Saeki Kakugoro
(JCII Photo Salon, Curator, Japan Camera Museum Management)

Chapter 2

Before the last Leica was released, the introduction of the Leica type 1 (in Japan and US it was A type) was in 1925, and they started from no. 130. In the beginning there was the lens Reiz Annasuchegumat (144 models) Later there was the L Max fitting (713 models) and up to no. 986 were made. The next year in 1926, no.s 987 to no. 2,510 were released. (at the start they had the L Max lens, and later the L Mar lens) The first Leica 1 type to be released in 1925 had a shutter speed of Z(B) in 7 gradients 1/25, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, and 1/500 of a second. The body number started from 626. The shutterspeed of Z(B) had 8 gradients 1/20, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60, 1/100, 1/200, and 1/500 of a second. The lens as well as the body was made starting from no. 400 in feet graduations and these were principally exported to the US. In the 11 years from 1926 to 1936, 56,548 Leica type 1 with the ELMA lens were produced. The body no.s from 47,000 had the depth of field on the lens and from 1930 to 1932, in those 3 years, 1,330 fitted with the Hector Lens (50mm F2.5) were produced. In total 59,014 Leica type 1 cameras were made. Out of those, 95 were the Lexus Leica Gold Plated type (gold) and there were 180 Delux Leica with the leather body part being black calf leather.

Like the birth of the Leica type 1 model, the basic Leica principle is to meet the user's demands. So from the start, the various systems are being improved and increased with every new release. The camera body, with the Leica camera (Btype in Japan) if the shutter speed is too slow for the loaded film, the Leica supplements this with the compa shutter. However because this camera had a fault, only 1,607 cameras were produced (with the new compa). The fault with it was that when the shutter adjusted the distance, the lens had to spin around and around. After that, the Leica type 1 (in Japan C type) with the exchangeable lens function made an appearance. It was the first time a camera carried many never seen before features.

At the start there were many cases of the Leica 1 type being custom-made and they made the last 3 units into the same body number with the exchangeable lens and the exclusive exchangeable lens. However there was an inconvenience that you could only use that number lens with that body. Later on, an O mark was put onto the lens mount on the bodies numbered from 55,404, and it was devised that the exchangeable lens could be used on any camera. This was the first time a system camera had been established.