When the very first Leica (the model was called so - Leica I) was presented in 1925 at the spring Leipzig fair, it failed to even attract worthy attention. A miniature device, by definition, did not interest professional photographers. The era of 35mm film was just beginning, and manufacturers were only taking small steps in that direction.
The German metrology engineer Oskar Barnack stood at the origins of the photography legend. Working in a company Optisches Institut Ernst Leitz (or simply Leitz), he created the same Leica I, which, although not the first in its class, became the first mass-produced 35 mm camera. Name Leica - abbreviations from Leitz Camera ("Leitz chamber").
The very first 35 mm camera was a model introduced in 1908 by the company Lleo & Omens, but did not have any commercial success, and remained only a milestone in the history of photography. The Leica I did not have much success at first either. But only for a while. Within a few years, this camera becomes a kind of benchmark for its class.
| Leica I, 1928 Now such a camera costs about 350,000 euros.
What exactly prompted Barnack to create a camera that used film is not known for certain. According to one of the legends - the high quality of films of that time. Another legend says that the engineer himself was passionate about filming, so the appearance of 35 mm cameras could not pass by his attention.
Barnak lived until 1936, having managed to see the success of his offspring. The developments of the company (only during the lifetime of the engineer 15 models were produced) became the basis for many other, later legendary, brands, such as the Soviet FED and Japanese Canon. cameras Leica of those years is a real museum value, a dream of collectors. Many of them are still carefully stored, still being in working order.
During the Second World War, the main orders came from the forces of the Wehrmacht. Models of those years were produced in small editions and those that managed to survive took their rightful places in private collections and museums. The history of Leica is the history of a magnificent lineup, each of whose representatives was considered almost legendary. Lakes were used by many famous photographers and reporters. Many famous pictures to this day were created with these cameras.
| Such a famous photo of Che Guevara ...
Photographed by Alberto Korda in 1960
In 1986 the name of the company was changed Ernst Leitz GmbH for just Leica. Now it is a conglomerate of three companies: Leica Microsystems GmbH (produces microscopes, is the owner of the brand Leica), Leica Geosystems AG (equipment for surveyors and topographers) and of course Leica Camera AG, which actually produces cameras. However, Leica - these are not only cameras, but also many other products, one way or another related to optics - lenses, projectors, binoculars, various accessories.