Incredibly rare Leitz/Leica cameras and collectibles up for auction

Originally published at: Incredibly rare Leitz/Leica cameras and collectibles up for auction | Boing Boing


I have a camera in my phone.

[sent from my iPhone]

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LOVE my old Canon A1 still. But it just sits in its padded pelican case…

I have an idea of how to make a universal adapter to convert film cameras to digital. But obviously don’t have the engineering background to make such a thing.

But think of all the great lens glass just sitting around collecting dust…


I use old lenses with a DSLR camera, and results can be amazing. My favourite is Meyer-Optik Gorlitz 50/1.8 which gives unique bokeh due to it’s 6-bladed aperture. You can buy adapters for pretty much any lens type.


My father was a (semi-) professional photographer for most of his life, and had a couple of Leica bodies for decades.

He’d picked them up when he was stationed in (West) Germany in the late 50’s (he was a company clerk and spent most of his tour typing and driving around Europe in a VW Bug).

He finally sold them in the 90s when he could no longer comfortably see through the (tiny) viewfinders, switching (after much exploration of options – he was kind of a tech nerd…) to a massive Canon with a digital screen nearly the size of my (current) iPhone 12 Mini.


I expect we haven’t seen this in the market for a few reasons:

  • Not really enough old cameras out there with people that want a digital repayment
  • At least once you subtract out all the EOS cameras (just buy a new EOS digital body), and the older FD lenes for pre-EOS bodies can be adapted to EF and used on an EOS body
  • Also subtract out a lot of Nikons that have a similar (if more complex) story
  • In theory you can subtract out people that one specific lenses that can be decently converted to modern Nikon or Canon bodies
  • form factor wise you would have a digital sensor as thin as 35mm film with most of the “logic” (and batteries!) where the film spool lives…could be done, but no digital display that way. You lose most of the instant feedback that makes digital photography nice

So it wouldn’t have a huge potential audience, meaning any non-recurring engendering costs (of which there will be a lot!) get a large portion paid with each unit shipped…and it likely would be nowhere near as nice as a digital body that can mount the old lenses, which I admit only helps interchangeable lens cameras, and only the ones that were popular enough to have a decent ROI on making a good digital body.

…wait isn’t the A1 a FD mount camera? If so you can at least use all those wonderful old lenses with a EOS digital body assuming you can still find a FD to EF adaptor…and looks like Amazon has a lot in the $20 to $30 range that are “full manual”. Apparently it runs more like $300 to get autofocus to work, so depending on what you want, it could be inexpensive or quite costly.


Probably it won´t make you super rich, or even rich, but I think it could be a funny project.


I can’t remember the mount name. They are manual focus lenses, but the camera would set the F-Stop and the shutter speed automatically… I do have an older EOS camera… I forget how many MP it is… but yeah, maybe I should look in to a mount adapter?

I know a long time ago they had an adapter for the manual lenses to work on the auto focus lenses, but it was $$$ then.

ETA - the form factor I thought of - have the sensor mount on a plate where the film would go, which was connected to the computer housed in a film canister sized cylinder, kept in the main housing. The second film area could have house a cylinder for the CR123 battery.

You could shoot it “blind” like a film camera, viewing pics after you take out the SD card, or it would link up to your phone via bluetooth to show the picture you just took.


Have Leica clone, will travel.

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Yes. If you’ve got at least one decent lens, yes.


it’s all about repairs… two of exactly the same thing is a sometimes rarity…
which adds value…

one day there will be two old oil derricks… up for sale…

I have three decent Japanese made Canon lenses. And a “meh, but I don’t care if a paintball hits it” Tamron lens.

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