Ernst Leitz II (1843-1920) is a German optician became head of the plant in Wetzlar in 1869 for the manufacture of microscopes, his chosen field (Factory which was established in 1849 by Karl Kellner). His son, Dr. Ernst Leitz II (1871-1956) is behind the decision to start work on the manufacture and marketing of a revolutionary camera. The head of the research department microscopes, Oskar Barnak, passionate cinematographic, had the idea of creating a camera capable of using a cinema film Small: 35mm double punch. The first Leica (Leitz Camera) was released in 1913. It was a prototype (the Ur-Leica). Ernst Leitz allows the construction of a small set of evaluation - 30 aircraft - the Leica O. Despite the not very encouraging assessment returns, Ernst Leitz in 1925 presents at the fair in Leipzig the first production Leica, the Leica I : small camera made of aluminum, to negative 24 X 36 mm and fitted with a leaf shutter, a viewfinder of Galilee, a non coupled rangefinder and optical developed by Dr. Max Berek, the Elmar.
Since then, the Leica evolved first in the series of lenses screw housings (M39): I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIC, ...) then the series of bayonet mount housings (M1 to M6) and Finally, the series of reflex (Leicaflex, R3, R4, ...).
The Leica’s are always exceptional cameras; The firm did extensive research on the strength, the technical quality and presentation of their cameras.
Since 1988, the firm renamed "Leica Camera GmbH" only for cameras is still in Solms, Germany.