Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/11

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Subject: Re: [Leica] LTM vs. M
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 13:29:45 EDT

In a message dated 5/11/02 8:53:34 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 

<< I routinely use a IIIf black dial, often with a collapsible Summicron on 
 it.  The issue with the LTM bodies, I think, is that you must virtually 
 count on having it CLA'd immediately.  R. Mueller in Toronto serviced mine 
 a few years ago, replacing the shutter curtains at the same time.  I was 
 astonished at the difference in the brightness of the VF, the quietness of 
 the shutter, and so on.  It performs as new.  They really are a lot of 
 fun.  I look forward to securing one of Tom A's LTM Rapidwinders, which 
 will make for an awesome little package.
 I now have lived with the prototype "Barnack" winder ( IIIf/IIIc/IIIg) for a 
couple of weeks. This one is completely untreated with insides in gleaming 
alloy and unpainted steel. So far so good! It works very well and except for 
some minor redesigns, it should be ready to go into production this summer. 
One of the reasons for building a prototype is to find out what can go wrong, 
or what needs to be modified. The lever track needs to be slightly longer, 
the lock needs a different disc and the current returns spring is a bit to 
strong, but that's it. Not bad for a first try. The screw-mount Leicas has 
some idiosyncrasies that are specific to them. One is that the shutter can be 
released even when the camera is only cocked halfway. This means that you 
have to pull the trigger until the camera's shutter mechanism stops the 
advance. Or you can end up getting overlapping exposures (this is a function 
of the camera, not of the winder, as you can induce the same effect by 
advancing the film partially with the knob-advance). This is one reason for 
extending the track in the winder slightly to give it a safety margin. The 
lock needs to be redesigned to allow the disc to turn 180 degrees, rather 
than the 90 degrees of the M-Rapidwinder. 
 I have also found out that the Rapidwinder for the LTM is far more sensitive 
to the condition of the cameras advance mechanism than the M6/M7/M2 
Rapidwinders. If the LTM body is stiff or "balky" in the advance, this 
translates into a stiffer leveraction of the winder. I have a small selection 
of IIIf's and IIIc's that are used for testing, a couple are old and cranky, 
and that is immediately noticed when you put the winder on it.
 The "Barnack" winder has a tripod bushing, centered under the lens, rather 
than the offset on the regular baseplate. Physically, it is the same height 
as the top-plate of a IIIf although it looks a bit bigger, mainly due to the 
fact that it is the same height across, whilst the top-plate has all kind of 
different "levels" on it. It is amazing to watch all the stuff that has to 
turn when you advance a IIIf, the shutterspeed dial, the rewind-knob, and 
even the release button rotates. Gears galore inside!
 The LTM really needs the baseplate winder, as it is virtually impossible to 
advance the film without dropping the camera from the eye. Now, the loading 
is another matter altogether! I am already at work designing a replacement 
ABLON filmcutter template for the LTM users. The original ones are now 
overpriced collectibles and I think I can improve upon that design anyway.
 It will still take a couple of month to fine-tune the design of the Barnack 
Rapidwinder, but at least it now exists in the "flesh" so to say and it works 
 The sun is shining and I am now heading out for yet another test-shoot with 
said prototype. Red Dial IIIf with a 25/4 Snap-Shot Skopar on it and Fuji 
ACROS in the camera. The fact that we now can get modern, high-quality lenses 
for our old LTM's is an added bonus too. The little 25/4 Skopar is one of the 
sharpest lenses that I have encountered and it is a perfect match  "tri-pack" 
of portable equipment. A 15/4,5 Heliar, the Snap-Shot 25 or a 21/4 and then a 
50/2 Collapsible Summicron (or the 50/2,5 Color-Skopar) and possibly a 90/4 
or f3,5. The whole package can be carried in pockets rather than in a bag. 
Not a bad way of whiling away a sunny Saturday!
All the best,
Tom A

Tom Abrahamsson
Vancouver, BC
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Replies: Reply from "Mike Durling" <> (Re: [Leica] LTM vs. M)