Leitz Ur-Leica versus Olympus PEN-F

Roughly a century of technological development separate the Ur-Leica and the Olympus PEN-F. The former was finished in March 1914, while the latter was presented to the public in January 2016. The Ur-Leica was the first camera to use 24x36mm film, whereas the PEN-F is build around a 20.2MP Four Thirds digital imaging sensor.

Body comparison: Ur-Leica vs Olympus PEN-F

An illustration of the physical dimensions and weight of the Ur-Leica and the Olympus PEN-F is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Ur-Leica vs Olympus PEN-F
Compare Ur-Leica versus PEN-F top
Compare Ur-Leica and PEN-F rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus PEN-F is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Ur-Leica. However, the PEN-F is slightly lighter (1 percent) than the Ur-Leica. Yet, the Ur-Leica has an integrated lens (the retractable Mikro-Summar 42mm f/4.5), while the PEN-F requires an additional lens, which will add to its weight.

Ur-Leica
Ur-Leica with viewfinder attached[bitflare.de]

Evidently, the PEN-F is the more convenient and powerful imaging tool, providing an image quality that Oskar Barnack, the creator of the Ur-Leica, probably could not have envisioned. However, there are two aspects (apart from size) where the Ur-Leica has an edge over the PEN-F. The first one is battery life. The Ur-Leica is a fully mechanical camera, so that there is no risk of running out of juice during a shooting session...

The second advantage of the Ur-Leica is, well, its resale value. The camera is a museum piece, resting safely at Leica’s headquarters in Wetzlar/Germany. Collectors would probably be willing to pay several million US dollars if it were put up for sale. In contrast, the Olympus PEN-F, while surely being the better camera, just lacks the scarcity and historical importance that foster "auction madness" and drive vintage camera prices into six or seven-figure territory.

Other comparisons

Any interest in exploring another side-by-side comparison? Just enter your cameras of choice in the search box below and you will be taken to a corresponding display. Alternatively, you can also follow any of the links further down for comparisons that others pursued.

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