Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Leica KE-7A: Special edition for the United States Army

Leica KE-7A: Special edition for the United States Army

  All pictures taken with the iPhone X
All pictures taken with the iPhone X

At the weekend I happened call in to Aperture Photographic, a noted haunt for used Leica hunters, in Rathbone Plane, London. I found a special edition M4 that I hadn’t actually handled before, although I had read about it in specialist books such as Dennis Laney’s Leica Collector’s Guide. I’m giving it a mention in case anyone fancies a bit of a flutter. 

The KE-7A version of the M4 was made at E.Leitz Canada specially for the United States Army. Around 500 were produced and a very small number found its way to selected Leica dealers.

On the top plate is inscribed CAMERA STILL PICTURE  KE-7A just in case there was any doubt as to its purpose in life. According to Laney, this model had a “winterised shutter” for operation down to -20 degrees and the body was sealed against dust and dirt. 

The specimen on sale at Aperture is finished in black chrome and is complete with the original 50mm f/2 Elcan lens, a rare item in its own right, which makes the combo far more desirable than the body alone. There is a leather case and box, although the box does not match the camera, and a set of instructions. According to Derek Wilshire at Aperture, the book includes advice on how to destroy the camera to prevent it getting into enemy hands. I didn’t have time to check this, though.

If you are interested, check here to see if it is still in stock. The price tag for the set is £12,900 but a quick search shows that similar cameras have been offered elsewhere at higher prices.




  1. These sets sometimes get sold at auction in their original sealed packages with a brown external wrapper like a delivery company would use. Some auctioneers show an ex ray picture of what is inside. Other auctioneers with a good reputation will know that their customers will take them on trust. Such packages usually sell for a good price. Some collectors may never open the package and just sell them on later, as is. There’s nowt etc…..


  2. Hello Mike,
    Yes, these are rare birds indeed and the one you show also has the military stock numbers engraved on the back of the top plate. This makes it a "real" military issue camera and not the "civilian" version which lacked this engraving. I had one of these in my collection years ago with the Elcan lens. The "civilian" units were the only ones officially sold to dealers, similar to the earlier M2-R cameras.
    I suspected that unissued KE-7A cameras were probably languishing away on the shelves of some US Army Depot, forgotten like the Ark of the Covenant in the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Turned out I was right, as the sealed units William was talking about came out of a US Army depot outside of Philadelphia and were sold at auction by the government. Ironically, my brother in law lived near the depot back in the 80’s, so I probably drove by there numerous times!


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