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FED - 'Real' Fake Leica

Created by Vlad on 1/21/2008 11:22:04 AM
Last Edited by Jacques M. on 1/21/2008 11:43:32 AM  
Located in
Still Cameras > Homemade Cameras

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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 21 2008 :  09:09:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Hello,

Postwar Feikas are quite common. But what about prewar ones?
Princelle shows a "real fake Leica" from a Fed 1a (or rather a 1b) in his second edition.

I bought a camera some months ago which could be a prewar fake or a camera made of mixed spares. It has:
- a notched rangefinder window,
- a round cornered top,
- a round rangefinder tip,
- a large speed dial with recess under it,
- a thick leatherette,
- a curious diagonal plate inside, which starts from the second curtain cylinder. Never have seen that before (on very early Fed 1a, perhaps??),
- a bad peeling chrome on the knobs and feathers on the wind and rewind ones...

Has anybody a special knowledge about these prewar fakes? Where were they made? I was said USSR and Poland. How many? With what spares, etc.

I asked Vlad for some help to post some pictures!

Thanks for help.
Amitiés. Jacques.

Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 21 2008 :  10:29:06 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Juhani, I believe Jacques is talking about the fake Leicas modified in the pre-war years.. not the original camera's age.. those are as collectible as the real cameras at this point.. I would love have in the catalog if that is the case with Jacques' camera.

Cheers,
Vlad
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 21 2008 :  12:18:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Well...
Now, the pictures are here. Thanks, Vlad.
This camera needs specialists!
Prewar? Sure. Fed? Perhaps.

In fact, the main question is: "where will I put it on my shelves? with the Leicas or with the Feds?"

Merci. Jacques.

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okynek
759 Posts
Posted - Jan 21 2008 :  11:24:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Somewhere I read story about counterfeiting Leicas from early FEDs by small shop in Krakow (Poland) before and during WWII. Also I read story about German solders that pay to re-engrave FEDs to Leicas during occupation to avoid questions about loyalty. To me hard to believe that camera was produced with fake engraving by FED. During Stalin regime many got to jail to less crime then this. And idea about helping USSR economy by selling few fake Leicas looks silly. Other idea that Leica licensed FED to produce cameras with Leica name does not look realistic as well.
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Aidas Pikiotas
AidasCams
Lithuania
973 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  12:40:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit AidasCams's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm sure, that small amount of early Fed with Leica engravings came from inside of FED TrudKomunna. May be special orders from NKVD, may be the object of fashion, may be just for fun ... I don't know exactly. The problem is that we don't know much about Feds with special engravings. I would like to see the genuine Fed to commemorate "10.000th" or "100.000" productional unit. I'm absolutely sure they came with special engravings. I really hope our friend Viktor Suglob will tell us more about these Feds soon, as he have communicated with few still alive Communards of this period.

Regards,
Aidas
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  07:54:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Hello,

I'm sure of nothing about who built these prewar fakes. I was said first the factory, then Ukrainian or Polish craftsmen... And if some of these rare cameras seem to be 100 per cent conversions from 1a or 1b, I don't know for other ones, including mine.

About that one, you could help me. Those who have a very early 1a (of course, I think to Aidas and Vlad! But not only!), you could unscrew the lens and check if there is this puzzling diagonal plate (see pict. 5) inside the body. If yes, mine is a Fed. If no, the mechanism is of an unknown origin, probably made from mixed parts.

Merci
Jacques.

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  10:19:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sorry Jacques, you are thinking too highly of me, I am a very recent collector (Since May 2007)... The earliest FED I have is a 1b 16000-something... I know Bill, Aidas and Alain have early ones...

Are you talking about a through and through hole in the back of the camera? I know 1A do have them, since a FED collector I know - Alexandr Braslavsky (Germany) was telling me about that particular hole in A series.

Vlad
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  11:43:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Sorry Vlad: I was thinking of Bill and I typed Vlad! As for Alain, I know he doesn't have very early Feds 1a. But surely it's the only old FSU camera he doesn't have!

I don't speak about the hole in the back but about the diagonal plate we can see on the last picture. If the body was right on the picture, this plate would be at the left under the shutter drum (shutter cylinder?).

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  12:54:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ah I see, it's a protective plate that seems to cover the bottom ribbon spool of the shutter curtain... yes the earliest FED 1B #16617 that I have does not have that, the ribbon is exposed. Very interesting.

Vlad.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  1:03:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I sent a query to Alexandr Braslavsky, who I'm sure has some early 1As, he's quite an expert on these early FEDs, we'll see what he says about that.

Vlad.
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 22 2008 :  1:20:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Exactly, Vlad. You're right.

Thanks. Jacques.
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Aidas Pikiotas
AidasCams
Lithuania
973 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 23 2008 :  01:40:28 AM  Show Profile  Visit AidasCams's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Jacques,

Unfortunately my early Fed doesn't have such diagonal plate inside, and the design of rangefinder handle head is a little bit different.


Regards,
Aidas
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James McGee
James McGee
Azerbaijan
192 Posts
Posted - Jan 25 2008 :  1:08:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Jacques, below is an extract from an article by Oscar Fricke with regard to fake Leica's being produced at the Fed Factory.

"While under the administration of the NKVD, the Dzerzhinsky Commune did something which is perhaps unique in the annals of camera history; it copied the Leica in name as well as form. The FED was already a physical copy of the Leica, but some of the cameras were also engraved with the familiar 'Leica' trademark, and some f3·5 lenses were engraved 'Leitz Elmar'. Whatever the motivation, this strange practice persisted over several years, during which an apparently sizeable number of cameras was made. Beyond any shortcomings in workmanship, the give-away features of these cameras was the distinctive FED viewfinder window. The earliest known 'counterfeit Leica' was manufactured in 1936, while the most common year seems to be 1938".

Hope this helps,

Jim.
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  09:31:23 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks to Aidas and Jim: I knew this extract.
What about Bill who owns very early Fed 1a?
I submitted this problem to a Leica specialist site: they think it's not a Leica. Anyway, one cannot mix Feds and Leicas

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  11:16:35 AM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Jacques,
Where are the photos of this camera? I can't find them.

Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  11:32:50 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bill, it's in the entry that is tied to this thread. look above.

Vlad
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  12:57:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Thanks Vlad. Jacques... I am comparing details with my FED-1a and Leica and will tell you more later today... Bill

Regards, Bill

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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  3:09:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Jacques,
In spite of the fact that some Leica people told you the camera was not a Leica, it appears they may be wrong. From comparisons with my early FED-1 cameras and also Leica II cameras, I can not see anything that appears to be FED-1. Here are the details I have looked at:

The shutter cage-box is Leica (as shown in your photo of the inside with bottom off).

The rangefinder cam is Leica.

View of bottom interior is Leica in all respects.

Lens mounting ring with "0" at the top is Leica.

Type of Vulcanite is Leica.

The shutter release collar is not like FED (but not sure what it is like).

Body appears to be completely Leica.

I believe, (but not 100% sure), that I have seen the diagonal plate at the curtain cylinder in a Leica.

The top rangefinder plate is Leica II in all respects (in my opinion). The accessory shoe looks to be Leica.

Below is a photo of a 1934 Leica II in chrome. I believe you can even see that diagonal box in the interior near the cylinder that your camera has.



If you look at the fine details of the exact form of the notched rangefinder window and the other parts of the rangefinder housing on your camera, I believe you will see that they match Leica II from about 1932. Look at the exact shape where the lower rounded section meets the higher section with the windows. However, the serial number of your Leica is listed as a Leica I, so maybe this Leica II top (rangefinder housing) was added by Leica during an upgrade. Or, there is some possibility (but I don't really think so) that the rangefinder housing may be a re-engraved FED top added to a Leica body.

So, that's what I see... but I can be wrong and often I am ;-)





Regards, Bill

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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  4:40:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
oh boy! Like in any good movie there's always a twist in the end...
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  5:03:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello!
Many thanks, Bill. Just what I think and what I told to the Leica specialists!
For those who read French:

http://www.summilux.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=16698&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

But in fact, there is a problem with that camera . It should be black painted and without rangefinder (Leica C, as Bill says). I think that this Leica C was dismantled by a craftsman who added a rangefinder and a cover (in 1932, because of the shape of the cover), stripped the black paint, chromed all that and reingraved it. It would explain why the chrome and the engraving are not so good as Leica's ones. The factory would have done a much better job.

So Vlad, perhaps we will have to wipe this camera from Wiki!

Amitiés. Jacques.
PS: Bill, if you could find where you saw this blasted diagonal plate?
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  5:29:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Maybe so.... I'll remove it if it's not a FED

Thanks,
Vlad.
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Bill Parkinson
nightphoto
USA
1027 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Jan 26 2008 :  5:58:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit nightphoto's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes, Jacques, I think your theory is correct. I don't think this one has anything to do with FED and is some variation, probably by a craftsman, camera shop, etc. as you say.

I have a Leica from this time that does have an early FED rangefinder top on it ( FED top # 4042 / chrome). It is Leica II in every way on the body, except it has the FED rangefinder top and a Leica accessory shoe screwed onto that FED top (where there was once none on the FED top). Even the lens is the original Leitz Elmar.

I have often thought that if you lived in the USSR at that time (1930s) and you had a Leica, when it was broken you could probably either fix it yourself with FED parts, have a craftsman fix it with FED parts, or possibly even take it to the FED Zavod (or Trudkomma) to have it fixed with FED parts.

Jacques, I will tell you if I can remember where I saw the diagonal part, but so far ... no.

Regards, Bill

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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Jan 27 2008 :  12:03:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Thanks Bill.
I own a 1934 Leica too. I suppose it's the right year because of the # lens and the mechanism close to a Leica III: it changed in 1933 even on the II.
But what is strange is the cover (reingraved Leica) and the rangefinder, both coming from Fed. Either a 1934 C Leica whose Russian owner wanted to convert into a II, or a II repaired with Russian spares...

Absolutely OK about the # 63976. It seems to me that I already saw that vulcanite on a A or C, but I'm not sure. As for the diagonal plate, it doesn't exist on my 1932, 1934 and 1936 Leicas.

I stop there. If not the webmaster will say that I'm OT!

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Jacques M.
France
2456 Posts
Posted - Feb 01 2008 :  09:35:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Hi Vlad!
The French Leica specialist site don't answer my questions.
So we may conclude with Bill that this camera is really a pure genuine Leica, as I thought at the beginning of the story.
Thus you could remove it from Wiki. Sob...

Amitiés. Jacques.
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Vladislav Kern
Vlad
USA
4192 Posts
My Collection

Posted - Feb 01 2008 :  11:13:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit Vlad's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jcacques,

I am still waiting for confirmation about this camera from Alexandr Braslavsky, he just got back to Germany today and is supposed to email me with results of his investigation, whether his very early 1A has this plate.. if it does not then the camera will be removed. I did not forget .

Vlad
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