It is granted that hand cameras are indispensable for such as street views, or on the beach, or on shipboard, but they are decidedly out of place for use as picture producers. Therefore let us oppose all attempts to popularize the use of hand cameras at our photographic outings, the high standard of pictorial excellence to which landscape photography has attained being in great danger of reduction by the use and abuse of hand cameras.”
R. P. Drage, British Journal of Photography, vol. 37, 1890; p. 565.
I think we should all be glad that Oskar Barnack did not read this.
Typical "Field Camera" ca. 1890
“Can I help you please?”
“Yes, could you please put this roll of film into my camera?”
The customer hands over the most expensive 35mm camera at that time. A moment later everything is done.
“Excuse me, Sir, I don't mean to tell you how to take care of your camera, but I couldn't help notice that your lenses are rather dirty. All the extra performance that you spent so much money for certainly gets lost that way.
“Oh no, that's alright. Someone who knows told me the best way to keep a lens clean is to lick it...”
another TRUE STORY
We pass along the following article from the March, 1981 issue of LEICA POSTAL PORTFOLIO NEWS:
I should relate, albeit briefly, a little incident that happened in the shop a few days ago. A customer (new to us) handed us a colour negative film for processing with the comment that he thought few of the pictures would 'come out', but even the bad ones required printing. Accordingly we marked the order “print regardless' and tactfully inquired if we might help with any problems concerning his picture taking.
He told us that he had been taking pictures off the TV screen but that he did not think his flash was sufficiently powerful. We explained that the more external light that fell on the front of the TV screen, the less the actual television picture would be visible – but we distinctly got the impression that he did not quite believe us. Somehow he appeared to doubt our expertise.
“Anyhow,” he said, “even if I had not used the flash, they still wouldn't be any good. I couldn't change the focus setting on my camera as fast as the TV camera crew did with theirs. I simply couldn't keep up with them.”
We did not press the point...
Did You Know That...
...The US Air Force, for their top 35mm camera, used the Leicaflex for many years?
...and that a special production run of Leica M4s, dubbed the KE-7A, was made for the US Army?
The KE-7A was accompanied by a special instruction book which even included a special section on how to destroy the camera in case of capture by the enemy. It was an intriguing process. The first suggestion was simply to try to break it with a hammer, shovel, or other blunt instrument. Apparently they realized how well built the cameras were, because the instructions continued, saying that if none of the first methods succeeded, to use explosives like dynamite.
Leica KE 7A
The camera was originally supplied with an f/2 version of the Leitz Elmar called Elcan