Leitz Ur-Leica versus Panasonic GX850

Roughly a century of technological development separate the Ur-Leica and the Panasonic GX850. The former was finished in March 1914, while the latter was presented to the public in January 2017. The Ur-Leica was the first camera to use 24x36mm film, whereas the GX850 is build around a 15.8MP Four Thirds digital imaging sensor.

Body comparison: Ur-Leica vs Panasonic GX850

An illustration of the physical dimensions and weight of the Ur-Leica and the Panasonic GX850 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 Panasonic GX850
Compare Ur-Leica versus GX850 top
Compare Ur-Leica and GX850 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX850 is notably smaller (20 percent) than the Ur-Leica. Moreover, the GX850 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the Ur-Leica. Yet, the Ur-Leica has an integrated lens (the retractable Mikro-Summar 42mm f/4.5), while the GX850 requires an additional lens, which will add to its weight.

Ur-Leica with viewfinder attached[bitflare.de]

Evidently, the GX850 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 where the Ur-Leica has an edge over the GX850. 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 Panasonic GX850, 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

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