Search This Blog

Loading...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

THE OTHER COMPANIES AT LEITZ PARK




 
Photo by Marlies Amling

Many of the photographs of the new Leica Camera AG headquarters at Leitz Park in Wetzlar show two other buildings and many might have wondered what the companies are in such close proximity of Leica.

The building immediately to the left is Weller Feinwerktechnik and the company of Viaoptic GmbH to the left of it.

The location of these two companies so close to the Leica Camera headquarters is no accident.  They are both closely connected to Leica Camera.  Their Chairman of the Supervisory, Board Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, bought both companies through his capital management company ACM.


Weller Feinwerktechnik

Uwe Weller Feinwerktechnik develops designs and produces premium mechanical products in the company’s state of the art production facilities.

With their own galvanic surface technology and assembly operation, they are able to offer their clients from the strategic fields of precision optics, medical equipment and transportation sophisticated solutions from a ‘one-stop shop’.

In 1994, Uwe Weller took over Leica Camera AG’s machining division, thus laying the foundations for the company in its present form.

In 1997, the business then merged with his father’s company, Günther Weller Feinwerktechnik, which specialized in precision turned parts for the automotive supplier industry. The merged operation subsequently moved into the production facility on Wilhelm-Loh-Straße.

In 2005, the mechatronics division of Leica Microsystems in Weilburg was integrated into the business, followed in 2006 by the machining division of the Zeiss-Hensoldt Group in Wetzlar. Both operations were at that time manufacturing their products in leased premises in Wetzlar.

In early 2009, by relocating to the new facility at Am Leitz Park, the company was able to combine every manufacturing division and technology ‘under one roof’.

In May 2009, the new surface technology division began operations at the site on Wilhelm-Loh-Straße.


Uwe Weller Feinwerktechnik GmbH
Am Leitz-Park 3
35578 Wetzlar
Germany

Phone:+49 6441 90190


Viaoptic GmbH

Viaoptic is a leading supplier of plastic optical and mechanical components, technical injection molded parts and injection molding tools.

They are optimally equipped to react to customer requirements in development, tool design, injection molding, surface coating and assembly.

Viaoptic has over 30 years of experience and history.  Viaoptic in its current form has been situated in Wetzlar since 2002.  They moved to their brand new building «Am Leitz-Park» in the beginning of 2009, which offers greater opportunities for growth in the future.

Their customers are specialized in automotive industry, optical sensors, telecommunication, medical industry, lightning and optical industry. Their products are used in several different applications for light optics and imaging optics. Typical products include e.g. barcode scanner, LED illumination optics etc..

Viaoptic is an independent medium-sized company, supported by a broad-ranging network of partners.

Both companies are not just financially connected to Leica.  They do a large amount of work for Leica camera.  Especially Weller Feinwerktechnik does almost all mechanical preproduction work for Leica Camera as well as Leica Microsystems.


Viaoptic GmbH
Am Leitz-Park
35578 Wetzlar
Germany

Phone:+49 6441 90110


CW Sonderoptic GmbH

Also located at Leitz Park is CW Sonderoptic GmbH.  It was founded in 2008 to design, manufacture and market Leica-branded cine lenses for film, television and commercial production. The “CW” stands for “Cine Wetzlar”, a reference to both the company’s mission and legacy.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority owner and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG, started CW Sonderoptic to design and develop what became the Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C cine lenses. The concept behind these lenses was originally conceived by photographer and filmmaker Christian Skrein along with Hollywood rental house owner Otto Nemenz.

The dream for the set of Leica Summilux-C lenses was for them to be the most advanced cinema lenses yet created in regards to size, performance, mechanical precision, and optical tolerance. To create such a design they brought in legendary cine lens designer Iain Neil. Together they determined the specifications and features of the lenses and began production with the first sets delivering in early 2012.

Under the guidance of Managing Directors Gerhard Baier and Erik Feichtinger, CW Sonderoptic continues to develop and manufacture new and innovative products for cinematographers all over the world.


CW Sonderoptic GmbH
Am Leitz-Park 1
35578 Wetzlar
Germany

Phone:+49 6441 90110

To comment or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For more information and pre orders go to: www.lenstab.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Upcoming shows in Tamarkin's Rangefinder Gallery


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography





Saturday, May 23, 2015

Atelier Ludwig Leitz




When we think of Leica, cameras are obviously an integral part of that.  Leica will be forever connected to the name of Leitz, Ernst Leitz, the founder of the company.  He was followed by his son, Ernst Leitz II and subsequently his grandson, Ernst Leitz III.  As a matter of fact, the name Ernst and Leitz are so closely connected to the Leica camera that hardly any thought is ever given if possibly there might have been other Leitz family members that were not named Ernst.

There were indeed and one of them was Ludwig Leitz, son of Ernst Leitz II.  He was born in 1907.  He studied math and physics and in 1939 he took over full responsibility for the entire area of development of his father’s company.  Under his leadership many patents and design innovations of the product line of the Leitz company were developed.

Ludwig Leitz II

Four generations Leitz:
Ernst Leitz II (second from left) with sons Ernst (right) and Ludwig (left)
and grandson Knut in front of a portrait of the company founder Ernst Leitz I.

He was an avid photographer and accompanied the development of the preproduction cameras, the Nullserie and the further development of the camera until 1980.  His artistic orientation strongly influenced the design of many of the Leitz products. He even hired the sculptors Adolf Great and Heinrich Janke to to work for Leitz. The high level of design showed particularly in the development of the Leica M series cameras.  Their basic design survives until this day.

This interest in design did not happen by accident.  In addition to the study of mathematics and physics Ludwig Leitz graduated in 1926 at Wollek in Vienna and 1927 as a student at Johannes Itten in Berlin. This was more often than not done in the evening hours until he finally finished his training as a sculptor.

 
                                        Sculpture by Ludwig Leitz                                         Atelier Ludwig Leitz

Although his artistic work often had to take a backseat to his job responsibilities, he pursued the development of contemporary art with a keen interest in.  Sketches, models and bronze casts of the sculptural works of Ludwig Leitz document his artistic aim of identifying the essence of the form of the random appearance of things.

A special experience for art lovers is a visit to the "Atelier Ludwig Leitz", which opened to the public in September of 1984.  The Atelier Ludwig Leitz is currently showing a special selection of his work in commemoration of the building of the reception building of the Leitz company 60 years ago.  Today this building is the “Neues Rathaus” (new city hall) in Wetzlar.

The Neues Rathaus (new town hall), the former Empfangsgebäude
(reception building) of Ernst Leitz GmbH.  The front door leads to
a large staircase which used to be the way to the original Leica Museum.

This exhibition of the sculptures of Ludwig Leitz in the Atelier Ludwig Leitz at Laufdorfer Weg 33 A is open to the public on Friday, May 22, May 29, June 12, June 19 and June 26 from 5 to 7 pm.



To comment or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For more information and pre orders go to: www.lenstab.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Upcoming shows in Tamarkin's Rangefinder Gallery


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography




Thursday, May 21, 2015

EVEN WITH LEICAS THINGS CAN GO WRONG



Camera stores are a great source of anecdotes about photography equipment.  This certainly includes some rather odd ones as well, especially when it comes to camera repair.  Some of the strangest reasons for repair on a camera that I have ever seen are the following:

A gentleman came into the store with a camera that was obviously water damaged.  I asked him if he had gone canoeing.  He proceeded to tell me that he had dropped the camera into a toilet.  Happens all the time.

Another camera was in a very bad state.  It seemed to have gotten wet, but somehow looked different and strangely discolored inside the mirror housing.  The explanation was that someone had dropped an egg into it when the lens was removed.  I have heard of strange ingredients for an omelet, but that one is pushing it.

One of my customers had just purchased a new Leica R4 the moment we received the first shipment of the new camera.  It was less than a week when he returned with the camera totally beaten up.  Of course I was curious what happened.  His explanation sounded quite familiar; he had walked up to his car and set the camera on the roof to find his keys.  After driving off he saw his new Leica bounce along the road in his rear view mirror.  We sent the camera to Leica to have it repaired or replaced under their passport guarantee.  A week had gone by when the customer came in to inquire about his camera.  I explained that it would take a while longer for it to be taken care off.

This Leica was in a car accident.  Not only
did it survive, it was used to take photographs
of the accident scene

“I don’t want to wait that long to try out my new camera,” he explained, “give me another one with the same lens.”

He left, happy to be able to shoot with his new Leica R4.  Surprisingly, the camera that fell off the roof of his car was in good enough shape to be repaired rather than needing to be replaced.  That camera became a proud possession of his daughter.

Obviously, accidents can and will happen. But I have also seen examples of gross mistreatment of equipment.  I recently came across an amazing example of neglect of Leica equipment or camera equipment in general for that matter.  I had purchased a number of used Leica accessory items, most of which were in rather good shape.  But one item really stuck out.

It is a Leica Winder M4-2.  I immediately noticed a strange, white discoloring of the bottom of the winder, especially the battery compartment.  Upon closer inspection, the discoloring was actually a layer of gritty deposits.  I loosened the locking screw for the battery compartment, only to find out that it was not coming off.  I had to use considerable force to separate it from the motor.  The inside revealed the culprit for the bad shape everything was in.  The batteries had been left in the compartment for what must be a very long time.  While alkaline batteries are substantially more leak-proof than conventional batteries (which should never be used anyway), they do leak.  And leak they did.  As you can see from the pictures, the entire inside of the battery compartment was covered with the dried out, leaked inside of the batteries.  I did not attempt to remove the batteries.  It would have been a waste of time because the unit, including the actual winder, was beyond any possible further service life.




Far be it from me to judge how anyone should use their Leica equipment.  But this is a level of neglect that is hard to excuse.  Simply removing the batteries prior to prolonged storage of the equipment would have easily prevented this disaster…

However, there are also anecdotes of the legendary survivability of Leica equipment under very adverse conditions.  Much of this has been published in the past, yet it is always very interesting to read more about it.  Here are two accounts form The Luminous Landscape:

Pan-American Games, Winnipeg 1967

While I subsequently shot the 1967 Pan-American games with my Nikon F and an arsenal of long lenses, during the opening ceremonies I found myself just a few feet from the dignitaries on the podium, so I used the Leicas and 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses.

As Prince Philip gave his welcoming speech opening the games a huge thunderstorm broke and proceeded to drench everyone in the open-air arena, me included. Some large umbrellas were quickly erected for the Prince and he continued with his remarks, but along with about 30,000 other people I got soaked.

So did my camera equipment. I couldn't even attempt to protect my cameras, I just kept shooting throughout the torrential downpour. I changed lenses and film numerous times and just did the best I could.

As soon as the ceremonies were over I handed the film to a courier to race it to the lab and then headed back to my hotel to dry off. When I took the Leicas out of the bag they were dripping wet. Totally soaked, inside and out. I opened everything up and left the bodies and lenses on a table near an open window to dry out. I spent the rest of the day shooting with my Nikons, figuring I'd pack up the Leicas in the evening to send back to Toronto for replacement and repair.

But the next day I tried everything out and was surprised to see that they worked, and worked smoothly. I never did send it in for repair, then or afterward.  I probably put several thousand rolls of film through both Leica bodies over the next few years and never saw a hint of trouble.

Canadian Downhill Ski Championships, Collingwood 1968

My assignment was to shoot skiers during this important race.  The organizers provided me with a small wooden platform on the inside of a steep downhill curve and said, "Have a nice day".

I had brought my Nikon F gear consisting of 2 bodies and several medium-tele and long lenses. At the last minute I decided to also bring the Leica M3 and 90 and 135mm lenses as well, (just in case).

 

The early morning went well, with the temperature at about the freezing point and with a moderate overcast. But by late morning the wind picked up and the temperature started to drop. A light snow started and with the increasing wind created blowing snow conditions that were just this side of being strong enough to stop the race.

I wish they had stopped it, because my equipment and I started to freeze up. The first Nikon froze after about 45 minutes of these deteriorating conditions and the second one some 20 minutes later. Both were caked in frozen snow. I figured that my day was done but I pulled the M3 out from the bottom of the bag and started shooting as best I could with the 135mm lens.

I spent 3 more hours on that frozen ski slope shooting hundreds of frames with the Leica and it never missed a beat. By mid-afternoon when I called it quits I was half frozen, and my Nikons certainly were, but the Leica was like the Timex watch in the ads of the time, they just kept on ticking.

And finally one of my own experiences

I had just added a new Leica M5 to my camera equipment.  That once again reminded me of all the claims of the legendary reliability and survivability of Leicas in general.  One thing that had always intrigued me was the claimed ability of Leicas to function in very low temperatures.  Being that we were in the middle of a Minnesota winter, I decided to put the camera to a test.  The weather report forecast temperatures of -30F for the next morning.  That seemed to be a good temperature to see how well the camera would perform in the cold.

 

To give it a head start, I put the camera in the freezer overnight.  Then, the next morning, dressed for the occasion, I went to Minnehaha Park and down to the Minnehaha creek.  It follows a relatively deep ravine which is known to keep cold temperatures quite well.  I purposely carried the camera on a neck strap on the outside of my clothing to make sure it would cool down to the surrounding temperature.

I was out in the cold for about two hours during which I finished a whole roll of 36 exposure film.  The camera worked without problems, but I did notice that the focusing for the lens was noticeably stiffer than usual.  But that was about it.

After I finished the roll of film it was time to go home.  Contrary to my advice to others, I forgot to put the camera into a zip lock plastic bag.  I walked straight from the outside into my living room.  To my horror, the moment the camera came into contact with the warm, moist air inside, it instantly froze over with about a 1/8 inch layer of ice.  The camera was so cold that the moisture condensation on the camera instantly froze.  I watched it thaw out slowly, and as soon as any liquid formed on the surface, I wiped if off.


No harm came to the camera and it served me well for many years to come.

More about the same:






To comment or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For more information and pre orders go to: www.lenstab.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Upcoming shows in Tamarkin's Rangefinder Gallery


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography


Monday, May 18, 2015

THE LEICA M AND LEICA M MONOCHROM SENSORS




Looking at the technical information of various top level digital cameras, it seems that everyone claims their approach to be better than anyone else’s.  The quest for ever higher megapixel resolution is still in full swing with no end in sight.  People are constantly told that higher resolution, more megapixels, will assure a better performance, better results.

Leica appears to have taken a somewhat more sensible approach.  They have not succumbed to the pixel race.  Yet the performance levels of the Leica M rangefinder cameras have proven to be some of the best available.

To understand the reasons, let’s take a closer look at the two top Leica M rangefinder models.


THE LEICA MAX 24MP CMOS SENSOR

It is interesting to see that Leica AG decided to forego the industry standard manufacturers of digital image sensors and go with a relatively unknown, European company instead.  The new sensor is made by CMOSIS, a renowned European specialist for advanced CMOS image sensors. They developed a high-resolution, high-dynamic-range CMOS image sensor exclusively for Leica Camera AG.  The Leica M (Tuyp 240) digital camera incorporates the full-custom CMOSIS “Leica MAX 24MP CMOS Sensor” featuring 24 Megapixels across an active sensor area of 36 x 24 mm, corresponding to the full-frame 35mm format. The sensor is the first milestone in a long term, strategic cooperation between Leica Camera AG and CMOSIS.

Guy Meynants, CTO at CMOSIS, Antwerp, Belgium, said "This is the first time that a CMOS image sensor for a 35mm high-end camera was designed, and is manufactured, in Europe for a European customer.  Apart from the ceramic IC package the Leica MAX 24MP CMOS Sensor is a 100-percent European product."

 

The new custom-designed sensor chip is made by STMicroelectronics (STM) in Grenoble, France, using 300mm wafers in their IMG175 CIS technology.  The pixel count is 6,000 x 4,000 pixels on a 6 x 6 µm² grid across the active area of 36 x 24 mm.

The sensor for the “Leica M” is based on a 6 x 6 µm² pixel size which is a relatively large area.  This results in an impressive linear dynamic range close to 76dB and noticeably less noise.  Higher pixel counts within the same 24 x 35 mm sensor area can only be achieved by reducing the surface area of the individual pixels along with the necessary shortcomings of smaller pixels.  Pixel data of the Leica MAX 24MP CMOS Sensor are digitized by patented low-power, high-speed 14-bit column AD converters. The sensor features an electronic rolling shutter with global reset and noise cancellation through both analog as well as digital correlated double sampling (CDS) resulting in low temporal and spatial noise and non-uniformities.

 

STMicroelectronics took special care to reduce crosstalk between neighboring pixels for a wide range of incident light angles. The sensor reduces spatial crosstalk by its very small distance between color filters and photodiodes.  Microlenses with a strong curvature and high top height focus the incoming light rays in the center of each pixel's photodiode. This allows the “Leica M” to accept the full range of high-quality lenses in the camera system.

The pixel size of 6 x 6 µm² and a full frame rate of 5fps are state of the art.  The 24MP CMOS Sensor also allows Leica to offer full HDTV video recording and a live preview on an M-model camera.

The former Leica CEO Alfred Schopf said “With CMOSIS, we are very pleased to have found a partner who made it possible for us to design and construct a sensor especially for Leica. Thanks to the special sensor technology and wide pixel aperture from CMOSIS, we can now, and for the first time, offer a digital system camera that is perfectly optimized for use with both M- and R-Lenses.  Leica is particularly proud of the fact that the Leica M employs a sensor Made in Europe, as a large proportion of the sensor is manufactured in France and Germany.  At the same time, the extremely low power consumption of the sensor brings added benefits for both image quality and battery life.”


LEICA M MONOCHROME SENSOR - WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE

A lot has been said about the first version of the Leica M Monochrom and, as usual, opinions differed.  However, one fact cannot be argued.  The performance of the camera is quite amazing.  Even though the sensor of the camera has the same 18 megapixel resolution as the M9 and M9-P, overall sharpness and tonal range is visibly better. 

As soon as the Leica M (Typ 240) was introduced people have been wondering if a new version of the Leica M Monochrom would be introduced, using the same sensor.  This has been answered with the New Leica Monochrom (typ 246).  It is equipped with a black and white only version of the CMOS sensor of the Leica M (Typ 240).  Initial test have proven that the performance of this camera is unmatched.

How is this possible?

The main difference lies in the fact that the Leica M Monochrom sensor is strictly black and white.  Just as with the CMOS sensor in the Leica M (Typ 240), the manufacturer is CMOSIS, and it is made exclusively for Leica Camera AG..  Color sensors need to employ a lot of tricks and compromises in order to deliver a color image with full resolution.

The front of the sensor requires the installation of a screen of color filters.  Each pixel is covered by either a red, green or blue filter.  Subsequently each pixel records only the color values of that particular filter.  In order for each pixel to generate all colors, the missing colors are transferred from the surrounding pixels by interpolation.  The image processor of the camera then has to find a compromise between resolution, noise and interpolation artifacts.  All these steps adversely affect resolution, sensitivity and indirectly, noise.

 

Since a monochrome sensor doesn’t have to deliver color values, the filter screen is unnecessary and image information is generated without interpolation and its subsequent compromises.  This enables the sensor to deliver full resolution with a performance that is 100 percent higher than the same CMOS color sensor.
The entire range of ISO values has been shifted.  The maximum ISO value is 25,000, compared to 10,000 with the old model Monochrom. 

It is obvious that Leica and their sensor manufacturers paid painstaking attention to detail, far beyond simply increasing pixel counts.  The results are two world class sensors that need not fear comparison to anything else on the market.


For complete information go to www.leica-camera.com


To make comments or to read comments please scroll past the ads below.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For more information and pre orders go to: www.lenstab.com
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Upcoming shows in Tamarkin's Rangefinder Gallery


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Receive a FREE CAMERA BAG from Think Tank Photo

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography


Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography

Please make payment via PayPal to GMP Photography