If you’re any kind of vintage camera gear collector or photography enthusiast, then prepare to go gaga over this extremely rare finding. Chances are, no matter how hardcore of a photographer you are, you’ve probably never laid eyes on this: a Leica camera with a specialty three-lens turret. That’s because only 200 of these bad boys were ever created, and their limited production dates all the way back to the 1940s. A New York-based company called Haber & Fink used to modify many camera models, and one of those was the aforementioned Leica that YM Camera in Youngstown, Ohio just recently and fortuitously acquired.
This is only the 11th known Leica three-lens turret camera that has been discovered, making it quite a rare novelty in the world of cameras and photography. This particular camera was converted by Haber & Fink in 1949, using a Leica III body, a telephoto 9cm f/4 lens, a wide angle 28mm f/6.3 lens and a standard 50mm f/2 lens. The turret was milled from aluminum alloy and secured to a plate attached to the camera body’s base. To operate it, one would have to pull the turret away from the body and rotate it 120 degrees in either direction to toggle between the three different lenses.
Despite its antiquated body and decades of neglect, the camera still functions in all of its retro glory. Two of its lens openings have a groove milled out to accommodate the infinity lock that was present on many 35 and 50mm lenses produced before the 2nd World War. YM Camera’s owner notes that the turret and camera still hold up and work like a charm, noting that all it took was some liberal greasing up of the turret in order to pull and rotate it. However, the real value of this camera is its status as a rare collector’s item. Previous Leica cameras such as this have sold for more than $7,000. Those of you who have that kind of cash and are itching for a truly unique item to possess might want to contact YM Camera fast – who knows when (or if) another one of these cameras will be discovered again anytime soon.
If you’re interested in a much more common, but still exceptional Leica camera, why not rent the Leica Q Digital Camera from Lumoid and try it out for yourself?