Tuesday, July 31, 2012


A much lesser known range of lenses in the arsenal of Leica Camera are their new line of Summilux C lenses, designed for 35mm motion picture cameras and full frame digital video cameras.  The project experienced a number of delays, caused by the increased demand for Leica M lenses and cameras.  The facility in Solms needed every bit of space for the increased production of these lenses and the C lenses had to take a backseat.

To overcome these delays Leica Camera decided to construct a new, “boutique” assembly plant with the most advanced lens manufacturing techniques and equipment ever seen in a new building, in Leitz Park–where construction is now underway across the parking lot for the entire new Leica facility.

The new venture began with Christian Skrein’s concept of Leica lenses for motion picture production.  Leica hired the legendary optical designer Iain Neil and equally esteemed mechanical designer Andre de Winter.  Erik Feichtinger and Gerhard Baier are Managing Directors.

The lenses have a new aspheric design. Aspheric lens elements have a variable surface curvature compared to the constant curvature ofspherical ones.  That greatly reduces aberrations, especially spherical and geometric ones; in addition, larger apertures can be used with less aberration because less elements are needed.  The new designs allows slighter lenses with an astonishing sharpness all over the image surface and hardly any chromatic deviations.

The initial set of lenses is made up of 16mm, 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 65mm, 75mm and 100 mm, all of them with 1.4-22 aperture, and 95mm diameter. The diaphragm has also a “closed” mode that totally prevents light from entering to the sensor. The minimum focusing distance is between 0.31m with 16mm, and 0.90m with 100mm. All the lenses have the same length: 142mm from the mount.

The Leica Summilux-C lenses display their own look and texture, and they are able to deliver even the finest details, along with high contrast.  It must also be pointed out that image sharpness is very similar at the center and corners, without any noticeable fall-off.  All of the lenses transmit color in the same way, they are neutral, and perhaps slightly cold.   Aberrations are very minimized, both geometric and chromatic.

The Summilux C lenses are exclusively distributed by

Band Pro Film and Digital, Inc.
TEL: 818.841.9655 - FAX: 818.841.7649

For those of us who have to ask, a set of 8 Leica Summilux-C Primes will set you back a mere $178,000. Operators are standing by at Band Pro.

This is a prototype by cmotion seen at Cine Gear: focus and iris motors for Leica Summilux-C Primes from Band Pro. The motor assembly attaches directly to the lens with a bracket, providing a way to control focus and iris without having to use lens rods. This helps keep things light, tidy and compact for handheld, remote, Steadicam and 3D rigs.  The prototype attached with two hex screws or thumbscrews for quick mounting when changing lenses.

Please Note: 
This prototype motor is very similar in concept to the external prototype motor used by the Leitz Correfot autofucus system in the early 80s.

For more information on the Leitz Correfot go to:



Monday, July 30, 2012


The Leica M Monochrom made the top of the Stuff Cool List for 2012!  They write:

Looking cool is all about commitment to a look – and with an 18MP sensor that only sees in black and white and doesn't record video, Leica's M Monochrom rangefinder really commits. Its colour blindness means every pixel traps pure light values, resulting in sharp, dramatic monochrome snaps that feel like the iconic fashion shoots and reportage of the '60s. With Leica's usual image quality, ingot-like build and an in-camera post-production mode to apply classic tonal effects such as sepia and selenium, it's like having a darkroom in your pocket. Take note, Instagrammers: this Leica is the real deal.

For the full article, go to:


Sunday, July 29, 2012


Leica Rumors reported about a new set of half cases for the Leica M cameras, made in England.

The cases are of top quality, totally hand made.

For more information got to:  http://www.classiccases.co.uk/

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A while ago I wrote…

An interesting, but relatively unknown fact is that NASA initially had chosen the Leica M4 as the camera to be used on their lunar missions (It is now known that it was not the Leica M4 that was chosen by NASA but the Leica MDa).  The reason was weight.  Of all the systems for the Apollo missions, one could never be tested because of the low gravity of the moon.  That was the take-off module.  To gain as much of a weight advantage as possible, NASA did everything they could to save weight.  That included the camera equipment.  The Leica M4 [MDa] with 35mm f/1.4 Summilux was definitely lighter than anything Hasselblad, their regular camera of choice, had to offer.  Leitz modified several cameras and lenses to feature large levers to allow camera operation with the bulky gloves of the space suits.  The astronauts chosen for the lunar missions all received extensive training in the use of the camera.

The picture clearly shows that the Lunar Leica was not an M4, as commonly assumed, but a Leica MDa.  Modifications appear to be a soft shutter release, a larger shutter speed dial and a large rewind knob.  Modifications of the lens are large levers for the aperture and focus settings, all designed for easy operation with the gloves of the space suits.

Yet, as is common knowledge, the Leica never made it to the moon.  The credit goes to one engineer who figured out that the interchangeable film backs for the Hasselblad were lighter than the M4 [MDa] with its Summilux lens.  Subsequently NASA decided to use the Hasselblad after all.  The Saturn 5 rockets had no problem delivering the payload to the moon.  For the return trip it was subsequently decided to remove the film backs from the cameras and to leave the cameras on the moon where they still reside today.  A total of 12 Hasselblad cameras are sitting in the lunar dust, ready to be picked up.

An intriguing question is if they might be still able to operate properly after all these years in the extremely harsh environment of the lunar surface.

Since then a few more details about the NASA – Leica connection have emerged.  One virtually unknown fact is that NASA also used the Leicafelx SL.  For what purpose is unknown at this point.  I have also found that in 1966, NASA ordered 150 Leica cameras.  Unfortunately it was not stated which cameras they were.

The camera appears to be without visible modifications other than the deeply knurled shutter speed dial to accommodate the heavy gloves of the space suits.

I will keep on researching the Leica – NASA connection, and as soon as I have anything else to report, I will do so.

For more info on the Leica-NASA connection got to:






Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Leica dealers throughout the country report that the shortage of Leica lenses is over.  The efforts of Leica to increase production by hiring additional technicians are paying off.  Almost all M-lenses are available.  These include:

•18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M ASPH
•21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH
•24mm f/3.8 Elmar M Aspherical
•24mm f/1.4 Summilux-M
•28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M Aspherical
•28mm f/2.0 Summicron-M
•35mm f/2.0 Summicron M Aspherical (black)
•35mm f/2.0 Summicron M Aspherical (silver)
•35mm f/2.5 Summarit-M
•50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M Aspherical
•50mm f/1.4 Summilux M Aspherical
•50mm f/2.0 Summicron-M
•50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M
•75mm f/2.5 Summarit-M
•90mm f/2.5 Summarit-M
•90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar M
•135mm f/3.4 APO Telyt M

As a side note, the latest M9 firmware includes a lens profile for a 28mm f/1.4 Summilux.  Is more specific information of what we might see at Photokina beginning to find its way onto the internet?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Over the years, many accounts of the legendary survivability of Leica equipment under very adverse conditions have been published, yet it is always very interesting to read more about it.  Here are two accounts form The Luminous Landscape:

Pan-American Games, Winnipeg 1967

While I subsequently shot the 1967 Pan-American games with my Nikon F and an arsenal of long lenses, during the opening ceremonies I found myself just a few feet from the dignitaries on the podium, so I used the Leicas and 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses.

As Prince Philip gave his welcoming speech opening the games a huge thunderstorm broke and proceeded to drench everyone in the open-air arena, me included. Some large umbrellas were quickly erected for the Prince and he continued with his remarks, but along with about 30,000 other people I got soaked.

So did my camera equipment. I couldn't even attempt to protect my cameras, I just kept shooting throughout the torrential downpour. I changed lenses and film numerous times and just did the best I could.

As soon as the ceremonies were over I handed the film to a courier to race it to the lab and then headed back to my hotel to dry off. When I took the Leicas out of the bag they were dripping wet. Totally soaked, inside and out. I opened everything up and left the bodies and lenses on a table near an open window to dry out. I spent the rest of the day shooting with my Nikons, figuring I'd pack up the Leicas in the evening to send back to Toronto for replacement and repair.

But the next day I tried everything out and was surprised to see that they worked, and worked smoothly. I never did send it in for repair, then or afterward. I probably put several thousand rolls of film through both Leica bodies over the next few years and never saw a hint of trouble.

Canadian Downhill Ski Championships, Collingwood 1968

My assignment was to shoot skiers during this important race.  The organizers provided me with a small wooden platform on the inside of a steep downhill curve and said, "Have a nice day".

I had brought my Nikon F gear consisting of 2 bodies and several medium-tele and long lenses. At the last minute I decided to also bring the Leica M3 and 90 and 135mm lenses as well, (just in case).

The early morning went well, with the temperature at about the freezing point and with a moderate overcast. But by late morning the wind picked up and the temperature started to drop. A light snow started and with the increasing wind created blowing snow conditions that were just this side of being strong enough to stop the race.

I wish they had stopped it, because my equipment and I started to freeze up. The first Nikon froze after about 45 minutes of these deteriorating conditions and the second one some 20 minutes later. Both were caked in frozen snow. I figured that my day was done but I pulled the M3 out from the bottom of the bag and started shooting as best I could with the 135mm lens.

I spent 3 more hours on that frozen ski slope shooting hundreds of frames with the Leica and it never missed a beat. By mid-afternoon when I called it quits I was half frozen, and my Nikons certainly were, but the Leica was like the Timex watch in the ads of the time, they just kept on ticking.

And finally one of my own

I had just added a new Leica M5 to my camera equipment.  That once again reminded me of all the claims of the legendary reliability and survivability of Leicas in general.  One thing that had always intrigued me was the claimed ability of Leicas to function in very low temperatures.  Being that we were in the middle of a Minnesota winter, I decided to put the camera to a test.  The weather report forecast temperatures of -30F for the next morning.  That seemed to be a good temperature to see how well the camera would perform in the cold.

To give it a head start, I put the camera in the freezer overnight.  Then, the next morning, dressed for the occasion, I went to Minnehaha Park and down to the Minnehaha creek.  It follows a relatively deep ravine which is known to keep cold temperatures quite well.  I purposely carried the camera on a neck strap on the outside of my clothing to make sure it would cool down to the surrounding temperature.

I was out in the cold for about two hours during which I finished a whole roll of 36 exposure film.  The camera worked without problems, but I did notice that the focusing for the lens was noticeably stiffer than usual.  But that was about it.

After I finished the roll of film it was time to go home.  Contrary to my advice to others, I forgot to put the camera into a zip lock plastic bag.  I walked straight from the outside into my living room.  To my horror, the moment the camera came into contact with the warm, moist air inside, it instantly froze over with about a 1/8 inch layer of ice.  The camera was so cold that the moisture condensation on the camera instantly froze.  I watched it thaw out slowly, and as soon as any liquid formed on the surface, I wiped if off. 

No harm came to the camera and it served me well for many years to come.

Monday, July 23, 2012


By Monika Kopeć

When I went to photography school a few years ago, one of the assignments was called “Formal Portrait.”  Everyone went about their way, very conservative, setting up typical, formal portraits with low ratio lighting, neutral backgrounds etc.  Even a somewhat stronger Rembrandt lighting was considered a bit daring.  With other words, formal was being equated with conservative.

I have never been a conservative individual, and I wasn’t about to change course simply because of the title of the assignment.  I began to think of what I could do to take a formal portrait and yet have it displayed in a non-conventional manner.

The result was a photograph taken by entirely conventional means, on film.  No digital photography or Photoshop was involved.

Whenever people see the picture, their first thought is digital and Photoshop, and even then I am always asked how the shot was taken.  I guess it is somewhat hard to imagine and I am curious what readers of this blog think how it was done.

Please let me know your thought in the comments or email them to info@gmpphoto.com.


Leica today announced firmware update 1.196 for the Leica M9 and M9-P cameras.  The main improvements are:

    Further improvements of SD-Card compatibility.
    Implementation of the Lens detection of the new APO-Summicron-M 1:2/50mm ASPH.
                          Improved power management.

The camera is now measuring battery stability internally. In case of weak battery stability, the camera switches off automatically. The capacity of Li-ion batteries weakens after a certain amount of use.  This might lead to improper working of the camera, even loss of images while writing to the SD card.  To prevent this, the new firmware will cause the camera to shut off if the camera senses instable battery conditions.  Leica recommends replacing older batteries after three years of use.  New batteries can be ordered from any Leica dealer (Product Number 14464).

Friday, July 20, 2012


By Heinz Richter

Wildlife is a readily accessible subject for photographers who are prepared, and a damn near impossible subject for those who are not.

Any successful wildlife photographer will tell you that preparation includes not only patience and knowledge of the subject, but also at least one long lens.  Convenience is almost never a consideration.

The possible subjects are of all sizes and temperaments; the appropriateness of any particular lens must be judged according to how well it allows the subject to fill the frame at a practical shooting distance.

It should be understood from the start that convenience in terms of size and weight should not play a major role in the selection of equipment.  Such considerations inevitably lead to compromises of lens magnification or quality, and then to compromises of results.  The photographer, who grabs his /her camera off the shelf, attaches a workhorse telephoto from the camera bag, and goes for a walk by the lake hoping to catch a shot of the loons he saw there last week will be sorely disappointed when he sees the results, and when he has to explain that those little dots there in the middle represent the Minnesota state bird.

Staying with birds as our example: most birds, large or small, are rather shy, so naturally we end up dealing with rather long shooting distances.  For those of us accustomed to 90mm or 135mm lenses, 200mm or 250mm may seem amazingly, encouragingly powerful.  Yet even with a 250 you might as well forget it, because unless you kill that bird first, you’ll never get close enough to fill even a quarter of the frame.

To cover a 20” horizontal with the 50mm lens, you would have to be about 28” (see accompanying chart) from the subject - and it would take a good size bird to fill a 20” field of view.  A 200mm lens, giving 4x magnification (with full frame sensors) over the 50mm, would allow us to be about 9 ¼ feet away, and a 250mm would put us at about 11 ½ feet, still hardly far enough to avoid scaring the wild and shy.

The shooting distance increases to about 8 ½ feet with a 400mm, probably a (minimum) workable distance for those with patience and persistence.  So we begin to see that the 400, far from being an exotic, is in this case a minimum requirement, the barest of essentials if any good result is to be achieved.

Leica R3, Leitz Telyt 400mm f/6.8

But it isn’t really all that bad, since we usually will be concerned only with filling half or maybe a quarter of the frame with the creature.  The 20” filed would then be about right for song birds and small animals, but for something like, for instance, a duck, which would have filled the 20” field of view, we could stay as much as four times the distance away, about 74-75 feet.  In most cases this would certainly be an easy distance to work with; however, I’ve found that some animals are so very shy that even a hundred feet is too close.  So you can see that for this kind of photography one has to be a little bit power hungry as far as lenses go.

Leica R3, Leica Bellows II, Leitz Telyt 200mm f/4.5

Needless to say, the size and weight of a lens like this is not small, and as we said earlier, there are no real compromises.  As far as physical size is concerned, the smallest of the high magnification lenses are mirror lenses.  Few of those have maximum apertures greater than f/8, which is pretty slow in many cases.  Out of focus highlight characteristically appear as doughnuts with these lenses and they do not have any aperture control past the maximum aperture.  Further, the contrast of even the best mirror lenses does not approach that of a first rate glass lens.

Leica R3, Leitz Telyt 200mm f/4.5

So we consider the glass lenses.  They are definitely larger than the mirrors, and the400mm Telyt, for instance, with its grip and shoulder stock weighs nearly twice as much as most mirror lenses of a similar focal length.  And for all that, the Telyt is still not a particularly heavy lens, and with the grip and stock is extremely well balanced and comfortable.  With higher ISO settings it becomes an eminently hand holdable wildlife lens.

Incidentally, most good long lenses by design give you optimum performance wide open. Meaning that the fastest shutter speed is naturally attained, something very importasnt if you intend to shoot hand held.

Leica R4, Novoflex 400mm f/5.6

Shooting with your camera on a tripod naturally allows slower shutter speeds.  But since much of wildlife shooting is necessarily handheld, higher ISO settings become a necessity.  The rule of thumb in handheld work is that the slowest shutter speed should not be less than the inverse of the focal length of the lens; in other words, 1/50 (1/60) second for a 50mm lens, 1/250 for a 250mm lens, and 1/400 (1/500) for a 400mm.

Leica R4, Novoflex 400mm f/5.6

If you will be shooting subjects which allow you to use a tripod, we recommend that you do so, by all means.  The results will justify the extra hassle.  As with so many other things in photography, you will have to analyze the pros and cons in your own work.  The tripod will slow you down, and in some cases it is just not an appropriate tool, as we mentioned earlier; handholding would certainly be the lesser evil.  Try it both ways and see which gives you better results.  Some people can handhold better than others, some don’t like it at all.  A third alternative would be a monopod.  It is a lot less cumbersome than a tripod and offers a substantially sturdier support for the camera than handholding alone. Experiment.

Leica R4, Novoflex 400mm f/5.6

One final suggestion:  all the precautions against bad pictures will be meaningless if the lens on your camera does not perform to your expectations, and there are an awful lot of mediocre to rotten long lenses on the market.

Leica R4, Novoflex 640mm f/9, Novoflex 2x Extender

Leica R4, Novoflex 400mm f/5.6

Leica R3, Leitz Telyt 400mm f/6.8

Leica M5, Visoflex, Leica Bellows II, Leitz Telyt 200mm f/4.5

Leica M5, Visoflex III, Leica Bellows II, Leitz Telyt 200mm f/4.5

Leica R3, Leitz Telyt 400mm f/6.8

Sometimes equipment requires to be more specialized to get the shot we are after.

Leica M5, Visoflex III, Leica Bellows II, Leitz 560mm Telyt f/6.8

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


2625 N. Berkeley Lake Rd., Suite 100
Duluth, GA, 30096

Press release date: April 18, 2012

Keeping a firm grip

The gripping surfaces of cameras and binoculars manufactured by Leica Camera AG are made of high-quality TPE of the product group THERMOLAST® A. They are extremely scratch-resistant, pleasing to the touch and also offer production advantages due to the specialized knowledge and consulting expertise of KRAIBURG TPE.

Waldkraiburg - KRAIBURG TPE compounds ensure a steady hand for sharp, clear pictures. Precisely dimensioned TPE mats serve as reinforcement material for the grips of the Leica S2 camera and the Ultravid  binocular series. These high-quality products are manufactured using the product group THERMOLAST® A, which is pleasant to the touch and highly scratch resistant. Leica's in-house testing processes, developed based on customer applications, confirm that the grips made of KRAIBURG TPE compounds withstand all effects of daily use, such as perspiration, alcohol and atmospheric conditions. Nor does the photographer have to worry about ill effects, since the TPEs are free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates and allergens and are RoHS and REACH compliant.

Precision in the production process

The grips of the Leica cameras and binoculars consist of thin TPE mats that are integrated in the casing for a firm and stable grip. This is the result of a painstaking production process: the reinforcing mats are manufactured in a single-component process and then glued into recesses specially moulded in the casing. The depth of the recesses varies depending on the shape of the casing and therefore affects the thickness of the TPE layer. The size of the TPE reinforcing mat also has to exactly match the recessed area, so there are no gaps. In view of these challenging injection moulding conditions, the manufacturer of high-quality cameras can rely on the manufacturer of high-quality TPEs: In cooperation with Leica, KRAIBURG TPE developed solutions for tool design and application engineering. "We received sample material early on, in addition to useful information for the prototyping process, which enabled us to start production very quickly. Gluing of the grips was a high-precision process. We were glad to have on-site support from KRAIBURG TPE and their flexibility in responding to problems," Oliver Neumann, a production planning specialist at Leica, summarizes.

Compounds for demanding applications

The decision of the Leica engineers to use THERMOLAST® A is no coincidence. These compounds were developed for applications in the automotive industry and for tool grips, so they are highly resistant to many types of influences. The TPE components can withstand scratches, media such as perspiration and alcohol, atmospheric conditions and UV radiation, which makes them ideal for use in extreme outdoor conditions and also for high-quality grip surfaces, such as those on Leica cameras and binoculars.

The compounds are suitable both for extrusion and injection moulding processes and feature excellent adhesion to hard components such as PC and ABS. The TPE series is available in the colours Black, as used in the Leica products, or Natural and in hardnesses from 40 to 80 ShA.


KRAIBURG TPE (www.kraiburg-tpe.com) manufactures thermoplastic elastomers based on HSBC (hydrogenated styrene block copolymers) and markets them all around the world. In addition to custom solutions, the company offers under the THERMOLAST® brand name a broad spectrum of standardized compounds to cover a wide range of applications. With its high-performance HIPEX® compound, KRAIBURG TPE is opening up the world of rubber for all the companies that process thermoplastics. The TPE specialist has production sites in Germany, the USA and Malaysia. The sales organization covers Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, China, India, Taiwan, Mexico and Brazil. In Japan KRAIBURG TPE is represented by a distributor.

About Leica

Leica Camera AG (www.leica.com) is an international manufacturer of premium cameras and sport optics products. The lenses manufactured by this long-established company have made the Leica brand a legend. In combination with innovative technologies they provide for a better picture in every kind of situation involving seeing and perception.

The head office of Leica Camera AG is in the Hessian city of Solms; the second production site is in Vila Nova de Famalicao, Portugal. The company has subsidiaries in England, France, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea and the USA. New, innovative products have driven the company's development in the recent past.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The recent article in “Leica Rumors” titled “Is this the Leica M10” 
(see: http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2012/07/is-this-new-leica-m10.html and http://leicarumors.com/2012/07/13/is-this-the-leica-m10.aspx/sparked a lively discussion.  In the spy photographs it appears as if the “M10” is larger than its predecessors, something I find very doubtful at best.  The debacle over the Leica M5, which was indeed larger than the M4, should dispel any arguments that Leica would be willing to make the same mistake again.  That impression about the size brought out a number of arguments regarding the size of the M9/M9-P compared to the Leica M7 and Leica MP.  Here are some of the comments:

I started using the M9 for about six months nonstop and one day I picked up the MP and it felt tiny in comparison.

…the embarrassment of the obese body line to tactile fingers.

To me my M9 simply feels like a fake Leica.

…the M8- and M9-series are mere bricks to hands that are trained to fine tune film-Leicas

I never thought that there was any noticeable size difference between those cameras.  To be sure, I looked up the actual data on these cameras.  They are:

M9/ M9-P  139 x 37 x 80 mm, 585 grams
MP  138 x 38 x 79.5 mm, 585 grams
M7  138 x 38 x 77 mm, 610 grams

This clearly shows that those criticisms were solely made for the sake of criticism.  They certainly have no bearing on the facts regarding those cameras.  It must be indeed very tactile fingers that are able to sense these slight differences in dimension to the extent of warranting the above comments.

Why is it that some people feel compelled to blabber in a way that ultimately makes an ass of them? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


One of the big shortcomings of the Leica M cameras has always been the limited number of lenses and the limited close-up capabilities.  Granted, for what the camera was and is intended, it is virtually without equal.  But it would definitely be nice if it were possible to extend its versatility beyond that intended use.

Leitz/Leica solved that problem already in the 1930s with the introduction of the PLOOT, the first reflex viewing attachment.  It allowed virtually unlimited close-up capabilities and the use of lenses longer than 135mm.  The Visoflex, as it was later called, culminated in the Visoflex III which essentially converted the Leica M cameras into a single lens reflex.  Yet it was always plagued by a certain clumsiness with the consequence that it did not allow rapid shooting as it was possible with real single lens reflex cameras.

Enter the upcoming Photokina and a bit of crystal balling, or dreaming, if you prefer.  Please keep in mind, this is pure conjecture, but it does paint a pretty good picture.

It is generally assumed that Leica will introduce an updated version of the M9 in form of a new camera, generally referred to as the Leica M10.  In May of this year Leica introduced the new Leica X2 and along with it, an electronic accessory viewfinder.

Let’s continue to dream what a similar electronic viewfinder could do for the M10.  Just like on the X2, it would allow full frame viewing with virtually 100 percent accuracy.  In addition the camera would, of course, maintain its rangefinder focusing with the standard M lenses.  Why the addition of an electronic finder?  Two reasons, for one thing it would allow for another means of focusing for any of the M lenses.  But, and this is where it gets interesting, it would also allow accurate viewing and focusing of other lenses.  With an adapter, any of the Leica R lenses could be used.  In addition, because of the relatively short lens to sensor distance, with an appropriate adapter a whole slew of other lenses could be used as well.  Close up photography would no longer be a problem.  With other words, such an electronic viewfinder would convert the Leica M to a complete system camera while maintaining all of the attributes of the M cameras in general.  The only fly in the ointment would be the fact that there is no autofocusing.  But let’s not get too greedy, let’s take this one step at a time.

I am sure that some will argue that the electronic finder adds some bulk to the camera.  While that is certainly correct, the added bulk is essentially no different than the prism housing on conventional DSLR cameras and it does have the advantage of being removable when not needed.

All of this sounds almost too good to be true and this bit of wishful thinking makes the upcoming Photokina that much more interesting, because then it will finally be revealed what great new items we will be presented with by Leica.  

Postscript September 18, 2012

To see what the rumored M10 actually turned out to be, go to;


And For a comparison between the imagined M10 with the electronic Visoflex and what really appeared at Photokina, see:


Friday, July 13, 2012


Leica News and Rumors published what might possibly be pictures of the new Leica M10.  They write:

I received those pictures from a reader of what appears to be a new Leica M body with a larger screen (M10 maybe?) - you can see that the screen is almost to the level of the viewfinders. There also appears to be a different button selector to the right of the screen.

Read more on LeicaRumors.com: http://leicarumors.com/2012/07/13/is-this-the-leica-m10.aspx/#ixzz20Vj1zUrF

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Looking at the photographic press and media reports, there is a lot of severe criticism about Leica and their prices, often quite hateful and in most cases not based on reality.

Unfortunately most consumers are woefully unaware of the differences or, how cameras are made in general.  The bench made process that Leica uses throughout requires a lot of actual hand making.  That alone sets them apart from almost the entire rest of the camera world which is almost entirely based on mass production.  In addition, Leica applies substantially tighter tolerances across the board.  I have reported on this elsewhere on this blog.  This process not only is a lot more time consuming, it also results in noticeably higher production costs.  Since Leica is not an electronics manufacturer, they have to obtain all electronics from different sources.  Because of their much lower production numbers, the cost of these items is necessarily higher than what mass production manufacturers experience.  This includes the sensors used in their cameras, especially the black and white only sensor in the M Monochrome.  This sensor is not used by any other company.

The hateful criticism I often experience in regard to Leica is for the most part based on ignorance and in a lot of cases most likely the result of the photographic equivalent of penis envy.

For more on this, please go to:








Now that the Leica M Monochrom has been on the market for a while, it is interesting to see what is being said about the camera, its performance and its future.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chairman of Leica’s supervisory board, told Photo District News:

“What you will definitely see is we’re working on our lens line,” noting that the new Summicron-M 50mm F2 is part of “an architecture” for Leica that photographers will see more of. “There will definitely be some improvements (to our products) and this (lens architecture) is in the pipeline.”

Eric Kim posts a great review of the M Monochrom for street photography. His thoughts:

If you still haven’t plunged on a Leica M9, are interested in doing so, yet only shoot black-and-white — I would highly recommend getting the M Monochrom. The black-and-white performance is unparalleled to anything digital I have ever shot with, in terms of dynamic range, tonality, and high ISO performance (compared to M9).

Why? In my personal experience, 90% or more of Leica M9 shooters shoot in black-and-white anyways, so they might as well try to get the best damn black and white camera you can afford (…)

Also I honestly doubt that if you are just shooting street photography and uploading black-and-white images to the web, nobody will be able to tell the difference between what camera you shot it with. You could only tell the difference if you blow up the images 100%, but honestly how often do you do that? So be happy with the camera you already have right now!

But at the end of the day if you have the money, love black-and-white, want spectacular performance at high ISOs and the best dynamic range in a digital camera, the Leica M Monochrom is for you.

Red Bull’s action photography site Red Bull Illume reckons the M Monochrom is worth a mention by quoting Leica Product Manager Jesko von Oeynhausen:

Black-and-white photography is more popular than ever before. Even today, it has lost none of its fascination as an expressive medium, not even for younger generations of photographers. For the first time ever, we are offering an opportunity to consistently and authentically explore black-and-white photography with the M Monochrom, a tool that is unique in the digital world. The camera’s exclusively black-and-white sensor brings an enormous technical benefit that is reflected in the amazing imaging quality it delivers.

Light Squared, shedding some light on something that black-and-white film photographers take forgranted.   Here’s the intro:

If you’ve seen the test shots from the Leica Monocrom, you can see that this camera shoots digital that looks more and more like film. It has grain instead of noise. The idea of a black and white only digital camera, to me, is a great thing if I can get shots that are the best things I like about film, with the advantages of digital.

Focus Numérique has a comparison between the Leica M6 with Tri-X film and the Leica Monochrom. Google translation’s verdict:

For fans of black-and-wwhite and rangefinder, the Monochrom has all you can dream of: it’s compact, well-finished, precise, silent...the sharpness is excellent (no more low-pass filter or Bayer) and noise management flawless up to ISO 3,200.

Ming Thein’s verdict:

I’m going to conclude by saying that the M Monochrom is not the camera for everybody. It’s not easy to see luminance only; if you can’t, you’re honestly going to get better results by shooting a color camera and then mastering the conversion process afterwards (to be the subject of a future article). However, with practice, some amazing things are possible with the MM – the image quality potential of this camera is incredibly high indeed. I’ve never seen pixel acuity at this level before – even Foveon cameras tend to have some degradation due to the multi-layer design of the sensor.

Bellamy Hunt aka JapanCameraHunter got his hands on a “delightful M9-M” at the Tokyo event held for the Japanese market. He says:

I am honestly floored by this camera. I have tried out a lot of digital cameras, and none of them have really made me feel that they were in any way close to film, but this one gave me a feeling that it could be. OK, so there is no winder, and it makes that funny shutter noise that I cannot stand, but this is the first digital camera that I have ever actually really desired. I feel that it is the first camera that has stepped into the recreation of the film feeling. I think this camera shows a coming of age for digital sensors and is going to really change the landscape.

Steve Huff got his one hour with the M Monochrom. He’s not only excited about the many gorgeous tones of this new classic’s images in his hands, he’s also strangely attracted to the camera despite the price tag:

Black-and-white has a way of tugging at your soul, your heart, your brain. It’s simple. It’s basic. It’s real. No, it’s not real as in what we see with our eyes but for some reason when I view classic black-and-white images I can see deeper into the image. It has more emotion and soul. I love black-and-white. The problem has always been that traditional digital cameras usually sucked with Monochrome imaging. Sure we can use plug ins like Silver Efex Pro or Alien Skin but imagine a simple camera we could have that just allowed us to be pure. To be mono. Yep, this new Leica allows us to do that and gives us superb IQ, great sharpness, and the ability to capture that real emotion that so many of us love to see (…)

So after my one hour with this lovely camera I asked myself, ”Would I sell my M9-P to buy an Monochrom?” Well, I wouldn’t want to… but yes I would. Because after viewing my sample images I do see a difference between this output and what comes out of an M9 with conversions.  Damn Leica, you always have a way to get to my heart and soul, and I feel that the Leica Monochrom will eventually become a classic due to its simplicity, design, feel, use and beautiful output.

Long-time Leica user Jonathan Slack provides a beautiful M Monochrom declaration of love, calling the camera “Henri” — you’ll soon learn why. Image quality and high ISO?

I have to say that my wife was not overjoyed that our trip to China was going to be recorded in black-and-white, but I think she’s reconciled having seen the results (…) Quite simply, it’s a revelation. Quite a new experience — even at 10,000 ISO the small amount of grain is lovely, and reminiscent of fine grained film rather than digital. Of course, digital images never really look like film, but the files from Henri have a very un-processed look about them, which is presumably the result of not having been parsed through a demosaicing program.

High ISO is what most of us have been wanting on an M — well, here it is! I think the toning and contrast are wonderful, and the amount of grain is irrelevant unless you are going to shoot billboard sized prints. The ability to keep the shutter speed safely high when shooting those fleeting moments is really useful, and I found I got a lot of keepers where I would really have been struggling with my M9-P

The Phoblographer respects Leica for “continuing its legacy of a true photographers camera,” even though you won’t shoot like Henri Cartier-Bresson:

They aren’t worried about the naysayers or the mass market who can only dream of affording one. Even with the pressure of Sony, Fuji and Olympus making great cameras that are considered “Leica Killers” they keep doing what they do best.

I love black-and-white and how it looks and I do see myself purchasing a camera made for that soul purpose.  I think you are going to hate the idea of the M Monochrom if you are someone who has never held a Leica. I know a lot of photographers but few have the heart that I have for the art of street photography.

In forums online people are talking about how to emulate black-and-white film using this and that slider in lightroom but they are missing the point. Those photos in my opinion are lacking soul. The camera is either for you or it’s not. The black-and-white camera isn’t simply a camera, it’s a way of thinking and shooting.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


It is interesting to see which posts of the LEICA Barnack Berek Blog are most popular.  The results for the whole year, so far, are as follows:


LEICA M10 Rumors    331 Pageviews

LEICA M10    262 Pageviews

THE UR-LEICA Part Two   199 Pageviews



LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY 7-11-2012

Plaubel Peko Universal, 300mm f/4.5 Voigtländer Apo Lanthar
Kodak Ektachrome
Copied with Leica Digilux 2

Harry Soletsky
Leica M

Leica Digilux 2

Leica M, 135mm Tele Elmar f/4
Ilford HP4

Staff Photographer 'Des Moines Register'
Leica R3 Mot, 250mm Telyt-R f/4
Kodak Tri-X

Leica 1 'Standard', 35mm Summaron f/3.5
Ilford HP 5

View other Leica Galleries here:





LEICA GALLERY  6-09-2012

LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY  5-14-2012


LEICA Barnack Berek Blog Gallery  3-28-12


LEICA Barnack Berek Blog GALLERY