Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2016/09/17

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Subject: [Leica] How did 50mm become the "normal" lens for 35mm cameras?
From: photo.philippe.amard at (Philippe)
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2016 22:29:50 +0200
References: <>

Just remembered a conversation heard years ago between M enthusiasts here, 
they were debating on the actual FL of varied Leica 50mm - and got out 
impressive differences between luxes, crons, elmars, etc 
Anyone knows more about this?

Le 17 sept. 2016 ? 19:46, Bryk Oliver <oliverbryk at> a ?crit :

> In 1953 I was a student in the US Army Signal Corps Photography School in 
> Ft. Monmouth, NJ. After passing still photo school (4x5 Speed Graphic) I 
> was selected for ?Combat Cameraman? class (35mm b&w cinematography) using 
> the Bell & Howell ?Eyemo? handheld newsreel cameras well as Mitchell and 
> Maurer studio cameras. 50mm was the normal lens for these 35mm cameras.
> A booklet ?Instructions for the use of the Leica Camera Models c, f & g? 
> (referring to the Leica III series) published by Hove Books Ltd. states 
> that ?THE STANDARD LENS OF THE LEICA is the world famous ELMAR having a 
> maximum aperture of f/3.5 and a focal length of 50mm?.
> In the book ?Leica M Advanced Photo School? by G?nther Osterloh, 2nd 
> English ed., published by Lark Books in 2005 (the original German edition 
> was published in 2002) is a section ?Normal focal lengths?:
> "Lenses with focal lengths that correspond approximately to the diagonal 
> of the negative format are called normal lenses. In the 35mm format of 24 
> x 36 mm the diagonal measures about 43 mm. For practical reasons and for 
> reasons of better quality, however, more than 75 years ago Leitz decided 
> to use a standard focal length that is nearly 10 mm longer. And that is 
> still the case today; standard lenses for Leica cameras have a focal 
> length of 52 mm. This holds true even when the engraving around the front 
> element of the lens reads only 50 mm.?
> ?For the novice, taking pictures with this lens is easy because its angle 
> of view of about 45 degrees most closely corresponds to the natural 
> coverage of the human eye.? 
> Respectfully submitted,
> Oliver
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Replies: Reply from lluisripollphotography at (lluisripollphotography) ([Leica] How did 50mm become the "normal" lens for 35mm cameras? -> Philippe)
In reply to: Message from oliverbryk at (Bryk Oliver) ([Leica] How did 50mm become the "normal" lens for 35mm cameras?)