Leica Model A

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Leica, Model A, introduced in 1924. Lens: Leitz Elmar 1:3.5 F-50mm, Serial no. 988 (1925-1926).
The first batch of cameras are known as the O (letter O) series or null Leicas. These cameras were given to Leitz employees and family members for testing purposes. It is believed that Leitz set aside numbers 101 to 130 for the O series, but not all the numbers appear to have been used. Sales to the public officially started in 1925 with Leica number 131, but may have started with 126.
Some sources state that the first production run ended at serial number 1,000, others say it ended at number 1,300 or later. In either case this camera is a late model from the run with a 50mm f/3.5 Elmar lens.
The original Leica Anastigmat lens was given the trademark name Elmax about serial number 300, but the five element design remained largely unchanged. The lens was expensive to produce and was eventually replaced with a less expensive four element design. The new lens was known as the Elmar and this lens, upon which the reputation of Leitz was built, remained in production for over 40 years.
Many sources say that the Elmar lens was introduced around serial number 1,300 with the second production batch in 1926, but this example with serial number 988 has an Elmar, not an Elmax lens. However, it is believed that small batches of Elmar lenses were fitted to first production cameras with serial numbers under 1,000. The example in the Photographic History Collection (PHC) would seem to prove this.
In addition to the Elmar lens, the PHC example number 988 has other features distinguishing it from model number 149, most notably the design of the shutter release button and the shape of the accessory shoe.
Currently not on view
date made
Ernst Leitz
place made
Deutschland: Hessen, Wetzlar
overall: 5 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in; 13.335 cm x 6.35 cm x 3.81 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
Credit Line
E. Leitz, Inc.
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Leica Cameras
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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