Oskar Barnack

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Oskar Barnack

Wilhelm Oskar Barnack (born November 1, 1879 in Lynow , Jüterbog-Luckenwalde district ; † January 16, 1936 in Bad Nauheim ) was a German precision mechanic. Barnack is considered to be the inventor of the 35 mm film camera.


Oskar Barnack worked as head of development at Leitz in Wetzlar in the film cameras department. He invented a compact mini camera that could be used to expose small test strips of the cinema film to test the correct exposure for the shot without having to open the large main magazine. In his spare time, Barnack was engaged in nature photography, but was unable to transport the large and heavy plate and large format cameras because of his asthma . In private work in 1913/14, he developed a small photo camera that could also work with 35 mm film material drawn on small rolls with a recording format of 24 mm × 36 mm (so-called 35 mm format) - the first 35 mm camera . The First World War delayed further development, so that the first Leica (for Lei tz Ca mera) was mass-produced from 1924; it came on the market in 1925. Instead of the previous plates, standardized film strips were used in the Leica and its predecessors. The 35mm film, which was widely used at the time, was used. This made more compact housing designs possible. The use of 35mm film is still standard today in analogue reportage photography.

There is an Oskar Barnack Museum in the birthplace of Lynow, part of the Nuthe-Urstromtal community in Brandenburg . The Barnackufer in Berlin-Lichterfelde has had his name since 1961.


Web links

Commons : Oskar Barnack  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg (HStAMR), Best. 924 No. 1205, p. 8 ( digitized version ).