Illustration for article titled This Was Leicas First Digital Camera—20 Years Ago

I don't remember very much from the mid-90s, but I'm certain I never saw Leica's incredibly strange (and damn beautiful) digital camera. It had awesome giant handles, and it took gorgeous photos. 20 years ago. But the wait? Not gorgeous.

Each image—weighing in at a very-impressive-for-its-time 5140 x 5140 (yes, it took perfectly square pictures) took over three minutes to capture. So those handles were there for a reason—just don't get jittery. Realistically, the handles were employed for pinpoint framing, not actually holding—the thing was meant for stationary use, as it was essentially a miniature scanner with a film camera's lens. It might sound a little crude—but keep in mind, thing was a trailblazer. Still, most of Leica's customers were museums and research groups—which is a shame, because, were this thing a viable point and shoot, I would love to see the looks on peoples faces when I took it out of my bag. Whether they'd be looks of horror, mockery, or astonishment—hard to say. [Photojojo and B&H]


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