when a built-in range finder was news

ad for the Leica D model in 1932

Toronto. Since  before the Leica, Leitz made and sold various range finders. In  the summer of 1932, Leitz announced a new model of their tiny camera with the range finder built-in. A magnification of the scene compensated for its short base. The little gem could be used with selected lenses up to 135mm focal length. Beyond that, a ‘mirror box’ accessory was used (longer lenses than 135mm and mirror boxes came to market a few years after this camera).

Leitz were die-hards firmly believing a squinty view through a range finder was better than any other option since the range finder focussing was more accurate for lenses up to 135mm and therefor all photographers would prefer the range finder.

Single lens reflex cameras a few decades later told a different story.  The ad above at left is from the June 1932 issue of American Cinematographer magazine courtesy of my good friend, George Dunbar, who shared it with us. Outside the USA, of course, the model D was defined world-wide as the Leica II.

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