Take a look inside Leica’s factory in Wetzlar, Germany

Inside Leica’s factory in Wetzlar

Leica is one of the oldest names in photography, and has long been one of the most prestigious. Since the 1920s, Leica’s high-quality miniature cameras have set a standard for mechanical precision arguably unmatched by any other manufacturer, and for decades, many of the world’s best photojournalists used Leica rangefinders to document the defining events of the 20th Century.

Almost 100 years after the introduction of the original Leica (a name formed by combining Leitz, the name of the parent company, with ‘Camera’) Leica Camera AG is still going strong, and still based in its original hometown of Wetzlar, Germany.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Wetzlar to see for myself how Leica’s lenses are put together. Flip through the images above for a tour of the facility.

Inside Leica’s factory in Wetzlar

Leica was founded in Wetzlar, and has (mostly) been based there ever since. As such, the company has strong links with the town, the bars and cafes of which benefit from a steady stream of Leica fanatics that make the pilgrimage to the company’s birthplace.

I’m not sure what to call this piece – fan art, I suppose? – I found it in the window of an art gallery in Wetzlar’s town center. If you hurry, it might still be available for sale.

Inside Leica’s factory in Wetzlar

The main reception area in Leitz Park is half art gallery space and half showcase. Alongside regularly updated exhibitions, visitors can learn about the history of Leica cameras, and when I was visiting, a temporary exhibition was focusing on some of the many other manufacturers that Leica – let’s say – influenced.

Inside Leica’s factory in Wetzlar

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From:: DPreview

Throwback Thursday: Sigma SD1

The Sigma SD1 was an APS-C DSLR that featured the then-new 15MP (times three) Foveon X3 sensor. Previous models, such as the SD15, had 4.7x3MP sensors with a 1.7x crop, so this was a pretty big jump in resolution as well as a move to a more common sensor size. Foveon sensors capture color in a completely different way than Bayer sensors, with each 15MP layer capturing a primary color. Thus, 45MP of total data is captured at 15 million locations, to give what the company claimed was equivalent to a 30MP Bayer sensor.

Other features on this SA-mount camera include an 11-point ‘twin-cross’ AF system, 3″ 460k-dot LCD and a weather-sealed body. The SD1 was originally announced in 2010 with an MSRP of $9,700 but the company then emphasized that it expected it to have a ‘street price’ nearer $7,000 by the time it hit the market in mid 2011. Early the following year, the camera was renamed the SD1 Merrill and relaunched for a more down-to-earth $2,300.

As with all Foveon ‘X3’ sensors, while the SD1’s low ISO resolution was great, image quality fell apart quickly as the sensitivity climbed.

For those who wanted to carry around something a bit more ‘classy,’ Sigma released a model with a burl wood veneer, which was priced at €10,000, at least in Germany, where it was announced. The body was described as ’emphasizing the camera’s premium appeal by adding a casing made from Amboyna Burl, an expensive and decorative veneer taken from complex growths on a Southeast Asian tree. The case takes around 60 hours to cut, mill and polish.’ Wow.

Sample Gallery

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From:: DPreview

IB/E Optics Lens Day

By Jon Fauer Freyung, Eastern Bavaria, Germany. September 20-21. IB/E Optics celebrated their 5th anniversary in Freyung, a town that is close to the Czech border and the Bavarian Forest. It is a hilly region with the largest protected forest in Central Europe. (Previously, IB/E were in Passau.) Managing Director Klaus Eckerl welcomed several hundred guests arrived from around the world for tours… read more… → continue…

From:: FD Times