Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/12/09

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Subject: [Leica] Littman 4x5 single (the Texas Leica)
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Mon, 9 Dec 2002 13:22:21 -0500

So my Littman 4x5 single finally arrived. I will post a more in-depth 
review after I've actually used it rather than shooting tests. It got 
stuck in Canuck customs (as usual) but the whole process was not helped 
by confusion at the sender's end about who he was actually sending it 
to. It was not as well packed as one would have hoped, just nestled in 
noodles, whereas I would always ship something like this double-boxed. 
However it was none the worse for wear as far as I could tell. Mr 
Littman seems like a nice fellow whose metier is not written 
communication, presentation or organisation, but the camera seems well 
put together and as solid as you could expect from a converted polaroid 

The camera is BIGGER than you might think, and the 'instructions' that 
shipped with it are unhelpful in the extreme (since they refer to items 
such as cable release, allen key, spare screws, which did not ship with 
the camera although the instructions imply they do, and refer to allen 
key bolts which on the camera I have are actually screws). However I 
finally figured out how to open up the camera and extend the lens and 
all that.

The biggest external difference from the original folder is the big 
graflok assembly on the back, which does not interfere with handling 
*too* badly, though it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to mount the 
camera on a tripod since the graflok back gets in the way. (I sideways 
mounted one of those square manfrotto plates and with that it clicked 
in and out just fine).

I got mine with the ground glass back, and the first thing I did was to 
check focus at various distances. I was instantly concerned, because it 
seemed to be off by a smidgeon. However after an hour of fiddling and 
rereading the confusing instructions I realised that the split-image 
rangefinder is *very* sensitive to off-axis viewing and you can *only* 
trust the rangefinder when your eye is totally on axis. As far as I 
could tell when I got that right, the focus was near-perfect.

I definitely recommend the ground glass back, by the way.

I then stuck on a couple of grafmatic backs and shot some tests, which 
I have yet to see.

The Ysarex lens does not have a preview lever so the only way to use 
the ground glass is to use a locking cable release and set the shutter 
speed to B.

The camera is really not that much different to handle than something 
like a Speed Graphic, with the one very big exception of the combined 
rangefinder viewfinder window. It really does make a huge difference. I 
can tell that once I get used to this camera it is going to take some 
interesting pictures. Is it worth the money? I think so, since there is 
nothing similar on the market.
- --
Johnny Deadman

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