The Leica story
goes all the way back to 1913 when Oskar Barnack, an employee
at Ernst Leitz in Wetzlar, Germany, invented a revolutionary
kind of camera. Small in size, Barnack’s new camera used
the same 35mm film used in the motion picture industry. That
made it much more mobile than its heavy, unwieldy predecessors,
which used large glass photographic dry plates.
This new camera, called the Ur-LEICA, let to development in 1925 of the more advanced LEICA I. The LEICA I earned worldwide popularity, and for years people everywhere referred to the 24mm x 36mm film size as “the Leica format”.
Leica has remained committed to the “small negative, big pictures” concept since Barnack’s first camera. Focusing on 35mm film, Leica continually explored ways to create high-quality images that could be enlarged without noticeable quality degradation. Part of this effort involved crafting camera mechanisms to ever-higher levels of precision. The company’s success in achieving micron-level precision in the rangefinder and viewfinder helped establish the Leica reputation for quality and innovation - a reputation the company still enjoys today.
(Left) A photograph of
Wetzlar, Germany, circa 1914, taken by Oskar Barnack using the
Ur-LEICA he developed. Wetzlar was the birthplace of Ernst Leitz.
(Right) A flood in Wetzlar in 1902, photographed by Oskar Barnack. This famous picture demonstrated the revolutionary mobility of the Leica camera.
Leica Camera AG is known the world over for the superb image rendering its lenses provide. Camera enthusiasts everywhere favor Leica lenses for their fine expressivity and superior resolution, which allows prints to be enlarged without significant quality degradation. Cutting-edge Leica optical technologies have led to innovations such as the achromatic APO lens and the bright F1.2 Noctilux lens. These and many other technical firsts, along with the exquisite image rendering of Leica lenses, have secured the company’s position at the pinnacle of the industry. Behind all this success is an unwavering commitment to the craftsmanship and quality that have been Leica hallmarks since the company’s early days in Wetzlar, Germany.
*Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH. *The Leica DC lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards. *All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.