lusting after these elemental cameras that were so clean and simple before Leica cluttered them up by sticking a rangefinder on them. The thought I had was that a Zorki 1 or a Fed 1 would be a good candidate to be made into a Leica Standard clone since the upper rangefinder cover comes off.

This is a Leica Standard. It's very much like the original Leica, which was built from 1925 to 1932. Leica added a rangefinder in 1931 and called that a Leica II but they built a rangefinderless version up to 1950. Most of those were called a Leica Standard.

This is a Zorki 1. The FED 1 and Zorki 1 are like the Leica II, with a removable rangefinder cover unlike my Leica IIIc, which is an integral part of the body. Aki Asahi has coverings for the Zorki 1c and Id so I would use one of those. The #4040 Screwmount Leica Emboss surface leatherette would be very tasteful. The big problem would be covering the shutter speed mechanism on the top deck after removing the rangefinder mechanism.

These two pictures are from Jay Javier's incredible FED-1 & ZORKIJ-1 Survival Site. They show the mechanism that needs to be covered. The round thing with the holes, on the left, supports the accessory shoe and can be removed. The Leica Standard used a dome shaped bell housing to cover this mechanism. That wouldn't be hard for a machinist to turn on a lathe. There would be holes in the top deck after removing the rangefinder mechanism but a little bondo would fill those in. Paint the upper deck and bottom plate black, mount the accessory shoe on the top deck and you have a Leica Standard clone. Put the appropriate viewfinder in the accessory show and start estimating distances, which would not be hard with a 28mm Orion 15 or a 35mm Jupiter 12. Or you could put on a Voigtlander 25/4 with the focusing click-stops. Even a 50mm Industar-50 is not that hard to estimate focus with when you are stopped down.

Someone at Rangefinder Forum point out that someone had already done it. This is a Russian fake Leica Standard made from a Zorki 1d. I don't know why they gold plated everything. What I had in mind would be much like this, minus the gold plate and the 50mm viewfinder. I would paint the shutter mechanism bell housing black and leave the knobs chrome. With a black Jupiter 12 on it I would have a very nice street shooter. Anyone have a Zorki 1 with a bad rangefinder and good shutter they want to sell at a reasonable price?

Some people who are enjoying using a Leica Standard: Leica Purity: The Leica Standard (1934)

As the Leica I (C) is nearly identical to the "Standard Leica," both camera models are presented together.


History of the Screw Mount Leicas


My friend Blaine send me a suggestion for an alternative to the Zorki Standard. He suggested a Zarya.

It's a FED 2 without a rangefinder and just a 50mm viewfinder. It's still too big. The Zorki 1 body is quite a bit smaller and the viewfinder on the Zarya adds extra bulk and, with a wideangle viewfinder, quite a bit extra height.

Another option I thought of was the modern Voigtlander Bessa L. Stephen Gandy doesn't seem to have any more of his $69 specials, but you can find them on eBay for under $100. It's a great camera with TTL metering and a modern shutter. Again, it's much larger than the Zorki and, this is the show stopper, it won't take the two of the lenses that I want to use on it: the 35mm Jupiter 12 and 50mm Industar-50. Onward. I will not be swayed in my search!