Thursday, April 12, 2012


It is common knowledge that the Leica has been copied more often than any other camera and many of these copies are relatively well known.  One of the rather rare and little known copies is the Shanghai 582.

The camera was made for less than two years, from 1958 to 1959, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution when the Chinese government decided to do everything better than the Russians, the Americans and the Germans.  The seven digit serial number was quite misleading since very few of the cameras were made, most of them for government use.

It really wasn’t a bad copy.  It showed an extraordinary amount of hand work.  The f/3.5 collapsible lens was of acceptable quality, and the cloth focal plane shutter still worked smoothly and was reasonably accurate, even years later.

The pictures of the camera were obtained from a member of the Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA) who had the good fortune to see and inspect the camera and to photograph it on a trip to China.

Interesting, to say the least.  But I think I will stick with my Wetzlar and Solms made Leica equipment.

1 comment:

  1. 1958 was the beginning of the "Great Leap Forward" in China when they expressed their desire to overtake Western powers. Cultural Revolution started in 1966.
    I used to have a Shanghai 582 and I was able to take it apart and put back together. Repaired the shutter and it then worked fine.