The Leotax F

Showa Optical Works Ltd. copy of the Leica II

Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera
Leotax F Camera

An ad for Leotax from Popular Photography of April 1957


Date: 1954-1957
Type: 35mm Rangefinder
Lens Mount: M39
Focus: Manual
Exposure: none built in
Flash: PC Connector on back
Shutter: Horizontal rubberized cloth focal plane
Speeds from 1 sec. to 1/1000th
Frame Rate: Manual lever winding
Battery: none



In 1938 a Japanese engineer named Nakagawa Kenzo set up a company by the name of Kyoei-Sha in Tokyo with a view to manufacturing cameras. At the end of 1938 he renamed the company G.K. Showa Kogaku. Initially it produced folding cameras called the Semi Leotax from about 1940. Check out this link for more information on this camera.

Very early on Showa Kogaku began production of the Leotax 35 mm copy of the Leica II. There were upwards of 20 variations on the basic Leotax made from 1940 thru 1961. Leotax, Nicca and Canon were the major producers of Leica copies and some consider the Leotax the best of them. Total number produced was apparently less than 50,000.

The Leotax was a success and in 1956 it was renamed the Leotax Camera K.K.. From that point on this name appeared on the top plates of these cameras. My copy of the Leotax F has Showa Optical Works Ltd. on the top plate which indicates it was manufactured before 1956.


In the Collection I have the following example:

Collection No.:    C-141

Serial No.:            551247

Condition:           Excellent

Accessories:       Leather Case

Acquisition:        27 Sep 2016 on E-bay

This camera has the heavy solid well made feel of the Leica II. It is apparently fully operational. There is a small amount of corrosion on the top plate and a scuff on the leather on the front right corner. Otherwise the camera is pristine.

The camera came without a lens but the M39 mount is so common I have several lenses that I can use with it. I want to shoot this camera.

Minolta 35 Model II Camera

Leotax F Instruction Manual

Canon LogoThis page is not a review of this Canon equipment but rather a record of an item in my collection. I have no connection with Canon and receive no remuneration nor benefit for this listing. It is for my own use and possibly your enjoyment!.