Leica celebrates 100th anniversary with huge auction, new products including 28mm, 90mm lenses


posted Friday, May 23, 2014 at 5:40 PM EDT


2014 is a big year for German camera legend Leica. The company reached its 100th year as a manufacturer of lustworthy photographic tools last March, as its very first camera -- the Lilliput, or Ur-Leica -- was completed by Oskar Barnack in March 1914. Not surprisingly, the company is doing plenty to celebrate the milestone.

Technically, it will be another decade before Leica celebrates 100 years of camera sales, as mass production didn't start until 1924. But be that as it may, the company has just auctioned 100 rare items from throughout its history -- and even a little beyond. (The oldest item auctioned was a telescope built by Carl Kellner, founder of the company that would become first Leitz, and later, Leica.)


And among the items auctioned was the first of a brand-new, 101-copy limited set dubbed the Leica M 'Edition 100', the company's first to include both analog film and digital cameras together. Alongside a silver variant of the Leica M Monochrom, the M 'Edition 100' set includes the new Leica M-A film camera, the company's first in over a decade. Based on a Leica MP film camera, the Leica M-A is also joined in the set by three Leica Summilux-M lenses: a 28mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 50 mm f/1.4. The set follows on from S 'Edition 100' and D-LUX 6 'Edition 100' sets that were introduced in February and March, respectively, again with limited availability.


And yes, the sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that the Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 is a new optic. No word on whether it will be sold separately in the future, but if it is it will likely be sold with a different finish, as M 'Edition 100' buyers are being told that none of the items in the kit will be available separately. Although it appears that the silver M Monochrom will be sold separately, so perhaps it's just the serial number ranges used for the kit -- all ending with four digits between 1914 and 2014 -- that will be exclusive.


Also new are the Macro-Elmar 90mm f/4 lens and Macro-Adapter-M, both of which will have broader availability. The lens can be used alone as a compact 90mm telephoto, or mounted on the collapsible adapter for macro shooting. The adapter will also work with other M-mount lenses of 50mm focal length or greater.

More details can be found on Leica's website.