Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Leica Cameras Underwater - Not My Leica Camera, Thank You!

Image Source: http://gmpphoto.blogspot.com/2014/03/leica-under-water.html

I've never explored whether or not Leica ever made equipment specifically for underwater photography. Well, of course they did! And, they did it to an incredible level of precision, as you'd expect.
 
I found a nice post on the Leica Barnack Berek Blog about this very subject.
 
(Click Here) to read the full post.
 
Leica (actually Leica Canada, ELCAN) developed the housing you see above, which in the images shown in the post went around a Leica M4 rangefinder to protect it from the deep. The lens is specially developed for the index of refraction of sea water. In fact, they made different front elements to make the salinity and resulting diffraction of different seas around the world. Amazing.
 
I have a hard time imagining placing my Leica rangefinder in one of these and jumping into the ocean. I suppose I should have the same confidence in this housing as I would other wonderfully-engineered Leica products. With proper maintenance, I'm sure they're nearly fail-proof.
 
Apparently, the lens designs, which actually consider the water as part of the optical path, were capable of producing underwater pictures that are indistinguishable from images taken in air.
 
This post didn't have any example images. I did however find this old cover from the Leica Photography magazine:

Image Source: http://www.35mmbookshop.com/product/leica-photography-2-1954-macros-underwater-arthur-c-clarke

 
I have no way of knowing what equipment was used to make the image above. Being from a 1954 issue, and based on the fact that Leica Canada started up in 1952, it's unlikely to be from the camera above. If not, I'd love to see what they used to take this one!
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com