Shanghai 58

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The Shanghai 58 is a Leica copy made from 1958 by the Shanghai Camera Company (later Seagull). The Shanghai 58-II is an improved model made about a year after the original. The Shanghai models were manufactured over a five-year period.

The 58-II has combined rangefinder and viewfinder, very similar to those found in the rangefinder/viewfinder mechanisms in Canon and FED/Zorki cameras. Comparing the internal mechanisms of the Shanghai 58-II RF/VF will reveal striking similarities, albeit with much simplification, with the Canon III/IV or the FED-2 RF/VF.The RF cam in the camera is patterned after the fixed teardrop cams found in FED-1 cameras, not the roller wheel found in Leica or Canon cameras.

The later versions were made without the strap lugs, and on the last version also the dioptre adjustment was eliminated, all in order to simplify production or perhaps to reduce production costs.

The "58" referred to the year 1958 - the year of the "Great Leap Forward" (大跃进) campaign of the People's Republic of China. The "58" was also used in other Chinese goods from that period, from watches to cars.

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Douglas St Denny has researched thoroughly the Chinese camera production and presented his results in Cameras of the People's Republic of China (1989).


Examples sold at auction: