Leica Camera AG is a leading German optical company that has been designing and developing 35 mm cameras since 1913, and manufacturing them in series production since 1925. Leica Camera AG is also responsible for Leica Binocular production, Leica began producing binoculars in 1907. The company, formerly Ernst Leitz GmbH, is now four companies: Leica Camera AG, which produces cameras; Leica Geosystems AG which produces geodetic equipment; Leica Microsystems GmbH, which produces microscopes; and Leica Biosystems, wich produces clinical diagnostic equipment.
Leica Camera AG has production plants in Germany and Portugal, the headquarters of Leica Camera AG is situated in Wetzlar, Germany.
1849: the mathematician Carl Kellner founds a company in Wetzlar which produces microscopes
1855: after Kellner's death his widow leads the company
1865: the precision mechanic Ernst Leitz becomes partner
1869: Ernst Leitz becomes chief of the company
1887: the company produces its 10,000th microscope
1913: Oskar Barnack become the head of R&D
1920: after Ernst Leitz's death Ernst Leitz II becomes chief
1923: 25 "Null-Serie" Cameras produced
1924: the company has 1000 employees. Leitz decides to produce the viewfinder camera for 35mm film which Oskar Barnack had constructed in 1913
1925: The new product, the Leica, is launched at the spring fair (Früjahrsmesse) in Leipzig
1926: they produce their first slide projector
1930: The Leica I is reworked for interchangeable instead of fixed lenses
1938: foundation of the Leica school, the later Leica Akademie
1945: After WWII used old Leicas are among the top products traded on Germany's postwar black market
1956: after Ernst Leitz II's death his sons Ernst Leitz III, Ludwig Leitz and Günther Leitz lead the company
1972: a cooperation agreement is signed in June between the Leitz and Minolta companies, that will lead to the joint development of the Leica CL, Leica R3 and Leica R4
1986: the camera making activities of the Leitz company are bundled in the Leica GmbH
1988: the new factory in Solms opens
1996: Leica buys Minox. The Leica GmbH becomes the stock market company Leica Camera AG
2005: Leica Camera AG has lost market shares and starts a rescue plan for economical survival. The expensive digital module for the R8 and R9 analog SLRs is a huge success.
2006: Leica Camera AG tried unsuccessfully to buy 51% of Sinar AG from Jenoptik
2006: Leica start its own digital market with M8 ASP-H camera
2009: Iconic series of Digital M9 is released
2014: Leica Camera returns to Wetzlar.
2018: The company's return to Wetzlar is completed with the opening of the Leitz-Park Area.
2022: Leica M11 with digital zoom function is released