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Leica Wetzlar the birthplace of 35mm still photography

Recently, staff member and lover of all things LEICA, Steve Marley, got the opportunity to visit the fantastic Leica Camera headquarters at the Leitz Park in Wetzlar, Germany! Naturally, Steve couldn’t wait to delve into the many part of Leica’s headquarters, to find out, not only about Leica’s history, but also to learn more about their manufacturing processes and facilities, as well as Leica’s philosophy to photography.

Read on to find out more, and see inside the mind of Leica, through a number of words and images from Steve. 

Visiting the Leica factory 

It was my pleasure to visit Wetzlar in Germany and to have a look around the highly impressive Leica factory.

Leica is a legendary name in photography so I was really looking forward to see the manufacturing facilities and the history of Leica  - and I was not disappointed.

The brand new Leica  Factory is the first stage of a futuristic park which will eventually include a cinema showing motion pictures shot with Leica  lenses.

Inside the huge reception hall there is a fantastic exhibition- The World of Leica experience - showing the development of Leica cameras from the very first model to the current range - a display worth millions of Euros!

Looking at how a Leica is created

We were given a highly professional and fascinating tour of the exhibition which also has windows allowing you to watch some of the production processes from outside.

We were then allowed to enter the manufacturing area and watch at close hand some of the production areas. It was also fascinating to see the care and attention to making up the packaging and then packing the lesser spotted Leica Q. 

Some areas are off-limits and the whole production area has a slightly pressurised atmosphere so the dust free zone can be maintained event when entering or leaving that area.

The Leica philosophy for quality without compromise is shown throughout the factory with the care and attention to details showing in every possible way.

The truly inspiring display of large format images shot by famous Leica  photographers was breathtaking.


Delving into the archives - the UR Leica

The Ur Leica  was the first camera designed for stills photography using perforated 35mm film with the prototype being completed by Oskar Barnack in March 1914. 

With a full metal body, collapsable lens and a focal plane shutter (that needed protection when winding to the next frame as the curtains did not overlap), the Ur-Leica was the first camera to couple shutter cocking and film winding to prevent double exposures. 

Truly revolutionary to photographers used to using cumbersome plate cameras the Ur Leica was the forerunner to a range of Leica  35mm cameras beloved by photographers around the world - and now including the superb digital Leica M10.

The video below shows the M10 production - fascinating!

Visiting Wetzlar

We were also given the chance to tour the charming Wetzlar and visit some of the famous locations used for the very early 35mm photographs.

Testing the Leica Q in New York - a street photography special

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By Park Cameras on 21/03/2018

Trade in your old equipment

Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more