Summary

Leica IIf, 35mm film rangefinder camera with interchangeable lens, manufactured by E. Leitz Wetzlar, former West Germany and produced between 1951-56.
It features a Leitz Elmar f3.5, 50mm lens and shutter speeds to 1/500 sec.

The firm Ernst Leitz has its origins in the Optisches Institut [optical institute], which was formed in 1849. The firm specialised in the manufacture of microscopes and lenses. Ernst Leitz, an instrument maker of physical and chemical apparatus, joined the firm in 1863 and later became the sole owner of the company, which then became E Leitz, Wetzlar. Optisches Institut microscopes were market leaders because of their high quality orthoscopic eyepieces. Ernst Leitz died in July 1920 and the leadership of the company passed to his son, Ernst Leitz II.

Oscar Barnack, an employee at Leitz, began experimenting on a pocket size camera for his personal use. He was a keen landscape photographer but could not easily handle the heavy cameras and associated equipment of the day because of poor health [he suffered from asthma]. Between 1913 and 1914, when he was head of development at Leitz, Barnack experimented with making a lighter and smaller camera. His experiments ultimately resulted in the introduction of the first truly viable 35mm camera for the mass market. The onset of World War I shelved the introduction of Barnack's camera to the public but by 1924, Leitz produced 1000 cameras from the Barnack prototype.

The name Leica is a derivative from the two words Lei-tz and ca-mera.

Physical Description

Camera, 35mm format, aluminium body with chrome plated brass top housing, base plate and knobs; black leatherette covering.

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