The Leica Post is a perfect example of the durability and reliability of the Leica cameras. As some of you know the Leica Post is used by several Post organisations to register the telephone meter readings.
The Post camera is a special Leica 1c, 1f, 1g, MD, MD2, MDa, MDa 24x 27 mm. Also some 8 M6 and M4.2 cameras were adjusted for Post purposes. Apart from the M6 and M4.2 all these cameras lack a viewfinder as they were used for scientific purposes with bellows.
The Post camera differs from the standard 1c, 1f etc. cameras in the following features:
- The MD Post cameras have a fixed focus 35 mm lens. Basically the aperture is fixed but it can be changed with a screwdriver.
- Early 1c and 1f had standard 3,5 cm lenses.
- The shutter can only be operated with a wire release.
- The shutter speed is fixed at 1/60 sec
- On the front of the camera a plate is mounted with knobs. The knobs are used to mount the camera on a special trapezium type housing.
Different types of 35 mm lenses were used, the good old Elmar 1:3.5 3,5 cm, the first version of the Summaron 1:3.5 3,5 cm, the Summaron 1:2.8 35 mm, Summicron 1: 2.0 35 mm.
The camera made photos of banks of telephone meter at a certain point in time. There could be up to 1000 meters in such a bank. With the special knobs on the frontplate the camera was mounted on the trapezium shaped housing. In the housing a circular flash was mounted.
Special document film was used. Mostly they were bought on a big roll and cut rolled in the Leica Film chambers (FILCA). As many as 70 film rolls a day could be used. This means that if the camera lasted 5 years at least some 1 million clicks would have been made.
I have one such Post camera and it shows the hard life it had: on the top plate around the rewind knob the chrome has almost disappeared. Inside the camera the internal plate behind which the film is introduced the black paint has disappeared on the corners, the vulcanite cover disappeared partly and there are many small dents on the camera housing. But still….. it works without hesitation. See pictures.
The telephone billing was based on the foto’s. There must have been quite a lot of procedures around the processing. First of all the planning of the making the pictures must have been quite strict. As there was a lot of manual work to the administrative and photo production process customers didn’t get the bill on the first of a month. But during a month each day different banks of meters had to be processed. The must have been controls to ensure, that all banks had been photographed and that all film rolls were developed correctly and processed. Then the billing department would make the invoices based on the reading of this month minus previous month.
This was quite an organisation for millions of customers every month.
To me such a camera with a real life is worth more than a mint Post camera that has never been used. It shows the Leica quality better than the show models. But it is of course up to yourself to think differently.