LEICA I Model C With Elmar 50mm 3.5


One day, I was seen by a colleague holding a Leica I camera, and he exclaimed, “Wow, this is an amazing camera!” It’s obvious that it belongs to a man with a story—and a fascinating one at that! The Leica I was the first mass-produced model by Leica, and it was a game-changer! The prototype was called the “O” model, and it’s now a highly sought-after collectible item! Leica later released two incredible replicas of the “O” model! However, the “O” model was never truly sold on the market, and the “I” model was the first Leica camera that was available for purchase. From 1925 to the present day, most of these cameras can still be used with just a little adjustment to the cloth shutter, which is truly miraculous!


Leica I cameras all come with a small black-painted viewfinder slung over the shoulder, which is very beautiful. This viewfinder provides an approximate framing range and is perfect for getting a feel for the shot before you take it. It doesn’t assist with focusing, which still requires estimation, but it’s a great way to get started!

Black paint

The black paint on the Leica I cameras is hand-mixed to absolute perfection, and the finish is absolutely stunning, with a high gloss that is simply mesmerizing! With an affordable black-painted camera like this, I might just be able to balance out my desire for a black-painted M3!

Playing with Leica

Those who frequently buy new cameras have become “fallen” into just taking pictures, haha! Those who play with old cameras are the ones who truly appreciate them. This camera is so small, exquisite, simple, and clean that it’s hard to put down once you hold it. I like to pair it with the Elmar 35 3.5 lens in black, it looks absolutely beautiful. Blind shooting with a 3.5 aperture is no problem at all, with no pressure.

Leica I (model A)

The Leica I camera was produced in a number of versions, which can be broadly classified into three types: Type A, Type B, and Type C. The “I” (Type A) model was first released in 1925, and its main feature was a fixed metal strip on the front of the body that was used to lock the lens focusing lever. This model was subsequently subdivided into versions equipped with an Anastigmat lens, an Elmax lens, a Hektor lens, or an Elmar lens. The “I” (Type B) model was released in 1926, and it was Leica’s sole camera with an in-lens shutter. It has a distinctive mushroom-like shape, which is highly sought after by collectors, although personally, I find it rather unappealing. The “I” (Type C) model was released in 1930 and was the inaugural Leica camera with a detachable lens. Initially, this camera was sold as a set with three lenses, and the body and lenses were individually calibrated and could not be used with other bodies or lenses. Consequently, the body and lens in a set were engraved with the same serial number, or the lens had the last three digits of the body’s serial number. Subsequently, Leica implemented a standardised production process, enabling the interchangeability of bodies and lenses. They also offered to calibrate early lenses to the standard type, which were marked with a “0” and the body mount had a “0” engraved at the 12 o’clock position.

SN StartSN EndProductYearBatch
1311000Leica I (Anastigmat & Elmax 1st version)1924870
10012445Leica I (Elmax, Elmar + Elmar Close-Focus)19261445
24465433Leica I (Elmar 2nd version + Elmar Close-Focus)1926-19272988
54345700Leica I (4 digit)1928267
630113100Leica I (Elmar 4th version + Elmar Close-Focus)19286800
1330121478Leica I (Elmar 6th version + Elmar Close-Focus)19298178
2181134550Leica I (Elmar) 7th version from 31600192812740
3480334817Leica I (Elmar + Luxus)192915
34818^60000Leica I (Elmar 8-10th versions + Elmar Close-Focus + Hektor)193025183

Compur Leica (model B)

SN StartSN EndProductYearBatch
57016300Compur Camera (dial-set)1926-1929600
1310113300Compur Camera1929200
1310113300Compur Camera (dial-set + rim-set)1929200
2147921810Compur Camera (rim-set)1930332
3445134802Compur Camera (rim-set)1930352
unknown50572-Compur Camera1931-1941*157*

Leica I (model C)

SN StartSN EndProductYearBatch
34818^ 60000Leica I (nonstandard-mount)1930[25183]
^ 6000160500Leica I (nonstandard-mount)1930500
6050071199Leica I (standard-mount)193110700
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100
LEICA I model C + ELMAR 50 F/3.5 FOMAPAN100