Leica Copies - Replica & Fake  
    Replica or fake?  
    My local camera shop had a 'copy of a Reid 1 Leica copy' for sale. This was not pretending to be anything other than a replica of a Reid and was priced accordingly. It started life as a FED or Zorki, and was very well done, especially the top plate.  
    These cameras do, I suppose, have some curiosity value, as long as they are properly described. If sold as something they are not then I consider them fakes.  
    As well as genuine replicas, there are currently available a large number of fanciful designs purporting to be Leica copies. They appear regularly on eBay and are usually altered Zorki and FED cameras. They are either offered in various, non-original, finishes (wood, snakeskin etc) or have re-engraved top housings ( Leica, Kriegsmarine, 1936 Olympics etc), or a combination of both. They tend to sell for low prices.  
    A while ago I was offered a black and gold 'Luftwaffe Leica III' for 500 GBP by a stallholder at a collectors fair. I pointed out that the Luftwaffe Leicas were either chrome or gray finish, the serial number was incorrect, the slow speed dial was missing and the camera was actually a FED 1 in disguise. I don't know what he paid for it, but the stallholder was not amused! With a basic knowledge of the original FED and Zorki cameras these 'refurbished' cameras are easy to spot.  
    I have had a number of people e-mailing with information about modified FED/Zorki cameras posing as Leotax, Tanack, Reid and Shanghai models. These were not described as copies or replicas and the people concerned had purchased them as genuine Leica copies, to their cost!  
    Below are pictures of a small selection of replicas/fakes. There are masses of them out there - buyers beware!  

 Fake Leotax & Simlar lens. Sold as a genuine Leotax (I know of three people who bought one).



  Fake Reid, with a genuine Reid 2 (Reid lll Type Il without a slow speed dial) on the right for comparison.   



Fake Shanghai camera. Note the slow speed dial on the genuine Shanghai 58-II to the right. The Shanghai 58-I also has a slow speed dial.



Zorki C in gold with fake Leitz Elmar lens and top plate engraving.



Fake Leica E (Standard) with fake Elmar, based on a FED or Zorki (shutter release button is incorrect and viewfinder does not appear to be 'quite right').