Leica paper weight dilemma


Mar 1, 2012
In the early 80 's just before buying a Contax 137 SLR I tried out an R system Leica. I found it a
bit outdated and heavy at the time but always thought it a great looker.
I kept the Contax for many years and eventually exchanged it ( and the lovely Zeiss Planar 'T' lens ) for a digital camera.
Roll forward three decades and I was browsing through ebay Italy looking for a vintage watch when one of those irritating pop up's
caught my eye. Being in the UK, buying from Europe = no tax or import duties.
Hello I thought , that's a Leica R series body for sale for a ' Buy it now ' price of £14.00 ($ 23 ). The camera was being sold as repair
only because ' electrics are broken '.
I thought this would make a great novelty paper weight or door stop ( these are heavy camera's ). There were 20 ebay ' watchers'
and I wondered if they were all waiting for a price reduction ? :rolleyes: --- So I pressed the button.
5 days later it arrived and I was surprised how well it had been cared for. The depth of field preview lever was falling off ( I never used them anyway )
and I checked out the electrics which did seem a bit wonky and inconsistent.

View attachment 80586

After giving it a good talking to
I cleaned up the batteries and terminals and actuated the shutter 50 - 60 times and ------ it gradually came back to life !
The focusing screen and mirror look new and are totally unmarked
The viewfinder diodes now move correctly in conjunction with the speeds set on the dial and the available light.
The shutter speed sounds about right for the speed selected.
The light seals look good and have a decent spring to them
All the manual speeds seem correct.
The only way to see if the old girl is functioning correctly is to put a lens on it and load it with film.
I think it's career as a paper weight might be a little premature :redface:
The dilemma is of course ------ Do I buy an old Leica 'R ' lens costing 20 times the price of the ' paperweight ' or is there a sensible alternative ?


View attachment 80587


Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
Good catch!

You have four options on the lens front. Third party (zoom) lenses were produced by Sigma and Angenuix. The Sigma ones were of limited quality. Both they and the Angenuix ones (which were superb in their day) are hard to find now. You may find a Tamron R mount if you search, in which case you could use an Adaptall-2 lens with it.

Or you could look for a 50mm f2 Summicron, which is likely to be the heapest and easiest-to-find "real" Leica option. Personally I would go for the latter - Leica quality is all about the glass after all. Make sure you get a 3-cam, of course. Good luck!

Sent from another Galaxy

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