LEICA: The day plate cameras were changed for 400gr
At the beginning of the 20th century, plate cameras were a great inconvenience for photographers both because of the weight and the number of instruments that needed to be carried.
To talk about the technological revolution that led to the creation of a camera such as Leica, it is worth mentioning its creator:
Oskar Barnack, (Nuthe-Urstromtal, 1879 - Bad Nauheim, 1936), worked as an engineer in Leitz, which at the beginning was a microscope company. Barnack, in addition to inventor and engineer, had a special interest in the still image, but the asthma he suffered made photographic practice difficult, due to the flash being composed of magnesium (which had to be changed in each snapshot), in addition to the excessive weight by which the equipment was characterized. So, in 1913, Barnack made the first prototypes and it was in 1925 when the first Leica was launched: Leica I. The camera passed from considerable weight to 400gr, in which the 35mm film that allowed 36 exposures with a size of 24x36 was integrated.
Five years later, in 1930 the Leica I Schraubgewinde was born, with the novelty of the interchangeable lenses. Following it, the Leica II emerged - with the advance of the separate viewfinder and a distance viewer - and the Leica III, where shutter speeds of up to 1 second were incorporated.
In its beginnings, Leica was designed for landscape photography, but thanks to its lightness and due to the social context of the 1930’s, the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War occurs, it’s when the great moment of photojournalism begins with photographers like Gerda Taro, Tina Modotti, Kati Horna, and photographers like Robert Capa and David Seymour among others. Similarly, it was also present during World War II.
Another of the photographic fields in which Leica had special prominence was in fashion photography, since it helped posing freedom allowing more dynamic photos, very different from the static photos that were styled before.
Once the market opened into the world of digital cameras, Leica stood out in 2006 with its first model, named Leica M8 - with CCD sensor and 10 mpx. Later, Leica has evolved while incorporating new and increasingly improved models into the market, such as the Leica M Monochrome, - 18 mpx, with a sensor specially created for this camera -, or the Leica SL - 24mpx and CMOS sensor.