Leica’s management did in fact once consider making a medium-format film camera system

On April 1st, I posted a joke about Leica rumored to announce a new medium format film camera with a fixed lens. While this was obviously an April fool’s joke, it turns out that Leica’s upper management did in fact once consider making a medium-format film camera system (not with a fixed lens). In May 2000 Leica’s CEO at that time Hanns-Peter Cohn (CEO from 1999 to 2005) announced that Leica was considering the development of exactly such a camera! Here is a quote from the article in the Washington Post:

“Spurred in part by Swedish camera-maker Hasselblad’s recent introduction of its XPan 35mm rangefinder/panorama camera – a move that threatens to cost Leica customers – the German firm is beginning to look seriously at trying to take market share away from its Swedish competitor by introducing its own high-end entry into the hot medium-format market.

Recently, over a relaxed dinner in Prague, where we and others had flown to present a commemorative Leica M6 to Czech President Vaclav Havel, Cohn was surprisingly frank when I asked him whether Leica ever would expand its product line to include a medium-format camera. Without hesitation Cohn noted that the technology to produce a Leica version of the Hassy or other such camera (one assumes it would not be called the Leicablad) is not that difficult. The real hurdle, he noted, would simply be the design of the larger-format camera, and the mechanical retooling necessary to produce such a camera to Leica’s legendary high standards.”

Thanks John!

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