The Leica Challenge

Discussion in 'Photography chatter' started by billowens, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. I've often said that I will never own a Leica because they're too expensive, to which the response is often, "Well, what if you found one really cheap at a flea market?" My answer has always been that I wouldn't buy it, I'd tell the seller that they'd underpriced a very expensive camera and they should sell it elsewhere to get the full value. If I bought it cheap, I'd feel guilty every time I took it out for the rest of my life.

    Until last week, this was all theoretical. Then I walked into a local antique store where the owner recognizes me as an occasional customer, and he offered that he'd just gotten in a camera that wasn't on display yet, and he thought it was from Germany; he'd paid $30 for it as part of a lot from a house cleanout. From the look of it as he carried it out from the back room I figured it was a Zorki. It was, in fact, a Leica III with a collapsible lens and original leather case. Some goon had scraped the 'Leica' stamp off the top of the camera, right down to the brass, and it was dirty (barely able to see through the rangefinder) but intact and certainly restorable. The shutter wound and fired, the lens focused smoothly, and there was actually film in it.

    He said, "Make me an offer." I think he would have taken $60; that was double his investment, maybe even less. I said, "I can't afford this camera, because it's worth way more than I have to spend." I showed him how it worked, warned about the shutter adjustment, told him how to open the bottom (but didn't) and explained how the rangefinder worked. Told him to go on eBay and see how much they're really worth. And then went home to my nearly-identical Zorki, for which I paid a very fair price and can feel good about using every day! ;)
    Ade and Alex Purcell like this.
  2. You're a better man than I am! Crazy story though.
    Alex Purcell likes this.
  3. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one, but I do love my Zorki's, particularly the '5'

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  4. Obi Col Kenobi and Ade like this.
  5. @moroseduck I was thinking of your £1 Lomo LCA when I read this. You didn't even flinch!

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  6. Yeah, but that was at a camera store - they knew (or should have) how much it was worth. I bought a couple of perfectly functional Olympus Trip 35s at a camera store for $10 each because they didn't want to price anything with a selenium light meter as regular sales for which they would offer a guarantee.

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