Skip to main content

Chaika Leica

Well, here's a Chaika 2M that I bought from Alex Helios via Instagram. 

It's a great full manual viewfinder half-frame camera. The wheel on the top is for shutter time selection, from B to 1/30th to 1/250th of a second. The square button on the front right of the camera is the release/exposure.

The lens mounted on the camera in the picture is not the original Industar-69. The Chaika is a rare model compact camera since the prime lens is detachable. What is more is that it has M39 screw mount. But - like with the Paxette M39 system - you can't get focus with a lens from another M39 system.

Unless you adapt the lens or - in this case - the camera (mount)!

The Chaika mount is easily detached from the body by loosening four screws. If I want to mount the Leica thread mount M39 (LTM) lenses on the Chaika - which is my goal with this mod - I have to add 1.3mm to the mount. That is what is needed to change the camera's flange focal distance (FFD) from Chaika system to LTM system. In this case I use a M39 macro adapter ring. It has the right measurement, if not down to tens of millimeters.

The thingy next to the red-ish patch in the above picture is part of the shutter release mechanism. The mount ring needs to leave room for that, so below you can see how I've removed some of the (obsolete) thread. What isn't visible in this picture is the wiring to the flash socket. I removed it entirely since I never use flash. If you want to keep it you need to make another recess in the mount ring to make room for it and the screw holding it in place next to the shutter release mechanism.

I had to sand down the inner part of the thread to be able to sink the mount into the place of the old one.

Then I had to imitate a recess from the original mount, seen above.


[Update below, two weeks later:]

Once I'd glued the mount in place it did stick out a bit too much. Somewhere in the vicinity of 0.75mm. I thought I'd test it anyway so used the beginning of a roll that I knew I'd expose and develop soon to try the New Chaika.

Below are some very rudimentary scans (enlargement glass held in front of a lens while the negative was held in front of the window).

Note that the scan is blurry in itself. But what is still most evident is the common features of a lens which is mounted too far from the FFD. The first is the lack of infinity focus. Second is the fact that you can see that when focusing for a portrait or group the focus appears closer than intended. See examples in my Paxette experiment here too.

In conclusion I am happy to announce that I've today filed down the mount almost a millimeter so the lenses from now on will focus properly. One important lesson is that the adapted mount has to be filed down from the side facing the body, or the lenses will hit the bottom of the thread mount before the lens body reaches the correct FFD.

Thanks for reading this post! Don't hesitate to comment or check out my Instagram at #ourbooksmalmo. Visit my Etsy shop getOurBooks where there are cameras aplenty to choose from.


Popular posts from this blog

Leaving a House - Departure from My Childhood Home with a Lumix GF2

My father left his house for a much smaller apartment this summer. My and my brother's families helped with some of the transition, and I documented parts of it with my Panasonic Lumix GF2. My father's house was where I grew up - from my 6th to my 19th year. He lived there for 43 years - 1979 to 2022. The light in this house was always amazing. Its situation on a western leaning hillside offers playful beams of light or reflections during every stage of the day. Little brother (me, 49), big brother (52), dad (80). Visit my  Etsy shop  for cameras and related stuff,  the  facebook group  on modding lenses and cameras or my Instagram account  ourbooksmalmo .


A Lomo Smena 8 camera with a faulty shutter. An Olympus Pen F camera. Part of a microscope adapter for the Pen. That's what I started out with. 45 minutes later I had a new lens! Mount The mount came off a microscope adapter. I got the adapter from my first (of two) attempts to buy an Olympus Pen F. There seem to be some unscrupolous ebay sellers around peddling useless Pens with microscope adapted prisms. Luckily - in hindsight - I got a microscope adapter with this first Pen. Which I now trashed when a Lomo Smena 8 without a future landed on my doorstep (figuratively speaking). Conversion / Havoc Smena I only knew the camera as a half-frame camera [Correction - it's a full frame camera!] called Smena 8 and hadn't thought to place it in Lomography-land until I read the name Lomo on the lens when it was already modded. Unwittingly I had tread the tiles of lomo-dom twice in as many weeks, also having put two rolls through a Praktica CX-1 which appears to be Gr