Leica System Brochure 1953 - Printable

I might just be suffering from old-fartism but don't you think the design of this 1953 brochure is much more interesting than the 1960s and 1970s literature? This is probably my favourite brochure of my wee collection. I also prefer the look and feel of the screw mount Leicas featured here to the later Ms although they're nowhere as nice - or maybe "convenient" is the right word - to use.

There's a nice picture of the Focomat 1C enlarger as well towards the end of the brochure. That's the same model but an earlier version of the one I picked up in a local auction in September. Of all the mechanical things I have I think I like the 1C the most. It's just a wonderful bit of engineering and design.

In more fanciful moments, I imagine how great it would be to sell all my camera gear and keep just the 1C and my Rollei TLRs and add a couple of Leica M bodies and three lenses - say, a 25mm Voigtlander, 35mm Summicron and 90mm Summicron. And maybe add a Focomat II for the 6x6 negs. That would be the perfect set-up.

So why don't I do it? Good question.


  1. Hi Bruce a great brochure showing the Leica as a true systems camera capable of meeting all your needs. But obviously couldn't subsequently compete with the more versatile easier to use SLR. Although I think the German engineering ingenuity to make a Leica rangefinder or for Rollei to make a TLR into systems cameras of the day is fascinating....Stereo,macro,underwater,panoramic,sideways shooting (wintu),copying,shooting 35mm film(Rollei)etc......
    I personally get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction in photography with capturing an image that is very challenging to the equipment to hand. For example I once chased a wasp around my kitchen with a Leica IIIf fitted with a ploot, 4 tubes ,90mm lens all tripod mounted to get an image. https://www.flickr.com/photos/52975911@N02/6226206432/in/set-72157626915717790/
    Not a great result , macro buffs would scoff but I had fantastic fun. If I had have had the ideal kit for this type of shot I wouldn't have bothered probably just chased the wasp with a rolled up newspaper.

  2. I think there's a clue in what you write...
    "...add a couple..." "...and three..." "...and maybe add..."
    Perhaps you should enjoy the brochure and the daydreams and get yourself a proper train set. I'll have a word with Santa.

  3. David is letting the "cat out of the bag".
    Adding is the true face of our hobby, though we deny it steadfastly in the presence of girlfriends and wives, with varied success. We would not be men, as nature intended, is we did not always slip into "adding".
    On the other hand, I do only own three pairs of shoes, so I feel that my "adding" addiction is merely a way of keeping the universe in balance. Yeah!

    I do agree that there is something particularly charming about this version of the brochure, versus the later years.

  4. Another and possibly interesting point is that the brochure contains two kinds of picture: the fuzzy ones taken, we may safely assume, with Leica cameras and lenses and the pictures of the equipment itself – sharp, detailed and rectilinear. Clearly, these weren't taken with a 35mm camera, but with something much larger. Every detail of the scales, screw heads and knurling is clear. The reflections in the glass surfaces of lenses and viewfinders are the giveaway.
    These images are heavily retouched, not in Photoshop, but with an airbrush (sometimes wrongly called a hairbrush, presumably by subscribers to Health and Efficiency).
    So, I raise the question, in order to induce someone to answer. Although the physical process is different, is there any difference in principle (in moral worth, if you like) between airbrushing and photoshopping?

  5. The only difference I would suggest is that airbrushing, like most non-digital methods, requires much more skill...

    Plus, once you've mastered airbrushing you could conceivably go on to paint a real car, not something you can do with a pixel-based skill.

  6. A very fair point.
    You could have a car that was deep black at the front and brilliant white at the back, with beautiful smooth gradation, placing the driver on ZV. You can do fake tans, too.

  7. Thanks for posting this brochure; it is just one year older than I am, and I actually use some of this gear (I also draw in silverpoint occasionally, which is evidence that I am not too shy of ancient technology).

    Wonder whether someone had a hard time obtaining a salary increase after failing to catch the "SUMMIRCON" error on page 11, though.

    As for airbrushing and "photoshopping", Ecclesiastes 1:9 and 1:10 are clear, concise and to the point. Refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union for interesting samples, and the Iranians got their photoshopping wrong in regard of some missiles not long ago.

    Airbrushing outside of the dark room is fine as long as someone else does it for me -- many years ago I refrained from buying an airbrush kit to "weather" model trains after studying the nature of the chemicals involved ;) Rather "add" another lens or two.