Leica III regular D.R.P. Camera
The Leica III regular D.R.P. rangefinder camera (FED copy) can produced truly excellent images. The gold coloured rangefinder camera were made and sold for their cosmetic value more than their picture taking ability.
- One (1) Leica III regular D.R.P. rangefinder Camera (FED copy)
- One (1) Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 collapseable lens & lens cap
- One (1) FED leather case
In 1932, two factories produced Leica II inspired Russian camera: The VOOMP experimental factory, which later became known as GOMZ and even later as LOMO (Leningrad Optical and Mechanical Union) manufactured a Leica copy named Pioneer. In 1934 manufacturing operations were transferred to the firm Zavod Geodesiya that produced the Foto Apparat Geodezia or FAG cameras. Despite ambitious plans, only a small number of cameras were produced in these workshops, and eventually, FED in Kharkov produced the large bulk of Russian Leica copies.
Russian copies were much like many post war Japanese copies such as the Nicca, Chiyoka, Tanack, Canon or even the British copy made by Reid. Altogether, some 300 different cameras have been inspired by or copied Leica miniature cameras. Unlike these postwar English and Japanese copies, which were often very high quality, the early Russian copies were of medium quality.
The Soviet camera industry produced some very fine miniature cameras and lenses. But there is considerable confusion regarding Russian copies Leica cameras. This camera incorporated a built in rangefinder and a collapsing lens and a focal plane shutter. It was a revolutionary design incorporating quality construction, advanced features all in a small size.
Russian 35mm cameras were cheap, sometimes pretty good, often dreadful, but they were never counterfeit Leicas any more than the Canon IVS2 was a counterfeit Leica. The Kiev produced in the Soviet Union may not have been the equal of the prewar Contax II, but it was not named Contax and the cameras were not marked made in Germany. This changed when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russian economy went into free fall.
Still, the camera sometimes looked pretty good, if not genuine Leica quality. In the process of re-manufacturing some of these cameras actually improved in terms of functional quality. Many were torn down and reassembled to better quality than the original camera.
Samples of Leica III D.R.P films
All 35mm films are available from major film company. Various options from Fuji Velvia 50, llford XP2/HP5, Kodak Tri-X/T-Max, etc. Available both in slide and Black & White film.
But the situation is still a little more clouded. Not every gold colored Russian 35mm camera is a counterfeit Leica II. The logic is peculiar but someone has also produced gold colored Fed II cameras as well as later Fed models. Perhaps this workshop was able to change the metal coating but not the engraving. Even the commemorative Zorki of 1973 did not appear in a gold version.
Russian gold cameras are almost always phony duplicates of the pre-war Leica II. Sometimes they are gold colored versions of standard Russian FED cameras, Zorki cameras and, in perhaps one case, there is a legitimate actual gold colored camera, the Fed Micron Half Frame.
After all, many people collect Leica cameras and many other people collect Leica inspired/imitation/copies cameras such as the Japanese Nicca and a wonderful book lists all 300 of the Leica copies.
Leica III regular D.R.P. rangefinder Camera (FED copy)
Gold body Black skin
Industar-22 50mm f/3.5 collapseable
Cameras are refurbished to make it to be in good appearance. Some may have experienced some small signs of wear, but mechanisms and overall condition are good.
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