Film Friday: This rare Leica 16mm prototype camera is expected to fetch over $3M at auction: Digital Photography Review

Later this year, the 40th Leitz Photographica Auction is set to take in Leitz Park in Wetzlar, Germany. While we’ve already seen the incredibly rare 0-series Leica once owned by Oskar Barnack, there’s another one-of-a-kind prototype camera that’s expected to sell—a 16mm miniature camera known as the Leica 16.

As detailed by Kosmo Foto, this camera was just one of a number of research and development projects from the 1950s that never left the prototype stage. Leica says in a summary of the listing that the Leica 16 was designed to be ‘a high quality ultra-compact camera for 16mm film.’ Leica goes on to say ‘Numerous prototypes and design studies were produced in 1959 [and] Although the project was at an advanced stage, research on it was halted and development halted once a complete camera had been manufactured.’

A collection of various components used throughout the research and development phase of the Leica 16’s production.

The camera is being auctioned off as a lot, which includes ‘an amazing collection of artefacts related to the mystical Leica 16,’ including ‘two dummies (both already equipped with high quality viewfinders), three different forms of chassis, two aluminium bodies, two cover plates, two shutter prototypes, an interesting model of a retractable one Optics including glasses, etc.’

One of the earlier prototypes of the Leica 16, which is rather primitively carved out of a block of wood.

There will also be a large folder included in the lot that will feature ‘three beautiful, hand-drawn large format parchment blueprints, as well as several hand drawings from the early stages of development.’

Leica says it’s expecting the Leica 16 lot to sell for at least €3M ($3M) for its 40th Leitz Photographica Auction.

About Film Fridays: We’ve launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at 35mmc and KosmoFoto.

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