Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/29

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Subject: Re: [Leica] potential image quality
From: "Dan Post" <>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 19:05:21 -0400

I would have to agree with Eric. My understanding of the birth of the Leica
was that Ernst Leitz like to go trooping off into the mountains and forests
and simply wanted a smaller lighter camera. The Ur-Leica was cobbled up by
his employee, Oskar Barnack, who used a device then employeed by
cinemaphotographers to make test exposures. He devised a lens
arrangement,and thus Herr Leitz could carry a smaller, lighter, and more
manageable outfit into the field. It was a compromise, but there was no
compromise on the quality of the optics. Leitz had been around since about
1849 making microscopes and other optical instruments for which they had a
well deserved reputation for excellence. I myself have a microscope from
Leitz, circa 1919-1920 with which  I have made photomicrograph, and the
lenses are quite good, even after almost 80 years. I used it all the time to
look at the grain of negs and slides.
There is nothing wrong with using a tripod- the camera comes 'tripod ready'
and I'll grant you that it helps with tricky longer exposures; and I'll
grant you that you'll not get a grainfree image like one made from an 8x10,
but I have seen 16x20s done by a friend at the camera store, and made with
Tech-Pan, and I was so amazed at the acuity and contrast, that I decided 16
years ago to sell my Hasselblad stuff and get a Leica. Leitz optics do
provide an image that is clearly superior than MOST glass ( I won't get
caught in absolutes here! :)). And a damn sight easier to carry than a 4x5,
I can tell you personally!