Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/01/21

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Subject: [Leica] Leica, Minolta, Glass, Erwin, Marc
From: Jim Brick <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 17:32:33 -0800

At 03:39 PM 1/21/99 -0800, you wrote:
><snip> Tell us which lenses and where you got this information.<snip>
>LEICA AG.  And several technicians who worked on the product and explained
>this to me.

A very trusted Leica employee, just six months ago (last June), told me
that Leica makes their own glass to their own formula. This Leica person
also told me that the glass that is farmed out (because they don't have the
capacity to do it all in house), for instance to Hoya, is made to a
proprietary Leica formula and that Hoya could not sell this glass to
anyone. It's for use by Leica only.

Now this has turned out to be entirely false. Entirely false!

Leica does not make their own glass (except for R&D) and Leica buys
standard "off the shelf" glass from Hoya, Schott, and others. Standard
glass catalog items. Eloquently dissertated to us by Erwin.

Unless someone like Marc or Erwin chimes in here with some actual facts, I
have to assume your lens designing information is on a par with my glass
making information.

Of the five lenses that everyone knows that were designed and manufactured
by Minolta, I have three. The 24, 35-70, and 70-210. They are all great
lenses. I don't care where they were made. I knew where they were made
before I bought them. This is not an issue.

Peter, this isn't an argument between you and me. It's my desire to not let
unsubstantiated, blanket comments, be taken as truthful, without a very
good explanation. Over the years, on the LUG, I have been guilty of making
all encompassing statements, only to find out later that my defense was too
weak, and my sources were not entirely truthful. Things are said and heard,
out of context, and sometimes with a hidden agenda. This is why Erwin and
Marc are such treasures. They both have numerous contacts and volumes of
information that the rest of us don't have. And Erwin has access to the
archives and principles in Solms. So naturally, when they speak, we all
listen. Neither speaks, without documented positive proof and/or intimate

What you have said "could" indeed be true. But from my (and I'm sure many
other LUGgers) point of view, you basically have no data to support your
claim that "all of the old R lenses are Minolta lenses." And you cannot
name the lenses. And since everyone else knows exactly which five lenses
were designed and manufactured by Minolta, that'll be the way it is until
someone, whose credentials are known, explains the details to the contrary.

Now... some very quick internet research and some dates:

We know that the 16, 24, and 80-200 lenses are Minolta lenses. They were
introduced in 1974. This is about when the Leitz/Minolta stuff started. At
R3 design time, I believe. However, the Leicaflex STD, the SL, and the SL2
all came before the R cameras and before Minolta. Somewhere around 1964.
The following reflex lenses were designed and on the market before a
Minolta technology interchange existed. Basically for the Leicaflex.

28/2.8 introduced 1970
35/2.0 introduced 1972
35/2.8 introduced 1964
50/1.4 introduced 1969
50/2.0 introduced 1964
60/2.8 introduced 1972
90/2.0 introduced 1969
90/2.8 introduced 1964
100/4 introduced  1968
135/2.8 introduced 1964
180/2.8 introduced 1968
250/4.0 introduced 1970
400/6.8 introduced 1971
560/6.8 introduced 1971
800/6.3 introduced 1972

Upon looking at this list, and knowing that these lenses were made in
Wetzlar and Canada for the Leicaflex cameras, should one believe that
suddenly, at the introduction of the R camera (a Minolta body frame), in
1976, that Wetzlar decided to abandon all of these lenses and have Minolta
re-design and produce them? If you believe that, I have some ocean front
property in Oklahoma that I would like to sell you. Real cheap... But this
could have happened and I will accept it if it did. But right now, it defys

I'll stick with the "proven" knowledge that the 16, 24, 35-70,
80-200/70-210, and 500 lenses are Minolta lenses. The rest are Leica,
Zeiss, Schneider, and an Angenieux.

If someone out there has proof, other than hearsay, to the contrary, I
certainly would like to know, as would numerous other LUGgers.

Sorry folks, It goes against my grain to allow hearsay to stand as fact.
"Facts," one way or the other, would be appreciated.