In the development phase of the cinema, setting the exposure time was an issue. To test it Barnack has the idea in 1913 to insert a 35 mm flexible film horizontally in a still camera. He builds two prototypes of this Leca that will later be spelled Leica for Leitz Camera. The horizontal position makes it possible to use 8 perforations per frame instead of 4 for the vertical rolling in a movie camera. The 24 x 36 mm was born.
Until then the usual practice for positive photography is the contact printing. Barnack loves hiking but he is sick and must avoid heavy equipment. He considers reusing his miniature 24 x 36 mm format. The positives will be achieved by enlargement. He makes a third prototype between 1918 and 1920.
Barnack convinces his boss Ernst Leitz II to continue this innovative experience. To evaluate the feasibility of a production and to test the market, Leitz authorizes in 1923 a small series of 31 cameras numbered from 100 to 130, the 0-Series (in German: Nullserie) of the Leica. It seems that some of these numbers were not finally used.
The 0-Series Leica has some improvements compared to its three precursors, including to allow loading and unloading the film in daylight. The lens cover is now essential for not fogging the film when arming.
The Leica 107 in B- condition was sold for € 1.32M including premium by WestLicht on May 28, 2011 over a lower estimate of € 350K. I commented this great result by stating that the 0-Series Leica is the absolute dream for any collector of cameras. The serial number 116 also graded B- was sold for € 2.16M including premium on May 12, 2012 by the same auction house over a lower estimate of € 600K.
In B+ condition the Leica 122 is one of the best preserved of the series. Its lens cover, folding viewfinder and paintwork are original. It is estimated € 700K for sale by WestLicht in Vienna on March 10, lot 3 here linked to the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform.
SOLD for € 2.1M before fees