Take a Peek into a Leica Camera’s Intricate Inner Workings

Ever wondered what’s inside a precious Leica camera? Thankfully, you don’t have to take apart one to find out.

In an era where cameras are sized up based on high-tech parameters like sensor size, pixel count, and auto focus capabilities, is there still room for appreciation of good old vintage cameras? Actually, among the things that still make vintage cameras fascinating today are their mechanical inner workings. The mechanical Leica cameras are especially revered both by Leica lovers, camera historians, and vintage camera fans. If you’ve ever wondered about what’s inside these timeless engineering masterpieces, prepare to find out and be impressed.

It’s often said that the best vintage cameras work with clockwork precision, and the iconic Leica M cameras are no exception. Thankfully, we don’t have to pull apart a precious Leica just to get an idea exactly how intricate its inner workings are. Dan Tamarkin, who runs the Tamarkin Camera channel on YouTube, has already done the work for us and shared what he found in his quick video below:

First, Dan shares with us a cool fact about the Leica M cameras: there are around 1,200 moving parts in every camera! Then, he quickly shows us some of these parts, like “the pedestrian and uninteresting” such as the base plate, the take-up spool, and the back door. Only when he gets these out of the way do we begin to see the cool parts that make up the famous Leica. There’s the top plate — a few of them, actually, one of which is milled from a solid piece of brass for the digital Leica M for comparison. Then, we get to the really interesting bits and bobs, like the shutter mechanism, the rangefinder, and the casing that houses everything and gives the camera its sleek design. To top it all off, he gives us a sprinkle of the tiny parts, some of which are most crucial to making the camera work smoothly.

What else can we get from this video? A renewed respect for repairmen who can put together all these camera parts without breaking a sweat!

Screenshot image from the video by Tamarkin Camera