domingo, 25 de mayo de 2014


On May 23, 2014 the inauguration of the comprehensive facilities of the Leitz Park (the new main site of Leica Camera AG) in Wetzlar has meant the return of the mythical German photographic firm to its birthplace.

Ur-Leica from 1914, a revolutionary masterpiece brainstormed by a genius called Oskar Barnack, whose exceedingly brilliant idea of creating a photographic camera fed with the then miniature 24 x 36 mm format film and very small and light luminous lenses getting remarkable sharpness enabled levels of portability shooting handheld unknown hitherto and very good quality enlargements from small black and white negatives. 

Leica T (Typ 701), the camera with which Leica has just started the third photographic system in its digital history: the Leica T-System, turning it into the currently most versatile firm in the digital photographic sphere with nothing less than three top-class photographic systems: the mirrorless Leica M System with rangefinder, the reflex medium format Leica S-System and this brand-new T-System whose first model has been this gorgeous Leica T camera made from a solid aluminium billet and featuring two top-notch lenses: the Summicron-T 23 mm f/2 ASPH and the Vario-Elmar-T 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 mm featuring an image quality second to none in the domain of under full frame sensor digital cameras.

Wetzlar, birthplace of Leica firm and one of the most beautiful villages in the world, specially its charming old town area.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG. A visionary man who fully aware about the mythical prestige and significance of Leica in the History of Photography saved it in 2005, taking the rains of the firm as main shareholder and striving after getting a seamless transition analog/digital to the brand, which he achieved in an amazing and praiseworthy way in the following years, with the launching into market from 2009 of the 24 x 36 mm format Digital Leica M System epitomized by the Leica M9, M9-P, M9 Titanium, M Monochrom and M (Typ 240) and a remarkable fostering of new highly luminous aspherical Leica M lenses as well as likewise developing two further photographic systems: the medium format reflex Leica S System with the Leica S2 (presented in 2008) and Leica S (presented in 2012) cameras, delivering unmatched image quality and shooting handheld abilities in the digital scope and featuring the most perfect lenses - together with the Apo-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH – ever made, with the recent addition of a new reference class photographic lineage: the Leica T-System in APS-C format, deeply rooted in both the Leica Ur from 1914 and a gorgeous touchscreen user interface inspired by the keynotes set forth by Steve Jobs and whose handle is a breeze. He has also greatly enhanced the spreading of worldwide Leica Galleries and Stores as a fundamental asset to help know the traditional values inherent to the German photographic firm.

Main façade of Am Leitz Park, the new Leica Camera AG factory and research center in Wetzlar (Hessen, Germany). 

The very modern building sets new standards regarding energy efficiency and was created by architects Martin Gruber and Helmut Kleine-Kraneburg, with a profile inspired among others by Mies vand der Rohe concept of the use of glass to define inner spaces (ground floor) free of ornamentation and excesses through a reductionist approach, avoiding any distractions and focusing on the essential elements of the environment to get the ´ less is more tenet ´ and second and third floors and inner areas mostly made of concrete and conceptually related to the Center for Visual Engineering in Stuttgart as to the combination of research functions areas with the public exhibition ones, with DGNB parameters regarding the spatial organization of the building and working areas merging into each other and promoting interdisciplinary work practices, resulting in an architectural compound that includes a production plant, an exhibition gallery and an experiential complex.

May 23, 2014. 11:55 a.m. Approximately 2,000 attendees are already gathered inside the large ceremony pavillion installed around 300 meters from the main entrance of the Leitz Park in Wetzlar, waiting for its Inauguration within five minutes.

Overcrowded large ceremony pavilion two minutes before the beginning of the inauguration of the Leitz Park, the new Leica factory and research center in Wetzlar (Germany) on May 23, 2014.

Partial view of the large pavilion with an expectant multitude gathered. Only one minute remains for the beginning of the inauguration of the Leitz Park, the new Leica factory and research center in Wetzlar (Germany), on May 23, 2014. The Prize Pulitzer photographer Nick Ut can be seen backwards in the lower area of the image while Dr. Andreas Kaufmann is preparing to go up to the stage.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG, speaking during his inauguration speech of Am Leitz Park, the Leica new factory and research center in Wetzlar (Germany).

Dr. Thomas Schäfer, Hessen Minister of Finance.

The thousands of attendees applauding during the speech by Thomas Schäfer, Ministry of Finance of Hessen.

Nick Ut, the Associated Press photographer who got with a Leica M2 and a Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 SAWOM 11309 lens the iconic picture of the Vietnamese girl Phan Thi Kim Phúc running naked and burnt after a napalm bombing of her village on June 8, 1972 during the Vietnam War, an image with which he won the Pulitzer Prize of Photography in 1973.

Dr. Lars Witteck, President of the Region of Giessen.

Back area of the Ur-Leica 1914 with the inscription Ernst Leitz Wetzlar on it.

Wolfram Dette, Mayor of Wetzlar. 

Wolfgang Schuster, District Counselor of the Lahn-Drill Region.

The attendees to the ceremony of inauguration of the new Leica factory and research center in Wetzlar listen to the speech by Martin Gruber.

Martin Gruber, architect from Gruber-Kleine-Kranenburg Architecten, firm that built the Am Leitz Park in Wetzlar.

Alfred Schopf, CEO of the Management Board of Leica Camera AG in a moment during his speech.

Andreas Kaufmann and Alfred Schopf receiving the commemorative plaque with an enlarged metallic negative of 35 mm format including the engraved face of Oskar Barnack and the Leica Ur. 

Edgar Zimmermann (Member of the Supervisory Board and Employee Representative at Leica Camera AG), Markus Limberger (Chief Operating Officer of the Board of Leica Camera AG), Ronald Marcel Peters (Chief Financial Officer and Board Member of Leica Camera AG), Alfred Schopf (CEO of the Management Board of Leica Camera AG) and Andreas Kaufmann (Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Leica Camera AG) share the key of Wetzlar town which has just been given to Leica Camera AG.

Wolfgang Kisselbach, Managing Director of the Leitz Park, during his emotive speech.  He is son of the great Theo Kisselbach, the most knowledgeable Leica expert ever, Manager of the Leica Techniques Department, Founder and Director of the Leica School and Leica Schule in 1946, an authority in darkroom techniques and a top-notch teacher of photography and picture technician, who hugely enhanced the 35 mm Leica photography versatility and potential for photojournalists and science photographers worldwide, as well as searching for new scopes for 24 x 36 mm format photography. 

Elliot Erwitt, legendary photographer of Magnum Agency who was invited to join it by Robert Capa in 1953. 15 years later he would become President of the photographers´ cooperative. He has been a professional photojournalist for 65 years and a Leica M cameras and lenses user for 60 years. His presence in Wetzlar on May 23, 2014 both during the 100 Years Leica Photography Celebration and  Inauguration Event of the Leitz Park in Wetzlar and the historical 100 Years of Leica Westlicht Photographica Auction organized by Peter Coeln and Leica Camera AG was something unforgettable.

The 36 aus 100, a photographic project displaying 36 iconic pictures from the past 100 years to celebrate the Centenary of Leica Photography in a special exhibition room inside the new headquarters of Leica Camera AG became a treat for the visitors, with such representative images like a picture in a  New York street made by Ernst Leitz II in 1914 during a business trip, Robert Capa´s Falling Soldier in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War, Alfred Eisenstaedt´s Times Square V-J Day in 1945, Pulitzer Prize Winner Nick Ut´s photo of the young girl Kim Phuc naked and burnt running away from his village bombed with napalm, the well-known portrait of Ernesto Che Guevara by Alberto Korda and others.

Hans-Michael Koetzler, writer, curator and journalist. A recognized international authority on History of Photography and a great expert on image aesthetics in classical pictures. He was Editor-in-Chief of Leica World magazine between 1995 and 2007 and has curated among many others the exhibits Revision of a Legend (1995), René Burri - The Retrospective (2004), Eyes on Paris - Paris in Photography Books, 1890 to 2010 (2004), Eyes Open - Leica at 100 Years (2014). Book publications on Willy Fleckhaus, F.C. Gundlach, Theodor Hilsdorf as well as Das Lexicon der Fotografen (2002) and Fotografen A-Z (2011).

During the celebration of the 100 Years Leica Photography in Wetzlar, he explained to the attendees in his own voice amazingly abundant information on every and each of the photographs making up the exhibition 36 Aus 100, as well as reporting them on the huge significance of the launching into market of the small Leica cameras from mid twenties of the XX Century for the evolution of photojournalism, generating a great level of enthusiasm in hundreds of listeners.

He has also been the Chief Editor for the Photographic lots of the 100 Years of Leica Westlicht Photographica Auction Wetzlar May 23, 2014.

Dominic Nahr´s Victoria pictures  was one of the highlights of the 10 x 10 special exhibition on Hahnemühle paper, with images created by the photographers Julia Baier, Evgenia Arbugaeva, Craig Semetko, Kirill Golovchenko, Amedeo M. Turello, Alec Soth, Jing Huang, Thomas Ruff, Saga Sig and Dominic Nahr that as explained by Karin Rehn-Kaufmann (Director General of Leica Galleries International) are invisibly linked to the past and the heritage of Leica Photography.

Dominic Nahr´s pictures exhibited inside the Leica new factory at Wetzlar during the celebration of the Centenary of the firm.

A visitor walking inside the Leitz Park in Wetzlar taking the 100 Years Leica bag on May 23, 2014, day of the inauguration.

Thomas Hoepker, legendary photographer of Magnum Agency. He has been a Leica-M System user for 54 years.

Another of the world famous photojournalists present during the Celebration of Leica 100 Years, the Inauguration of the Leitz Park in Wetzlar and the great Westlicht Photographica Auction 100 Years of Leica organized by Peter Coeln and chief editors Lars Netopil (Technical Section) and Hans-Michael Koetzle (Photography Section).

Sent by Stern magazine to United States in 1966, he made with a 24 x 36 mm format Leica MP Black Paint rangefinder camera with Leicavit-MP and Summicron-M 5 cm f/2 First Version and Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 black and white film the well-known picture of Muhammad Ali´s fist in focus and his face, right shoulder and arm out of focus, shooting at the widest aperture and highlighting the main tool of the boxer´s trade as a defining moment and iconic image.

48 years later, he appears using a Leica M9-P and Summicron-M 35 mm f/2 ASPH Silver Chrome.

The Milestone Exhibition Room was another of the most visited areas. It includes the Ur camera (from 1914 and the first one to use 35 mm film), the Leica 1 Model A (the first production Leica camera thanks to the decision made by Ernst Leitz II), the Leica II Model D (the first to incorporate a built-in rangefinder), the Leica M3 (which started the series of Leica cameras featuring M bayonet which has continued until nowadays), the Leicaflex SL, the M6, the S1 (first digital camera made by Leica in 1996), the R8, the M8, the medium format S2 and the X1.

To watch these different models of cameras that have marked Leica history is a feast for any enthusiast of photography, something which was even more fostered by the in depth explanations made in his own voice to the visitors by Lars Netopil, nowadays one of the greatest experts on Leica in the world, who through his outstanding knowledge was able to improvise explaining in English and with amazingly lavish detail every single camera and lens of the Leitz Park Milestone Exhibition room. 

Lars Netopil, Vicepresident of the Leica Historica Deutschland and currently the most competent expert in the world about the history of Leica along with James Lager and Paul-Henry van Haesbroek.

Featuring an encyclopedic knowledge on classic Leitz cameras and lenses, he is a consultant to international Leica museums and auction houses, among them for Leica Camera AG Museum and Historical Archive Museum.

He has published some top-notch books like Prototype Leica, including items from the Factory Museum and other important pieces from the collection of Surat Osathanugrah, an impressive work with 488 pages, 400 large size colour photographs made by Eddie Siu and design by David Pitzer.

Lars Netopil owns the Leica store located in the old town of Wetzlar, specialized in the international trading with Leica collectibles and has been the Chief Editor for the Technical Section of the 100 Years of Leica Westlicht Photographic Auction Wetzlar May 23, 2014 and the 423 page wonderful book bearing the same title. 

Leica M6 from 1984, one of the best 35 mm rangefinder cameras ever made.

A lot of professional photographers could be seen inside the Leitz Park and its surroundings working with their new Leica T (Typ 701) cameras on May 23, 2014 during the celebration of Leica 100 Years and the inauguration of Am Leitz Park.

Amedeo M. Turello, one of the best fashion, portrait and women photographers in the world. A full-fledged magician steadily able to create an amazing rapport and level of confidence with his models, drawing their whole potential of beauty and elegance. 

He has been one of the highlights of the Am Leitz Park 10 x 10 Exhibition during the Celebration of Leica 100 Years on May 23, 2014. A dominator of the technique and lighting, he´s held exhibitions worldwide, including such landmarks as his exhibition Celebrating Woman at Die Leica Galerie Salzburg between August 2012 and September of that year, with stunning photographs of such celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, Dita von Teese and Keira Chaplin, having also made assignments for firms like Tommy Hilfiger, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab and others. 

He´s likewise a passionate collector of classic black and white vintage photography related to the feminine universe of such photographers like Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Cindy Sherman, Frantisek Drtikol, William Klein, Jan Saudek, Bettina Rheims, Franz Christian Gundlach, etc.

Featuring a Renaissance man cultural profile with deep knowledge on a number of artistic, humanistic and photographic scopes, Amadeo M. Turello has a natural talent and unbounded love for the visual arts, the architecture (he graduated in Architecture in the Politecnico di Torino), the history of art and design (he graduated in the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California), sociology and the woman as an entity.

Throughout his career he has used medium format analog Hasselblads V Series, Hasselblads H3D with digital back and more recently medium format digital Leica S cameras and 24 x 36 mm format Leica M9.

A true genius gifted with a great concentration ability for fashion and portrait photography in which he excels not only achieving staggering results in terms of glamour, elegance and beauty to spare but also revealing the individual character and personality of his subjects.  

Some of Amedeo M. Turello´s images displayed within the space devoted to the 10 x 10 Exhibition held at the Leica new factory at Wetzlar during the celebration of the Centenary of the firm.

The acclaimed photographer Claire Yaffa, who travelled from New York to Wetzlar with her husband Dick Yaffa to attend to the celebration of the Leica 100 Years and the Inauguration of the Leitz Park. Here she can be seen using her Leica M9 24 x 36 mm digital rangefinder camera with Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 4th version designed by Walter Mandler and a 1.4x Leica magnifier.

Featuring an experience of forty-six years as a photojournalist, she has held 45 exhibitions in United States, Germany, Austria, France and other countries, has published 11 books  and has carried out a lot of photographic assignments fulfilled for such newspapers, agencies, magazines and TV channels like The New York TimesAssociated Press,VogueVanity FairDaily NewsThe WagNewsday, Food Patch,Woman´s News and others, with many of her images appearing in them.

She has been a Leica M photographer since mid eighties when her great friend Cornell Capa advised Claire to make the change from medium format Rolleiflex to 24 x 36 mm format Leica M6 rangefinder to get a much more silent shuttering noise, a smaller size and weight of photographic equipment, a comprehensive assortment of highly luminous lenses and above all to attain more intimacy and discretion with people when approaching them, with the added advantage of being able to shoot handheld indoors at very low shutter speeds without trepidation under dim or very dim light conditions thanks to the lack of a slapping mirror and achieving great image quality at every aperture and focusing distance, thanks to the exceptional quality of Leica M highly luminous lenses.

On the other hand, she made photographic studies with Eugene Smith, Philippe Halsman, Gordon Parks, Ralph Gibson, Cornell Capa, Lisette Model, Ben Fernandez, Duane Michals, Eva Rubinstein, Joseph Schneider, Sean Kernan, George Ticer, Fred Picker ...

And she has attended to a number of professional meetings for decades with many other other world class photographers like Alfred Eisenstaedt, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Yousuf Karsh, Emmet Gowin, Inge Morath, Barbara Morgan, Martine Franck, Nell Dorr, Lisl Steiner, Mark Riboud, Robert Frank, Leonard Freed ..., having also photographed for a number of medical institutions like The Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, the New York School for the Deaf and the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and profiles and porfolios of hers have appeared in such prestigious photography magazines like Shutterbug and Leica World International Photography.

Rolf Fricke, President Emeritus and Program Director of the LHSA. A living legend in the history of Leica and Kodak. Co-founder of the Leica Historical Society of America (1968), the Leica Historical Society of U.K (1969) and the Leica Historica Deutschland (1975). One of the foremost experts on Leica ever. Former Marketing Comunications Director of the Kodak Professional Photography Division in Rochester (New York). He learned optics with the great Rudolf Kingslake (Director of Optical Design and Engineering at Eastman Kodak Company for more than thirty years, Optics Professor at the University of Rochester and Honorary Curator of George Eastman House´s Technology Collection, who for seventy years experienced much of the growth and changes in photographic manufacturing) and was personal friend of Walter Mandler, a wizard lens designer who created more than 45 high-performance Leica lenses and was a decisive factor in mid seventies for the preservation of the Leica M System along with Walter Klück in Leitz Midland, Ontario (Canadá). 

His presence in Wetzlar during the celebration events of the Am Leitz Park inauguration and the Leica 100 Years was undoubtedly very important, since he has been one of the most relevant personalities in the history of the Leica brand, providing his strenuous effort and love for the brand throughout more than fifty years to spread the knowledge of Leica products, having also been an outstanding translator from German to English in a number of publications devoted to the German photographic firm.

Walter Mandler, the extraordinary lens designer of Leitz Canada in Midland, Ontario. He was the creator of such famous lenses as the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1, the Summilux-M 75 mm f/1.4 and many others, above them the amazing Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Versions 4 and 5 with original formula from 1979 in which he took the Double-Gauss design to its scientifically feasible boundaries, as well as accomplishing the feat of slightly improving its already stellar performance reducing the manufacturing cost through the tremendously skillful simultaneous application of common radii, using the same four tools for grinding and polishing its six elements and a simplification of the mechanical design

James L. Lager talking to Ottmar Michaely in the exhibition room of the 100 Years of Leica Westlicht Photographica Auction organized by Peter Coeln along with Leica Camera AG and which became a sensation during the celebration of Leica Centenary inside the Leitz Park of Wetzlar on May 23, 2014. 

James Lager is considered the greatest expert on Leica cameras, lenses, accessories and History of Leica ever along with Theo Kisselbach.

He´s the author among many other books of the highly acclaimed three volume Leica An Illustrated History Vol. I: Cameras, 1993. Vol. II: Lenses, 1994. Volume III: Accessories, 1998 carefully chronicling the cameras and lenses that helped earn E. Leitz Wetzlar a worldwide reputation for quality and engineering, it all being lavishly illustrated with very high quality pictures.

He is a Past President of the Leica Historical Society of America and has written a very comprehensive quantity of books and articles on Leica, as well as having delivered hundreds of lectures all over the world.

An indefatigable researcher, he has devoted more than fifty years of his life to the painstaking study of every model of photographic stuff manufactured by Leica since the Leica Ur from 1914.

Personal friend of Alfred Eisenstaedt, whom he photographed inside his office at Time-Life New York with his Leica M3E-1.

The lectures imparted by him during the recent years along with different articles published in LFI Magazine and Viewfinder (the LHSA magazine edited by Bill Rosauer and also featuring essays by other recognized Leica experts like Tom Abrahamsson, Ed Schwartzreich, Brian Bower, Will Wright, Daniel Zirinsky, Eric Bohman, Dick Gilcreast, David Farkas, Carl Merkin, Dick Santee, Pierpaolo Ghisetti, Dave Schumaker, Bill Thomas,Tsun Tam, H. Peter von Pawel and others) had already foreseen the flawless interaction between the Leica M and Leica R lenses with state-of-the-art digital full frame 24 x 36 mm sensors, as was subsequently proved by the Leica M9, M9-P, M Monochrom and M Typ 240 (the latter enabling the attachment of the vast assortment of Leica R lenses by means of the Visoflex EVF, which is inserted in the hotshoe, and a Leica R-to-M adapter).

On his turn, Ottmar Michaely is nowadays the top expert Master of Leica mechanics, doing expertise and CLA on a number of analogue classic Leica cameras like the Leica I Mod. A with Elmax 5 cm f/3.5 from 1925, Leica I Model C Luxus, MP Chrome with chrome Leicavit MP, Leica IIIc K, Leica IIIf 'Betriebskamera', Leica 250 GG and many others.

He´s also an authority repairing all kind of Leica cameras dating back to mid twenties, including the restoration of vulcanite and exceedingly painstaking CLAs, a scope in which the American great Leica technicians Don Goldberg and Sherry Krauter ( an amazing lady being a driving force of perfectionism and passion for her work, making fantastic viewfinder upgradings, components repairs, lenses recementing, replacement of curtains, replacement of optical elements, integral overhauls, etc ) have also excelled since mid seventies.

He resides in Wetzlar, makes a lot of restoration work for Lars Netopil and has a workshop with a vast range of tools which he uses with painstaking precision to utterly reconstruct old Leica cameras able to perfectly operate currently since they´re 100% mechanic.

Günther Osterloh, another living legend of Leica. He was the historical dean and driving force of the Leica Akademie together with Theo Kisselbach.

He was product manager of Leica M cameras and lenses for more than forty years, being currently the foremost expert in the world on M-System along with Stefan Daniel and Jesko von Oeynhausen.

He´s a member of the DGPh (German Society for Photography) and has written a lot of books on Leica cameras and lenses, being considered one of the most decisive persons in the teaching of Leica photography throughout the history of the firm.

A number of professional photographers could be seen inside the Leitz Park of Wetzlar using Leica S2 medium format cameras and getting a lot of pictures. Here can be seen one of them looking at his subject to choose the best moment to aim and press the shutter release button,

which he does very fast, since the Leica S2 awesome ability to shoot handheld enables the photographer to react very quickly in a very wide range of contexts, taking advantage of the formidable image quality of the Leica S-System MF lenses, the best ever made, the medium format 30 x 45 mm sensor and the highly efficient Maestro image DSP.

Six years after its presentation in 2008, the Leica S2 medium format camera is presently a very consolidated professional photographic tool thanks to its superb portability and performance in fashion, landscape, street, travel and commercial portraiture, delivering very delicate nuances on the skins and capturing small details with astoundingly accurate level of sharpness irrespective of the chosen aperture, thanks to the really admirable optical quality of its MF lenses, with the added benefit of providing a simple and uncluttered workflow more inherent to a professional 35 mm camera than a medium format one. This way, the Leica S2 is able to flawlessly tackle all kind of photographic assignments both in the sphere of outdoor photography in the aforementioned genres and in studio, with a gorgeous very bright viewfinder turning to get pictures handheld in low light conditions into a cinch and being able to balance colours even within the most difficult environments with mixed lights. 

And it has extensively been proved by such highly experienced professional photographers like Max Hirshfeld, Rankin, Jim Jordan, Otto Schulze, Morgan Miller, Michael Zelbel, Jonas Bendiksen, Amedeo M. Turello, H.W. Briese, Kelsey Fain, Max Montgomery, Nick Rains, David Maurer, Teng Wei, Thorsten Overgaard, Chiun-Kai Shih, Florian Wagner, Adam Woolfitt, Matt Beardsley, Christian Wilmes, Francesco Carrozzini, Ilona Szwarck, Enrique Badulescu, René Hallen, Radka Leitmeritz, Chad Pickard, Paul McLean, Jonas Lindstroem, Coco Neuville, Bruce Gilden, Rinze van Brug, Marc Schuhmann, Pedro Ferreira, Joachim Baldauf, Jean-Jacques Ruchti, Sabine Liewald, Philipp Rathmer, Hendrik Schneider, Till Janz, Jonas Lindstroem, Frank P. Wartenberg, Peter Marlow, Norbert Rosing, Thomas Schweigert, Tobias Schult, Philipp Rathmer, Ronald Dick, Saima Altunkaya, Ralph Mecke, Björn Opsahl, Jonathan Mannion, J. Konrad Schmidt, René Staud, Per Zennström, Richard Seymour and many others.

Peter Karbe, Leica Camera AG Director of Optics Development and currently considered the best optical designer in the world.

He was part of the legendary Optics Design Office of Leica Camera AG between 1990 and 2002, which run by Lothar Kölsch was expanded into a competence center for aspherical technology and had such renowned optical designers as Horst Schröder, Sigrun Kammans and Peter Karbe, simultaneously fostering the training of lens designers.

Among the most significant lenses designed by Peter Karbe highlight:

- The Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH from 2004 (beating in image quality the Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 created by Walter Mandler in 1961 and which had reigned supreme until 2004).

- The Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH from 2009, which beat in optical performance to the legendary Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1 created by Walter Mandler in 1976 and which had been the flagship M lens of maximum luminosity for thirty-three years, though the bokeh rendered by the Noctilux-M 50 mm f/1 without aspherics designed by the Wizard of Leitz Midland, Ontario (Canada) goes on being the benchmark and probably won´t ever be beaten as proved among many others by the masterful pictures at full f/1 aperture of Misa-san model by Tommy Oshima with his Leica M6.

- The Medium Format Leica S-System lenses (nine till now), the best ever manufactured in this sphere, for the 30 x 45 mm sensor of the Leica S2 and specially embodied by the Summarit-S 70 mm f/2.5 CS ASPH and the Vario-Elmar-S 30-90 mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH zoom. The designing and manufacture of such extraordinary medium format lenses was to solve a number of almost impossible to tackle conundrums and has arguably been the greatest optical feat achieved in the history of photography.

- The Apo-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH from 2012, the most perfect lens ever created for 24 x 36 mm format cameras, fruit of 16 years of research which began in 1996. It outperforms the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 Versions 4 and 5 originally designed by Walter Mandler in 1979 and which was the reference-class standard 50 mm Leica M lens for 33 years. This masterpiece lens was created to draw the full potential of the Leica Monochrom 18 megapixel CCD, which it attains superbly. A new benchmark in optical performance, design and mechanical excellence in Barnack format.

´ In developing lenses, we are very conscious that we are building on a hundred years of tradition and we also know where we come from. We have all the documentation on the systems that have been developed during the last 100 years. The first 50 mm lens was calculated by Max Berek, and we still have all the original documents, the books in which the data was gathered. We still have these books to this day, and ultimately we will be archiving our optical calculations under the same number that was used back then. We know that we are the heirs of what Max Berek and the others achieved.´ 
                                                                                                                                              Peter Karbe

© Text and Photos José Manuel Serrano Esparza. Published in FV Photography Magazine Number 236, June 2014.