Sociedad Ibero-Americana de la Historia
de la Fotografia Museo Fotográfico y Archivo Historico "Adolfo Alexander"
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Leica M5 Proto
The year was 1963 when it was being developed the LEICAFLEX prototype (see picture down). There were also developed the M5 rangefinder. A “Non Plus Ultra” top elegant rangefinder camera. The first attempt was to use the newly developed Leicaflex body, and use original Leica M4 mechanics. A new speed dial around the lens was proposed and a more accurate focal shutter going to 1/2000 through using of lighter materials in the shutter system. The camera would accept all standard “M” bayonet lenses plus the Elmar and Summicron with Compur shutters. The collar dial couples to the Compur lenses and operate between 1/30 to 1/500, Intended for “X” synchronization from 1 sec to 1/500 sec but not in the 1/1000 1/2000 sec range. Two sych posts intende for “X” and “M”. Each of those Compur lenses must be manually cocked, but fires the normal way through the soft plastic camera firing button. The red marked 1/125 means that Compur lenses are only exchanged with shutter set at this speed. Film rewind is via a crank in the bottom put on operation through its side button, so freeing the camera top for a large and complex rangefinder. Changing of frames and parallax compensation are automatic for each lens used. 21 to 135 (note there is no external shoe for accessory viewfinders). Lens diaphragm, camera speeds and exposure reading could be seen through the viewfinder, while focusing. The exposure meter indicator could be seen through the bottom rectangular window of the ocular.
A special mention should be given to the external exposure meter. But this meter has two cell rectangles. The inner one measures the 90mm lens field and the squared outer ring measures the 21mm wide lens field. the contacts are automatically changed according the objective used, that way, the 35 mm up to 135mm uses the inner cell while the 28mm and 21mm uses the outer rectangular cell. Very ingenious…and complex; unhappily it was not possible serial production of such device.
This is the Leicaflex prototype using the same selenium exposure ,meter described for the M5 Prototype.
And down are the pictures of M5 prototype.
Technical descriptions taken from “Leica - the first 60 Years” Gianni Rogliatti pg 105 (there this same camera has a normal Summicron 2/90) another similar M5 proto with small windows has this same lens.