Leica invented autofocus, then abandoned it

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Leica invented the autofocus camera system with the Correfot in 1976.
Leica invented the autofocus camera system with the Correfot in 1976.
Photo: WestLicht Camera Auction

Legendary German camera maker Leica spent nearly 20 years patenting technology that would take focusing out of the hands of photographers. As with the 35 mm still camera the company created in 1925, Leica stood ready to once again revolutionize photography, this time with an autofocus system.

But after spending the last part of the 1970s working on prototypes, Leica dropped plans to bring autofocus to consumers. Leica figured its customers already knew how to focus their cameras.

“There’s an element of truth in that,” said Heinz Richter, who was a member of the Leica Historical Society of America when he held one of the first autofocus cameras at a meeting in Minneapolis in 1980. “Leica used to be an extremely conservative company. The autofocus mechanism as they were available then didn’t fit into the company’s ideal of precise focusing.”

If you think Apple’s packaging is good, wait until you see these

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Apple doesn't have anything on the packaging for these products.
Apple doesn't have anything on the packaging for these products.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Opening a new Apple product for the first time is pretty close to a holy experience. Part of that is because Apple spends so much time perfecting product packaging so it’s simple, elegant and secure without compromising on intuitiveness.

However, it’s a mistake to think Apple is the only company that pours thought and care into something as basic as a box. In light of the recent rumor that Apple will be working with third-party accessory makers to co-design packaging for their products in Apple retail stores, it’s clear many other companies care as well. It’s about being eye-catching without straying from uniformity, it’s about being simple yet still adorned.

With this spirit in mind, take a look at some of the other electronic companies out there getting extremely creative with their product packaging. The goal for these seems to be making the boxes as gorgeous as the products themselves – and they succeed.

Using this camera with Apple Photos could destroy your photo library

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If you have this camera, don't use Apple Photos. Photo: Leica
If you have this camera, don't use Apple Photos. Photo: Leica

If you’re an owner of a new Leica M Monochrom camera — a beautiful digital camera specializing in beautiful black-and-white photographs, which Leica released on May 7th — you may want to avoid hooking it up to your Mac right now.

According to a new advisory, a nasty bug affects the Leica M Monochrom which can cause it to destroy your entire Apple Photos library. Whoa!

Lenny Kravitz adds rocker aesthetic to new Leica camera

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Rocker Lenny Kravitz helped Leica design a limited edition camera that has been deliberately aged by hand. Photo: Leica
Rocker Lenny Kravitz helped Leica design a limited edition camera that has been deliberately aged by hand. Photo: Leica

Lenny Kravitz has designed a camera for Leica and you are going to need rock-star money to afford it.

Kravitz, whose life-long love for photography is evident by the Leica camera often slung on his shoulder, has collaborated with his favorite company to design a limited edition Leica M-P Correspondent digital rangefinder.

The “design” comes in the form of areas of the camera’s black enamel finish where the paint has been deliberately worn away to reveal flares of brass. It has the vintage appearance of a well-traveled workhorse that came from the bag of Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Gadget Watch: Phones with Leica lenses, and Leicas without LCDs

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The mammoth Photokina photo fair is going on this week, and that means tons of photo goodies. Small, manual cameras with big sensors are the game this year — unless you’ve got $20,000 to burn, in which case Leica’s new novelty camera might be up your street. We round these out with Gadget Watch's usual collection of bags, cases and gadgets.

The mammoth Photokina photo fair is going on this week, and that means tons of photo goodies. Small, manual cameras with big sensors are the game this year — unless you’ve got $20,000 to burn, in which case Leica’s new novelty camera might be up your street. We round these out with Gadget Watch's usual collection of bags, cases and gadgets.


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Gadget Watch: Bags, bags and … bags. Plus, some cool new camera gear

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Bags, bags, bags. Literally – there are three hot bags in this week’s gadget roundup, and if you buy them all, you’ll be out by around a grand. Or you could buy the ultra-expensive Leica M-P, a new camera so minimal it doesn’t even have the trademark red dot on the front, yet still costs $8,000. Or you can go to the other end of the price range and pick up LensBaby’s new iPhone optic for just $70. And that’s just the beginning…

Bags, bags, bags. Literally – there are three hot bags in this week’s gadget roundup, and if you buy them all, you’ll be out by around a grand. Or you could buy the ultra-expensive Leica M-P, a new camera so minimal it doesn’t even have the trademark red dot on the front, yet still costs $8,000. Or you can go to the other end of the price range and pick up LensBaby’s new iPhone optic for just $70. And that’s just the beginning…


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Machine Crush Monday: Leica M6

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Leica
Dial it in: The shutter speed on the Leica M6 goes all the way to 1,000. Can you handle all that speed?

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When I worked on my college paper a million years ago, my buddy Bruno had Leicas. This made him the coolest person in the whole wide world.

The cameras were tiny and had the smoothest-operating lenses I had ever touched. They were a feat of German engineering. For me, it was love at first sight. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop lusting for one of those tiny black boxes.

I immediately started my quest to get one. I had to have a Leica. And because this was the mid-’80s, I definitely wanted an M6, which was introduced in 1984. Hell, it was advanced. It had a meter. The first real meter in a Leica, if you disregard the much-maligned M5.

This Is The Desk That Jony Ive Thinks Your Mac Should Be Sat On

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Jony-Ive-desk

When you spend thousands of dollars on a new Mac, you don’t want to take it home and put it on anything — you want the desk beneath to look just as good. So, wouldn’t it be awesome if the Mac’s designer, Jony Ive, designed the perfect desk to accompany it.

Well, he has — but you won’t be able to purchase it. Like the special edition Ive-designed Project (RED) Leica unveiled earlier this week, the solid aluminum (RED) Desk is a one-off created by Ive and industrial designer Marc Newson for a charity auction. And it’s likely to fetch a fortune.

This Is What A Jony Ive Designed Leica M Looks Like [Gallery]

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jonydesignsleica

 

Ever since Phil Schiller admitted that Apple considered making a standalone camera at one point, we’ve wondered what the results would look like if Sir Jony Ive’s obsessive attention to detail was applied to a full-framed camera. As part of Bono’s charity auction for Project (RED), Leica unveiled The Leica M for (RED) designed by Jony Ive and Marc Newson that will be auctioned off at Southeby’s on Nov. 23rd to fight AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

Jony and Marc redesigned the Leica M by going through a total of 561 models and nearly 1000 prototype parts over 85 days to create the one of a kind camera that features a laser machined aluminum body, and an anodized aluminum outer shell to go with the full-format CMOS sensor inside.

Get a glimpse of all the impeccable details in the gallery below: