If there is one criticism of the latest 9th edition of the Leica Pocket Book, it is that it doesn’t fit in many pockets (unless you have one of those rabbit-shooting Barbour jackets). But, then, you wouldn’t want to shed any of that valuable information for the sake of portability. Mine tends to sit on my desk most of the time, with a large magnifying glass to the side for when I need to look up serial number tables. Now, however, we have the Leica BIG Pocket Book to temp us. It’s really the desk-top edition, but it comes with many advantages for those of us who consult the tome frequently.
The boffins at Red Dot cameras had a bright idea, following the runaway success of the 9th edition. Why not simply enlarge the pages by 60% and create the Leica BIG Pocket Book? Most of us will agree that it is a tempting alternative, despite the extra cost. I can even see it being more popular than the standard edition, which, with the best will in the world, cannot overcome the peril of small type. There’s just so much to cram in, including serial numbers for all Leica lenses and cameras going back to the year red dot.
Neglected for many years since the publication of the 8th edition, the pocketbook has been superbly edited to correct previous errors by leading expert, Dr Frank Dabba-Smith.
When it comes to content, the new version of the Leica Pocket Book is as reliable and authoritative as the smaller version. Please refer to Jörg-Peter’s comprehensive review of the 9th edition, where he also provides images that provide an illustrative representation of the contents. He concludes: “Without a doubt, the new Leica Pocket Book is the result of a great deal of dedication and expertise acquired over decades. We can only thank all those involved. This book will become an indispensable reference work for me, especially in its timelessly good, printed form. And also, in the light of my own efforts, I can, in this brief Leica Pocket Book review, only take my hat off to the result: It is indeed a labour of love.”
The Leica BIG Pocket Book is currently available exclusively from Red Dot Cameras in London at a cost of £48. That is roughly equivalent to US$58, €55, A$92, CA$80, JPY8,750, HK$455. The smaller pocket edition of the book costs £30. You can also purchase a bundle consisting of the Leica BIG Pocket Book and the 2nd edition of the Leica Accessory guide for £60.50. Shipping on all books is extra, with UK shipping costing for the BIG book costing £3.50.
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