Dan Tamarkin here from Tamarkin Camera in downtown Chicago, to talk a little bit about some of the innovations that Leica made between 1925 and about 1980 with their 35 mm cameras. The whole idea of the camera is small negative, big picture, and in 1925 Leica introduced the first small Leica. This one was made a few years later, some of you who might recognize this model will notice that it’s not one of the very early Leicas, but it shares the most important features; that’s just a little viewfinder here, no rangefinder, just a viewfinder, and lenses that screw in. These are called screw-mount cameras, and Leica made a number of innovations. One of the innovations, eventually, was that the cameras have a rangefinder built in. Again, screw-mount, and, in order to load these cameras, you have to trim the film leader, which makes them a little difficult to load.
Nonetheless, Leica went on making innovations, such as strap lugs, slow-speed dials for longer exposures and again the range-finder built into the camera. They went from black enamel as the most popular finish to silver-chrome. Some cameras were made without slow speeds, some with. All of them screwed in. All of the lenses screwed in. The last model that they made was the Leica 3G. This is a fabulous camera, but again, you have the same kind of loading system, where the baseplate comes off, you have to trim
the leader of the film and the lenses have to thread in which is really not such an easy thing to do when you’re in the field trying to shoot very quickly so, Leica developed the M3.
In 1954 they made a bayonet system and a system where the baseplate comes off and now you have a back door to open where you can clearly see the sprockets that you’ll load the film on you can very clearly see the film gate and the pressure plate that keeps the film nice and flat This innovation from 1954, stayed with Leica through all their successive models, the M2 the M1 the M4, the M5, the M6. Again we don’t have all of the models here because this table just isn’t quite big enough, but the important thing is that the cameras became much much easier to load and they became much much easier to change lenses in the field.
So there you have it, the simple innovations going from Leica screw-mount cameras to Leica M cameras. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more just give us a call (800) BUY-LEICA or on the World Wide Web at Tamarkin.com