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Leica MD-Post favori envoyer Print
Photos by JPG text by JPG. From the collection of JPG
France Version française

Chronology of the Leica brand  New window

Manufactured in Allemagne from 1958 until 0.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 11437

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Leica MD-Post

LEICA POST : HISTORY
 
Any lover of old cameras has at least some knowledge of various Leica families. I do not discuss here the various models, but the image and (or) the reputation attributed to them.
We can distinguish the historical; the aristocrats, the bourgeois, the artistic, the reporters, the adventurers, the scientists, the collectors and the militaries.
The Leicas, especially the rangefinder type, have always been surrounded by an "elitist" aura and even sometimes honorific, which few other cameras can boast. It is certainly no coincidence and all enlightened and impartial amateur, can only admire the quality and finish of these splendid photographic machines.
Elitist? Honorific? Yes, but ...
This is to ignore and forget too quickly the few hundred proletarians Leicas who worked in the shadows, spent a laborious existence, routinely and without glory, without the slightest regard or even consideration and that, up to the total exhaustion of their fine mechanics.
 
 
 
These are the LEICA-POST, whose history is fascinating.
 
The history origin is in Switzerland. In 1933, the Swiss company Alos.AG, specializing in telephone equipment wanted to photograph telephone counters of its customers during the survey of consumption. This process should limit the risk of errors.
To do it, they transform some Leica Standard and test them on the field. Pictures were taken through some sort of a tunnel. The negatives were then read by projection of the films, perfectly recorded during the shoot.
The format was the classic 24 x 36 mm
 
After the Second World War, Alos.Ag modified some models M1 with viewfinder, but without rangefinder> and then, some MD.
Note that a modification of a model Ig to become a "post" was also performed.
With the release of the model MD on the market, several European telephone companies, the "Deutsches Bundest Post" and the Dutch Post, passed contracts with Leitz for the manufacture of a model specially designed for their business. The MD-POST was therefore the first "Post" manufactured by Leitz, based on the MD. That was in 1958.
 
 
 
The MDa replaced the MD in 1967, and was itself replaced by the MD2 in 1977 ... But already in 1975, this technique became obsolete and gradually abandoned.
Note that in France, the PTT (French postal services) awarded the same type of contract to FOCA, which created for that purpose the FOCA-POST.
 
 
 
MD-POST
 
The MD had the huge advantage of not being equipped with a viewfinder or an expensive rangefinder and therefore was much cheaperand more reliable than the other models.
 
In fact, there was not a single model of MD-POST, which was designed and made, but two ... depending on contracts:
 • A "traditional" for 24 x 36mm frames
 • A "special" for 24 x 27mm frames
 
The features that are common to both models are:
 
 • Those of MD:
 o simplified version of the M2 without viewfinder, rangefinder or frame selector lever or timer; especially dedicated to scientific use,
 o Cocking lever,
 o Rewind by simple vertical wheel,
 o Half opening of the back after removal of the base. Abacus on the back reminding the film used,
 o Curtains shutter for speeds from 1 second to 1 / 1000th of a second + B.Flash Sync X.
 
 
 
 • Characteristics Specific to the MD-POST:
 o Speeds selection wheel blocked by a screw fixed close to "B" on the flash sync speed,
 o Front plate painted in matt black with two positioning pins on either side of the lens,
 o Very few copies have a bare back, which does not have abacus;
 o Trigger blocked that can be used only by means of a manual release cable;
 o A metallic silver and black sticker marked "POST 19XX" stuck on the base, is typical of cameras of the German postal services;
 o Summaron lens f 3.5 / 3.5cm (there would have been 1: 2.8 on the latest copies) Special fixed focus type and with a blocked aperture ring by means of a screw, in almost all cases on f / 4.0 position; very rarely f / 4.5. These lenses are also engraved "post" or "post-100 II" (100 for 1cm extension?) Or "post II-20 " similar to "100"! As far as 1: 3.5 is concerned there are at least two variations of engravings of the ring around the lens:
 - (a) Text as a whole in the read direction,
 - (b) Bottom of the text inverted.
 
 
 
Also note that some special ELMAR 65mm were found on MD-POST.
 
 • Some boxes are stamped "POST" in framed yellow letters vertically at left the front plate. This feature will be generalized on all MDa belonging to the German Postal.
 
 • Data specific to the 24 x 36 model:
 o Engravings in the top cover identical to those of the "normal" MD 
 o Normal Frame counter for 40 images (37 in reality for a 36 exposures film)
 
 • Data specific to the 24 x 27 model:
 o Engraving on the top cover "24 x 27 mm" instead of "MD".
 o The size of the figures of the engraving of the serial number can vary.
 o Frame counter for 60 images (55 in reality for a 36 exposures film)
 
 
 • Production
 
 We do not know precisely the number of MD-POST manufactured.
 In fact, officially, a first series of 78 copies was manufactured in 1958
 No: 928 923 to 929 000.
 In this first series, we found both formats 24 x 36 and 24 x 27 , without knowing, alas, the detail.
 Also, I have a copy in 24 x 27 released upstream to 5 numbers from this official numbers: 928918.
 This is certainly one of the very first or perhaps the first MD-POST manufactured.
 Even stranger, I have another 24 x 27, the No. officially that of Ig dated 1960! Its No: 987 544. It appears that a small number of cameras "officially forgotten," have been produced at that time.
 The advantage of this format 24 x 27, is that the "false" are impossible to make since it was carried out only for "post". But this last example shows how it seems unrealistic to have certainty on the actual production of the MD-POST.
 
Next, we find the following official productions as far as 24x36 format is concerned
 
 
 • 1963> 130 units - No: 1,067,871 to 1,068,000
 • 1965> 25 units - No: 1,114,976 to 1,115,000
 • 1966> 72 units - No: 1,141,897 to 1,141,968
 
 
 
GRAND TOTAL:?
 
for the format 24 x 27
• 1966> 32 units - no: 1141969 à 1142000
 
GRAND TOTAL:?
 
I bought one of my three copies in Germany, from a former postman/telephone operator who was not involved in the survey of telephone counters, but who had worked in the service and had "recovered" one of these devices.
He taught me that these cameras "produced" more than forty 36 exposures films per day (6 days out of 7) and that they were returning to Leitz maintenance services, 3 to 4 times during their career, which was about a 5 years period .
 
This gives, for example, considering a 24 x 27: 686,400 photos per year and therefore 3,432,000 photos taken during its 5 years life, without taking into account two or three cocking and triggering before starting to shoot) Such figures, although they are very approximate, do provide an order of magnitude of the work. They are staggering!
 
These proletarian Leica were much less than that ... they just worked like slaves!
 
Yes, the MD-Post are often worn ... and we may understand it! The most significant signs of wear are located at the rewind button. The fingers of operators who rewind films (about 12,500 per year!) have deeply eroded the matt chromium and polished it.
 
One of my specimens has its shutter curtains literally "melted", but the other two work perfectly with their vintage curtains.
What a strength! Especially in the hands of employees for whom this work tool should probably not deserve much attention.
 
Sincerely, except perhaps for the Vaul-Auto (mobilistic) from ROBOT (road radar device), I do not see any device that could withstand such an hellish pace for 5 years of loyal service.
 
Weight: 755 grams with a 1: 3.5 / 3.5cm.
Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post

Leica MD-Post