Leica Camera

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Leica Camera AG

legal form Corporation
founding 1986
Seat Wetzlar , Germany
  • Matthias Harsch, CEO
Number of employees 1800 (2018)
sales 400 million euros (2018)

The Leica Camera AG ( Leica: abbreviation for Lei tz (specific) Ca mera ) is a German company in the optical industry with headquarters in Wetzlar . The company specializes in the manufacture of cameras and binoculars. The company emerged in 1986 from Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH , the successor company to the Optical Institute founded by Carl Kellner in Wetzlar in 1849 .


Original Leica, 1914
Leica I and rangefinder on a revolving stage

The Optical Institute was founded by Carl Kellner in Wetzlar in 1849 . An expansion took place under Ernst Leitz I , from which the Ernst Leitz Werke emerged in 1869 . The companies initially dealt exclusively with the manufacture of microscopes . From the turn of the 20th century, other optical devices such as binoculars , episcopes and epidiascopes as well as professional film cameras were also manufactured.

In this context, Oskar Barnack , the then head of film camera development at Leitz, considered a miniature camera that could test small strips of the 35 mm film that was common at the time. The main magazine of the large camera no longer had to be opened for the exposure tests required at the time. With this in mind, Barnack constructed two prototypes of a 24 mm × 36 mm snapshot camera for his private hiking excursions in 1914, the only surviving example of which is now called the Ur-Leica .

In 1920 Ernst Leitz II took over the management of the company and in 1924, despite a difficult economic time, decided to mass- produce the Barnack 35mm camera . The Leica (later called Leica I ) was a great, unforeseen success. In line with the success of 35mm photography, the first slide projector ( Uleja ) was developed for 35mm format in 1926 .

The Ernst Leitz GmbH remained in the Second World War spared from damage and was the production after the war immediately resume. After the regional reform in Hesse, the name was changed to Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH , as it was feared that the well-known name of Wetzlar would be lost when Gießen and Wetzlar were merged to form the city ​​of Lahn .

In 1986 the company split into the three independent companies Leica Camera AG, Leica Microsystems GmbH and Leica Geosystems AG. Leica Camera AG moved from Wetzlar to Solms .

In 1987 Ernst Leitz Wetzlar GmbH was taken over by Wild Heerbrugg AG , founded in 1921 . The Wild Leitz Holding AG was created . Just three years later (1990), Wild Leitz Holding AG merged with The Cambridge Instrument Company plc to form the new Leica Holding BV Group. In addition, there are capacities in the areas of microscopes, measurement and photogrammetry systems as well as optical-scientific instruments.

In 1990 the Zett equipment factory (formerly part of the Zeiss-Ikon group of companies ) was incorporated into the group as Leica Projektion GmbH Zett equipment . However, this area was sold again to the Allegra Capital investment company in 2004.

Leica Camera AG was spun off from Leica Holding BV and floated on the stock exchange in 1996. In the same year, Leica Camera AG took over Minox GmbH, Wetzlar. In December 2000 the French luxury goods group Hermès acquired an initial 31.5% stake through a public takeover offer. As a result, Hermès' stake was increased to over 36% and the majority of a convertible bond issued in 2004 was acquired. Minox became independent again in 2001 through a management buyout . The Leica camera system was manufactured in Germany and Portugal. The analog compact cameras were manufactured in Asia. At times there was a collaboration with Minolta and Fuji , today with Panasonic (formerly Matsushita) .

In the spring of 2005, Leica Camera AG made international headlines because of its uncertain financial situation. In September 2006 Hermès sold its stake in Leica Camera AG to the Salzburg holding company ACM Projektentwicklung, owned by the investor Andreas Kaufmann, who had become rich through an inheritance . ACM increased the stake to around 96.5 percent by the end of 2007. Kaufmann invested several dozen million euros in the development of new products and led the company to profitability by 2010.

Headquarters in Wetzlar, the Leica world

In October 2011, the US investment company Blackstone acquired a 44% stake in Leica Camera AG from ACM. Leica Camera AG has not been listed on the stock exchange since October 2012. The majority is still held by Andreas Kaufmann and he continues to lead the supervisory board.

In 2014, the company moved to Wetzlar: Leica Camera and around 600 employees moved into the new company headquarters in Leitz-Park Wetzlar. The Leica world designed by the architects Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg is located on the eastern edge of the city.

At the end of February 2016, the start of a long-term strategic alliance between the Huawei Consumer Business Group and Leica Camera AG was announced. As part of a technology partnership, high-quality smartphone cameras are to be built. Including for the respective flagships Huawei P9 and P10 . At the beginning of April 2016, the first two products of this collaboration were presented, which contain two coupled cameras to improve image quality.

At the beginning of 2018, Huawei presented the P20 Pro, which for the first time includes three cameras that were developed together with Leica.


With the Leica cameras , the 24 mm × 36 mm format established itself . Compared to the otherwise available medium format cameras with roll film or the bulky large format cameras , these could be transported much more easily and deployed more quickly. This advantage was first recognized by an artistic and journalistic avant-garde . A new kind of dynamic reportage photography developed . Leica cameras have been recreated or copied many times around the world. One of the first serious rivals was Zeiss-Ikon with the Contax .

The first Leica Ia had a built-in lens. Very soon, however, the lenses were exchangeable via an interchangeable thread ( screw Leica ); the Leica thus became a system camera . This viewfinder camera with an interchangeable thread was continuously developed until the post-war period.

The "M" series ( Leica M ) has existed since 1954 . The old M39 screw thread connection was replaced by a bayonet . In addition, the "M" has a rangefinder that is used to focus and compose the image at the same time. The latest model in the “M” series now has TTL (flash) exposure metering and automatic aperture control.

The first SLR system camera from Leitz-Wetzlar appeared in 1965. The Leicaflex was initially purely mechanical. Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Leicaflex has been replaced by the "R" series. The Leica R is larger and heavier than the classic (measuring) viewfinder Leica, but offers more automatic functions and convenience as well as a larger range of lenses. With the digital back ("digital module R") presented at Photokina 2004 , the Leica R was the first 35mm hybrid camera that could be operated either analog or digital.

In addition, Leica Camera AG and its predecessors also manufacture or manufacture simpler viewfinder cameras , film cameras , digital cameras , binoculars , spotting scopes and slide projectors .

Leica lenses are considered to be of high optical and mechanical quality. Thanks to a high level of system compatibility, cameras, lenses and accessories from several decades can be combined. There is a large worldwide collector's scene for Leica cameras, for which exclusive special editions are made.

At an auction on March 10, 2018 in the WestLicht gallery in Vienna , a functional Leica prototype, a 0-series Leica from 1923, reached a price of 2.4 million euros. This forerunner of the Leica I is thus the most expensive camera in photo history to date.

Screw Leicas (1914 to 1960)

Leica I, 1927, Leitz Elmar 1: 3.5 F = 5cm lens

From the very beginning, the central idea behind the Leica was to design a compact camera with a 35 mm film format , which was small for the time , and whose negatives were also suitable for larger enlargements. Compared to the large-format box and bellows cameras that were common at the beginning of the last century, the first Leica with 35mm film did indeed look quite modern.

Leica M (since 1954)

Leica M3 chrome with Leica meter M, booster and Elmar lens f = 5 cm 1: 2.8 M39 with M adapter

The Leica M is a model line of photo cameras from the Leitz company , now Leica Camera AG, for the 35mm format. In contrast to the Leica R single-lens reflex system, also manufactured by Leitz , the M-System is a rangefinder camera system .

Leica introduced the M system in 1954 as the successor to the Leica III, so the “ancestral line” of the Leica M goes back to the original Leica conceived by Oskar Barnack . The Leica M gets its significance and its nimbus from the fact that, like its predecessors ("screw-on Leicas") , it was and is used by many important professional photographers, especially in reportage photography , and thus many famous photos of contemporary history with a camera of this type or a previous model.


While lenses were attached to the Leicas with an M-39 screw thread until 1954 , the M-Leicas received a bayonet connection , the M-bayonet . The viewfinder system has been improved compared to the screw-in Leicas, and it received an improved cloth focal plane shutter .

The outstanding feature of the Leica M cameras is their rangefinder . It shows the motif at a fixed magnification, which varies depending on the model. Current Leicas are available with viewfinder magnifications of 0.58x, 0.72x and 0.85x. To focus on the subject, the image is brought into line with the subject in a bright measuring spot. A reflected light frame shows the field of view of the attached lens.

The M-Leica owes its good reputation to the good selection of excellent lenses between 16 and 135 mm focal length. Since the expiry of the patent protection for the M bayonet, M lenses from other manufacturers ( Carl Zeiss , Voigtländer-Cosina , Konica ) have also been available on the market since the early 2000s .


With the Leica IIIf, the classic screw Leica had passed its zenith. While the optical performance of the lenses was beyond any doubt, the camera housing was no longer entirely state-of-the-art. As early as the 1930s, Zeiss Ikon had a superior rangefinder in the Contax II, which combined the viewfinder and rangefinder in one eyepiece. Leitz had indeed been considering a Leica IV with a rangefinder, but these came to a halt when the war broke out. The screw thread for changing the lens was also often felt to be unnecessarily cumbersome, especially since Zeiss Ikon already came up with a bayonet solution here.

Leica M2 in the Technikmuseum Berlin

The M3 was the first M-Leica in 1954. It had a viewfinder magnification of 0.91 times and could display bright-line frames for lenses with a focal length of 50, 90 and 135 mm . Lenses with a shorter focal length required either a viewfinder attachment (the so-called "glasses") or a separate clip-on viewfinder that is plugged into the accessory shoe. In 1958, the M2 was a "slimmed-down" version of the M3 with a lower viewfinder magnification (0.72x) and light frames for 35, 50 and 90 mm. In 1967 the further improved Leica M4 appeared. The M5 was not a great success, although it was the world's first rangefinder camera with exposure metering through the lens (TTL metering). A CdS cell was mounted on a swivel arm in front of the shutter curtain, which was lowered into the bottom of the camera when the shutter button was pressed. Although it was also a technical advance compared to its predecessor, its slightly enlarged dimensions in particular did not make it very popular among photographers and collectors. It was only the M4-2 from 1977 that convinced Leica fans again. The Leica M6, released in 1984, was the second M-Leica, after the M5, to measure exposure through the lens. The photographer was informed of the threat of overexposure or underexposure via LEDs. In 2002, the M7 was the first M-Leica with automatic timing. A little later, with the MP, Leica's concession to tradition appeared, in which less emphasis was placed on modernity through electronic components, but more emphasis on uncompromising manufacturing quality and mechanics. Outwardly and technically, the MP corresponds to an M2 with exposure metering.

Leica M7, MotorDrive M, Summilux 1.4 / 35 mm ASPH

In addition to the models mentioned, there were often special models. For example, the M1 was a version without a rangefinder, the MD and MDa without a viewfinder at all, intended for use with the Visoflex SLR attachment . Versions of the M6 ​​with a titanium housing etc. Ä.

Current models are the 35 mm film cameras Leica M7, Leica MP and Leica MA, as well as the digital models MP, M Monochrom, M (Type 262), MD, M (Type 240) and M10 (as of 2017). Historic M models are among the classics among cameras and achieve collector prices.

In a highly miniaturized form, Leica M models from the company Minox are true to scale as miniature and digital camera versions.

SLR cameras (since 1964)

Leicaflex (1964–1976)

A Leicaflex SL2 with 3 matching lenses
The Leicaflex SL MOT family with motor and 2.8 / 60 mm Macro-Elmarit R.

The Leicaflex was originally designed for outside measurements with a selenium exposure meter, which can be recognized by the sheet metal covering in front of the prism. But this model never came on the market. Leitz decided without further ado to take the outside measurement with a CdS light meter. The pilot series, which was made available to around 200 selected photographers for testing, still had light chrome lenses. This “light” chrome plating influenced the external measurement through reflections, so that the lenses were supplied “black chrome plated” in the series. The new R bayonet (R stands for reflex) has been significantly enlarged in diameter compared to the M bayonet. This gave more freedom for lens design. The shutter enabled the shortest shutter speed of 1/2000 s and was nominally engraved with a flash sync time for electronic flash devices of 1/100 s - effective it was, however, 1/90 s. In 1964, when the first model was launched, this SLR camera was no longer state-of-the-art because it did not have TTL measurement. Its special feature was the very bright viewfinder screen with a fine Fresnel lens, which, however, was not very suitable for long focal lengths and macro shots.

Since Leitz did not have any retrofocus lenses with a large angle of view in its range, a special construction of a symmetrically structured Super-Angulon with 21 mm from Schneider was used. Therefore, a mirror lock-up and an additional viewfinder for this focal length were required. This first Leicaflex was available in a chrome-plated and also in a black lacquered version; the latter is far rarer. A total of 37,500 units were built.

In 1968 the Leicaflex was replaced by the Leicaflex SL with TTL exposure metering. It also offered a selective measurement, which essentially corresponds to a spot measurement with a slightly larger measuring field. This has been a unique selling point of the Leicaflex for years. The housing now showed a clear shape without the original embossing for the selenium light meter for external measurement being recognizable. The appropriate lenses require a so-called 2-cam control in order to be suitable for exposure measurement through the lens. Otherwise it was largely identical to the Leicaflex. The Leicaflex SL was delivered as standard in light or black chrome; only individual copies were painted black. The total production amounts to about 72,000 units, of which just under 1100 were designed for operation with the optionally available SL engine.

With the Leicaflex SL 2 , the last model in the Leicaflex series was presented in 1974. Its main features were a more sensitive exposure meter as well as a modified viewfinder structure with lighting, sectional image rangefinder and a modified mirror for extreme wide-angle lenses. Later a version for use with the motor drive was presented. Even so, at the time of its market launch, the SL 2 was no longer state-of-the-art against competitors who were already busy working on multi-automats. In addition, the production of the SL 2 was so expensive that the housing was pushed onto the market at a loss and the profit had to be made with the lenses. Production ended after only two years and around 25,500 copies, of which in series production in known number ranges 1020 in the "Mot" version. In addition, there are some “post-series models” in small numbers that cannot be assigned to these number ranges.

Leica R (1976-2009)

Leica R4s

In order not to have to give up the growing SLR camera market, Leitz entered into a cooperation with Minolta in the early 1970s, through which Leitz gained access to modern technology such as automatic aperture control. This led to the introduction of the Leica R3 in 1976, with which Leitz had largely made the connection again. Since the late 1990s, today's Leica Camera AG has been developing SLR cameras again independently. In March 2009, the production of the R series was stopped.

From 2005 to 2007 Leica was represented with the second modular digital camera back for 35 mm cameras . This was developed in collaboration with Hasselblad / Imacon. The Leica Digital-Modul-R (DMR) can be attached to Leica R 8 and R 9 35mm cameras instead of the standard rear panel. It has an effective image resolution of approx. 10 million pixels and a format factor of 1.37, so it uses an area of ​​26.3 mm × 17.5 mm of the full small image area 36 mm × 24 mm. It was the world's first digital product to support the innovative and open Adobe DNG format . The Leica DMR was not only to be regarded as a niche product because of its high purchase price, it offered at least for Leica R owners an attractive alternative to generate digital image material with high-quality R lenses .

Leica S (since 2008)

Leica S2

In September 2008, Leica introduced the S series, a completely new digital SLR camera system developed by Leica in Solms, with a sensor size of 45 mm × 30 mm between 35 mm and medium format. The first camera in the series, the S2 (S1 was the name of an earlier digital camera from Leica, see below ) has a CCD sensor from Kodak with 37 million pixels. The Maestro image processor was developed jointly with Fujitsu. According to Leica, the S2 and the matching lenses are to be manufactured in Germany. In October 2012, the successor to the S2, now known only as the Leica S , appeared, which essentially differs from the previous model in terms of a faster processor and a few other details.

Leica analog compact cameras (1988 to 2007)

AF-C (1988-1993)

Leica AF-C1

The first Leica compact cameras were created in collaboration with Minolta (like the Leica CL 1973). The AF-C1 had a two-focal length lens (40 mm / f / 2.8 and 80 mm / f / 5.6), whereby the telephoto focal length was established by switching on a two-fold telephoto converter. The successor ( C2 zoom ), on the other hand, had a real zoom lens (40–90 mm / 1: 3.4–7.7).

mini (1991 to 1997)

The mini series cameras were small 35 mm compact cameras with a plastic housing and an Elmar 35 / 3.5 lens in the style of the competition from Olympus AF-1 and Yashica T 2. They had autofocus, a built-in flash and motorized film transport. The rectangular frame around the lens is characteristic of all minis. The mini was offered from 1988 to 1993, followed by the mini II (1993 to 1998) and the mini III (1996 to 1997). The mini zoom model (1993 to 1997) with a 35–70 mm zoom lens was also offered at the same time .

Z2X (1997 to 2001)

Leica Z2X

The successor to the mini series (and thus cheaper than the minilux series) was the Z2X , where the Z stands for "zoom". The camera also had a 35-70 mm zoom lens and was available in black and silver (as well as in some special color series).

Minilux (1995-2003)

Leica Minilux

The Minilux were small cameras for 35 mm film with a Summarit 40 / 2.4 that could be retracted into the titanium housing of the camera for transport. They were priced well above the mini series. They had a built-in flash, program and time automatic and auto focus. There was also the option of deactivating the autofocus and setting the distance manually, with the AF electronics assisting with light-emitting diodes in the viewfinder. The Minilux models were manufactured by Panasonic in Japan. At times, a variant with a zoom lens was also offered ( minilux zoom (1998–2003) with 35–70 mm zoom). The variant with a fixed focal length was seen on the market as a competitor model to the Contax T2 / T3, while the zoom models aimed at the Contax T-VS.

C (2000-2005)

The C series had a redesigned aluminum housing and was equipped exclusively with high-quality aspherical zoom lenses. The C1 (2000 to 2005) had a 38 105 mm Vario-Elmar, the C2 (2002 to 2005) a slightly less powerful 357-0 mm, and the C3 (2002 to 2005) a 28-80 mm zoom. With the C11 (2000 to 2001), the only Leica for the APS format was offered that had a 23–70 mm zoom (corresponds to 33 to 100 mm small picture).

CM (2003-2007)

Leica CM with Leica lens "Summarit 1: 2.4 / 40 mm"

The CM is a slightly modified successor model to the Minilux. The case is still made of titanium, but looks more classic than that of the Minilux. The 40 / 2.4 "Summarit" was also retained. In addition to the built-in flash, there is now a hot shoe. There was also a variant of the CM with a zoom lens (35–70 mm). Unlike the Minilux, the CM was not produced in Japan, but in Germany. It has not been available since March 2007.

Leica digital compact cameras (since 1998)

Cooperation with Fujifilm - Digilux (1998 to 2001)

Initially, Leica entered into a strategic alliance with Fujifilm . The first Digilux cameras emerged from this partnership in 1998 . The expected high Leica standards have not yet been met by a long way in these early OEM models due to the addition of a more elegant housing and an increased price. The cameras from this series were largely identical to the Fuji models, that is, Leica Digilux , Leica Digilux Zoom and Leica Digilux 4.3 . This partnership was the beginning for Leica in the digital compact camera business.

Cooperation with Panasonic (since 2002)

Leica Digilux 2 with DC Vario-Summicron 1: 2.0–2.4 / 7–22.5
Leica Digilux 3 with extended flash and zoom lens 14–50 mm
Leica D-Lux 6

Leica then found a new partner in Matsushita / Panasonic . Panasonic video cameras and digital compact cameras will be equipped with Leica lenses from this point in time. Leica offers the Digilux, C-Lux, D-Lux and V-Lux series as part of the cooperation.

Digilux (since 2002)

In early 2002, the Leica Digilux 1 appeared as the first result of the new partnership. With this model (design: Achim Heine ), the Leica claim became more clearly visible.

In May 2004 the Digilux 2 came onto the market. This model already sets its own standards in terms of user-friendliness and logical operation. The design of the Digilux 2 is based heavily on the classic Leica M. The built-in lens used in the Digilux 2 represents the most elaborate and high-quality optical construction of all compact digital cameras on the market up to that point. The camera was produced until spring 2006.

At the end of September 2006, the Leica Digilux 3, which is practically identical to the Lumix DMC L 1, was presented at the Photokina in Cologne . It is a stand-alone digital single-lens reflex system from Leica that allows lens changes. It corresponds to the Four Thirds standard , which means that Sigma, Panasonic and Olympus lenses with a Four Thirds bayonet can also be used. The "old" R lenses can also be used on the Digilux 3 via an adapter - but only with a working aperture. The Digilux 3 was no longer presented by Leica at Photokina 2008.

C-Lux (since 2006)
Leica C-Lux (Typ 1546) light gold
Leica C-Lux Midnight-Blue

In 2006 Leica presented the new ultra-compact C-Lux series, which is also largely identical to the Panasonic sister models.

The C-Lux 2 appeared in 2007. It has a 1 / 2.5 ″ CCD image sensor with 7 megapixel resolution, paired with an F = 2.8 to F = 5.6 bright 3.6x zoom of converted 28 to 100 millimeters. It also has an optical image stabilizer (OIS), face recognition and a 2.5 ″ TFT LCD monitor with 207,000 pixels. The Leica C-Lux 2 is available in black and silver.

The C-Lux 3 model appeared in 2008. It has a 1 / 2.3 ″ CCD image sensor with 10 megapixel resolution, paired with an F = 2.8 to F = 5.9 bright five-fold zoom of the equivalent of 25 up to 125 millimeters. It also has an optical image stabilizer (OIS), face recognition, AF and an extended sensitivity of up to ISO 6400. The Leica C-Lux 3 is available in black and white.

The Leica C (Typ 112) appeared in 2013 . It has a 1 / 1.7 ″ CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 12 megapixels, paired with an F = 2 to F = 5.9 light-intensive seven-fold zoom of the equivalent of 28 to 200 millimeters. As the first in the C series, it has a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). Thanks to the collaboration with Panasonic, the latest technologies such as WLAN and NFC were also incorporated into a Leica for the first time in combination. The Leica C is available in the colors dark red and light gold.

The Leica C-Lux (Type 1546) appeared in 2018 . It has an optical 15x zoom with a small image equivalent focal length of 24 to 360 millimeters and a 1 ″ sensor (13.2 × 8.8 mm) with a resolution of 20 megapixels. It also has an electronic viewfinder, touchscreen, Bluetooth and WLAN. The C-Lux is available in the colors midnight blue and light gold.

D-Lux (since 2003)
Leica D-Lux 7

In 2003, the compact Leica D-Lux appeared, which is a modified Panasonic DMC-F1 with styling to match Leica standards . In 2008 the D-Lux 4 appeared , which is largely identical to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 . In 2010 it was replaced by the D-Lux 5 , which is based on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 .

In 2012 the D-Lux 6 was presented at the Photokina . It has an optical 4x zoom with a small image equivalent focal length of 24 to 90 millimeters (light intensity from F = 1.4 to F = 2.3) and a 1 / 1.7 ″ sensor (7.6 mm × 5 , 7 mm), which has 10 megapixel resolution. The 3-inch display has a resolution of 920,000 pixels. The ISO range is from 80 to 12,800. Optional accessories include the Leica EVF3 electronic viewfinder with 1.4 megapixels, a Leica CF22 compact flash unit, a handle and various pockets.

The D-Lux (type 109) was presented at Photokina 2014 . It has a 24–75 mm lens (35 mm equivalent) with a high speed of F = 1.7–2.8 and an optical image stabilizer. Behind it sits a 12 megapixel four-thirds sensor. It is the first D-Lux to have a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), WLAN and NFC. It also records the videos in 4K and has a panorama function.

The Leica D-Lux 7 was introduced in November 2018. It also has a 24–75 mm lens (35 mm equivalent) with a high speed of F = 1.7–2.8 and an optical image stabilizer. Behind it sits a 17 megapixel four-thirds sensor. The screen now has a higher resolution with 1,224,000 pixels and a touchscreen. In addition to the WLAN, there is now Bluetooth for a permanent connection to the smartphone, which allows the use of the smartphone's GPS data. In addition, the D-Lux 7 is the first D-Lux that, according to Leica, is supported by the new "Photos" app. In addition to image transmission, it also allows remote control of the camera including function setting and live image transmission.

V-Lux (since 2007)
Leica V-Lux 5

In 2007 the Leica V-Lux 1 appeared , which is largely identical to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 . It is a so-called bridge camera with a built-in 12x zoom lens Leica DC Vario-Elmarit with a focal length of f = 7.4–88.8 mm (35–420 mm ASPH), which is already built into the Lumix FZ30 was. In 2010 the V-Lux 20 appeared , which is largely identical to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ10 . A Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit 1: 3.3–4.9 / 4.1–49.2 mm ASPH. (25–300 mm) installed. In September 2010 the V-Lux 2 was announced as the successor to the V-Lux 1, which is based on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100 . It offers a 14.1 MP CMOS sensor and the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 2.8–5.2 / 4.5–108 mm ASPH lens. (25-600 mm). At full resolution, the V-Lux 2 can trigger 11 images per second (fps), at reduced resolution (2.8 MP) it is even 60 fps.

The Leica V-Lux 3 released in 2012 is the sister model of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 . It is equipped with a Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit f / 2.8-5.2 / 4.5-108 (24x zoom). The resolution has improved compared to the V-Lux-2 , despite the 12 megapixel chip used. Class 10 cards are required because of the high video data rate (28 Mbps at 1080 p) , but this helps to reduce the “motion blur” that otherwise occurs when recording with AVCHD compression. This also prevents the camera from overheating during long-term recordings, which could occur with lower video data rates due to higher compression. The sharpness and color quality of the video recordings with the Leica V-Lux 3 are astonishingly good in daylight. In autumn 2012 the V-Lux 4 was presented at the Photokina , whose lens now provides the maximum light intensity of 2.8 over the entire focal length range.

The Leica V-Lux (Type 114) has been available on the market as a sister model of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 since autumn 2014 . It is equipped with a Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit f / 2.8–4.0 / 9.1–146 (16x zoom; corresponds to 25 to 400 mm small image).

The Leica V-Lux 5 was introduced in July 2019. Like its predecessor, it is also equipped with a Leica DC-Vario-Elmarit f / 2.8-4.0 / 9.1-146 (16x zoom; corresponds to 25 to 400 mm small image). The large 1-inch sensor has a resolution of 20 megapixels. The new V-Lux 5 is also compatible with the new Leica Photos app. Furthermore, the V-Lux 5 not only records videos in 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second and in Full HD at up to 60 frames per second or, for slow motion, even with up to 120 frames per second, but also in 4K -Photos at 30 frames per second. The rear touchscreen has a resolution of 1.24 million pixels and can be swiveled and rotated, so you can take pictures from all possible perspectives, including selfies.

Panasonic cameras with Leica lenses

At the PMA 2006, the Panasonic DMC L1 was presented together with a Leica lens 14–50 mm with a speed of 2.8 to 3.5 and an image stabilizer for the Four Thirds system developed by Olympus and Kodak . A new feature in this system is an aperture ring on the Leica lens. This makes it possible to set the aperture on the lens by hand.

The cooperation between Leica and Panasonic continues to this day (2015) in the digital cameras of the Lumix series from Panasonic. The cameras are equipped with high-quality Leica lenses from the Leica-DC-Vario- Summicron (Lumix DMC-LC 1, almost identical to the Digilux 2) and Leica-DC-Vario- Elmarit (Lumix DMC-FZ 10, FZ 20, FZ 30 and other models).

A special feature is the Leica lens in the Lumix DMC-FZ 10 and FZ20 , which offers a light intensity of f / 2.8 over the entire twelve-fold zoom range (FZ 20: 6–72 mm; 36–432 mm corresponding to small images).

Leica lenses from the Summilux and Nocticron series as well as lens adapters for the M and R bayonets from Leica are also available for the manufacturer-independent Micro Four Thirds standard , which has been further developed from the Four Thirds standard .

Own developments

Leica X (since 2009)

On September 9, 2009, the new Leica X1 was presented at a press conference broadcast worldwide on the Internet . It is based on a modified housing of the M system and has a 1: 2.8 / 24 mm lens with autofocus function (equivalent to 35 mm KB format). The CMOS image sensor ( APS-C format) has 12.2 megapixels.

On May 11, 2012, the Leica X2 model was presented, which differs from the X1 mainly through a sensor with 16.2 megapixels and an improved autofocus. In contrast to the X1, an electronic viewfinder (EVF2) can be used as an alternative. The EVF2 can be folded up to 90 ° and has 1.4 million pixels. The rear screen measures 2.7 inches and has 230,000 pixels. The Leica X2 is available in either black or silver.

The Leica XE (Typ 102) appeared in 2014. It is the X2 in a new titanium-colored case. The leather is in "Metallic".

The Leica X (Type 113) was also released in 2014. It has a 16 megapixel APS-C sensor with a focal length of 23 millimeters (35 mm equivalent fixed focal length) and a light intensity of F1.7. The screen has a diagonal of 7.5 centimeters and a resolution of 920,000 pixels. A digiscoping adapter is new. With this the camera can be connected to the spotting scopes APO-Televid 82 and APO-Televid 65.

Leica X Vario (since 2013)

The Leica X Vario model was presented in June 2013 . It is the first model in the X series with a Leica Vario-Elmar 1: 3.5–6.4 / 18–46 mm ASPH varifocal lens. (corresponding to 28–70 mm for 35mm format). The CMOS sensor, size APS-C (23.6 mm × 15.7 mm) has 16.5 / 16.3 MP (total / effective) with an aspect ratio of 3: 2. The Leica X Vario offers a video recording function in full HD resolution of 1,920 × 1,080 pixels including sound recording with a wind noise filter; is saved in MP4 format. In terms of design and manufacturing quality, it is based on the Leica M : The housing is made of magnesium and aluminum; the top cap is milled from solid aluminum using the same process as the Leica M.

Current product range

Currently (as of February 2020), Leica offers the following models (without special models):

  • M series: MP, MA, M10 monochrome (type 6376), M (type 262), M10 (type 3656), M10-P (type 3656), M10-D (type 9217), ME (type 240)
  • Leica Q2: compact camera with 47 megapixels, full format sensor and built-in lens 28 mm f / 1: 1.7 l
  • S-series (medium format cameras): S3, S (type 007),
  • SL series (mirrorless full-frame system camera with electronic viewfinder): Leica SL2 (Type 2998)
  • APS-C system: CL, TL2
  • Bridge cameras : V-Lux 5
  • Compact cameras: D-Lux 7, Leica C-Lux (type 1546)
  • Instant cameras: Immediately

Professional image processing systems

Leica SD2000

Leica SD2000 stereo plotter

Professional stereo plotter for capturing and editing stereometric images (e.g. aerial photographs).

Leica S-1 system

When it went public in 1996, Leica presented the S 1 scanner camera. The first model is the Leica S 1 Pro. The S 1 Pro is a camera with very high resolution for stationary use on a copy stand or in the studio. The resolution of the S 1 Pro is approx. 26 million pixels. On an area of ​​36 mm × 36 mm, 5140 × 5140 image points (pixels) are scanned and transmitted directly to the connected computer via fiber optics. A special feature is the interchangeable lens adapter system, which makes it possible to connect lenses from the Leica R, Leica M, Hasselblad, Mamiya 4.5 × 6, screw thread, large format and all mechanical lenses from Canon (FD), Nikon, etc. The software for the S 1 Pro / Alpha is SilverFast developed by LaserSoft Imaging for high-performance scanners . About 160 cameras were built and mainly sold to museums, archives, research institutes and documentation departments. The price in 1998 was around 33,000 DM. The system was sold worldwide by Leica directly and through specialist graphic shops. A little later, the Leica S 1 Alpha with half the resolution (approx. 20,000 DM) and an S 1 high-speed with 4000 × 4000 pixels and extremely short scan times (approx. 45,000 DM) came onto the market.

Sports optics (binoculars, spotting scopes)

Leica Trinovid 8 × 20 BC

Leica is not only one of the world's leading brands in the field of camera technology, but also in the field of prism binoculars . In addition to the binocular prism binoculars of compact design, particularly powerful spotting scopes are manufactured in Solms .

Prism binoculars


In 1907 the first Leica prism binoculars were offered, the Binocle 6 × 18 . In the following years many new models came onto the market, e.g. In part with patented new developments. The magnification factors range from 6x to 18x, the lens diameter from 18 to 60 mm, including numerous military models during the First World War , mostly in Porro II design . In 1931 binocular production was initially stopped for economic reasons.

In 1956, the Leitz Amplivid 6 × 24 was the first roof prism binoculars based on three pioneering Leitz patents from 1949–1954. In 1958 the first two glasses of the Trinovid series followed, which for the first time offered true internal focusing .

The glasses have been further developed mechanically and optically to this day. All glasses offered today are filled with nitrogen, so they cannot fog up from the inside and are pressure-resistant up to a water depth of five meters. The rubber armouring is inseparably connected to the metal housing using a proprietary vulcanization process, so that even heavy use cannot separate the parts. In the current Ultravid series, the focus adjustment and adjustment to the individual eyesight (with diopter scale) are carried out simultaneously via the central drive. Leica gave a lifelong guarantee on its lenses until around 2000, now ten years.

Current series

At the moment (2018) Leitz offers the following series:

  • Geovid HD-B and Geovid HD-R
  • Ultravid HD-Plus, Ultravid Blackline and Ultravid Silverline
  • Duovid (two levels of magnification in one binocular)
  • Trinovid HD and Trinovid BCA (especially small compact binoculars)
  • Noctivid (highest optical quality)


Leica Monovid 8x20 Red Edition.jpg

In 2018, Leica offered the Monovid 8 × 20 binoculars in three different colors (black, red and silver). A close-up lens enables a macro effect, and the nitrogen filling works against fogging from the inside. The optics are protected by the water and dirt repellent Aqua-Dura® coating.


Leica has also been building riflescopes for over a hundred years, currently with the ER series . Since July 2011, Leica has been involved in a legal dispute with the optics manufacturer Swarovski about the riflescopes of the "Magnus" series, which were scheduled for delivery for the first time at the end of 2011, accusing Leica of infringing property rights.

Range finder

With the Leica CRF Rangemaster , Leica offers a laser-controlled monocular rangefinder that digitally displays the measured distance in the viewfinder image. The device determines the distance in 0.3 seconds. Currently (2020) Leica offers the models Rangemaster CRF 3500.COM, Rangemaster CRF 3800.COM and Rangemaster CRF 2400-R. The Bluetooth connectivity allows easy setting, transmission and management of all ballistic data via the Leica Hunting App. The magnification is 7 times.

Spotting scopes

Leica has four spotting scopes in its range, all of which enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. The two older models Leica Televid 77 and Leica APO-Televid 77 are slightly larger and heavier with an entrance pupil (lens aperture) of 77 mm than their newer successor models Leica Televid 62 and Leica APO-Televid 62 with an entrance pupil of 62 mm.

Each of the four models is manufactured with either a 45 ° angled view or a straight view.

Values ​​such as magnification factor or exit pupil also depend on the interchangeable eyepieces for Leica spotting scopes . There are five models of them:

WW-Ok-1 WW-Ok-2 W-Ok-3 Ok-4 Zoom-Ok-5
Lens type Wide angle, prime lens Wide angle, prime lens Wide angle, prime lens Fixed focal length Zoom eyepiece
enlargement 20 × (77)
16 × (62)
32 × (77)
26 × (62)
40 × (77)
32 × (62)
40 × (77)
32 × (62)
20–60 × (77)
16–48 × (62)
Field of view 54 m (77)
60 m (62)
40 m (77)
50 m (62)
32 m (77)
40 m (62)
22 m (77)
28 m (62)
20–34 m (77)
24–44 m (62)

Televid 77 series

The Televid 77 series has a Porro prism system and a focal length of 440 mm. The close range of around 3.90 m makes enlargement possible even at short distances and is unique among spotting scopes. The dual focusing, patented by Leica, enables coarse and fine focusing. The stable aluminum die-cast housing protects the spotting scope against light impacts and liquids. Waterproof pressure up to three meters is guaranteed. The weight is 1.5 kg or 1.7 kg (APO).

Televid 62 series

These relatively new spotting scopes were also equipped with a Porro prism system; they have a focal length of 352 mm. The close range could be improved slightly compared to the 77s and is around 3.50 m. The aluminum carbon fiber - composite ensures high stability and reduces the weight again significantly with 910-1070 grams. The spotting scopes of the 62 series are also waterproof to a depth of three meters and have dual focusing.


Leitz Prado slide projector for manual image change
Elmaron (AC), Colorplan (D / E), Hektor (FH)

Leitz built film and large projectors as well as episcopes for professional use for many decades .

In 1926, one year after the introduction of the Leica I, Leitz presented the world's first 35mm slide projector , the Uleja . A well-known line of products from the 1950s and 1960s was Prado . A cooperation with Kindermann was later entered into in the area of ​​35 mm slide projectors . In 1982 Kindermann and Leitz brought the Leitz Kindermann magazine for unglazed slides onto the market. Some of the smaller slide projectors from Leitz were equipped with Kindermann technology (Pradovit R 150, Pradovit RA 150) or manufactured entirely by Kindermann from 1988 to 1990 (Pradovit 153/253).

In 1990, the former company group was Zeiss-Ikon related Zett devices factory in Braunschweig adopted and as Leica projection GmbH Zett equipment incorporated. However, this area was sold again in 2004. In the meantime the Leitz projectors came from Zett.

It was initially planned to use camera lenses for the 35mm projectors. However, Leitz soon developed special projection lenses. These include the moderately bright Elmaron based on the Cooke triplet design (e.g. f2.8 / 85 mm or f3.6 / 200 mm) or the more luminous Hector , which is a modified four-lens triplet (e.g. f2.5 / 85 mm or f2.5 / 120 mm). The Colorplan (f2.5 / 90 mm) is valued by photography aficionados for its exemplary imaging performance, which is based on a comparatively complex five-lens design. Until 1988, large parts of the neighboring Wetzlar company Wilhelm Will KG , which also manufactured projection lenses, were owned by Leitz.

The construction of slide projectors was stopped around 2006. For some years now, digital projectors have also been offered.


  • Curt Emmermann (Ed.): Photographing with the Leica . Wilhelm Knapp Verlag, Halle an der Saale 1930 (reprint at Lindemann's photo bookstore, after 1985).
  • Fritz Vith: Leica manual . Technical-educational publisher, Wetzlar 1930.
  • Paul Wolff : My experiences with the Leica . Breidenstein, Frankfurt am Main 1939.
  • Heinrich Stöckler: The LEICA in work and science . Breidenstein-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1941.
  • Paul Wolff: My experiences ... colorful . Breidenstein, Frankfurt am Main 1942.
  • Erich Stenger : The history of the 35mm camera to the Leica . Ed .: Optical Works Ernst Leitz Wetzlar. Umschau-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1949 (published on the occasion of the company's centenary).
  • Theo Kisselbach: Small Leica book . Heering-Verlag, Seebruck am Chiemsee 1952.
  • Andrew Matheson: The whole Leica system. (=  Wk photo book ). Wilhelm Knapp-Verlag, Düsseldorf 1956.
  • Theo M. Scheerer: Leica and Leica system . 2nd Edition. Umschau Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1960.
  • Theo Kisselbach: The Leica book . 37-41 Thousand Heering-Verlag, Seebruck am Chiemsee 1969.
  • Brian Tompkins, edited by F.-W. Rüttinger: Leica Cameras, Pocket Book . Wittig Fachbuchverlag, Hückelhoven 1984, ISBN 3-88984-000-0 (German edition).
  • Dennis Laney: Leica cameras, accessories . Wittig Fachbuchverlag, Hückelhoven 1984, ISBN 3-88984-015-9 .
  • Paul-Henry van Hasbroeck: Leica. The big Leica book. Creation and development of the entire Leica system . Callwey, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-7667-0864-3 .
  • Dennis Laney: Leica. The product and collector's book . 2nd supplemented edition. License issue. Augustus-Verlag, Augsburg 1995, ISBN 3-8043-5064-X (also: Unchanged reprint. Lindemann, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-89506-223-5 ).
  • Emil G. Keller: Leica in the mirror of memories . Lindemann, Stuttgart 1990.
  • James L. Lager: Leica. An Illustrated History . Lager Limited Editions, Closter NJ (1993–1998; 3 volumes, Volume 1: Cameras . ISBN 0-9636973-1-5 ; Volume 2: Lenses . ISBN 0-9636973-2-3 ; Volume 3: Accessories . ISBN 0- 9636973-3-1 ).
  • Jonathan Eastland: Leica M manual. The complete Leica M system from yesterday to today . Publishing house Laterna magica Joachim F. Richter, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-87467-567-X .
  • Gianni Rogliatti: Leica, from 1925 until today. (=  Wittig reference book ). 3rd revised and updated edition. Wittig, Hückelhoven 1995, ISBN 3-88984-028-0 .
  • Gianni Rogliatti: Lenses for Leica cameras from 1924 to today. (=  Wittig reference book ). 2nd revised and updated edition. Wittig, Hückelhoven 1995, ISBN 3-88984-010-8 .
  • Ghester Sartorius: Identifying Leica Cameras. The complete Pocket Guide to buying and selling Leicas like an Expert . Amphoto Books, New York NY 1997, ISBN 0-8174-4026-7 .
  • Ghester Sartorius: Identifying Leica Lenses. The complete Pocket Guide to buying and selling Leica Lenses like an expert . Amphoto Books, New York NY 1999, ISBN 0-8174-4027-5 .
  • Günther Osterloh: Leica R. Applied Leica technology . 3rd totally revised edition. Umschau Buchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-8295-7203-4 .
  • Günther Osterloh: Leica M. High school of 35mm photography . 5th updated and totally revised edition. Umschau, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-8295-6501-1 .
  • Volker Albus: Leica. Views of Brand Culture . Ed .: Achim Heine. Nicolaische Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-87584-106-9 .
  • Guenther Osterloh: 50 Years of Leica M = 50 years Leica M . Heel Verlag , Königswinter 2004, ISBN 3-89880-353-8 .
  • Alessandro Pasi: The Leica. Witness to a century . Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2004, ISBN 3-89880-258-2 .
  • Knut Kühn-Leitz: Ernst Leitz - pioneer of the Leica. An exemplary entrepreneur and courageous democrat . Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2006, ISBN 3-89880-551-4 .


  • Mega Brands - Leica. Documentary, Germany, 2014, 50 min., Script and director: Jobst Thomas, production: jump medien, n-tv , series: Mega Brands , first broadcast: 4th June 2014 on n-tv, synopsis by jump medien.
  • The Leica story. Bright spots from Wetzlar. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 45 min., Script and director: Dorothee Kaden, production: Hessischer Rundfunk , series: Made in Hessen , first broadcast: January 31, 2012 on hr television , synopsis from ARD and online video from hr .
  • The Leica story. (Alternative title: A Diva in Focus: The Leica. ) Documentary film, Switzerland, 2011, 30 min., Script and direction: Kurt Widmer, production: NZZ , series: NZZ Format , first broadcast: June 9, 2012 by 3sat , synopsis by NZZ , Preview video , 3:46 min.

Exhibitions (selection)

  • Open eyes! 100 years of Leica photography  [ sic! ] in two parts: The Classics , December 4, 2015 - February 21, 2016, Galerie WestLicht and Die Zeitgenossen , December 11, 2015 - February 13, 2016, OstLicht Gallery, Vienna, curator Hans-Michael Koetzle.
  • Open eyes! 100 years of Leica photography. (With other exhibits.) - in the art foyer of the Bavarian Insurance Chamber in Munich.

Web links

Commons : Leica  album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  6. Sale of a 36.2% stake and sale of half of the portfolio of the convertible bond issued in 2004. The remainder of the convertible bond portfolio was sold to ACM, according to the 2008 annual report.
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  41. WestLicht celebrates "100 years of Leica photography"! In: orf.at , December 2, 2015.
  42. ↑ Open your eyes! 100 years of Leica photography. In: Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung , 2016, accessed on March 9, 2018.

Coordinates: 50 ° 33 ′ 10.7 ″  N , 8 ° 32 ′ 9.7 ″  E