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View Full Version : Did Leica consider medium format film?


Kieran_Keeton
01-02-2019, 05:55
Always wondered why Leica never considered joining the likes of Mamiya, Plaubel and Fuji in the medium format rangefinder market? People always boast Leica quality, so why not take the next step to larger film?

Bill Clark
01-02-2019, 06:00
The gent that started it all used 35mm film. He got tired of the size, weight of other cameras as they were quite large and wanted a camera that a person could easily carry. He gave birth to pj style of photography by the likes if folks like Henri Cartier Bresson.

I have several medium format cameras that I used when I wasin business and, to my way of thinking, I only used them in studio and if on a job site or in studio I always used a tripod.

About the only medium format camera I would use without a tripod would be a Rolleiflex, which I did use every so often.

Info on Oskar Barnack:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/35mm_format

Kieran_Keeton
01-02-2019, 06:17
The gent that started it all used 35mm film. He got tired of the size, weight of other cameras as they were quite large and wanted a camera that a person could easily carry. He gave birth to pj style of photography by the likes if folks like Henri Cartier Bresson.

I have several medium format cameras that I used when I wasin business and, to my way of thinking, I only used them in studio and if on a job site or in studio I always used a tripod.

About the only medium format camera I would use without a tripod would be a Rolleiflex, which I did use every so often.

I can understand the core of production staying with 35mm, but the Makina 67 is so light and portable it seems strange that Leica was more interested in making point-and-shoot's or slr cameras instead. Medium format would not change the Leica attitude and would have made a heck of a lot of money!

Ted Striker
01-02-2019, 06:23
The gent that started it all used 35mm film. He got tired of the size, weight of other cameras as they were quite large and wanted a camera that a person could easily carry. He gave birth to pj style of photography by the likes if folks like Henri Cartier Bresson.

I have several medium format cameras that I used when I wasin business and, to my way of thinking, I only used them in studio and if on a job site or in studio I always used a tripod.

About the only medium format camera I would use without a tripod would be a Rolleiflex, which I did use every so often.

Info on Oskar Barnack:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/35mm_format

Rangefinder medium format cameras are not that large. Certainly not large enough to mandate tripod use. Fixed lens rangefinders are even smaller. Leica could have played off their rangefinder experience and made a very decent small medium format camera.

Ted Striker
01-02-2019, 06:23
Leica makes medium format SLR's so there could have been a film one too.

DominikDUK
01-02-2019, 06:55
Leica/Leitz made lenses for MF folders does that count? Nagel Vollenda, The Summar was also available as Large Format lens. So they might not have build an MF camera but they were involved in the MF market. As for the size 6x4.5 folders were often no larger or sometimes even smaller than the Leica.

Bill Clark
01-02-2019, 07:15
Certainly not large enough to mandate tripod use.

When on the job, I almost always used a tripod. Even when I went digital, full frame Canon I still mounted on a tripod. My associate photographer I would have her make the candids. When a person goes up to a fairly large print, say a 16x20 or larger, characteristics appear that were not noticeable in small prints. Of course, the larger the print, folks would sometimes view it at a greater distance than a small print but that’s not a reason, at least my way of thinking, to not use a tripod. I always wanted my negs and digital files come out so as I could possibly sell large prints.

More large print sales, more smiles from the photographer!

davidnewtonguitars
01-02-2019, 07:28
This is a "what if" scenario. Other companies were making lower priced MF cameras, and Rollei and Hasselblad at the top. If Leica made one it would be at the top and would have to share the market. I think it would have been a mistake for Leica.

Sumarongi
01-02-2019, 07:59
This is a "what if" scenario. Other companies were making lower priced MF cameras, and Rollei and Hasselblad at the top. If Leica made one it would be at the top and would have to share the market. I think it would have been a mistake for Leica.

Exactly.

Unlike other firms, that are gone now, the Leitz firm heeded the advice:

«Schuster, bleib bei deinem Leisten» —— «cobbler, keep to your last» —— «sutor, ne ultra crepidam»

:)

colker
01-02-2019, 08:23
They made a big camera: the M3.

Earlier cameras had the appropriate size.
Olympus took the torch and focused on small. Leica went bigger w/ the M5 and kapput.
Those rigid summicrons are huge next to a collapsible.

colker
01-02-2019, 08:26
Always wondered why Leica never considered joining the likes of Mamiya, Plaubel and Fuji in the medium format rangefinder market? People always boast Leica quality, so why not take the next step to larger film?

Fuji was a large format lens maker. Mamiyia was never a 35mm company at it´s core.

Leica, Canon and Nikon are 35mm camera companies. It´s their philosophy. They saw the future was about small formats and won.

xayraa33
01-02-2019, 08:50
Leitz left the medium format cameras to others.

Going by the myriad of letter codes for their many accessories for the Leica plus their microscope manufacturing one would think that they had their plates full for a not so large firm.

Nippon Kogaku considered a MF TLR camera before introducing their Nikon I camera after WW2 but went with a 35mm camera and it was a good move, as everyone and their brother was producing a TLR of varying degrees of sophistication in Japan at that time .

mpaniagua
01-02-2019, 09:41
I consider the Rolleiflex the "Medium Forma Leica". Strong build, small (relative) package, fast (relative) use, great optics and luxury price to match :)

When it started, Leitz was interested on making small and portable cameras. Maybe later it considered the niche to be already filled out by Rolleiflexes.

Best regards
Marcelo

Prest_400
01-02-2019, 09:53
When seeing the concept of the Mamiya 6 (later model with interchangeable lenses) I thought about this question as well. A couple decades earlier, a Solid 6x6 Leica Rangefinder with a Collapsible lens.

colker
01-02-2019, 10:11
I consider the Rolleiflex the "Medium Forma Leica". Strong build, small (relative) package, fast (relative) use, great optics and luxury price to match :)

When it started, Leitz was interested on making small and portable cameras. Maybe later it considered the niche to be already filled out by Rolleiflexes.

Best regards
Marcelo

Yes. Hasselblad and Rollei had an agreement for a while not to step on each other´s toes. I believe it was a strategy at the time in Europe instead of copying your competitors into oblivion offering the same.

Ted Striker
01-02-2019, 17:48
Mamyia was never a 35mm company at it´s core.




35mm film cameras made by Mamiya:

Fixed Lens Mamiya
Mamiya Auto-Lux 35
Mamiya Family (a.k.a. Mamiya Korvette, Mamiya Saturn)
Mamiya 528TL
Mamiya 528AL
Mamiya Prismat
Mamiya Prism Flex
Mamiya Pentaflex
Mamiya Prismat
Mamiya Prismat NP
Mamiya Prismat PH
Mamiya Prismat CPH
Mamiya Prismat CWP (Mamiya/Sekor CWP)
Mamiya TL/DTL-Series
Mamiya 500 TL
Mamiya 1000 TL
Mamiya 500 DTL
Mamiya 1000 DTL
Mamiya 1000 DTL (black)
Mamiya 2000 DTL
Mamiya X-Series
Mamiya/Sekor Auto XTL
Mamiya Auto X-1000
Mamiya SX-Series
Mamiya MSX 500
Mamiya DSX 500
Mamiya MSX 1000
Mamiya DSX 1000
Mamiya DSX 1000B
Mamiya NC-Series
Mamiya NC 1000
Mamiya NC 1000S
Mamiya Z-Series
Mamiya ZE (ZE, ZE quartz, ZE silver)
Mamiya ZE-2
Mamiya ZM
Mamiya ZE-X
Mamiya ZF prototype
Fixed lens rangefinder
Mamiya 35 I
Mamiya 35 II (f:3.5 and f:2.8)
Mamiya 35 III (f:2.8 and f:2)
Mamiya Magazine 35
Mamiya 35 S (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 S2 (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 Crown
Mamiya Elca
Mamiya 35 Metra
Mamiya 35 Metra 2
Mamiya 35 Auto Metra
Mamiya 35 Auto Metra 2
Mamiya 35 Auto Deluxe
Mamiya 35 Auto Deluxe 2
Mamiya 35 Ruby (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 Ruby Standard
Mamiya 35 M3
Mamiya EE Super Merit
Mamiya 4B
Mamiya 35 Super Deluxe
Mamiya 135

Steve M.
01-02-2019, 19:39
I thought Leica made a medium format SLR film series too, but it appears it's a DSLR. I must have imagined it.

colker
01-02-2019, 20:20
35mm film cameras made by Mamiya:

Fixed Lens Mamiya
Mamiya Auto-Lux 35
Mamiya Family (a.k.a. Mamiya Korvette, Mamiya Saturn)
Mamiya 528TL
Mamiya 528AL
Mamiya Prismat
Mamiya Prism Flex
Mamiya Pentaflex
Mamiya Prismat
Mamiya Prismat NP
Mamiya Prismat PH
Mamiya Prismat CPH
Mamiya Prismat CWP (Mamiya/Sekor CWP)
Mamiya TL/DTL-Series
Mamiya 500 TL
Mamiya 1000 TL
Mamiya 500 DTL
Mamiya 1000 DTL
Mamiya 1000 DTL (black)
Mamiya 2000 DTL
Mamiya X-Series
Mamiya/Sekor Auto XTL
Mamiya Auto X-1000
Mamiya SX-Series
Mamiya MSX 500
Mamiya DSX 500
Mamiya MSX 1000
Mamiya DSX 1000
Mamiya DSX 1000B
Mamiya NC-Series
Mamiya NC 1000
Mamiya NC 1000S
Mamiya Z-Series
Mamiya ZE (ZE, ZE quartz, ZE silver)
Mamiya ZE-2
Mamiya ZM
Mamiya ZE-X
Mamiya ZF prototype
Fixed lens rangefinder
Mamiya 35 I
Mamiya 35 II (f:3.5 and f:2.8)
Mamiya 35 III (f:2.8 and f:2)
Mamiya Magazine 35
Mamiya 35 S (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 S2 (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 Crown
Mamiya Elca
Mamiya 35 Metra
Mamiya 35 Metra 2
Mamiya 35 Auto Metra
Mamiya 35 Auto Metra 2
Mamiya 35 Auto Deluxe
Mamiya 35 Auto Deluxe 2
Mamiya 35 Ruby (f:2.8 and f:1.9)
Mamiya 35 Ruby Standard
Mamiya 35 M3
Mamiya EE Super Merit
Mamiya 4B
Mamiya 35 Super Deluxe
Mamiya 135

All those models you listed went nowhere and didn´t leave a trace.
The Mamyia cameras which lasted and had an impact in the photographic community worldwide were medium format.
If you remember any other 35mm Mamyia w/ any resemblance of a reputation, let me know.

CameraQuest
01-02-2019, 22:39
Always wondered why Leica never considered joining the likes of Mamiya, Plaubel and Fuji in the medium format rangefinder market? People always boast Leica quality, so why not take the next step to larger film?

its most likely every camera type has been considered by Leica,
but no medium format prototypes or plans have been publicly shared.

Stephen

Rob-F
01-03-2019, 07:05
They made a big camera: the M3.

Earlier cameras had the appropriate size.
Olympus took the torch and focused on small. Leica went bigger w/ the M5 and kapput.
Those rigid summicrons are huge next to a collapsible.

But the idea would not be to make a small camera bigger (e.g., making the M5 after starting with the smaller LTM series). The idea would be to make a compact MF rangefinder, maybe with interchangeable lenses, like the Mamiya 7II. Leica could have managed the design, but may not have considered it feasible for them. At the Leica meeting in St. Louis, when asked why they didn't make this or that, Stefan Daniel said, "We are a small company with a big name." Maybe a MF camera would have overtaxed Leica's resources.

giganova
01-03-2019, 07:16
About the only medium format camera I would use without a tripod would be a Rolleiflex, which I did use every so often.
I even use my Mamiya RZ67 for hand-held street photography. Its quite the brick to schlep around, but rock solid in your hands.

giganova
01-03-2019, 07:19
Imagine how much a MF Summilux would have cost! :p

Ted Striker
01-03-2019, 08:08
Imagine how much a MF Summilux would have cost! :p

Leica makes lenses for their Digital S2 and S3 medium format SLRs. They are quite pricey.

I would bet that it takes far more resources to design and build this digital SLR than it would a film rangefinder.

jawarden
01-03-2019, 08:32
They certainly could have done it and it would have been cool to see a medium format M3 - the MF3!

But for today folders are probably the closest thing if you want portability or slimness.

Sumarongi
01-05-2019, 03:59
Always wondered why Leica never considered joining the likes of Mamiya, Plaubel and Fuji in the medium format rangefinder market? People always boast Leica quality, so why not take the next step to larger film?
its most likely every camera type has been considered by Leica,
but no medium format prototypes or plans have been publicly shared.

IMHO, that's rather unlikely. There's Plaubel, and Linhof —— they both didn't enter the 35mm market, and Leitz didn't step into their realm. Then, these rather small-sized firms weren't enemies, they were even partners, to an extent.

kangaroo2012
06-12-2019, 23:54
Leica started out as a microscope company, like Zeiss.
When I worked at Leica Microsystems 1980-2000 we sold many large format cameras for use on microscopes. 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 for polaroid up to 4 x 5 inch for polaroid and film.
The shutter unit was like a compur and was vibration free and the film box fitted into the shutter unit. An exposure meter was built in and in the Vario Orthomat had a movable measuring spot.
The microscope objectives only have a maximum aperture to obtain highest resolution. Each objective is optimised for light controlled by the condenser.
There is a lens in the film box that fills the film area fully.
1x for 4 x 5 inch film, 0.3 x for 35mm film etc.
These cameras appear in Leitz (Leica) catalogs from the earliest days of the company.
Oscar Barnack developed the Leica because he did not want to carry a large camera on his rambles. But the company continued to make them.

CharlesDAMorgan
06-12-2019, 23:55
Fascinating, thank you Kangaroo2012!

Ko.Fe.
06-13-2019, 05:19
Despite making of some tools, Leica known for photography is known for making most nice and easy to use cameras.
HCB and many others ditched MF because Leica become available.
Then I purchased collapsible Cron and printed, I ditched MF as well.

Thatspec
06-13-2019, 07:50
Recently ran across this interesting Leitz lens for 2 1/4" and am having a hard time not buying it...
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Elcan-Leitz-Canada-Large-Format-2-x-2-Lens-Focal-Length-6-F2-4/283460921949?hash=item41ff966a5d:g:PIAAAOSwjxBcv0P k
Fair warning though, this guy has a lot of interesting lenses that may cause GAS.

Huss
06-13-2019, 08:01
There was the Texas Leica.

https://live.staticflickr.com/1920/31682952868_3d7db0ca2c_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/QgHq55)

And of course the R8/9 are mf sized. Here you see it dwarf what is arguably the greatest street mf camera ever made:

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48055798193_8f4e4fa812_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2gdwwyH)

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48055750961_8f6738d29f_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/2gdwhwn)

leicapixie
06-17-2019, 07:15
I used Medium Format in my studio..
The few times outside were horrible!
The Leica M (M3 mostly) fast and part of me!
Quick response, ideal to hold and view.
I used SLR (Nikon Pentax Canon) for some pro work.
But a Leica M, 50mm Summicron was really all i ever needed.
Sales of Medium format were never "awesome".