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1939 Leitz Leica II with Elmar lens

The Leitz Leica II is a classic prewar 35mm camera. It was first introduced in 1932 and featured a coupled rangefinder and accepted interchangeable lenses. A few years later it changed from its initial basic black paint scheme and evolved into a more expensive luxury version which featured a fine satin chrome. The Leica II and III were produced in various models until the late 1950’s. Historically important, early Leitz Leica, Zeiss-Ikon Contax and Retina rangefinder cameras were instrumental in establishing the relevance of 35mm photography. The result was that these superb little cameras and were literally taken to every mountaintop and war zone on the planet. Today a well-maintained Leica II is still a joy to use. I have owned and used many fine cameras over the years, but the elegant little Leica remains at the top of my list of the most enjoyable cameras of all time.

The photos below were taken with a 1939 Leica II which we had the pleasure of servicing and selling. The owner hails from the USA and he was kind enough to share his photos with us. Thanks Oliver!  Photos: Copyright 2024 Oliver Waite. All rights reserved.

Photos 1, 2, 3 were produced with an uncoated 3.5/50mm Leitz elmar lens on Kodak 200 color print. They were taken in Hollywood. The police officer’s reaction to being photographed by this cute little camera is typical and many subjects react very positively to it. When using it be prepared to have lots of people ask what it is!

Photos 4 & 5 were taken with a 1950’s era 135mm Nikon screw mount lens. The film in the owner’s words  “...was some horrible 100 speed probably expired Shanghai brand film.  I find it too grainy.”  

Photos 6, 7, 8 - b&w was on Kodak T Max 400, Color was on Portia 400

Photo 9 was on Kodak Tmax 400