Leicina Special Movie Camera

By | Apr 15, 2009

dsc_0385-editb
The Leicina Special from Leitz was a no-nonsense super 8mm brick of a camera.

d70_4371-editd70_4372-editd70_4373-edit
It wasn’t a brick because of it’s weight, it was a brick because it was literally shaped like a brick. The camera body was a solid rectangular block of old-skool mechanical cinematography that was all business. Controls along the left side are shutter mode (continuous, single frame, or time exposure), ASA/ISO dial, fps speed (6, 18, 25 and 54 via an high speed button on the top), viewfinder blackout, and focusing aid (ground glass, split screen or grid).

dsc_0385-editdsc_0374-edit
What made it such a fantastic movie camera is one of the things that makes Leica a highly desirable camera: the lens. The Optivaron 6-66mm f/1.8 zoom lens was a sharp optical masterpiece. This particular model of the Optivaron had automatic diaphragm control for auto exposure, and adjustable rate power zoom. The mechanicals for these features was enclosed in a special housing under the base of the lens. Power for the unit was drawn from the camera batteries (5 – 1.5v AA batteries) through contacts in the lens mount.

dsc_0376-edit
Another cool feature of the Leicina is lens interchangeability. The M-mount bayonet allowed other Leica lenses to be attached.

d70_4364-editd70_4361-edit
There were also many different adapters available for the Leicina to use other brands of lenses. Here an old Vivitar 85-205mm Canon FD mount lens is mounted to the Leicina using the Canon/Leica adapter.

dsc_0386-edit
Film was inserted into the camera through a sliding door.

d70_4342-edit
This is the optional ST-1 Electronic Controller. Plugged into a special port on the Leicina camera body, the ST-1 gave the Leicina an intervalometer, sequence timer, sound synch tone generator and remote battery pack.

d70_4374-editd70_4377-editd70_4375-edit
Ergonomics are where the camera’s design suffered. The viewfinder was located at the bottom of the rear of the camera, with the camera operator’s forehead resting on the battery pack just above the viewfinder. It was an odd design characteristic. The handle folds out of the bottom of the camera and is narrow and not very comfortable to hold. It feels too small for the camera. The camera was also pretty noisy when running. It is a very different camera than the likes of those that were coming out of Japan at the time, like the amazing Canon 1014 XL-S. But what the Leicina lacked in ergonomics, it made up for it in image quality. The Optivaron lens, along with several excellent prime (non-zoom) lenses made specifically for the camera, put it a level above most other cameras.


This is some test footage I shot with the Leicina. One thing I noticed right away is how crisp and sharp the images were when compared to the Canon 1014XL-S. Superior optics make the difference.

 

Leitz Leicina Special Super 8 Movie Camera w/ 10mm 1:1,8 Macro-Cinegon

Leitz Leicina Special Super 8 Movie Camera w/ 10mm 1:1,8 Macro-Cinegon
Current price:
$950.00
Ends in:
24d 19h 48m
Seller: eBay

Leica Leitz Leicina 10mm F1.8 Macro-Cinegon Lens with Leica M mount. Box

Leica Leitz Leicina 10mm F1.8 Macro-Cinegon Lens with Leica M mount. Box
Current price:
$550.00
Ends in:
11d 3h 30m
Seller: eBay

@ Leica M mount 1:1.8/10 mm Macro-Cinegon for Leicina

@ Leica M mount 1:1.8/10 mm Macro-Cinegon for Leicina
Current price:
$533.00
Ends in:
20d 23h 41m
Seller: eBay

M 10/1.8 10mm f/1.8 E39 Leica Macro-Cinegon Leicina Leica M mounted Yr.1971

M 10/1.8 10mm f/1.8 E39 Leica Macro-Cinegon Leicina Leica M mounted Yr.1971
Current price:
$540.60
Ends in:
26d 10h 27m
Seller: eBay

Leitz Leicina Macro-Cinegon 10mm/1.8 with caps

Leitz Leicina Macro-Cinegon 10mm/1.8 with caps
Current price:
$395.00
Ends in:
22d 14h 16m
Seller: eBay

Leitz Leicina Macro-Cinegon 10mm/1.8 with a small fungus spot

Leitz Leicina Macro-Cinegon 10mm/1.8 with a small fungus spot
Current price:
$325.00
Ends in:
22d 15h 28m
Seller: eBay

Leicina 8SV with Angenieux 7,5-35mm/1,8, K2 filter adapter and sunshade

Leicina 8SV with Angenieux 7,5-35mm/1,8, K2 filter adapter and sunshade
Current price:
$195.00
Ends in:
22d 14h 43m
Seller: eBay

Leicina 8S with 3 lenses and leather case

Leicina 8S with 3 lenses and leather case
Current price:
$145.00
Ends in:
28d 2h 21m
Seller: eBay
 

You might also like:

New Nikon D700
Blizzard 2010
A Week In Paradise
Oregon Photo Tour
So Long, Kodachrome...For Good 🙁
4 Comments so far
  1. Terry Sine July 11, 2011 7:48 am

    I aquired the exact same camera from my uncles estate. It is in excellent condition, but I have no use for it. Do you know of anyone who may be interested in buying, or trading something for it?

  2. Chris Gavin January 23, 2013 8:47 am

    Thanks for posting all this 🙂 I really would like one of these cameras. They still go for quite silly money though and I can’t risk over-paying for a non-functional model (There are a lot of broken cine cameras being sold these days as ‘untested’ : ( ). I still shoot super 8 film sometimes and have been using Nizo cameras the last few years. I’d really like to experience the reputed stability and sharpness of this Special camera and the changeable lenses could be really interesting.

  3. Gabriel September 27, 2014 10:05 am

    Hello!

    Thanks for a nice introduction. What adapter did You use between the Canon lens and the Leicina? Brand, number etc?

    Kind regards, GAbriel

  4. rcgrabbag September 28, 2014 12:00 pm

    I’m not sure who makes the adapter. It has no manufacturer markings of any kind on it. It only has a sticker that reads ‘Canon – Leicina’.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please fill out the form below.

Name (required)

Email (required)

Website

Comments

© 2002-2015 RC/GrabBag.com

Bad Behavior has blocked 544 access attempts in the last 7 days.