Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/10/14

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Subject: Re: M6 film winding
From: Thomas Kachadurian <>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 22:56:49 -0400


I talked to you about this winder some time ago. I'm still interested. Is
there a picture of it anywhere. Here's my question. How does it function.
Is the lever on the bottom or does it come off the back. You explained that
you wind from right to left, but holding the camera in your right hand with
your finger on the shutter release and your left hand on the focus tab from
underneath, which hand winds the film? do you pulL back or down?

Do you know anyone who has one in Michigan who might show it to me?

Thanks, Tom

At 10:34 AM 10/14/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Adi, The Leicavit was a filmwinding device designed by Leica for the Leica
>MP. This was a camera aimed at the pro-shooters of the 50's. They made some
>400 of these and continued to make the Leicavit MP for the M2 Leica for some
>years. They also had these for the older screwmount cameras. Unfortunately
>the Leicavits have become highly priced collectables and they are virtually
>impossible to find anymore. They are also somewhat fragile and if they break
>you cant get them repaired. It used a chaindrive and a single action clutch.
>The Vit replaced the regular baseplate and there was a folding lever that you
>pulled from right to left to advance the film and cock the shutter. For those
>of us who are left eye shooters it means that we could shoot without dropping
>the camera from our eye ( left) and not poke the right eye out with the
>regular advance lever. I might be dating myself, but I used to work with
>these cameras in the 60's in Sweden. I did not keep them, which is too bad as
>today I could sell them for enough money to buy a nice car!
> In 1984 my last Leicavit bit the dust and was sold to a collector. I thought
>that the regular power winder for the M4-2 and M4-P Leica would be an
>adequate substitute. It wasn't and still isn't. Frustrated with the lack of
>"left hand film advances" I designed my own version and in 1987 I made the
>first one. Initially it was a project to supply myself with 1/2 dozen for my
>own use, but it caught on and now i make them almost full time. Rather than
>making them from brass ( original Leica design) I have the cases machined
>from a titanium/aluminum alloy and then make and install the drive train for
>the M6/M4-P/M4-2 in them. They weigh about 130 gram and add 14 mm to the
>overall height of the camera. There is no modification to the camera
>required. Some of the early ones were crude, but hey I did not know anything
>about machining and manufacturing when I started. Now they are rather
>sophisticated. Most of my production goes to Japan and Europe and the
>majority of buyers are pro-shooters. It is available in black only ( I have
>made some in a chrome finish and even a red, a green and a deep purple one).
>The price for the standard M6/M4-2/M4-P ones is US$ 425, including shipping.
>For the truly retrograde among us I do make a M2 version also. This one fits
>on the Leica M2/Md and MP and uses a similar drivetrain to the old Leicavit
>MP with the exception that I use a polycarbonate drive belt and a multipin
>clutch( techtalk for a quiet drive and a positive clutch action). Oh, the
>tripod bushing is also centered on my winder.The M2 version is a limited
>production and costs US$ 525 in silver finish ( it is more complex to make,
>thats why the price is higher).
> The operating life of these winders is as yet undetermined, I know of
>several that has 15-20 000 rolls through them. Occasionally i have replaced
>clutches and drives on them, but so far nobody has managed to wear out the
>drivebelt. Production is a one-man operation and right now I am back logged
>for about a month. Sunny weather tends to affect production adversely, but
>Vancouver provides for enough grey skies and rain to keep the delays to a
>manageble level.
>Tom A