Leica fact 23: Leica Literature

Many books have been written with the Leica as subject. One can easily fill a small library with them.

Yearly Leitz catalogues

First of all Leitz made their Yearly catalogues almost from the beginning. These catalogues contained a description of all products available. Many of these products were introduced with a picture so it can be easily seen what the product looked like. All products had their own Leica code (Leica Fact 2). There were catalogues in different languages and with or without sales prices. Often an inlay sheet with the prices was available. Leica Camera still publishes these catalogues.

Leica magazines

As of May 1931 Kurt Emmerman published the bimonthly magazine ‘Die Leica’. The sequence lasted until 1942. Many aspects of Leica were discussed such as new products, the use of Leica and accessories, development of Leica films and so on. The main subjects however are not technical or products, but pictures. Many many pictures taken by Leica enthusiasts. Apart from the Leica as product it shows many aspects of life in those days. Nature, peoples, travel, science and culture were displayed in the magazine.

Schliemann made a reprint of these in four parts (ISBN 3-88771-000-2).

From 1949 Leica had its own bimonthly magazine (Leica Fotografie) with roughly the same contents as Die Leica. Later the magazine went international and became LFI (Leica Fotografie International). Today there is even more accenting on the pictures itself.

Books on how to use a Leica.

As early as 1930 Fritz Vith published the 306 pages Pocket size Leica Handbuch. With all details of the Leica products, how to use the cameras and lenses. Film and Photo development enlarging, projection etc. were important elements. An English version of the book is also available. At least until 1940 this book existed in regularly updated versions.

Leica Manual (English) by Willard D. Morgan & Henry Lester. From 1935 till 1973 15 editions of this book were published. Apart from the standard subject on camera use, lenses, development of films etc, this book also touched upon special use of Leica, such as: music and Leica, underwater photography, medical photography and philatelic photography. From 300 to more than 500 pages.

Günther Osterloh wrote books on (Leica R) Angewandte Technik. 

Books on specific Leica’s.

Richard Hunecke wrote books on the M6 , M6TTL, M7. Theo Kisselbach  and Theo Sheerer on the Leica M and the Leicaflex, Kenneth Tiding on the Leica M3, Jonathan Eastland on the Leica R8, Heinz von Lichem on the Leica R4 and so on.

Leica collecting and Leica History

Hoove collectors books published many books on camera collecting, including the Leica. The standard on Leica collecting is from Dennis Laney: Leica collectors guide.

Further  more Hoove published pocket books on Leica accessories, International price guides, Leica pocket book with details on each camera and lens made by Leitz.  The MTF graphs of almost every (version) of   Leica lenses are of special interest.

Hoove also published reprints of old brochures and user manuals.

James Lager wrote three beautiful books: Leica Illustrated guide Leica 50 1925 1975, Leica Illustrated guide II, Lenses, Accessories & Special Models and Leica Illustrated guide III M and Leicaflex lenses/special models and Accessories.

Paul Henry van Haesbroeck wrote his Standard works on Leica: 

  • Das grosze Leica-Buch. Entstehung und Entwickelung de gesamte Leica –Systems
  • Leica a history illustrating every model and accessory
  • Leica Rare and unusual screw mount Leicas and accessories. 

G. Roggliatti wrote historical books on Leica such as: Leica 1925 1975 ein Handbuch fur die Sammler, The first 50/60 etc years of Leica.

A very nice book ‘Leica collection’ is written by Shinici Nakamura. It covers many special Leica models. Beautifully photographed and described.

Other books

Then there are books on 

  • Leica Camera repairhandbook  by Thomas Tomosy. 
  • Barnacks erste Leica. Das zweite Leben einer vergessenen historischen Kamera by the son of Theo Kisselbach: Hans-Günter Kisselbach.
  • Books on Leica research men Oskar Barnack (Ur Leica)  and Max Berek (lenses including the Elmar 3.5 5cm)