Segments in this Video

30 Years of Leica Camera (01:33)


The Leica has maintained performance for over 80 years with only short revisions.

Glass Plate Camera (01:37)

A 19th century invention, photography had several iterations- like the glass plate camera that required time and patience.

First Leica (03:52)

Inventor Oskar Barnack took the first Leica photograph in 1914. The current Leica M6 is mainly the same model Barnack created for Ernst Leitz Optical Company in Wetzlar, Germany.

Fundamentals of Photography (02:26)

Barnack used the same 35 millimeter film as the cinema camera, reducing the image to the size of the traditional glass plate. For the first time, experts shoot pictures in series.

Beginning of the Modern Industrial Era (01:28)

In 1914, Barnack takes aerial photographs from a zeppelin. Ernst Leitz, Jr. goes to New York to promote the Leica, but WWI intervenes.

Capturing the Kaiser on Film (01:06)

In Wetzlar, Barnack creates a photo montage of the Kaiser's army. The official war photograph of the Kaiser was taken with the old glass plate method.

1920 Flooding (00:57)

Barnack documents the flooding of Wetzlar in a photo montage using 35 mm film. He continues experimenting with the Leica and builds several prototypes.

Leica 1, 1924 (01:36)

Barnack equips the Leica with a smaller, collapsible view finder, shutter speed control and film transport lever. The basic technology of the Leica remains the same today.

End of Motionless Photography (01:48)

August Sander worked in Cologne on his portrait collection of Weimar Republic citizens, the last use of glass plate photography. The Leica caught subjects in motion.

Early Leica Photographers (01:45)

Alexander Rodchenko, Umbo, Andre Kertesz, and Ilse Bing use the Leica for artistic experiments and everyday news coverage. WWII photographers use the Leica 2 and 3.

Industrial Production (02:34)

In 1954, experts present the user-friendly M3 at Cologne's Photokina exhibition and finds competition with the Rolleiflex camera, the reflex Nikon, camera and others.

Modernizing the Leica M Series (04:16)

The modern Leica offers quality lenses rather than electronics for a talented photographer like Henri Cartier-Bresson, known for his "capture of the moment."

Credits: The Leica: Design—Milestones of 20th Century Industrial Design (00:00)

Credits: The Leica: Design—Milestones of 20th Century Industrial

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The Leica: Design—Milestones of 20th Century Industrial Design

Part of the Series : Design—Milestones of 20th-Century Industrial Design
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The Leica is unique in the history of twentieth-century design - in terms of longevity, if nothing else. Designed in 1914 by an engineer named Bernack, it went into mass production in 1925. The ten-year interval between design and production reflects the uncertainty of a period in which war was followed by a series of political and economic crises. As the first camera that allowed the photographer to take snapshots, the Leica ushered in the photo-journalism of the late 1920s, and with it a totally new way of seeing the world.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL65369

ISBN: 978-1-60057-677-5

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

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