The island derives its name from the cajeput tree found throughout the island, as the Thai language word for cajeput is samet (the cajeput tree is formally known in Thai ต้นเสม็ดขาว). In the past, this island has also been referred to by its colloquial name, Ko Kaew Phitsadan (Thai: เกาะแก้วพิศดาร), or the "Magic Crystal Island
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Coordinates: [show location on an interactive map] 50°32′35″N 8°23′25″E / 50.54306, 8.39028
Type Rangefinder camera, single-lens reflex camera
Current owner Leica Microsystems GmbH
Country of origin Germany
Website Leica Camera - Official website
Leica is a camera produced by a German company of the same name. The company, formerly Ernst Leitz Gmbh, is now three companies: Leica Camera AG, Leica Geosystems AG, and Leica Microsystems AG, each producing cameras, geosurvey equipment and microscopes, respectively. Leica Microsystems AG is the owner of the Leica brand, and grants licenses to Leica Camera AG and Leica Geosystems.
Reproduction of the Leica I, 1925, 1:3,5
The first prototypes were built by Oskar Barnack at E. Leitz Optische Werke, Wetzlar, in 1913. Intended as a compact camera for landscape photography, particularly during mountain trips, the Leica was the first practical 35 mm camera, using standard cinema 35 mm film. The Leica extends the frame size to 24×36 mm, instead of the 18×24 mm used by cinema cameras, with a 2:3 aspect ratio.
The Leica went through several iterations, and in 1923 Barnack convinced his boss, Ernst Leitz II, to make a prototype series of 31. The camera was an immediate success when introduced at the 1925 Leipzig, Germany Spring Fair as the Leica I (for Leitz camera). The Elmar 50 mm f/3.5 objective (a 4-elements design influenced by the Zeiss Tessar) was designed by Dr. Max Berek at Leitz. The focal plane shutter had a range from 1/20 to 1/500 second, in addition to a Z for Zeit (time) position.
In 1930 came the Leica I Schraubgewinde with an exchangeable objective system based on a 39mm thread. In addition to the 50 normal lens, a 35 wide angle and a 135 mm telephoto objective were initially available.
Leica IIIf (1950), one of the last screw-mount Leicas, with 50mm/f1.5 Summarit
The Leica II came in 1932, with a built in rangefinder coupled to the lens focusing mechanism. This model had a separate viewfinder (showing a reduced image) and rangefinder.
The Leica III added slow shutter speeds down to 1 second, and the model IIIa added the 1/1000 second shutter speed. The IIIa was the last model made before Barnack’s death, and therefore the last model for which he was wholly responsible. Leitz continued to refine the original design through to 1957. The final version, the IIIg, included a large viewfinder with several framelines. These models all had a functional combination of circular dials and square windows.
Leica’s evolutionary design: MP of 2003 and M3 of 1954
Modern Leica M series
In 1954, Leitz unveiled the Leica M3, a bayonet lens model combining the rangefinder and viewfinder into one large, bright viewfinder with a brighter double image in the center, and introduced a system of parallax compensation. In addition, it had a new rubberized, reliable focal-plane shutter. This model has continued to be refined (the latest versions being the M7 and MP, both of which have frames for 28, 35, 50, 75, 90, and 135 mm lenses which show automatically upon mounting the different lenses).
A number of camera companies built models based on the Leica rangefinder design. These include the Leotax, Nicca and early Canon models in Japan, the Kardon in USA, the Reid in England and the Fed and Zorki in the USSR.
The Leica R4 (1980) introduced the shape of the Leica SLR throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s. The Leica SL2 MOT (1974) was the culmination of the original Leicaflexes. The SL2 was reportedly more expensive to produce than the camera’s price.
From 1964, Leica produced a series of single-lens reflex cameras, beginning with the Leicaflex, followed by the Leicaflex SL, the Leicaflex SL2, and then the R series from R3 to R7, made in collaboration with the Minolta Corporation. The Leica R8 was entirely designed and manufactured by Leica. The current model is the Leica R9, which can be fitted with the Digital Module back. Leica was slow to produce an auto-exposure model, and never made a Leica R model that supported auto-focusing.
The Leica Visoflex II (1960)
Leica’s answer to the SLR: a Leica Visoflex II on Leica IIIf with 65mm f/3.5 Elmarit
Conceptually bridging the Rangefinder Leicas and the SLR Leicas was the Leica Visoflex System, a mirror reflex box which attached to the lens mount of Leica rangefinders (separate versions were made for the screwmount and M series bodies) and accepted lenses made especially for the Visoflex System. Rather than using the camera’s rangefinder, focusing was accomplished via a groundglass screen. A coupling released both mirror and shutter to make the exposure. Camera rangefinders are inherently limited in their ability to accurately focus long focal-length lenses and the mirror reflex box permitted much longer length lenses.
In the course of its history, Leitz was responsible for numerous optical innovations, such as aspherical production lenses, multicoated lenses, and rare earth lenses. Leica optics are advertised as offering superior performance at maximum aperture, making them well-suited for natural-light photography.
The earliest Leica reflex housing was the PLOOT, announced in 1935, along with the 200mm f/4.5 Telyt Lens. This date is significant because that it places Leica among the 35mm SLR pioneers. Moreover, until the 1964 introduction of the Leicaflex, the PLOOT and Visoflex were Leica’s only SLR offerings. A redesigned PLOOT was introduced by Leica in 1951 as the Visoflex I. This was followed by a much more compact Visoflex II in 1960 (which was the only Visoflex version available in both LTM (screwmount) and M-bayonet) and the Visoflex III with instant-return mirror in 1964. Leica lenses for the Visoflex system included focal lengths of 65, 180 (rare), 200, 280, 400, 560, and 800mm. In addition, the optical groups of many rangefinder lenses could be removed, and attached to the Visoflex via a system of adapters. The Visoflex system was discontinued in 1984.
Leica offered a wide range of accessories: for instance, LTM (screwmount) lenses were easily usable on M cameras via an adapter. Similarly Visoflex lenses could be used on the Leicaflex and R cameras with an adapter. Furthermore, certain LTM and M rangefinder lenses featured removable optical groups which could be mounted via adapters on the Visoflex system, thus making them usable as rangefinder or SLR lenses for Visoflex-equipped Screwmount and M rangefinder cameras, as well as being usable on Leicaflex and R cameras. Leica also carried in their catalogues focusing systems such as the Focorapid and Televit which could replace certain lenses’ helicoid mounts for sports and natural-life telephotography.
Leica cameras, lenses, accessories and sales literature are collectibles. There are dozens of Leica books and collector’s guides, notably the 3-volume Leica, an Illustrated History by James L. Lager. Early or rare cameras and accessories can reach very high prices on the market. Notably, Leica cameras sporting military markings carry very high premiums; this started a market for refurbished Soviet copies with fake markings.
In 1986, the Leitz company changed its name to Leica (LEItz CAmera), due to the strength of the Leica brand. At this time, Leica moved its factory from Wetzlar to the nearby town of Solms. In 1996 Leica Camera separated from the Leica Group and became a publicly held company. In 1998 the Leica group split into 2 independent units: Leica Microsystems and Leica Geosystems.
Leica M6 Black Paint
List of Leica Cameras and lenses
Below is a list of cameras and lenses produced under the Leica name.
* Leica I — was introduced first time to the market at the 1925 spring fair in Leipzig, based on the Ur-Leica prototype developed by Oscar in 1913 and the Prototyp 1 developed in 1923. Followed by Leica Luxur and Leica Compur (a total of 60,586 was made of the Leica I, Luxur and Compur). From 1930 with interchangeable lenses.
Leica 35mm series with interchangeable lens screw mount style Leica bodies:
* Leica II — 1932. Leica introduces the rangefinder in the camera with this model.
* Leica III — 1933. Leica incorporates slow speeds to the shutter design in this model.
 C (point and shoot) series
* Leica Minilux 40mm
* Leica Minilux Zoom
* Leica CM 40mm
* Leica CM Zoom
Back in the day (i.e. 7th grade), we “borrowed” our dad’s camera gear. Eventually, when we could afford a camera of our own (i.e. age 27), we finally gave it back.
Now we’re thinking of “borrowing” Dad’s lenses again, because using vintage lenses on our DSLR is a lot easier than we thought.
All you need is a cheap adapter ring that allows you to attach a particular lens to your camera. And manual-focus vintage lenses are all over eBay, dirt-cheap and ripe for the plucking.
Yes, you have to use manual focus, but you won’t miss autofocus as much as you think. Especially when you consider that vintage lenses are better-made, more reliable, and exponentially cheaper than comparable autofocus lenses.
So dust off your dad’s gear. Fling wide the closet doors, and hike up to the attic! Shake down your relatives for all the old lenses they have stashed away. It’s time to become the gear-geek you always wanted to be.
p.s. Thanks Dad!
Why Use Vintage Lenses?
Vintage lenses (even the lesser-known brands) tend to be made better than modern autofocus lenses. You know how driving a Mercedes feels better than driving a Hyundai? Same thing.
Using manual focus on those old lenses will slow you down a little. Not too much, just enough to make you think about your shot. You feel more connected to your camera and to the process of shooting.
And, last but not least, vintage lenses have flooded the market since the digital revolution. You can pick from up for much less than they’re really worth, and a mere fraction of what a comparable autofocus lens would cost. We recently picked up a mint-condition 80-200mm telephoto lens and an adapter for less than $50.
What You’ll Need
- A digital SLR
- A vintage manual-focus lens
- An adapter ring
How It Works
Each lens-to-camera combination calls for a different adapter ring. For example, fitting an Olympus lens on a Canon camera requires a different adapter than a Pentax lens does.
An easy way to find an adapter for the lens you want to use is a keyword search on eBay. In our case, we found an Zeiss M42-mount lens that we wanted to use with a Canon EOS Rebel. So we searched for “Canon M42 adapter” and there it was!
Since adapters are so inexpensive (around $5-$25) you might as well get one for each lens you buy. Just attach it to the lens, and you’ll never have to give it another thought.
What Works & What Doesn’t
Each brand of camera has its own idiosyncrasies about which lenses will work and which won’t. Here are the basics:
- Nikon cameras work with most vintage Nikon lenses, but they don’t work with most third-party lenses (like Olympus or Pentax).
- Canon and Olympus cameras don’t work with most vintage Canon lenses, but do work with most third-party lenses.
- Pentax cameras work with nearly all Pentax lenses, and any third-party lens that uses the Pentax mount.
- Sony cameras work with some Minolta lenses and lenses with “M42″-style mounts.
Where To Find Vintage Lenses
eBay is a great place to start. There’s a large selection, you can search for particular lenses or adapters, and sometimes there are great deals to be had. Of course, it’s also the first and last stop for many shoppers, so it gets picked over pretty quickly. Craigslist is another good online source for camera equipment.
Camera shops that sell used gear are good bets, since many old-school photographers think of them first when they decide to de-stash. Fleamarkets and thrift stores can also yield good results, and don’t underestimate the sheer gold you can find at pawn shops.
What to Look For
When you buy online, you only have the seller’s word for the condition of the lens, so be careful and be sure to read their return policy.
In general, aim for the widest aperture you can afford (i.e. choose f2.8 over f3.5). Lower f-stop numbers are always more desirable because they let in more light.
Here are a few popular, well-made lenses to keep an eye out for:
- Olympus Zuiko 28mm f3.5
- Olympus Zuiko 24mm f2.8
- Zenitar 16mm f2.8