The Book

Much is known about the Leica and its development and has been written about in many ways. Therefore, it seems incredible that a long forgotten camera appears – the “first Leica” – that had been handcrafted by its inventor Oskar Barnack in the early 20s of the past century. Out of this prototype camera and after a few further improvements the Leica was born and an impressive success story began.

  • What had happened to this “forgotten” prototype camera crafted by Oskar Barnack?
  • Which technical secrets are hidden within this camera?
  • What is its place in Leica’s family tree?

Titelblatt Barnacks erste LeicaHans-Günter Kisselbach
216 pages with 380 color and black and white illustrations
27,5 x 29,5 cm, Wetzlar
Hardcover, Euro 59,90 (German version)
Published at Lindemanns Verlag, Stuttgart
ISBN-No: 978-3-89506-282-7


The book describes this historical camera in substantial detail and with brilliant images. It also shows a large number of previously unpublished documents, including images of handwritten notes from Oskar Barnack.


The truly extraordinary feature of this book is, however, that the author dared to re-activate this old camera in order to take it along on his photographic journeys. The book allows the reader to participate in these journeys and tells many amusing, informative and at times adventurous stories the author experienced in the years from 2004 to 2007 with Barnack’s “Handmuster”. The FIFA football world cup 2006 in Germany, a trip to Berlin and various locations in and around Wetzlar, Oskar Barnack’s work-place, are but some examples. It is impressive to see what the lens and mechanics are still able to achieve almost 90 years after the camera’s creation.

The personalities of Barnack, Berek and Leitz with their inventive genius, their insistence and technical expertise, their courage to think and eventually break new ground are recognized in this book in a very lively and entertaining manner.

Table of Contents
Readers’ Reviews
Jacket Text
About the Author