History[ edit ] From the year to the s, the buildings that formed Leica factory were built on Ernst Leitz Street Wetzlar and remained until , when the factory was moved to the city of Solms. The Wetzlar factory was located on the opposite side of the administrative building of and formed a special urban architecture ; it is upstream from the slope of Kalsmunt and forms a structurally attractive graduation from the skyscrapers to the ruins of Kalsmunt Castle. Already in the last decades of the 19th century[ inconsistent ], Ernst Leitz and its production facilities had moved to the slopes of Kalsmunt. In the first years, residential buildings and workshops on the Laufdorfer Weg were still sufficient.
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History[ edit ] From the year to the s, the buildings that formed Leica factory were built on Ernst Leitz Street Wetzlar and remained until , when the factory was moved to the city of Solms.
The Wetzlar factory was located on the opposite side of the administrative building of and formed a special urban architecture ; it is upstream from the slope of Kalsmunt and forms a structurally attractive graduation from the skyscrapers to the ruins of Kalsmunt Castle.
Already in the last decades of the 19th century[ inconsistent ], Ernst Leitz and its production facilities had moved to the slopes of Kalsmunt. In the first years, residential buildings and workshops on the Laufdorfer Weg were still sufficient. It was in the turn of the century, when the production of optical devices expanded so much that it originated the first skyscrapers in the city of Wetzlar.
The first plans of the architect Jean Schmidt in show a brick building on a stone base, which was covered by a sloping roof and a slate roof. The four-story building is divided into six groups of windows, each of which has three windows. Narrow wall patterns and lightly embedded parapets summarize the three lowest floors. The fourth floor is visually separated from the lower part of the building by a very distant cornice. On either side of the central building there was a hip roof that had high ceilings.
Only a few years later, Leitz again demanded the construction of a tall building. After the planning of Jean Schmidt, contractor Robert Schneider built a four-story building in In the ten-axis building, similar to the oldest skyscraper, the lower levels are grouped by pilasters.
The space between the two skyscrapers which originally had been provided with subsequent buildings had to be closed by another building in the early s. Once again, it was Jean Schmidt, who prepared the plans for a first seven-story skyscraper. In , the architect presented a completely revised plan. The plan was now made up of eight floors for Leica production. It was possible to access all the floors through two stairs. The government of the city and the district finally approved a construction of eight floors with a loggia like ninth floor, that later was closed.
Due to the urban landscape that characterized the size of the building, the planning of the district government was initially rejected because of a simple and unsatisfactory exterior design. Even so, the building was built in between the two oldest skyscrapers. In , west of the skyscraper of , a skyscraper of similar construction with nine floors was added.
Intended as a compact camera for landscape photography , particularly during mountain hikes, the Leica was the first practical 35 mm camera that used standard cinema 35 mm film.
The Leica had several model iterations, and in , Barnack convinced his boss, Ernst Leitz II, to make a preproduction series of 31 cameras for the factory and outside photographers to test.
Though the prototypes received mixed reception, Ernst Leitz decided in to produce the camera. Barnack conceived the Leica as a small camera that produced a small negative. To make large photos by enlargement, the "small negative, large picture" concept requires that the camera have high quality lenses that could create well-defined negatives.
Barnack resorted to a Leitz Mikro-Summar The lens has five elements in three groups—the third group being three cemented elements—and was initially named the Leitz Anastigmat. Unlike other triplets, the Leitz Anastigmat has the diaphragm between the first and second elements. The third group was simplified to two cemented elements, which was easier and cheaper to make.
The first of these, Hektor, gave his name to a series of Leica lenses, and the name of the second appeared in the SummaREX. This model has a separate viewfinder showing a reduced image and rangefinder. In the flange to filmplane was standardised to Leitz continued to refine the original design through to The final version, the IIIg, includes a large viewfinder with several framelines.
These models all have a functional combination of circular dials and square windows. Early Leica cameras bear the initials D. This is probably a reference to German patent No. Ernst Leitz II, who began managing the company in , responded to the election of Hitler in by helping Jews to leave Germany, by "assigning" hundreds even if they were not actually employees to overseas sales offices where they were helped to find jobs. The effort intensified after Kristallnacht in , until the borders were closed in September The extent of what came to be known as the " Leica Freedom Train " only became public after his death, well after the war.
However, in , Leitz introduced the Leica M3 , with the new Leica M mount , a bayonet-like lens mount. The new camera also combined the rangefinder and viewfinder into one large, bright viewfinder with a brighter double image in the center. This system also introduced a system of parallax compensation and a new rubberized, reliable, focal-plane shutter.
A number of camera companies built models based on the Leica rangefinder design. The upgraded cameras retained their original serial number. The Leica R8 was entirely designed and manufactured by Leica. The final model was the Leica R9 , which could be fitted with the Digital Module back. Leica was slow to produce an auto-exposure model, and never made a Leica R model that included auto-focusing. The reason given was that "new camera developments have significantly affected the sales of Leica R cameras and lenses resulting in a dramatic decrease in the number sold.
Sadly, therefore, there is no longer an economic basis on which to keep the Leica R-System in the Leica production programme. A coupling released both mirror and shutter to make the exposure. Camera rangefinders are inherently limited in their ability to accurately focus long focal-length lenses and the mirror reflex box permitted much longer length lenses.
Throughout its history, Leitz has been responsible for numerous optical innovations, such as aspherical production lenses, multicoated lenses, and rare earth lenses. Leica lenses for the Visoflex system included focal lengths of 65, rare , , , , , and mm.
In addition, the optical groups of many rangefinder lenses could be removed, and attached to the Visoflex via a system of adapters. The Visoflex system was discontinued in Leica offered a wide range of accessories.
For instance, LTM screwmount lenses were easily usable on M cameras via an adapter. Similarly Visoflex lenses could be used on the Leicaflex and R cameras with an adapter. Furthermore, certain LTM and M rangefinder lenses featured removable optical groups that could mount via adapters on the Visoflex system, thus making them usable as rangefinder or SLR lenses for Visoflex-equipped Screwmount and M rangefinder cameras, as well as being usable on Leicaflex and R cameras.
In , Leica Camera separated from the Leica Group and became a publicly owned company. In , the Leica group was divided into two independent units: Leica Microsystems and Leica Geosystems. The commercial depicts photojournalists in war-torn and politically unstable environments; one of whom takes a photograph of the Tank Man during the Tiananmen Square protests. Following censorship of the Leica brand on Sina Weibo , Leica revoked the commercial and sought to distance themselves from it, claiming the company did not sanction its production.
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