Leica IIc - absolute newbie - Help!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Damian, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. Damian

    Damian Guest

    Hi everyone

    I have this camera which has been in the family for some time, I've
    been told it's the model on the subject. I believe it's not working
    right (stuck shutter), but all the same I've been trying to figure it
    out and can't quite wrap my head around it.

    I don't know anything about photography, I do sporadically use a
    point-and-shoot cheapie and have used a Canon AE-1 a couple times but
    the lack of reflex on the Leica has me puzzled.

    Would anyone care to help me with the steps to follow in order to take
    pictures (very briefly)?

    Thanks a lot in advance, regards

    Damian, Aug 3, 2003
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  2. Damian

    Gordon Moat Guest

    On some of the older Leica cameras, it was tough to adjust shutter speed
    without cocking the shutter. Hard for me to explain, though sometimes it
    may seem stuck, but actually be a function of setting the camera. Rather
    than force it, if you are near a big city, try to find a camera repair
    place, or Leica speciality store.
    It sounds like you are familiar with an SLR, where you look through the
    lens. With a point and shoot, you often just look through a viewfinder.
    Similar to the AE-1, the old Leica IIc has a split image, but it works
    differently. Since you are not looking through the lens, some optics are
    connected to the lens, and move when the focus ring on the lens moves.
    The results of this movement can be seen as a "split" image through the

    A great illustration of this is at:

    <http://www.cosina.co.jp/bessa-t/focus.html> ignore the Japanese writing,
    and look at the images, especially the top left graphic. When two images
    look like one through the finder, then the image is in focus.

    This page shows a Leica II model, and gives a little information:

    <http://www.cameraquest.com/leica2.htm> basically, there is one window
    for focus, and another window that shows you the edges of the image when
    using a 50 mm lens. So one window is focusing, and the other is used to
    compose (frame) your image.

    There was also a later II model, based on the later III model. To be
    really sure which one you have, compare the serial number to this

    One of the tough things on the really old Leica cameras is loading the
    film in the bottom. Once you get the hang of it, it is not so bad, but at
    first this can be a little frustrating. Hopefully, you still have the
    film spool included with the camera.

    This is one area in which words will not do as well as images. Hopefully,
    someone else can come up with a link to show how to load film in these.

    These old cameras are capable of generating some good images. The older
    lenses are often somewhat softer, and more flattering, for people
    photography. I hope you decide to get it cleaned and adjusted, and try a
    few rolls of film through it.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Aug 3, 2003
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  3. Actually on all Leica pre-war models (like the IIc) it is NOT possible
    to set the shutter speed correctly without cocking the shutter since
    the speed dial will be set to correct position only when the shutter
    is cocked.
    ....and hopefully there is a pic showing correct cutting of the film
    trailer on the bottom plate. The normal cut of the film trailer does
    NOT work with the old Leicas, the film will be messed up. You will
    have to cut it in the shape of a wedge. Initial width of the wedge
    should be 1/2 or 1/3 of the film width and it should increase evenly
    up to full width over a length of 10 cm (4 inches).

    Then, pull out the take up spool. There is a lid on the shaft, push
    the film under it and make sure it is fixed there. Now push back the
    take up spool (with the correct side up) together with the film
    cartridge. If you are lucky the film now runs in the small gap between
    shutter and pressure plate. You should check this by cocking the
    shutter, set the dial to B, remove the lens and press the release
    button. You should see the film window entirely covered with film.

    Winfried Buechsenschuetz, Aug 3, 2003
  4. There are a couple of online copies of the manual for some slightly later
    Leica models (If/IIf/IIIf):


    Apart from the stuff about the flash synch and ASA reminder (f-models
    only) and slow speeds (III-series only) nearly everything applies to your

    Printed Leica manual reprints are also available:


    (the 'c, f & g' instructions cover your camera).

    You can use this link to confirm the model you have from its serial


    (or at least the model it started out as - sometimes earlier cameras were

    A lot of information about 'thread mount'/classic Leicas is available
    in the archived discussions of this forum:


    (which is another good place to ask questions).

    Richard Williams, Aug 3, 2003
  5. Damian

    Leicaddict Guest

    Leicaddict, Aug 3, 2003
  6. Damian

    John Miller Guest

    So, what kind of an idiot does it take to spend time frequenting a place
    where he feels that way about the other inmates?
    John Miller, Aug 3, 2003
  7. Damian

    Damian Guest

    I appreciate everyone's help very much. I'll check out those forums
    I've been pointed to as well as the manuals.

    Thanks everyone,

    Damian, Aug 3, 2003

  8. Well, Damian, this camers ia very old. You may want to sell it and get
    a newer Leica, unless it's just for sentimental value.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 3, 2003
  9. Damian

    EDGY01 Guest

    << I believe it's not working
    right (stuck shutter), but all the same I've been trying to figure it
    out and can't quite wrap my head around it. >><BR><BR>

    If you're from the point and shoot generation this will be a rather challenging
    camera to get going with, but you'll love it once you figure it out.

    (1) You have to have the shutter cocked in order to select your shutter speed.
    That model has two shutter controls,--one high speed, and another for the
    lower speed ranges. You'll see this when you know to look for it.

    (2) Loading the older screw thread Leicas can be a bit of a challenge to the
    new people. Sometimes I recommend that you take the lens off the camera first,
    set the shutter to BULB and then, keeping the shutter open, slowly push the new
    film cassette and the take up reel into their respectives ends of the camera.
    Through the shutter opening you will be able to see if the film is seating
    properly or getting hung up on something. If you're flexible with your fingers
    you can keep that shutter depressed as you aid the film into position.

    Keep in mind that there is no meter in that camera so you may want to start
    with the 'Sunny 16" rule which says on the average sunny day (outside pics) you
    should set your aperture at f/16 and your shutter speed closest to the ISO of
    the film you are using. That exposure value is a good starting place for you.
    All film contains information on how to set your camera depending upon lighting
    conditions. With the proliferation of meters in cameras today, most people
    haven't read one of those things in years. Take the time to. There's a lot of
    useful information on the inside of those boxes, or on the enclosed paperwork.

    (3) Focusing is via the rangefinder method. While it may take some getting
    used to, it is a pretty good method and has been around for decades,--much
    longer than the heavier and more complex single-lens-reflex cameras.

    Good luck,--the links provided elsewhere can get you started!

    Dan Lindsay
    Santa Barbara, CA
    EDGY01, Aug 4, 2003
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