Home Cameras/Lenses Leica LHSA Annual Meeting: Currywurst and Pommes at the Leitz Park

LHSA Annual Meeting: Currywurst and Pommes at the Leitz Park

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  Peter Karbe embraces the modern Barnack cameras, the CL and the TL
Peter Karbe embraces the modern Barnack cameras, the CL and the TL

The past couple of days here at Wetzlar have been packed with presentations and meetings, and until now I’ve had no opportunity to sit down and write. The whole experience of being at the Leitz Park is quite overwhelming for Leica fans; I get the same sort of buzz I experienced when I visited Apple’s HQ on this very day in 2011, coincidentally the day that Steve Jobs died. Fortunately, nothing quite so dramatic has happened here. 

  Steve Jobs also was an admirer of the Leica camera. Steve died seven years ago today. 
Steve Jobs also was an admirer of the Leica camera. Steve died seven years ago today. 

We have enjoyed presentations by Stefan Daniel, Stefan Schultz, Ruud Peters and Peter Karbe from the Leica management and I shall be writing more about these detail-packed sessions later when the dust has settled. Jono Slack told us about his experiences as a beta tester and renowned Leica expert, dealer and author, Lars Netopil introduced us to his latest book on the history of the brand. One of the highlights of yesterday was a private visit to the new archives, managed extremely efficiently by Monika Bock.

  Mike with Peter Karbe, the man responsible for the design of almost all modern Leica lenses
Mike with Peter Karbe, the man responsible for the design of almost all modern Leica lenses

A standout impression is one of informality. Yesterday I was in a tightly packed lift when someone asked which lens I had on the CL — it was the 35mm Summilux — and why it was so big. I set off to explain without realising that behind me was standing Peter Karbe himself. Talk about rushing in where angels fear to tread. But I hope I made the right points about high-performance autofocus TL lenses needing to be much bigger than their M counterparts. 

  It is surprising how many LHSA members are carrying and using vintage Leicas on this visit to Wetzlar
It is surprising how many LHSA members are carrying and using vintage Leicas on this visit to Wetzlar

Then, later, I found myself in the Casino canteen queue next to Stefan Daniel who pointed out the Currywurst und Pommes as typical German junk food. I tended to disagree — I love currywurst, junk or no junk.. Not far behind in this very egalitarian food chain was Peter Karbe, followed by most of the Leica top brass. 

I took the opportunity to ask Herr Karbe why none of the APS-C L lenses features image stabilisation. His answer was short and to the point: Size. Enough said.

Later today a large group of LHSA members will be doing the Wetzlar walk, followed by a visit to the Leitz family graves. It has been such a pleasure to meet Leica enthusiasts coming from 18 countries, including a good contingent from Britain, and I can only marvel at the combined knowledge of the brand that is present here on one spot for the coming weekend.

  Entering the main reception and gallery area at Leitz Park
Entering the main reception and gallery area at Leitz Park

I have to say that the Leitz Park is extremely impressive both in design and effectiveness. It seems to me as an outsider to be a great place to work. It’s interesting, by the way, to hear from Ruud Peters that Leica Camera AG does not own Leitz Park — it is owned by Dr Kauffman’s family investment concern and leased to the various Leica divisions. More than anything, this illustrates the impact Andreas Kaufmann has made on Leica and underlines the way in which he has invested, and continues to invest, in the future of the brand. 

  Marcus and Lusinel Lins-Barroso, regular Macfilos readers all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is truly an international gathering with everyone sharing their love of Leica products
Marcus and Lusinel Lins-Barroso, regular Macfilos readers all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is truly an international gathering with everyone sharing their love of Leica products

9 COMMENTS

  1. All sounds marvellous! Perhaps a trivial question: but is that a Leica Lusinel Barroso has in her right hand – with a FLIP-OUT screen?!
    John Nicholson.

  2. "I took the opportunity to ask Herr Karbe why none of the APS-C L lenses features image stabilisation. His answer was short and to the point: Size. Enough said." Luck of OIS in APS-C 18-56 Leica lens is a deal breaker to buy CL, my Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R does have a OIS and it is not big at all.

    • While it hasn’t been a dealbreaker for me so far, I am with you on this. My belief is that the TL lenses were designed probably in the period 2012-2013 when the importance of in-lens stabilisation was not so obvious. But I feel that lenses (in particular longer zooms) without stabilisation are at a handicap. Since Leica is saddled with these lenses, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a CL with IBS coming along at some time.

  3. LHSA consists largely of hardcore enthusiasts and the M10 is by far the most common camera here in Wetzlar. CLs also figure a bit and SLs are rare. When Stefan Daniel asked how many still used film about 40 % said that they were. Somewhere between 10 and 20% said that they used film exclusively and that is reflected in the group here in Wetzlar. Film cameras here range from IAs to film Ms and in one case a US born, but living in Korea, member brought his own self made working Ur Leica to Barnack’s grave where I took his picture along with the camera. He also used the camera to take the famous scene in the Eisenmarket.

    William

    • Hardcore enthusiasts indeed. That’s why a show of hands on a particular subject has to be taken with a pinch of salt. For instance, there was no support for an M-mount camera equipped with an EVF instead of a rangefinder (perhaps because of the fear of the cessation of the rangefinder) but it was clear that Stefan Daniel had never intended to suggest doing away with the rangefinder. His point, I think, was whether or not a second M, one with an EVF, would be welcome. The LHSA members said no, but this does not necessarily reflect the views of the majority of users,

  4. I would hazard that the reason that many attendees have brought vintage Leica’s is that the company has never bettered them.

    As William points out, 40% are continuing to use film, by far the best material for preserving images.

  5. You are so blessed to be there. That would be my dream vacation! Enjoy your visit! I just won an auction for my dream Leica Q and cannot wait to take it everywhere!

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