Tuesday, August 3, 2021

SHERRY KRAUTER : A WORLD-CLASS LEICA MASTER TECHNICIAN REPAIRING SCREWMOUNT, M AND R CAMERAS AND LENSES


By José Manuel Serrano Esparza 


                                                                   

BORN TO REPAIR ANALOGUE LEICA CAMERAS AND LENSES
                                                                  

April 3, 1954. Photokina Köln, the most important photographic fair in the world, has just opened with the spotlight in a new product introduced by Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH : the formidable 24 x 36 mm format Leica M3, the best rangefinder camera ever made (including both analogue and digital era) along with the Nippon Kogaku Nikon SP.
                                                               

From the ground up, the Leica M3 becomes a sensation. It is a masterpiece of optomechanical perfection with an exceptionally bright and brilliant viewfinder and an amazingly quiet and virtually vibration free cloth focal plane shutter boasting extraordinary accuracy, always with an almost inaudible sound and working with an exceedingly short lag of 17 milliseconds between the moment in which the shutter release button is pressed and the beginning of the exposure, a remarkable technical achievement in comparison to usual shutter lags in the range of 80-199 milliseconds inherent to professional reflex cameras that will become widespread from early sixties.

                                                                  
In addition, for the first time, the M3 offers a coincidence rangefinder system integrated inside the viewfinder, which features a great complexity, outstanding precision and parallax corrected bright-line frames for three focal lengths: 50 mm, 90 mm and 135 mm.

As a matter of fact, in terms of global viewing quality, sharpness, brightness and comfort, the combination Leica M3 viewfinder + 50 mm lens will remain unbeaten between 1954 and 2018, surpassing in this regard even the extraordinary optical viewfinder of the analogue Olympus OM-1 from 1972 and the reference-class 0.8x EVF of the mirrorless full frame 24 megapixel digital Leica SL from 2015, to such an extent that the Leica M3 viewfinder coupled to an exceedingly accurate RF enables the photographers to get excellent observation quality, even under the dimmest luminic conditions, thanks to the 0.92x magnification of the viewfinder and a very wide effective RF baselength of 62 mm, as well as making possible to get very accurate focus with 75 and 135 mm lenses more easily than other future M cameras featuring 0.72x VF.

                                                                
The Leica M3 is a truly revolutionary design for the time, built like a tank, with the best noble metals available and a further pivotal trait : a new Leica M bayonet designed and patented by Hugo Wehrenfennig in 1950 (in symbiosis with the Leica M concept created Dr. Ludwig Leitz in the patent Mit Sucher vereinigter Entfernungsmesser of January 25, 1941 and the experimental prototype Leica IV made in 1936 and forerunner of every Leica M camera) together with the lenses created for this system, so a huge worldwide sales success is about to begin, resulting in a total figure of 226,178 Leica M3 cameras produced between 1954 and 1966. 

Meanwhile, at a distance of approximately 6,000 km from Köln (Germany), a 47 days old woman is in New York,

April 3, 1954. Image showing the Ernst Leitz Wetzlar booth during the Photokina Köln 1954. In the middle of the picture, slightly on the left, there´s a glass cabinet with some of the Leica M3 first series units (built after the 65 prototypes built and tested in 1953) presented during the event, while on far right middle area of the image can be seen the first ever original Leica M3 display model hanging on the wall and coupled to a Summarit-M 5 cm f/1.5 lens.
                                                                
alien to everything that is happening in the Photokina, being held between her beloved mother´s arms.

Within time, this woman named Sherry Krauter, who has been born precisely the year in which the best and most representative Leica M camera ever made is presented, will become one of the best Leica Master Technicians in the world and a consummate expert in the repair and CLA of a comprehensive range of screwmount and M Leica cameras and lenses, bringing them a new life.


1976, THE BEGINNING OF A LEGENDARY 42 YEARS PROFESSIONAL CAREER

                                                                   
Sherry Krauter started her professional path in 1976 working for E. Leitz Inc. Rockleigh, New Jersey (United States) after a three years stint as a factory trained Leica specialist. That stage was a turning point in her life, strengthening even more an innate perfectionism which she had already displayed between 1967-1971 when she studied at

                                                                  
the Bronx High School of Science, one of the most selected and prestigious ones in USA, being able to pass the extremely difficult admission test after which only 900 of 30,000 applicants are admitted.

From her childhood, Sherry Krauter had a remarkable manual skill with small things that from early seventies onwards turned into a flabbergasting gift for understanding the working of the host of miniaturized metallic components of Leica cameras and lenses and their complex mechanics.

Top view of the camera body and shutter mechanism of a Leica M2.

It dawned on her that to properly repair Leica cameras and lenses she had to acquire very deep knowledge on every specific model, variations within each model and a myriad of aspects related to the precision mechanic parts

                                                                   
making up each screwmount and Leica M camera ( gears, pinions, levers, cams, bolts, flywheels, springs, metal strips, drums, curtains, etc), in addition to the ones inherent to every lens (diaphragm, focusing helicoid, lubricants, optical elements and groups), without forgetting the viewfinders and rangefinders often made up by more than one hundred pieces. 

In spite of her apparent talent for her trade, Sherry Krauter is a self-made woman who had to turn into an artisan to master her job, because this is a highly technical and specialized professional scope in which any technician has to steadily work within the very narrow tolerances traditionally typical in Leica photographic tools.

                                                                   
                                                                   
You need a learning curve of many decades of very hard work, passion and love for screwmount and Leica M cameras and lenses to get the hang of them and be able to solve any glitch returning the camera as if it were brand new and ready to be flawlessly used for many more decades.

                                                                   

Because screwmount and Leica M analogue cameras and lenses are top-notch products which were designed and built without any programmed obsolescence, to last a lifetime if adequately cared and decades under the most extreme professional environments, with the added bonus that vast majority of times they can be fixed if needed.


CONSOLIDATION FROM EARLY EIGHTIES

By dint of perserverance, courage, very hard work, unwavering wish to learn and an increasingly deep knowledge gleaned from extensive practice, Sherry Krauter began to turn into a world-class expert in fixing all kind of Leica M System photographic gear.

                                                            
And in 1978 she made the decision of setting up Golden Touch Quality Camera Repair, her own firm in New York devoted to it.

Little by little, through strenuous effort, she managed to build and consolidate a trustful clientele of Leica M users appreciating the quality of handcrafted work made with artisan parameters and investing the necessary hours in it, without any hurry, to get the best feasible results as a fundamental keynote making possible to often return the camera or lens in better cosmetic appearance and working condition than they had before being repaired.

And this philosophy and working ethics unswervingly fulfilled by Sherry Krauter throughout her lifetime, significantly paid off from early eighties when se became a recognized international authority in her field, to such an extent that apart from working at E. Leitz Inc. Rockleigh, New Jersey (United States) 

                                                                                                 
she worked for Brandt Optik (Leica Authorized Agency) in Stockholm (Sweden).

Not in vain, she was one of the most significant figures during eighties for the preservation of the Leica M lineage of cameras, after the key role performed by Walter Kluck (Enterprising President of Ernst Leitz Canada in Midland. Ontario and a magician of cost estimating), the man who had saved the M System in 1976 when he convinced Ernst Leitz Wetzlar to transfer the production of the Leica M4-2 to Midland.

Throughout eighties, the competence of superb slr 24 x 36 mm format Japanese cameras clearly dominating the photographic market like the Nikon F3, Nikon F4, Canon F1, Canon F1 New, Olympus OM-3 and Pentax LX was very strong and in mid eighties the only rangefinder camera in production was the Leica M6, but the professionalism of Leica master technicians like Sherry Krauter, Don Goldberg, Reinhold Mueller, Malcolm Taylor, Gerard Wiener, Walter Baumgartner, Dieter Paepke and Claus-Werner Reinhardt proved to be decisive and they fought tooth and nail to offer an excellent repair service to Leica M worldwide users having 

Rangefinder of a Leica M3, the best one ever made and manufactured with top-notch quality glass. It is an optomechanical masterpiece featuring more than 150 individual high-precision parts.
                                                         
rangefinder cameras like the M3, M2, M4, M4-2, MP-4, M6 and others, bearing the brunt of fixing them when necessary and helping to save the M rangefinder breed until the arrival of the analogue rangefinder cameras renaissance with the Konica Hexar RF in 1999, the Voigtländer Bessa R and other models created by Hirofumi Kobayashi with the counselling of Tom Abrahamsson from 2000 onwards, the Leica M7 in 2000, the Zeiss Ikon in 2005 and the subsequent digital rangefinder 24 x 36 mm format cameras consolidation with the Leica M9 in 2009, Leica M Monochrom in 2012 and Leica M10 in 2017.


A VERY COMPREHENSIVE RANGE OF LEICA CAMERAS AND LENSES REPAIR SERVICE

Sherry Krauter offers a top-notch and broad repairing service for Leica cameras and lenses including :

a) Leica M cameras like the Leica M3, Leica M2, Leica M1, Leica M4, Leica M5, Leica CL, Leica M4-2, Leica M4-P, Leica M6, Leica M6 TTL and Leica M7.

b) Leica M lenses like the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 1 (1953-1960), Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 2 (1956-1968), Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 3 (1969-1979), 


                                                                    
Summicron-M 50 mm Version 4 (1979-1994), Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Version 5 (1994-2013), 

                                                                    
Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 non aspherical (1959-2004),
                                                                                                                                      
Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH (2004 until nowadays), Summarit-M 50 mm f/1.5 (1954-1960), Summaron-M 35 mm f/3.5 (1954-1960), Summaron-M 35 mm f/2.8 (1958-1974), Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 (1969-1979), Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 (1979-1996), 

                                                                    
Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH (1996-nowadays), Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 (1960-1995), Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 ASPH (1994-2010), 

                                                                    
Elmarit-M 28 mm f/2.8 Version 3 (1979-1993), Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH (2000-nowadays), Elmarit-M 28 mm f/2.8 ASPH (2006-nowadays), Super-Angulon 21 mm f/4 (1958-1963), Super-Angulon 21 mm f/3.4 (1963-1980), 

                                                                    
Elmarit-M 21 mm f/2.8 (1980-1997), Elmarit-M 21 mm f/2.8 ASPH (1997-2011), Summilux-M 75 mm f/1.4, 

                                                                    
Apo-Summicron-M 75 mm f/2 ASPH, Elmar 90 mm f/4 (1954-1968), Elmar 90 mm f/4 (1964-1968), Elmarit-M 90 mm f/2.8 (1959-1974), Tele-Elmarit-M 90 mm f/2.8 (1964-1974), Tele-Elmarit-M 90 mm f/2.8 (1974-1990), 

                                                                    
Elmarit-M 90 mm f/2.8 (1990-2008), Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 (1957-1979), Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 (1980-1998), 

                                                                    
Apo-Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 ASPH (1998-nowadays), Hektor 135 mm f/4.5 (1954-1960), Elmar 135 mm f/4 (1960-1965), Elmarit-M 135 mm f/2.8 Version 1(1962-1964), Elmarit-M 135 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (1964-1973), 

                                                                    
Apo-Telyt-M 135 mm f/3.4 and others.

This image of a Leica III rangefinder camera clearly depicts the amazing compactness, exceedingly beautiful design and mechanical thoroughness (including the wonderful escapement device of the additional small front dial for 1/2 s, 1/4 s, 1/8 s and 1/20 s slow shutter speeds created by Oskar Barnack in 1933 and visible protruding next to the lens mount) of the Leica screwmount cameras, the smallest 24 x 36 mm format mirrorless cameras ever made hitherto (including both XX Century and XXI one). Suffice it to say that the dimensions and weight of this camera are really tiny : 136 x 39 x 65 mm and 410 g. Besides, in the same way as happens with Leica M rangefinder cameras, the horizontal rubberized cloth focal plane of this camera and the rest of screwmount models delivers a whispering  almost inaudible noise on shooting, a key factor to go unnoticed, because there isn´t any swivelling mirror as in slr or dslr 24 x 36 mm format cameras. Needless to say that the stability on getting pictures handheld with a camera like this becomes a relish for any enthusiast of classical photography, with a further major advantage also shared by its M siblings : an exceedingly short shutter lag of between 12 and 20 ms, clearly outperforming in this regard to superb professional digital photographic cameras of XXI century like the Nikon D800, Nikon D800E, Nikon D850, Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Sony A7 RIII, Sony A9, Olympus EM-1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II, Pen-F, Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5K, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4K, Fujifilm XT-2, X-Pro2, XH-1 and others.
                                                                    
c) Leica screwmount cameras like the Leica II (Model D), Leica III (Model F), 

                                                                  
Leica IIIA (Model G), Leica IIIB, Leica IIIC, Leica IIC, Leica IC, 

                                                                    
Leica IIIF, Leica IIF, Leica IF and Leica IIIG.

d) Screwmount Leica lenses like the Hektor 28 mm f/6.3 (1935-1955), 

                                                                    
Summaron 28 mm f/5.6 (1955-1963), Summaron 35 mm f/3.5 (1946-1960), Summaron 35 mm f/3.5 (1954-1960), Elmar 35 mm f/3.5 (1930-1950), Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 (1924-1961), 


                                                                  
Summar 50 mm f/2 (1933-1940), Summitar 50 mm f/2 (1939-1955),

                                                                   
Summarit 50 mm f/1.5 (1949-1960), Summicron 50 mm screwmount (1953-1963), Elmar 50 mm f/2.8 (1957-1962), Hektor 73 mm f/1.9 (1931-1946), Elmar 90 mm f/4 (1933-1948),

                                                                   
Elmar 90 mm f/4 (1949-1963), Elmarit 90 mm f/2.8 (1959-1963), Hektor 135 mm f/4.5 (1933-1960), Hektor 135 mm f/4.5 (1954-1960), 

                                                                  
Telyt 200 mm f/4.5 (1935-1960) and others.

e) Leicaflex SL and Leicaflex SL2 cameras.

f) Leica R lenses like the Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2 (1987-2009), Summilux-R 80 mm f/1.4 (1980-2009), Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8 (1995-2006), Summicron-R 90 mm f/2 (1970-2000), Apo-Summicron-R 90 mm f/2 (2002-2009), Elmarit-R 90 mm f/2.8 Version 1 (1960-1976), Elmarit-R 90 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (1980-1998), Vario-Elmar-R 80-200 mm f/4 (1996-2009), Macro-Elmarit-R 60 mm f/2.8 (1972-2009), Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 (1993-2009), Elmar-R 180 mm f/4 (1976-1996), Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 Version 1 (1966-1979), Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (1979-1998), Apo-Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 Version 1, Apo-Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (2004-2009), Apo-Telyt-R 180 mm f/3.4 (1975-1998), Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/2.8 (1984-1996), Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2 (1994-2009), Summilux-R 50 mm f/1.4 Version 1 (1970-1998), Summilux-R 50 mm f/1.4 Version 2 (1998-2009), Summicron-R 50 mm f/2 Version 1 (1963-1976), Summicron-R 50 mm f/2 Version 2 (1976-2009), Vario-Elmar-R 28-70 mm f/3.5-4.5 (1990-1997), Vario-Elmarit-R 35-70 mm f/2.8 ASPH (1998-2002), Vario-Elmarit-R 28-90 mm f/2.8-4.5 ASPH (2003-2009), Vario-Elmar-R 21-35 mm f/3.5-4 ASPH, Elmarit-R 19 mm f/2.8 Version 1 (1975-1990), Elmarit-R 19 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (1990-2009), Super-Angulon R 21 mm f/3.4 (1964-1968), Super-Angulon-R 21 mm f/4 (1978-1994), Elmarit-R 24 mm f/2.8 (1974-2006), Elmarit-R 28 mm f/2.8 Version 1 (1970-1992), Elmarit-R 28 mm f/2.8 Version 2 (1993-2009), Summilux-R 35 mm f/1.4 (1984-2009), Summicron-R 35 mm f/2 Version 1 (1958-1977), Summicron-R 35 mm f/2 Version 2 (1977-2009) and others.

A high percentage of these Leica R lenses are still the reference-class objectives in their respective focal lengths and luminosities 



                                                                
and deliver exceptional image quality coupled to both analogue and digital cameras of different formats, having also proved their second to none optomechanical performance in HD and 4K video recording, because very often they have preserved intact their fantastic qualities thanks to their extraordinary entirely mechanical build and the great quality of the glasses used in their optical formula, without forgetting the excellent centering of their optical elements and groups and their silky smooth focusing helicoid which features a longer focus throw than AF dslr lenses (whose focus throw is much shorter and difficult to accurately focus by hand), a very important virtue for videographers, particularly when they work at the widest aperture to get selective focus.

Leica R lenses are gorgeous and the next best thing to cinema lenses that are much more expensive.

Among the most significant repairs made by Sherry Krauter highlight :

- CLA (Cleaning, lubrication and adjusting of all the aforementioned Leica cameras and lenses.
- Stuck aperture rings of lenses.
- Fixing of stiff focus in lenses like the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Dual Range and others.
- Installation of new shutter curtains.
- Correction of any inaccuracy or misalignment in rangefinders, including getting a precise vertical alignment. Sherry Krauter is a highly experienced expert calibrating rangefinders to both horizontal and vertical standards until making them attain very accurate focus.
- Fixing of screwmount, Leica M and R lenses that for any reason don´t focus correctly at infinity.
- Fixing of lenses not performing well at their widest apertures.
- Cleaning of the optical elements and diaphragm of lenses to eliminate foggy, hazy and low contrast areas.
- Restoration work in cameras and lenses, with outstanding optomechanical and cosmetic improvement.
- Fixing of light leaks through the shutter curtains, something frequent in screwmount Leicas (specially around the edges of the curtains).
- Mending and change of shutters.
- Obliteration of any hint of haze in viewfinders.
- Fixing of rough focusing rings not feeling as silky-smooth as they should.
- Fixing of any element separation.
- Meter repairing and fixing of its diodes.
- Fixing of deformed rewind knobs because of accidental droppings on the ground, refurbishing them until enabling the advance again.
- Viewfinders repair.
- Repairing of dents on front lens rings making difficult or impossible to put filters on them. Once fixed, the lenses will have a like new appearance.
- Significant improvement in the smooth working of screwmount and R Leica cameras, which will be higly revamped.
- Fixing of screwmount Leica rangefinder cameras main rollers with badly worn areas, replacing them with new old stock main rollers.
- Cleaning of lenses with spread oil inside the inner elements and the diaphragm blades.
- Fixing of any balsam separation in viewfinders.
- Fixing of any loose or in bad condition cement between optical elements inside a lens barrel.
- Repair of any inaccurate slow speeds both in screwmount and M Leica rangefinder cameras.
- Repair of any inaccurate fast shutter speeds in both screwmount and M Leica rangefinder cameras.
- Fixing of broken aperture rings.
- Fixing of any possible flare in rangefinder patch.
- Restoration of moving, rusty and dirty aperture blades. Sherry Krauter is a reference-class expert in this scope, having even restored very old wonderful black and white images rendering objectives like the Leitz Summarons 3,5 cm f/3.5 lenses suffering from this, repairing them to brand new cosmetic condition and perfect operation at every diaphragm.
- Repair of RF split-beams because of decay.
- Overall recalibration of shutter speeds within factory specifications.
- Removing of any haze covering one or more internal optical elements of a lens.
- Fixing of dull rangefinder prism making precise focus difficult, so they need resilvering or be replaced.
-Updating of eyepieces in Leica M cameras.

Needless to say that all of these repairings are painstakingly made by Sherry Krauter to factory specifications and within the very stringent tolerances traditionally deep rooted in Leica raison d´être. 


THE GREATEST EXPERT ON EARTH IN REPAIRING LEICA M5 AND LEICA CL CAMERAS

As well as being the best Leica Master Technician repair person presently in the world along with Don Goldberg, Ottmar Michaelly, Malcolm Taylor, Gerard Wiener, Walter Baumgartner, Dieter Paepke, Claus-Werner Reinhardt and Gus Lazzari, Sherry Krauter has been by far the most skillful and knowledgeable expert fixing Leica M5 and Leica CL cameras since late seventies.

This is a curious and very interesting aspect of her long professional trajectory of more than forty years, because the Leica M5 is not the favourite camera of most Leica M users, who prefer masterpieces like the Leica M3, M2, M4-P, M6 or M7 as main choices.

But Sherry Krauter has stubbornly defended the status of 

                                                                    
the Leica M5 as a further masterpiece rangefinder camera, in spite of being a breed apart in itself different to the lineage of the rest of M cameras greatly sharing the essential features and design pioneered by the Leica M3 in 1954.

As a matter of fact, Sherry Krauter is a pundit on the Leica M5 (1971-1975) and has a tremendous know-how on this truly very special camera ahead of its time, having delivered a number of lectures and slide projections on it all over the United States hitherto, particularly during the annual meetings of the Leica Historical Society of America, of which she has always been an admired member.

                                                                   
At the moment of its introduction in 1971, the Leica M5 was a highly innovative and revolutionary camera, with unique design traits developed by Leica and used only in this camera, like the overhanging shutter speed dial located directly below the shutter button and that can be easily handled with either the index or middle finger depending on the photographer´s shooter style. This way, his/her hand can remain on the advance lever and shutter button, while simultaneously selecting the shutter speed.

Original Leitz Wetzlar vintage brochure from 1971 of the Leica M5, a futuristic design of camera with which Leica started a new breed boasting spot metering and that anticipated approximately 40 years to its time regarding its outline and appearance of lines), to such an extent that more than four decades later it had a great influence in the design of shapes of the excellent range of Sony Alpha 7 24 x 36 mm digital format mirrorless cameras (particularly in the profiles of the top extreme areas and the rounded contours of the adjacent front right surfaces next to the Sony E- Mount) introduced from October 2013 until now.

Besides, it was the first rangefinder camera with TTL built-in metering, with a CdS cell placed behind the lens (at 8 mm from the shutter curtains), right in the center of the field of view, so there isn´t any hindrance between the lens and the photocell, the latter completely clearing the focal-plane aperture just before the release of the opening curtain.

In addition, the metering type is a 6 % spot (visible through the viewfinder in a metering frame), something really breakthrough for early seventies in a rangefinder camera.




Anyway, the exceptionally quiet shutter and the bright range-viewfinder of the M5 clearly reveal the Leica heritage.  Not in vain, this great camera has successfully been used by great photographers like Patrick Zachmann (for example when he made his reportage " The Walled City " in Kowloon, Hong Kong, in 1988, using a Leica M5 with 35 mm lens and a M4 with a 28 mm lens), Junku Nishimura (a street photographer living in Tokyo and using a Leica M5 to get his black & white pictures oozing a retro style, and others.

Another fundamental departure is the neckstrap attachment, because from the beginning, 35 mm cameras have been held by means of rings on either side of the body, but the Leica M5 has two sturdy strap lugs on the left side of the camera.

                                                           
On its turn, the Leica CL (1973-1976) was launched into market as a very compact and relatively cheap camera able to use M lenses coupled to it and sold with two lenses specially designed for it: the Leitz Summicron-C 40 mm f/2 and the Leitz Elmar-C 90 mm f/4 tele lens.

                                                           
It´s true that its rangefinder featuring a 31.5 mm base (18.9 mm effective base length) and a 0.60x magnification is not obviously adequate to get accurate focus with 135 mm lenses, but it works very well with 21 mm, 24 mm, 28 mm, 35 mm, 40 mm, 50 mm and 75 mm lenses, being possible to get precise focus with a 90 mm lens after a bit effort.

                                                           
This exceedingly compact rangefinder camera, developed in collaboration with Minolta and manufactured in Osaka (Japan) boasted the same TTL CdS exposure meter mounted on a pivoting arm in front of the shutter as the Leica M5.

It features a mechanical vertical-running focal plane shutter with cloth curtains and has viewfinder framelines for 40, 50 mm and 90 mm lenses, with the 40 mm one being always present.

The Leica CL was a remarkable success, with 65,000 units sold.

As well as fulfilling with the Leica M5 and the Leica CL the catalogue of repairs made with the rest of Leica rangefinder cameras, Sherry Krauter offers a top-notch service of modification to replace the original PX 625 1.35 volt mercury oxide batteries used by both of them for modern PX 625 A 1.5 volt alkaline batteries.


SCREWMOUNT, M AND R LEICA LENSES USABLE ON BOTH ANALOGUE AND DIGITAL CAMERAS

Aside from the traditional possibility of using screwmount, M and R Leica lenses coupled to Leica analogue cameras along with black and white and colour films of firms like Kodak, Fuji, Rollei, Ilford, Efke, Adox, Argenti, Bergger, Foma, Ferrania, Kentmere, Kosmo Foto, Orwo and others to develop them in darkroom and subsequently make copies on paper in different sizes with top quality enlargers or high quality scannings from original negatives, the arrival of the amazing digital technology in constant evolution and the extraordinary sensors manufactured by firms like Sony, Canon, Fuji, Cmosis and others, delivering impressive image quality, even at very high ISOS of 6,400 and more, has brought new life to screwmount, M and Leica R lenses, which can be also used through adapters with many different models of professional and advanced amateur 24 x 26 mm format, APS-C format and Micro Four Thirds format digital cameras, getting excellent results, with three main kinds of image aesthetics :

a) Stunning image quality in terms of resolving power and contrast. In this regard, the state-of-the-art and very small and light Leica M modern aspherical lenses (in addition to the superb non aspherical Walter Mandler´s Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Versions 4 and 5) 

                                                                
connected through adapters to flagship digital professional mirrorless cameras like the Sony Alpha 7, Sony Alpha 7II, Sony Alpha 7R, Sony Alpha 7RII, Sony Alpha 7RIII, Sony Alpha 7S, Sony Alpha 7SII, Sony Alpha 9 and others have proved to deliver exceptional image quality in synergy with the reference-class Sony 24 x 36 mm sensors, as well as matching the compactness of these stunning full frame mirrorless digital cameras, so shooting handheld becomes a real treat.




TechArt Pro Leica M to Sony E Autofocus Adapter. This outstanding device turns any manual focus Leica M lens into an autofocus one, both in static and continuous AF modes, as well as improving the nearest focusing distance ablity, on attaching them to Sony A7 II, A7 III, A7RII, A7RIII, A6300, A6500 and A9, hugely expanding the possibilities and using convenience of Leica M lenses, whose extraordinary optomechanical virtues enable them to get excellent result with both analogue and digital cameras, though it isn´t less certain than the fastest AF in existence is the traditional hyperfocal distance technique used by many users of Leica M cameras, whose lenses boast scale of diaphragms and scale of distances.
                                                               
If it wasn´t enough, it is also possible to couple through adapters the Leica M aspherical lenses and the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Versions 4 and 5 to the Fujifilm X series of cameras like the Fujifilm XT-2, X-Pro 2, XH-1 and others featuring excellent X-Trans APS-C format sensors, likewise getting great image quality.




                                                               
And last but not least, it is also feasible to attach those Leica M aspherical lenses and the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Versions 4 and 5 through adapters to Micro Four Thirds top of the line cameras like the Olympus EM-1 Mark II, E-M5 Mark II, Pen-F, Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5K, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4K and many others.

But it is important to bear in mind a further choice able to likewise obtain impressive image quality regarding resolving power and contrast connected to the aforementioned digital cameras of different brands and formats and with a wider range of focal lengths available than the M aspherical lenses: the amazing Leica R lenses, particularly the ones designed and built between 1990 and 2002 during the halcyon years of the Optical Design Department at Leica Camera AG (the best optical and mechanical designing team in the whole history of photography) with Lothar Kölsch (Director), Peter Karbe (currently the best optical designer in the world and then Manager of the Optics Development Department), Sigrun Kammans (a world-class mechanics engineer, who designed the fabulous Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8 lens and is currently the driving force behind many of the Leica Camera AG Sports Division acclaimed products like the Leica Noctivid binoculars, whose colour fidelity and rendition approach the absolute colour neutrality) and Horst Schröder (optical designer creator of the 01 analysis program), among which stand out particularly some lenses which go on being the benchmark in optomechanical quality in their respective focal lengths and luminosities in spite of the approximately 20 years elapsed since they were made : 

                                                                           
Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R 100 mm f/2.8, 

                                                                            
Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 70-180 mm f/2.8, 

                                                                            
Summilux-R 80 mm f/1.4, 

                                                                             
Apo-Summicron-R 90 mm f/2, 

                                                                             
Elmarit-R 19 mm f/2.8 Version 2, 

                                                                             
Apo-Summicron-R 180 mm f/2, 

                                                                              
Apo-Telyt-R 280 mm f/4 and others.

And these top-notch Leica R lenses can also be coupled with adapters from different brands 



                                                                       
to the Canon EOS 5D, EOS 5D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon EOS 5DSR, Canon EOS 5DS, EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS 6D, etc.
And also to the Sony Alpha 7 and 9 full frame series cameras featuring E Mount 



                                                                        
with the corresponding adapters.

b) Non aspherical old screwmount and M lenses delivering very beautiful and unique vintage image aesthetics, like the uncoated 

                                                                        
Leitz Elmar 50 mm f/3.5, 

                                                                        
uncoated Summar 50 mm f/2, 

                                                                        
Summaron 35 mm f/3.5, 

                                                                        
Summarex 85 mm f/1.5, 

                                                                        
Elmar 90 mm f/4 and others. 

These lenses yield very good results with personality of their own in color and even better in black and white photography, for which they were created.

c) Non aspherical Leica M and R lenses with unique image character and delivering superb bokeh at full aperture, like the 

                                                                        
Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 Version 4, 

                                                                        
the Summitar-M 50 mm f/2, 

                                                                        
the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1, 

                                                                        
the Summilux-M 75 mm f/1.4, 

                                                                        
the Summicron-R 90 mm f/2, 

                                                                        
the Apo-Elmarit-R 180 mm f/2.8 and others.

The very special image aesthetics and out of focus rendering delivered by lenses of group b) and c) can´t be emulated with Photoshop, Lightroom or any image software whatsoever, so using them with both analogue and digital cameras is a true relish for any photographer wishin to provide his/her images with a distinctive look.


A LARGE NUMBER OF TECHNICAL FEATS ACCOMPLISHED THROUGHOUT HER 42 YEAR PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Thanks to her huge expertise and proficiency repairing analogue Leica rangefinder cameras, Sherry Krauter has been able to achieve a lot of technical deeds. To name only a few, highlight :

- Repair of the Leica M3 which had been used by the Magnum photographer Kryn Takonis during his coverage of the Algerian War in 1957 and was bought by Elliott Erwitt to Kryn Takonys widow at the Magnum Agency office in New York, subsequently giving it to his son Mischa Erwitt.

This camera was exceedingly battered and worn by professional use in plenty of extreme photographic contexts, so Mischa Erwitt delivered it to Sherry Krauter to make a complete CLA and fix many different things until making it work properly, which she did brilliantly, returning the camera almost brand new, working perfectly at every shutter speed and diaphragm and with all dents flattened.

- Tailor made work for John Botte, a black and white photojournalist of lifetime in New York and author with a Leica M6 of some of the best pictures which were made on September 11, 2001.

Botte is an enthusiast user of Leica M cameras, particularly his beloved Leica M2 with Leicavit and his digital Leica M Monochrom, without forgetting his non aspherical Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1 lens designed by Walter Mandler and whose unique visual feel at full aperture always thrilled this amazing retired NYPD detective and photographer who from scratch entrusted all of the modifications he needed in his Leica M rangefinder cameras to Sherry Krauter, according to his preferences and photographic habits, particularly: 

a) To loose the shutter throw in such a way that it fires away with a very light touch.

b) To put heavier springs on the film advance of his cameras, because he´s always in the core of action and is frequently highly energetic in hand winding.

c) The huge intuition and experience gleaned by Sherry Krauter for a lifetime devoted to her trade, enabled her to synergize the paistakingly created light shutter throw with the weight and inertia of the Leicavit with respect to the camera, optimizing the combination for shooting at slow shutter speeds, very frequent hallmark of John Botte´s pictures oozing impact.

- Installation of a Leica M6J 0.86 x viewfinder and RF into a Leica M3 from 1957 which had been dropped on concrete and whose original rangefinder had been smashed.
This amazing repair stemmed from the tons of experience, ingenuity and vast assortment of resources of Sherry Krauter who had the insight of departing from a previous technical feat accomplished by Peter Karbe in 1993 with the Leica M6J, when he modified Willi Keiner´s Leica M2 0.72x viewfinder, increasing it up to 0.86x, raising the image field in almost a 20% (as well as expanding the rangefinder effective base from 49.9 mm up to 59.1 mm, augmenting the focusing precision with highly luminous primes between 35 and 75 mm shooting at full aperture and with longer focal length lenses at every diaphragm).

- Fixing of the Leica M6 rewind knob of the New York fashion photographer Chad Gayle. It had deformed after falling to the ground because of a loosed strap, so it hampered the film advance. Sherry Krauter repaired that rewind knob and left it looking and working as brand new.


THE SUBJECT OF THE TURNAROUND SPEED

As a general rule, when we speak about classic masterpieces of optomechanical precision like screwmount, M and R Leica cameras and lenses built to last and including a number of tiny metallic and glass components and complex mechanisms, whose repair needs highly qualified professionals with many decades of experience and a craftsmanship working philosophy turning them into a very small group of artisans of XXI Century, making things with parameters comparable to the golden days of Ernst Leitz Wetzlar and Ernst Leitz Canada, it becomes truer than ever the old and wise adage : 

" You can have it done fast or you can have it done well, but you can´t have both well ".

Therefore, always understanding that everybody is free to take his/her cameras and lenses where wished, it seems apparent that to pay a little more for the highest quality level repair work made by Sherry Krauter and the other very few really experts in this professional scope will pay off.

A BROAD SELECTION OF LEICA CAMERAS, LENSES, ENLARGERS AND ACCESSORIES ON SALE

In addition to her activity as a Leica master technician in the scope of repairs, Sherry Krauter has her own store with a lot of screwmount, M and R cameras and lenses on sale, as well as top-notch enlargers like the Leitz Focomat IIC and all kind of accessories.

It becomes a very interesting choice in terms of acquiring Leica gear in flawless working condition and cosmetic appearance, since Sherry Krauter personally checks and makes the integral CLA, unit by unit, of each item, fixing any glitch and spending many hours on it if necessary before putting it on sale.

Prices are a bit higher than with other options like ebay, etc, but the overall trust and confidence in the product operation that you get is second to none, in the same way as the true possibility of enjoying these masterpieces of optomechanical craftsmanship for many years.


It´s no wonder that throughout her very long professional career, Sherry Krauter has even been a special consultant for Leica products of different prestigious auctions along with James Lager (the greatest expert ever on Leica History together with Theo Kisselbach), among them the two milestone iGavel Auctions held in Savannah (Georgia) between November 9-27, 2007




(whose highlights were the Leica M7 Titanium John Botte 9/11 Memorial Camera designed by the New York photojournalist and produced by Leica AG Solms in 2005, the Leica MP 227, and a Noctilux chrome prototype) and February 14-March 5, 2008 (whose focal points were the Leica MP-157, the first Summitar lens 812242 and one of the three prototypes of the camcraft Number 5 motordrives for Leica M2 created by Norman Goldberg, the fastest ones in the world at their time).



For other articles on this blog please click on Blog Archive in the column to the right

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