If you’ve ever thought about adding a rare vintage Leica to your vintage camera collection and missed your chance from our previous features, we come with another heads up. This time, it’s a super rare Leica 72, most likely the most unexpected Leica and the most expensive half-frame camera you’ve never heard of.
The Leica 72 listed by Maryland-based eBay seller schultheiss1 as a “Leica Midland half-frame” is described as being in excellent condition and coming from a private collection. It does look pretty pristine cosmetically, but no other details were provided about the working condition, We suggest getting in touch with the seller to find out as much as you can about this camera, especially since the Buy It Now price is a whopping $12,000.
That also left us curious about what this rare and unique Leica is all about. Since Leitz is not well-known for making half-frame cameras, the few ones they made are extremely valuable today. Sub Club tells us that the Leica 72 is actually the first of these cameras, with only three known other models made. Leitz decided to modify a Leica IIIa in 1948 to convert it into a half-frame camera, with the rest of the features unchanged. It was compatible with 21mm to 135mm lenses. It had no meter and had manual exposure control and shutter speeds of B, 1-1/1000 sec, and coupled rangefinder. These made the Leica 72 not only among the first half-frame cameras but also among the ones with the most features.
One of the key indicators of this Leica, as noted by Pacific Rim Camera, is the 18×24 engraving on the rangefinder cover, just above the serial number. It also has a half-frame brightline in the viewfinder
How rare exactly is this Leica? Only less than 200 units were made — 150 units in Canada (like the one in the listing) and 33 in Germany. Head to the Leica 72 eBay listing if you’re interested and ready to spend a fortune to own one of these super rare half-frame rangefinder models.
Photos from the eBay listing by schultheiss1