Inside Leica’s labs

Even CEOs have to wear hairnets: The Bloomberg news service visited high-end camera-maker Leica’s manufacturing headquarters in Solms, Germany, and now offers an interesting online video story here.

The reporter notes that Leica spent €15 million to launch its own retail shops — and that’s apparently paid off as profits have risen 8x in two years.



Leica Boutique opens in British Columbia’s Broadway Camera

 Leica Camera Inc., Allendale, N.J., is opening its first Leica Boutique in Canada at Broadway Camera, Richmond, British Columbia. Featuring an extensive selection of the Leica portfolio, the store-in-store retail concept provides a resource for professional and amateur photographers to experience Leica Camera firsthand. The Leica Boutique at Broadway Camera opens May 17, 2012, with a special even that is open to the public. Ted Grant, regarded as the “Father of Canadian photojournalism,” and Andy Clark, 2009’s Canadian Photojournalist of the Year and Reuters photographer, will join Brian Bell, Leica Camera National Sales Manager and Eric Kerwin, Leica Camera BC Regional Sales Manager, for the festivities. In addition, the Leica S2, the revolutionary digital camera concept for supreme professional requirements, will be available for demonstration.



Leica breaks ground for new Wetzlar headquarters

Leica Camera AG, Solms, Germany, broke ground for a new headquarters at the Leitz Park in Wetzlar. Once complete, the new Schanzenfeld site will mark the company’s relocation from Solms. Attending the celebration were dignitaries from Salzburg’s ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH, the majority shareholder of the company, the board of Leica Camera AG and representatives from Leitz-Park GmbH, the project’s developers, in addition to Volker Bouffier (CDU), Prime Minister of the state of Hesse, members of the media and invited guests.

The plans, prepared by architectural firm Gruber + Kleine-Kraneburg, will bring forth an ultra-modern location for the production, administration and customer care divisions of Leica Camera AG in November 2013, with a projected ground-plan area of approximately 88,500 square feet. The new site, built in accordance with the latest energy-efficiency standards, will then be a new home to around 600 Leica employees. Openly visible production areas, a Leica Museum, a Leica Galerie, a Leica Store, a photo studio and a restaurant expand the spectrum of engaging features for visitors, friends of Leica and anyone fascinated by photography. A central plaza will create a binding element between the new headquarters of Leica Camera AG and the existing facilities occupied by Weller Feintechnik GmbH and ViaOptic GmbH on the Leitz Park site. The overall investment volume for the Leitz Park construction project amounts to 55 million euros.

At the ground-breaking for Leica's new Wetzlar headquarters

Leica announces Leica Store Washington D.C.

Leica Camera Inc., Allendale, N.J., has announced the opening of the Leica Store Washington D.C., located at 977 F Street, NW, in the Penn Quarter. The store, featuring the entire Leica photography and sport optics product portfolio, will celebrate an official grand opening May 2 -3.

“Perfect for Leica enthusiasts, professional photographers and new customers alike, the Leica Store Washington DC creates a completely immersive experience into the world of photography,” says Roland Wolff, director, Corporate Retail at Leica Camera Inc. “Leica Camera has always represented the best in German engineering and the special culture of the picture. We are now able to offer a complete showcase for our products and services as well as a creative setting for our customers, bringing this central mission to life in a new way.”

The Leica Store Washington DC will also be the setting for the Leica Akademie workshops. In addition, the store will be designated as an S2 Pro Dealership and provide specialized demonstrations, consultations and support for professional photographers.

To celebrate the grand opening, Leica Camera will host programming throughout a two-day event. May 2-3, which includes workshops highlighting Leica’s product portfolio, a cocktail hour for professional photographers and an official opening ceremony showcasing the new setting to invited guests. The gallery space will feature an exhibition by internationally acclaimed Photojournalist Peter Turnley. As part of a new Leica Lecture Series, Turnley will present “Peter Turnley: Moments of the Human Condition” on May 2nd. Attendees of this lecture will not only view Turnley’s iconic photographs but also hear the stories behind the images that have shaped views of world history from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe to the devastation at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001 and most recently, the turning point in the Egyptian Revolution.

Leica Camera has confirmed two additional store locations in the United States slated to open later this year, Leica Store New York SoHo and Leica Store Miami.


Leica offering firmware update for Leica M9, M9-P models

Leica Camera Inc., Allendale, N.J., announces the latest firmware update, 1.176, for the Leica M9 and M9-P, the world’s smallest, full-frame digital system cameras. Firmware update 1.176 eliminates a rare fault occurring during the formatting of SanDisk cards, ensuring compatibility with the Leica M9 and M9-P in accordance with the cameras’ respective standards. All card types available from SanDisk have been fully tested by Leica’s technical team and firmware version 1.176 guarantees their proper function, resulting in the previous constrictions on the cards being revoked, the company said.




About the Leica M9 and M9-P:

As the world’s first digital rangefinder camera with a 24 x 36 sensor, the Leica M9 carries the proud heritage of the Leica M system into the digital age. A truly professional camera for authentic Leica M photography in the familiar, classic and timeless M design, the M9 is the perfect contemporary tool for those who set the highest standard in image quality and are committed to creating images of enduring value. The Leica M9-P provides an alternative, even more discreet and resilient design that further reinforces the classic nature of the M9 and specifically meets the needs of prof

Entries sought for Leica Oskar Barnack Award

Leica Camera AG, Solms, Germany, invites professional photographers to submit entries to the Leica Oskar Barnack Award, an international photography competition. Photographers wishing to take part may submit their projects online between Jan. 16 and March 1, 2012. The winner of the 2012 Leica Oskar Barnack Award will receive a Leica M9-P camera with lens worth approximately €10,000 (approximately US $14,000) in addition to a cash prize of €5,000. A second honor will be awarded in the category ‘Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award’, for (aspiring) professional photographers aged 25 and under. The winner of the first prize in this section will also be awarded a Leica M9-P complete with lens.

Submissions must be a self-contained series of images in which the photographer perceives and documents the interaction between man and his environment with acute vision and contemporary visual style – creative, unobtrusive and groundbreaking.

Leica announces 2012 Leica Akademie North America workshop schedule

Leica Camera Inc., Allendale, N.J., announced the Leica Akademie North America 2012 schedule with increased programming. Beginning Jan. 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif., and concluding Aug. 25, 2012, in San Francisco, Calif., a series of 38 photographic lectures, workshops and hands-on experiential learning days will again travel to dedicated Leica aficionados throughout 16 cities in the United States and Canada. New workshops including Leica Destinations, Two Day Street Photography, Leica M9 Owners and Available Light join the popular Leica Weekends, Leica Compact Camera Photography, Leica Black and White Photography and Leica Digital-M Experience programs.

“We are excited to continue offering participants the opportunity to capture the decisive moment with a Leica in hand,” says Christian Erhardt, vice president, marketing, Leica Camera. “Thanks to the popularity of the Akademie and invaluable customer feedback, we are pleased to announce an expanded range of workshops designed to cover an even broader spectrum of topics, increase the enjoyment of photography and deepen photographic knowledge.”

The North American Leica Akademie 2012 includes eight distinctive programs highlighting the full range of the Leica portfolio.

Leica Weekends: Program cities include Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and Toronto, Canada. The Leica Weekend Program costs $495 with each participant receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

Leica Destinations: The first Leica Destinations program takes place in Big Sur/ Monterey, CA from April 23-26, 2012. Throughout the workshop, participants discover locations such as the Monterey Wharf and Harbor, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and the beautiful village and shops of “Carmel by the Sea.” Accommodations for the weekend are provided at the historic Casa Munras Resort and Spa. The cost for this event is $1,6995.95 with each attendee receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

The Leica Digital-M Experience is $199 per participant with all attendees receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

The Leica M9 Owners Workshop: A Practical Session Designed for Owners of the Leica M9 – The cost for attending this event is $199 with each participant receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

Leica Street Photography: Two Day Workshop! – The cost for attending this event is $349 with each participant receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

Leica Digital Black and White Photography: See the World in Black and White – The cost for attending this event is $249 with each participant receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

Leica Available Light Workshops –The cost for attending this event is $249 with each participant receiving a $150 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brand new serial numbered Leica M product from any North American Leica Dealer.

Leica Compact Camera Photography: Getting the Most from your Leica Compact Camera –  The cost for this event is $149 per person. The cost for attending this event is $150 with each participant receiving a $50 voucher that can be used toward the purchase of a brandnew serial numbered Leica product from any North American Leica Dealer.


Blackstone takes 44-percent stake in Leica Camera

London’s The Blackstone Group and ACM Projektentwicklung GmbH agreed to a strategic partnership whereby investment funds advised by Blackstone will acquire, indirectly through a holding company, a 44-percent minority stake in Leica Camera AG, Solm’s, Germany, to support Leica’s international growth plans.

“With Blackstone we have gained an experienced and internationally established strategic partner, which also understands and appreciates the established brand philosophy and business model of Leica,” says Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, chairman, supervisory board, Leica. “Following the successful turnaround of the business and record sales last year, we are now focused on the continued development of the brand, its products and our growth plans into new markets such as Asia, South America and the Middle East. ACM has no plans to sell more shares in Leica Camera AG. Our long-term strategy is to accompany Leica in its continued expansion worldwide.”

Leica Camera AG concluded the 2010/2011 financial year with record sales of €248.8 million. The Hessen-based traditional manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products increased turnover by 57.2 percent compared to the previous year (€ 158.2 million). The operating result (EBIT) increased almost six fold: It rose from € 7.4 million in 2009/2010 to € 41.6 million. Group net income also took a positive turn: At € 36.3 million, it is more than eleven times the previous year’s figure (€ 3.2 million). The sales increase is attributed above all to the strong demand for the two camera systems, Leica M and Leica S.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in Q4/2011.

Leica Camera offers firmware update 2.014 for Leica M8

Leica Camera AG, Solms, Germany, announces the latest firmware update for all versions of the Leica M8.

The firmware update coincides with the launch of the Leica Super-Elmar-M 21 mm f/3.4 ASPH. and supports the use of this new wide-angle lens on Leica M8 cameras. In addition to  new improvements, users can expand the range of lenses for their Leica M8 system with the super-wide-angle lens.

Leica announces record sales, dividend payment

Leica Camera AG, Solms, Germany, announced record sales of Euro 248.9 million ( US$ 361.45 million) for fiscal 2010/2011 (April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011), a plus of 57.3 percent on the previous year. Correspondingly, the operating result (EBIT) rose to Euro 42.4 million (US $61.35 million), an almost six-fold increase compared with the previous year). Group net income soared 950 percent to Euro 30.4 million (US$ 43.99 million). On the basis of these prelinimary figures, the Board of Management will propose a dividend of Euro 0.30 per share to the Supervisory Board and the General Meeting. This would be the first dividend paid by the Company since 1997.

According to press release, the determining factor for the positive development is the continuing strong demand for the Leica M system, the professional S system, the compact cameras and the Leica sport optics products. ”In addition to the Leica M9, the success drivers have been, in particular, the products presented at the photokina in September 2010 – Leica D-Lux 5, V-Lux 2, a new, black design variant of the Leica X1, the limited special series, Leica M9 ›Titan‹, as well as the binoculars line, Leica Silverline,” says Alfred Schopf, chairman, Board of Management, Leica Camera AG

The company’s CFO, Andreas Lobejäger, underlined the positive outlook for the company: ”The financial capabilities of Leica Camera AG are higher than ever before. We are now aiming at the stabilisation of the growth seen in the last one and a half fiscal years. Moreover, we are working to further optimize our supply chain, because the current high order inflow may still lead to delivery delays.”