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Leica Letz Park

Leica Letz Park

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the camera lens? I mean, not in the eyes of the photographer, but rather in the mechanics of the camera itself.

Whether it’s film or digital, a camera does more than just capture the moment. Since 1849, the German brand Leica has been dedicated to creating high quality cameras. Founded by Ernst Leitz and Carl Kellner, it has never ceased to enhance the visual arts.

Leica’s history

The first lines of Leica’s history were written in 1849 by Carl Kellner, a young self-taught technician who was not fully satisfied with the lenses and microscopes available at the time. To remedy this problem, he founded an optical institute.

16 years later, Ernst Leitz joined him in this venture. Ernst was a technician from Baden who had worked in the electric telegraph workshop before working in the watch industry in Neuchâtel.

Ernst Leitz soon convinced Carl Kellner to give him a share in the company. 

In 1869, he finally bought the company and renamed it with his name. It was time for the ambitious entrepreneur to modernize the production line.

By 1871, Leica’s factories were producing 500 units per year. In the 19th century, maintaining such a pace without neglecting quality was a real feat. The pace was so intense that the 10,000th microscope left the factory in 1887.

Ernst Leitz was not someone who rested on his laurels as a businessman. At the same time, he was also developing microscopes for industry that were tailored to their needs. Among his most loyal customers were :

• Robert Koch, the researcher who identified the bacterium that causes tuberculosis;

• Paul Elrich, the man who founded the basis of modern chemotherapy;

• Gerhard Domagk, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry.

In July 1920, Ernst Leitz died, so the company passed to his son, Ernst Leitz Junior.

The first portable cameras

In 1905, Oskar Barnack came up with the idea of compacting the negative to make it easier to transport the cameras. And then, the 7.3 enlargement prints appeared. In 1913, he repeated the experiment by designing a camera that could obtain 24 x 36 mm negatives. From this genius idea were born the Ur-Leica prototypes. They can still be admired today in the brand’s museum.

Later, the brand diversified its range of portable cameras:

• the Leica I model C (1930);
• the Leica II (1932);
• the Leica III (1933-1960).

Robust, compact and with excellent shooting performance, Leica cameras were a hit with creative people of the time. Famous photographers such as Paul Wolff, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and René Burri used these cameras exclusively.

During World War II, the portability of Leica cameras allowed them to be used on the battlefield.

Few people know this, but some of the most famous pictures of that time were taken with Leica cameras. The Soviet flag planted on the Reichstag in Berlin, the portrait of Che Guevara, the girl with the flower, … of course, the list is far from exhaustive.

Today, the German brand produces mainly M7, MP, M8 and M9. At the same time, Leica has established itself as one of the best manufacturers of SLR cameras for professionals.

More than a brand, Leica is a label, a guarantee of quality. Choosing a Leica camera means using the famous German rigor to capture the scenes of life. Naturally, spending a few days in their world at the Leitz-Park proved to be an unforgettable experience.

The Leitz Park: a wide-open door to the world of Leica

The breathtaking richness of Leitz Park invites visitors to redefine the concept of beauty. Better yet, it encourages visitors to dive within themselves to find their true nature. With a museum, cafes, a walking trail and even a hotel, this artistic treasure trove is waiting to be discovered.

Ernst Leitz Museum

In the autumn of 2021, the Ernst Leitz Museum opened its doors. Are you curious by nature? Do you have a consuming passion for photography? Through a gargantuan exhibition and pictorial panels, immerse yourself in the world of the Leica brand.

Fascinating, bewitching, the genesis of Leica will leave you stunned. From the first 35 mm camera to contemporary models, discover the progress of the world of photography. Let the descendants of those who wrote the history of the visual arts tell you all about it.

We would also like to point out that the Ernst Leitz Museum is firmly opposed to any platonic visit, which is why the tour is full of relief and interactive animations. For instance, you can experience a digital darkroom or observe in real time the effect of external factors (movement, wind, light, etc.) on the rendering.

The Ernst Leitz Museum is the main attraction of the complex. If you let Lisa guide you, your experience will be all the more memorable.

The Nature Trail

This three kilometer long trail allows you to cut yourself off from the nuisances of civilization. For a moment, forget about all those synthetic creations and let yourself be surprised by the natural beauty of the fauna and flora.

Interspersed with XXL size photos, the nature trail offers you an inspiring break from your daily life.

What makes the Nature Trail so unique is the stunning contrast it offers between contemporary architecture and pure nature. Designed with the environment in mind, this space introduces you to the wonders of nature. Read the large panels to discover how

it changes with the seasons. Better yet, borrow a free pair of binoculars from the Leica store to get a closer look at nature.

The Casino

Don’t be misled by the name of this space! It has nothing to do with poker or gambling machines. In fact, the Casino is a restaurant.

Strategically placed in the center of the complex, you can

enjoy breakfast and lunch with the Leica team. It’s the perfect opportunity to get to know these photographic geniuses better. 

Each day you can choose from a plethora of menus and dishes, all freshly prepared. What more could you ask for than a good meal and good company? 

Le café Leitz

Step through the door of Café Leitz and be enchanted by the smell of freshly roasted coffee. In this modern interior, the best culinary delights are waiting to make your taste buds dance. 

Nestled in this special atmosphere, you’ll want to take a break and relax. Carefully selected, the homemade pastries and desserts will make you spend an exceptional moment.

Let the heady aromas of the Leitz Café transport you to another world. Sit back and discuss your experience with your fellow guests, admire the pictures you took, or just relax. 

Quick note. In 2018, the Leitz café team and its pastry chef were awarded by “Der Feinschmecker” magazine, so this gastronomic space is now one of the best coffee and roasting places in Germany.

Café Leitz can also be rented for private parties and events. And if you are pressed for time, all dishes on the menu are available to take away.

The Ernst Leitz Hotel 

The Vienna House Ernst Leitz is an integral part of the park and will quickly become your second home. True to the spirit of the place, every corner is a tribute to photography. The artistic decoration is sure to awaken your senses and encourage you to let go.

But design is not its only asset. To attract the crowds, this accommodation complex also offers:

• a charging station for electric vehicles;

• high-speed internet (including Wi-Fi);

• a gym and fitness center;

• a bar/lounge ;

• a business center with internet;

• a private parking ;

• etc.

Accessible to both Leila Park visitors and the general public, this upscale hotel will allow you to relax after a busy day.

Leika Park: is it a worthwhile activity?

For two days and three nights, the Lookbook Magazine team stayed at Leika Park. To be quite honest, the agents were skeptical at first. Can this activity really appeal to non-photography aficionados? The answer is a great yes.

Under the direction of Lisa, our very friendly and competent guide, we could not see the time passing. Immersed in the dreamlike world of the Ernst Leitz Museum, our talents took pleasure

in slipping into the shoes of the first creators of 35 mm cameras. Through the photos on display here and there, they discovered facets of the world that were previously unknown.

And what about the gastronomy?

The dishes prepared at the restaurant Le Casino will make you want to lick your fingers. Made with fresh products, they are a tribute to German gastronomy. 

It is also possible to enjoy them in the company of Leica employees.

For those who can’t start their day without a cup of Arabica, the spotlight is on Café Leitz. The barrista’s expertise and the delicious homemade mignardises make it impossible not to ask for more.

As you can see, Lookbook Magazine highly recommends a visit to Leika Park. If you are in Wetlzart, you should go there, you won’t regret it.

All the pictures in this article were taken by Gil Zetbase with his Leica Q2 monochrome. No editing has been done.


Leica Leitz-Park

Am Leitz-Park 6

35578 Wetzlar




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