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Monday, May 26

One Hundreds Years of Leica Cameras

Click above to be taken to the BBC website

The BBC has an interesting short video up at the moment marking the 100th anniversary of the Leica.

Photojournalist, Leica-wielding Tom Stoddart, does the voice-over, discussing some classic Leica images and the background behind his own favourite pic.

Also, and I wasn't intending to write anything about this, Leica has released a new film camera, the M-A to mark the occasion. My reluctance stems from the fact that it's very unlikely you'll ever see one in the flesh or know of anybody who ends up with one.

The reason is that it's only available as part of a centenary set which comprises the M-A, M Monochrome and 28mm, 35mm and 50mm Summiluxes. Now, the retail value of this sort of outfit would normally be more than £20,000 based on the cost of an M7 and the rest. But this limited edition is made from stainless steel - cameras and lenses - and your guess is as good as mine about its value. I'm not aware that Leica has come up with an asking price.

The Leica M Edition 100 is strictly limited to 101 sets for the entire global market. The cameras and lenses will be available exclusively as sets from Leica Stores and Boutiques from June and, just to reiterate, none of the items contained in the sets will be available as separate items.

I have to say, though, that the all manual, mechanical M-A is one of the most beautiful cameras I've ever seen and that's what finally persuaded me to feature it here. If my lottery numbers come up this weekend I'll let you know what it's like.


Jan Moren said...

Nice. I have to say, though, that the focus on Leica film cameras as collectors items on the part of the company is if anything putting me off the idea of getting one (new or used) to actually take pictures with. They're effectively sending the message that a Leica is a piece of decoration,not a tool.

Dr. Elliot Puritz said...

With respect, you are completely incorrect. Of course some of the very oldest Leica cameras might not be completely usable today, but I am not be completely sure. However, Leica cameras from many years ago are usable without any problems today. All of the M cameras can be easily used as can many-if not all- of the screw lens mount cameras. I have first hand experience using such cameras as do many other slightly older photographers. Leica cameras from the mid 1930's are fine to use. I cannot understand why those without first hand experience would deign to make such comments. Indeed, I believe that very few mechanical objects made about 75 years ago can still be used today.


Bruce Robbins said...

Maybe Jan will comment if he sees this but that's not what I took from what he was saying. I think he's suggesting that if Leica markets a very expensive, luxury kit destined for a display cabinet rather than actual use then they are effectively selling a decorative ornament rather than a working tool.

I don't think there are many film photographers who are not aware that many 70-80 year old cameras are still in regular use. I've got a 1932 Rolleiflex Standard that performs beautifully and, keep this to yourself, I have a very low bid in at a local auction for a 1934 Standard that I've no chance of winning - but you never know...