Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Mr Jones, Josef Stalin and a “Leica” screw-mount

Mr Jones, Josef Stalin and a “Leica” screw-mount

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This is one film I am looking forward to seeing. The theme is right up my street — 20th-century history, the cold war and a well-crafted denunciation of the evils of communism. There’s also a (tenuous) Leica connection, which is just the icing on the cake.

Mr Jones stars James Norton, he of the television series Grantchester, and there’s a special place for a Leica screw-mount camera, possibly a Model II which was made between 1932 and 1948. But readers (including William Fagan no doubt) will be able to narrow it down to the month it was made and the identity of the craftsman who adjusted the rangefinder before despatch. (See comment below, it’s a FED 1)

I’m obliged to reader Mike M who send me the link this morning.

Whenever there is a film featuring a vintage Leica I just have to go to see, half in the hope of finding a colossal faux pas, but in this instance, the camera appears to be entirely in its period. Here is the trailer in full. It offers a very brief and tantalising shot of the camera. If any dealer reading loaned the actual camera for the film, please let us know.

See what you can make of it.

UPDATE: I knew William Fagan would know. According to him, this is not a Leica but a Russian copy, the FED 1. Still worth watching, I imagine…..

7 COMMENTS

  1. No Leica, but a FED I copy of the Leica II Model D. This FED camera was produced in large numbers between the mid 1930s and the mid 1950s. More interesting, perhaps, is connection between the chap who started all this and also the body that eventually became the KGB. There are also interesting stories about the commune that produced the early cameras. Very early FED Is can sell for very large amounts of money these days. This is not one of them, alas.

    William

  2. Yes, I’ve got one of these FEDs in the cupboard – works OK and is nice and dinky. And a recent version called the ‘Siberia’ which has bigger knobs (wind-on, rewind, focusing, etc) to be used with gloves on in cold weather (..a bit like the moon Hasselblads!)

  3. For precision this camera is Fed 1S. The S model built in a batch of 3000 units only was updated with 1/1000 sec. and Fed 5omm f1:2 lens that adopted Sonnar f 1:2 lens scheme. Look at the large front lens in the image.
    The 1/1000 sec shutter speed is a fake speed, it is no more than 1/600 sec due to different from Leica internal speed selector system.
    These cameras were considered a Top Class Fed and in any case were best assembled than common Fed 1.
    I’m a Fed collector and camera repairman, I have two of them.

    • Thanks for the detail. It’s good to have all this information that obviously escaped me when I was writing the article. It’s a testament to the readership of Macfilos that we have so many experts to help on any issue such as this. I will go to see the film and probably enjoy it even more now I have chapter and verse on the camera.

    • Thanks Philip. Please send it to Mike who will forward it to me. A friend and I have together about 12 of the 100 or so Grubb lenses known to exist. They much more rare than Leica lenses, but not near as valuable as the most rare Leica lenses. When used with modern digital cameras on a bellows they can produce superb image quality even though they are over 150 years old. I have a project to use my smallest Grubb lens on an old style wooden camera with 5×4 film.

      William

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