Leica IIf Red Dial 1952-53

Tomei Collection


The Leica IIf was introduced in 1951 and was similar to the IIIf that came out a year earlier. The IIf did not have slow speeds (instead the port had a vulcanite covered metal disc) and the accessory shoe was fixed with only two screws. The maximum shutter speed was originally 1/500 sec. but later in 1954 this was increased to 1/1000 sec.  As described by Rogliatti, in the third batch of serial numbers from 611001 to 615000, a new so-called "light weight" shutter design was incorporated having the international progression of speeds. A total of 12,348 red dial IIf cameras were produced with the 1/500 sec maximum shutter speed from 1952 through 1954 as shown here in this example. 


Leitz continued to further develop it product line by introducing a second more moderately priced Leica model a year following the appearance of the IIIf.  Production costs of the IIf were presumably reduced by elimination of the slow shutter speeds and perhaps by slightly modifying the accessory shoe.  Of the 35,091 IIf models produced from 1951 to 1956, about 25% were black dial versions with the older shutter design, and about 35% were built with the new light weight shutter with international standard speeds.  The remaining 40% had the new shutter but with the addition of the 1/1000 speed.  Production was terminated a year before that of the IIIf and If models, implying the this model was not received by the market as well as Leitz had hoped.

There appears to be no fundamental difference between the IIf and the IIIf or If models with regard to the shutter mechanism for either the black dial or red dial versions.  Leitz offered upgrades including addition of 1/1000 speed, slow shutter speeds, as well as a self timer.  Upgrades to the IIf from the Ic and IIc were offered, but notably not from a IIIc since the older design shutter was not interchangeable with the new light weight shutter introduced in 1952. 

The 5 cm f/3.5 Elmar lens shown mounted on the Leica IIf was produced in 1951 and still had the focusing scale engraved on the flange.


This model had a simplified version of the accessory shoe with spring clip secured by two screws as did the IIc. Note that the camera is engraved with the D.R.P. and not the GmbH, changes that had been required by German law beginning some time in 1952 which helps estimate the build date. This may also indicate that the upper housing had been engraved before 1952, the presumed build date of the camera based on the serial number assignment.