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Leica Spotting & at the Movies

We'll have a break now for some harmless fun. Presented below is an alphabetical list of motion pictures where Leica cameras have appeared. Click on the movie's title to find out more about each film.

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database.


  • Adicted to Love (1997) Meg Ryan bounces around with a chrome M6 + 35 'cron
  • Aimée and Jaguar (1999) German film set during WWII, shows a photojournalist in the opening scenes with a Leica III and CTOOM/CHICO flash bracket [29]
  • Affaire Sacha Guitry, L' (2007) (TV Series) A Leica III-something makes a brief appearance [63]
  • Al di là delle nuvole (1995) (aka "Beyond the Clouds") (DVD) In the making-of documentary you can see Wim Wenders with a black Leica M6/7 taking pictures of Antonioni during film production [58]
  • The Anniversary Party (2001) (DVD) During the charades scene, Jennifer Beals takes photos using a black M4-2 and what looks like a 35mm Summilux-M ASPH. On the DVD "directors commentary" track, it notes the B&W print given to Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh was also taken by Ms Beals, presumably using the same camera
  • Auntie Mame (1958) While on honeymoon in the Swiss Alps, Forrest Tucker uses a 1920's Leica to take a photo of his socialite bride (Rosalind Russell), just before plunging to his death [53]


  • Battaglia di Algeri, La (1965) (aka "The Battle of Algiers") In at least one of the press conference scenes with Col. Mathieu (played by Jean Martin), there are a couple of photographers with M2s or M3s [50]
  • A Beautiful Mind (2001) After John Nash (Russel Crowe) cracks a code, a soldier uses a IIIf + Imarect viewfinder to photograph a map [22]
  • Behind the Red Door (2002) Kyra Sedgwick is seen shooting with a M6 [14]
  • Big Fish (2003) There is a night scene where the son's photographer wife, played by Marion Cotillard, tries to take photos of her father-in-law in the dark, using a Leica M with wide-angle lens [43]
  • The Boat That Rocked (2009) There is a Leica M3 in the opening medley; also "Young Carl" (Tom Sturridge) loads and fiddles with an M(3?) when most of the crew are focused on their women visitors [18]
  • Blood Diamond (2006) Jennifer Connelly uses a black-tape M6 with 35mm 'cron while working as a P-J investigating conflict diamonds in 1990's Seirra Leone
  • Born Free (1966) Virginia McKenna, who plays Joy Adamson, photographs "Elsa" the lion with a Leica IIIc [49]


  • Cambridge Spies (2003) (TV Series) In episode 3 there's a scene where secret documents are photographed on a copy stand using a Leica IIIC
  • The Candidate (1972) In one scene, during a bush-fire at Malibu, you can see a "brassed to death" M3 used by one of the photojournalists during a press conference with Robert Redford, who plays a California senatorial candidate. Later on in the film a black-enamel M3 also can be seen during a post TV debate interview in a dressing room. In both cases the cameras have wide-angle bright-line finders. Apparently the famous White House photographer Stanley Tretick worked on the film and promotional stills, hence the authentic touches :?)
  • Cannibal ferox (1981) Eurosleaze film about canibals and drug dealers in Columbia, there is a scene where two members of a NYC tour group use surprisingly loud chrome Leica Ms [47]
  • Carla Cametti PD (2009) (TV Series) The show's star, Diana Glenn, can be seen using a black R8/9 from a car seat during the opening credits
  • The Caveman's Valentine (2001) While giving a piano recital at a dinner party, Samuel L. Jackson has a series of hallucinations. In one of them he imagines the host of the party, art-photographer Colm Feore, taking his photo with a chrome M6
  • Chasing Liberty (2003) Matthew Goode, who plays a Secret Service Agent in love with the President's daughter, uses a Leica SLR throughout the film [45]
  • Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson does his stalking on the pond and motel roof using a III/A and VIDOM finder [36]. In the DVD Extras section, director Roman Polanski mentions the roof-top Leica scene and the dilemma they had over reflecting the young couple in the Telyt lens right-way-up or upside-down
  • Closer (2004) Julia Roberts uses a motorised chrome M6TTL to photograph Natalie Portman (sigh…)


  • The Dark Knight (2008) Christian Bale uses a M8 while checking out a shady investment banker in Hong Kong [73]
  • Darling (1965) Julie Christie is photographed in a London studio and on Capri by Roland Curram using a chrome M3 and various Tele-Elmarits [16]
  • Das Boot (1981) The military reporter on the sub uses a chrome Leica III during the outward journey
  • The Day of the Jackal (1973) At the beginning of the film, press photographers can be seen using Leica Ms as they photograph ministers leaving the Palais de l' Elysées in Paris
  • De IJssalon (1985) Set in 1941, the film shows a Leica IIIc being used [5]
  • Die Reise nach Kafiristan (2001) (aka "The Journey to Kafiristan") The character "Ella Maillard", played by Nina Petri, frequently uses two Leica LTM's [68]
  • Deux jours à Paris (2007) (aka "2 Days in Paris") Director/ Writer/ Star/ Goddess Julie Delpy has a black R-model on her shelf and uses a chrome MP while photographing dancers near the end of the film [66]
  • Dog Day Afternoon (1975) While Al Pacino's "wife", played by Chris Sarandon, talks on the phone from the barber shop, a PJ can be seen in the background photographing him through the window with a chrome M3 or M4
  • Downhill Racer (1969) While ascending in a cable-car at the winter Olympics, Robert Redford is photographed from behind by a woman spectator using a chrome M3


  • Enemy at the Gates (2001) A woman reporter uses a Leica III (or more appropriately a FED Leica fake?) at Stalingrad Soviet HQ
  • Europa Europa (1990) (aka "Hitlerjunge Salomon") Marco Hofschneider has his photo taken with a Leica IIIC prior to being sent back to Germany from the WW2 Polish front
  • Eurotrip (2004) Has Leicas galore - one of the characters uses a M7 while his father uses a silver chrome R4. There are also a few (product placement?) remarks about Leica image quality and build [29]
  • Eye of the Needle (1981) The 80's remake has Donald Sutherland photographing allied decoy planes with a Leica III [7]


  • Femme Fatale (2002) There is a very short, slightly out of focus sighting of a photographer using what appears to be a black Leica M (posibly an M6 or M6 TTL) [40]
  • Five Fingers (1952) James Mason uses a black-paint III to copy secret documents (you can see him doing this on the film's poster as well) [36]
  • Frankie's House (1992) A TV film about Vietnam-photographer Tim Page featuring lots of 1960s era Ms and also a Leicaflex SL [5]


  • The Gallant Hours (1960) James T. Goto, who plays Admiral Yamamoto, is shown photographing chrysanthemums using a tripod mounted Leica and weird transverse-barrel shaped viewfinder [36]
  • George of the Jungle (1997) Following the opening credits, Leslie Mann wears a chrome M6 in an ever-ready leather case. Later on a native guide makes a dismissive remark when offered a Polaroid, saying he prefers the sharpness of his "Leica 35mm slides" instead [28]. (These in-yer-face product placements may not be a coincidence as actor Brendan Fraser is a serious Leica fan. During a break in filming while in Sydney in mid-2001, he bought thousands of dollars of Leica M and R equipment from one Sydney dealer [21])
  • Gloomy Sunday (1999) German film set in Budapest in the 1930s, there's a scene where the virtues of an early Leica are extolled [44]
  • Godfather Part III (1990) There's a Leica M on the night table just before the Bridget Fonda / Andy Garcia love scene [19]. Sofia Coppola uses a chrome M3 sporting a goggled 35mm when she greets Al Pacino and Diane Keaton at a railway station [11]
  • The Grass is Greener (1960) Robert Mitchum uses a M3 double-stroke plus meter with an ever-ready case [22]
  • The Green Berets (1968) Near the start of the film, a decidedly out of place M3 is displayed amongst other Viet Cong weaponry during a press conference [41]
  • Growing up Grizzly (2001) (TV Documentary) Brad Pitt can be seen using a black R8 + telephoto lens to photograph (tame) infant grizzly bears
  • Guilty by Suspicion (1991) As a birthday present after his return from Europe, Robert De Niro gives his young son (Luke Edwards) a Leica IIIC + collapsible Elmar. The same camera reappears a number of times, most notably on the boy's bed in the scene where De Niro goes to say goodnight


  • Harlequin (1980) During the opening credits of this B-grade Australian film, a photographer with a chrome M4 snaps David Hemmings while he walks through the press scrum at an airport
  • Harry and the Hendersons (1987) At the end of the film Don Ameche takes a group photo with a M3 [26]
  • Head in the Clouds (2004) A german soldier asks Stuart Townsend to take a picture of him with a Leica LTM [14]
  • Heart of Dixie (1989) Treat Williams plays a college professor in 1950s Alabama, and spends a lot of time taking photographs with a M3
  • High Art (1998) Ally Sheedy plays a lesbian fine-art photographer who uses a chrome M2 in a number of scenes [6], [9]
  • Himmel über Berlin, Der (1987) (aka "Wings of Desire") A chrome M4 appears in Wim Wenders film when a PJ takes a few photos of the director before he guides her away [52]
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Ford Prefect (played by Mos Def) uses a black M (6? 7?) several times. So if you're headed out to the Galaxy, don't forget your Leica. And a towel [55]


  • Impostor (2002) In this sci-fi film set in 2070, Gary Sinise uses an obviously well-preserved black M6 to take an arms-length self-portrait of himself embracing his wife [35]. This 80+ year-old camera has some amazing features: (1) the accessory bright-line finder gives off an intense flash at the time of exposure and (2) Sinise manages to take the shot by pressing the camera's LHS film rewind crank
  • In Too Deep (1999) After being suspended from an undercover drugs investigation, Omar Epps uses a M3 while posing as a photography student
  • Iris (2001) Penelope Wilton uses a dual-stroke M3 and collapsible 50mm Summicron during a flash-back sequence on a windswept English beach [33]


  • Japanese Story (2003) Unwatchable Australian movie staring Toni Collette. The Japanese man she has an affair with uses a chrome M7 in a number of early scenes [44]


  • K-19: The Widowmaker (2002) After breaking though the polar ice, the crew plays soccer and poses for a Leica II group photo [37]
  • Krippendorf's Tribe (1998) During the opening credits, Barbara Williams can be seen using a chrome M6TTL to photograph Papua New Guinea highlanders


  • La Dolce vita (1960) One of the reporters following Anita Ekberg up an interior staircase uses a Leica IIIc or IIIf [75]
  • Leatherheads (2008) A reporter can be seen using a Leica after a press conference with the Football Commissioner (played by Peter Gerety) [72]
  • Le Mans (1971) Steve McQueen is snapped by a photographer with a M2 or M3 as he walks through a tunnel from the racetrack [25]
  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) An eagle-eyed [14] notes that "Cody" is played by "Leica the three legged dog" (!)
  • Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000) (aka "Light Keeps Me Company") Documentary on cinematographer Sven Nykvist which shows him using a Leica CL for stills [29]
  • The Longest Day (1962) During the D-Day landings on 'Sword' beach, a war correspondent wears a couple of black-paint Leicas around his neck while talking to the Beach Traffic MP (played by John Mills)
  • Lord of War (2005) Nicholas Cage woos his wife-to-be Bridget Moynahan by shooting her with a Leica CL [57]
  • Lost in La Mancha (2002) A French photojournalist uses a black motorised M + 35mm 'lux to take a group photograph of director Terry Gilliam in front of twenty or so film investors


  • Mad Dog & Glory (1993) Robert de Niro and Uma Thurman take photos of each other in bed using a chrome R(6?) [23]
  • The Magnificent Seven (1960) (DVD) Five minutes into the "making of" documentary on the Special Edition DVD, there is a B&W photo of Yul Brynner (in cowboy gear) using a black paint M3
  • Makioka no Shimai Japanese movie based on a Tanizaki novel set in 30's Osaka [3]
  • Man with a Camera (1958) (TV Series) 1958 TV series staring Charles Bronson as a crime-solving freelance photographer. In some episodes he can be seen using a chrome M3 with Elmar 50mm [41]
  • The Mask of Dimitrios (1944) Victor Francen uses a Leica to photograph a map of minefields [34]
  • Meglio gioventù, La (2003) (aka "The Best of Youth") Italian 6-hour mini-series has a lady photojournalist "Mirella Utano" (played by Maya Sansa) who uses a black M4-P [59]
  • Michael Collins (1996) (DVD) Half an hour into the "making of" documentary on the Special Edition DVD, a film-stills photographer using a black M6 + 35mm Summilux, walks into the frame and photographs Neil Jordan and Liam Neeson between set-ups
  • The Midnight Meat Train (2008) (Trailer) Street Photographer Bradley Cooper can be seen using a M4-P [66]
  • Mighty Joe Young (1998) There's an M6 used to photograph gorillas in the opening scenes
  • Mitt liv som hund (1985) (aka "My Life as a Dog") The boy's ailing mother, a photographer, takes his photo using some sort of chrome LTM [64]
  • Mogambo (1953) Donald Sinden carries a Leica IIIf with Imarect finder [22]
  • A Month by the Lake (1995) Vanessa Redgrave uses a Leica II with a turret viewfinder [22]


  • November (2004) Courtney Cox uses a black motorized M7 (or M6TTL) with a 35mm Summicron while taking fine-art photos at a convenience store


  • The Odessa File (1974) John Voigt uses a flash-equipped M3 at the SS veteran's dinner [36]
  • The Omen (1976) David Warner uses a chrome M3 at Damien's birthday party and also on the steps of the US Embassy
  • The Omen (2006) Remake the movie, reprise the Leica cameo. David Thewlis can be seen wearing a chrome M7 in a couple of scenes with Robert Thorn [60]
  • One Hour Photo (2002) A (Ti) Leica Minilux Zoom is used to take family photos in a number of scenes, Robin Williams even remarks at the lab about what a "beautiful camera" it is. [30]
  • One Night Stand (1997) Wesley Snipes uses a black M6 + 35mm Summilux [5]
  • Ososhiki (1985) (aka "The Funeral") Japanese movie by director Juzo Itami (Tampopo, A Taxing Woman etc.) [3]


  • Paparazzo (1995) A British TV movie which features a LTM [5]
  • Patton (1970) Near the end of the film at a riding-school press conference, an army photojournalist uses chrome M3/4 (in 1945?…) to photograph General Patton, played by George C. Scott. (See also below for Leica photography by the real Gen. Patton!)
  • Passion Fish (1992) Mary McDonnell pesters the residents of a southern Louisiana town with a chrome M3 [12]
  • The Pawnbroker (1964) Nazi concentration camp survivor, Rod Steiger, offers a child a paltry sum when he tries to pawn a Leica [51]
  • Payback (1999) Mel Gibson's girlfriend can be seen holding a M3 in the incriminating self-portait shown Mel after he is left for dead by his wife and criminal partner [5]
  • Performance (1970) The main character "Turner", played by Mick Jagger, says "I own a Leica M3 myself" [71]
  • Persona (1966) Liv Ullmann uses a chrome M3 in Ingmar Bergman's 1966 film [18]
  • Le Petit Soldat (1963) A Leica M2/3 with a telephoto lens is seen being used in this Jean-Luc Goddard film [47]
  • Picture Snatcher (1933) James Cagney uses Leica II's throughout this 1933 film, even a custom leatherette model during the execution scene [42]
  • Poirot (1989) (TV Series) Poirot's side-kick, Captain Hastings, uses a Leica II to accidentally photograph a murder [15]
  • Poodle Springs (1998) TV movie has a chrome M3 + 135mm lens next to the body of a murdered private-eye on the front seat of a red T-bird [4]
  • Pote tin Kyriaki (1960) (aka "Never on Sunday") Jules Dassin uses a Leica III with collapsible 50-Elmar to take a couple of snaps of Melina Mercouri as she goes for a swim at the Piraeus docks
  • Prêt-à-Porter (1994) Has a woman photographer using a chrome R7 amidst the fashionistas [5]
  • Prince Charming (2001) TV movie has Christina Applegate sporting a black M6 while working as a (extraordinarily well-paid?) NYC tourist horse carriage driver [8]
  • Prison Song (2001) Hoping to escape from the ghetto, the main character uses a black M(6?) to create a portfolio of photographs [16]
  • The Punch and Judy Man (1963) Nevil Shanks (played by Mario Fabrizi) uses a Leica during the reception at the end of the movie [67]


  • The Quiet American (2002) "Larry" the press photographer can be seen using a screw-mount Leica with collapsible lens during a military parade and in the aftermath of a car-bombing [36]


  • Richard III (1995) In the 1995 Sir Ian McKellan version just after the opening titles, Nigel Hawthorne takes group photographs during the victory celebrations using a chrome IIIC and handle flashbulb
  • The River King (2005) Jennifer Ehle's character is shown taking photos at a private school party using a modern chrome Leica MP with either a 35 or 50 mm Leica lens [69]
  • Ronin (1998) Robert de Niro shoots from the hip using a black R6.2
  • Running with Scissors (2006) A coming-of-age bio-pic of American writer Augusten Burroughs, features a M3 in a number of scenes [61]


  • Salvador (1986) John Savage, who plays James Woods PJ friend, can be seen wearing, using or cleaning his (brassy) black paint M3 + 35mm Summilux in a number of scenes
  • Shutter (2008) Teen horror film only notable for the appearance of a Digilux 3 [66]
  • Silent Witness: Cease Upon the Midnight (1996) (TV Series) This episode of the British TV series has a murder victim who used a black M6 prior to his demise [5]
  • Silver Bells (2005) (TV Movie) Michael Mitchell uses a M4 + collaspsible Elmar on a tripod when "pursuing his passion for photography" in NYC. (On a tripod?…)
  • S1m0ne (2002) Jason Schwartzman, who plays "Milton" the leather-clad tabloid reporter, often appears wearing or using a black M6 with 28mm Elmarit(?)
  • Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) Sam Shepard and Ethan Hawke use a chrome III in many scenes to document local WW2 news for a small northwest newspaper
  • Soldaat van Oranje (1977) (aka "Soldier of Orange") A Dutch film featuring Rutger Hauer with a IIIC [27]
  • Somebody Has to Shoot the Picture (1990) TV movie with Roy Scheider and a chrome M4(?) which emits Nikon'esque shutter and motordrive sounds [5]
  • Spy Game (2001) Brad Pitt goes undercover in 1985 Beruit with a couple of (Nikon-sounding) motorised M6s
  • Stalag 17 (1953) When the POWs break into William Holden's foot locker, you can see a couple of Leica III's (with collapsible Elmars) mounted on the inside of the box's lid
  • Star Wars: Episode I (1999) (DVD) Celebrity photographer Annie Lebowitz poses with her camera in the Special Features / Still Photos part of the disc [2]
  • Stealth (2005) When three hot-shot pilots take R&R in Thailand, one of them carries what looks like a M6 + 75mm Summilux [57]
  • Sunshine (1999) Istvan Szabo's film features Rosemary Harris using a black paint Leica I in the 1930s [13], [14]
  • Surviving Picasso (1996) A young woman uses a suspiciously anachronistic III G to photograph Anthony Hopkins while he paints Guernica


  • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) To date the only Leica appearance in a Bond film: a black M6 with 35mm 'lux, visible on a table while our hero has intercourse with a "Danish Linguist" in her Oxford rooms [62]
  • Traffic (2000) A lot of fuss made over Amy Irving's stolen "Leica" - even if we never see the camera itself
  • The Two Jakes (1990) The opening title sequence is a surreptitious shoot with Leica IIIc + 50 Elmar collapsible [4]


  • Under Fire (1983) Nick Nolte, playing a PJ working in Nicaragua, wears his black Leica M4-P like male-jewelry, only using it twice throughout the film. Despite this, Leica USA are given a prominent credit in the film's closing titles
  • Uprising (2001) Cary Elwes, as a Nazi propaganda film-maker, wears a Leica III with Hektor lens while filming German attacks on the Warsaw Ghetto


  • Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) Fan stills taken on location in Barcelona during the first days of filming, show Scarlett Johansson using a chrome M6 classic with a vintage 50mm 'lux
  • Vietnam (1986) (TV Series) 1980s Australian TV mini-series where one of the main characters uses an M [5]
  • Violent Saturday (1955) Richard Egan's rich-guy character plays with an M3 during a scene with Victor Mature [74]
  • Violets Are Blue (1986) Has Sissy Spacek as a globetrotting PJ with a black M [5]


  • We Were Soldiers (2002) When he arrives at the battle, Barry Pepper has a M3 and accessory-shoe lightmeter to complement his Nikons. (Pity he's never shown actually using the M3 though. Maybe he's a graduate of the Nick Nolte "why use it when it's cool enough to wear it" school of photojournalism?…)
  • The Weight of Water (2000) PJ Catherine McCormick spends a lot of time photographing an unfaithful Sean Penn with Elizabeth Hurley [20]
  • White Mischief (1987) Greta Scacci carries a Leica (IIIa?) in Kenya during WW II [32]
  • Wicker Park (2004) Josh Hartnett can be seen handling a M6 Classic during the opening credits of this lame remake of L' Appartement (1996) [56]
  • Who'll Stop The Rain (1978) Michael Moriarty plays a Vietnam War correspondent armed with a Leica IIIf and Summarit [36]
  • Woodstock (1970) Has rock photographer Jim Marshall in the background with lots of black M4s
  • The Women (2008) Meg Ryan starts a fashion business after a life crisis. Her first move is to grab a chrome M8 and firmly bayonet on a lens [65]
  • The World at War (1974) (TV Series) Features an abundance of Leicas throughout the series. Specifically in episode 8 — "The Desert War" — where members of the Afrika-Korps can be seen a number of times using Leica III's while posing for group photos


  • (no entries yet)


  • The Young Lions (1958) Marlon Brando and Maximilian Schell, who play German officers in WW2 occupied Paris, have their photo taken on the steps in front of the Basilique du Sacré Coeur, by another officer using a black paint Leica I (or Leica Standard 'E') with chrome 50mm Elmar


  • (no entries yet)

Famous Leica users


Some film stars also appear to be serious Leica fans off the set. As I note above, Brendan Fraser is a keen amateur Leica photographer — you can see examples of his work on his www site. Likewise Brad Pitt has used Leicas in at least two films — maybe this is no coincidence as he also appeared with a black M + 75 'lux on the March 2007 cover of Interview magazine. Similarly Spike Jonze gave a press conference a few years ago with a black M6 hung over his chest. Whereas in May 2003, the Leica forum at < #005CiI> had a small discussion about a photo of Matt Damon in NW magazine "properly" holding a black M6.

Also in May 2003, [38] noted the following of a Bar-Mitzvah he recently attended:

I was at a Bar-Mitzvah yesterday and was stunned to see that one of the guests was also carrying her M6 with a 50mm ƒ1.4 lens and firing away. It was none other that Jamie Lee Curtis. We chatted for a few minutes and she has been an avid Leica M6 user for the past twenty years! She has her camera with her at all times (well maybe when not on the set!)

In this January 2004 AARP magazine profile, Jessica Lange is depicted using a chrome Leica while visiting refugees in the Panzi Hospital, near the Rwandan border in Africa. [48]

Upon my remarks above about Yul Brynner using a black M3 on the set of "The Magnificent Seven", [39] sent me the following note:

Yes, Yul Brynner was a very avid and excellent photographer who used Leica. After his death, his daughter Victoria published a book of his photographs, many on movie sets he was in, many of his fellow movie stars.

The book is called: "Yul Brynner: Photographer" by Yul Brynner, Victoria Brynner (ed) Harry N Abrams (1996) ISBN 0810931443.


Noted film director David LeanBridge on the river Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Ryan's Daughter, A passage to India — was also a huge Leica fan when shooting stills during preparation for his movies. In the biography of him by Kevin Brownlow (ISBN 0-571-19168-1), at p.594 Mr Lean is quoted:

[…] The trouble with the Hasselblad is that it's bloody heavy and when you make an exposure and press the shutter it goes off like a cannon and every bird in the district takes flight, so you can't creep up on things.
Through my brother, I gradutated to Leicas and I've got a beautiful Leica now. I've taken slides on that — I alternate between slides and negative film — and I've blown them up to six feet across and they're pin sharp from side to side. I cannot recommend a better camera than the Leica. I've got thousands of photographs scattered all over the place.

Did Stanley Kubrick use a Leica when he was a PJ at Look Magazine from 1945 to 1949? Maybe — see this Kubrick self-portrait on the Stern Magazine website. Also in the book "Stanley Kubrick - A Biography" (John Baxter, 1997, Harper Collins London, ISBN 0002555883), at p.28 it notes he only used 35mm film. Later on it reproduces a group photo of the "Fear & Desire" crew and one of them has a Leica III around his neck. As this was Kubrick's first movie and made only about a year after leaving "Look", it is not too unreasonable to speculate that Kubrick was a Leica man.


Natalie Merchant in the B&W "Carnival" music video clip (1995) can be seen walking around Manhattan doing street photography with a late-model Leica M3 + 50 'Lux.

In September 2005, "Useless Spice" tried to use a Digilux 2 — and failed. Maybe she didn't have time to read the manual…

US singer-songwriter John Clayton Mayer appears to be a keen Leica M8 + Noctilux user. See his December 2006 blog entry and sample NYC photos.

Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame is, according to his website, also a keen Leica photographer [63]. Maybe he's not quite as "Thick as a Brick" as we've been led to believe :?)

Eric Clapton appears on one of his DVD's using a Leica M8. According to a Dec 2008 e-mail from George Spencer:

Eric Clapton puts on guitar festivals to raise money for his Crossroads (drug) clinic in Antigua. He has made two DVDs called "Crossroads Guitar Festival" (filmed in Dallas) and "Crossroads Guitar Festival" 2007 (filmed in Chicago). In the "Crossroads Festival 2007", in disk one of two disks, you can see Clapton off stage watching some of the acts. On the 5th track Doyle Barmhill II is playing "Rosie". If you look closely you can see a Leica hanging around Clapton's neck. At the end of the second song that Barmhill plays, again you can see Clapton with the Leica. Then as Susan Tedeschi performance "Little By Little" you can see Clapton snap a picture and hold the camera up as if he is looking at the monitor on the back of the camera. So I'm thinking it must be an M8. Of course this isn't product placement as you would find in a regular movie but it is a Leicaphile (Eric Clapton) using a Leica.

Political Leaders

It shouldn't come as a surprise, but Leicas were popular amongst Nazi party members as well. Along with Leni Riefenstahl, [39] sent me the following remarks about Rudolf Hess:

When Rudolf Hess landed in Scotland during WW2, one of the things he carried with him was a Leica. The Duke of the estate where he landed kept and used the little Leica for five years before they decided to return it to Mrs. Hess in Germany.

Speaking of autocratic, undemocratic rulers — our very own Queen, HRM Betty Windsor, is also a keen Leica photographer. When not opening parliament or bagging grouse, she likes relax by shooting her corgi's with a Summicron. You can see a photo of her using a chrome M6 on p.144 of Sartorius "Identifying Leica Cameras" reference book [46].

Mrs Windsor has also appeared on at least one set of postage stamps with one of her Leicas. In April 2005 [54] sent me the following note:

I recall receiving a letter [in New Zealand] from the UK which had a commemorative postage stamp picturing HM the Queen holding a Leica M3 with the accessory Leicameter fitted. I imagine the year was 2002 and this stamp was one of a set issued to celebrate the Queen's 50th Jubilee Year.

On t'other side of the Atlantic, Neocons should take pride in various members of the Republican party also being card-carrying Leica users. According to [41] in March 2006:

Casper Weinburger (Sec.of Defense under President Reagan) was a M Leica user I believe. Sen. Howard H. Baker, Jr., former Minority leader in the US Senate, was also a Leica user (R). Seem to remember he published a book of his photos taken on the job, almost all Washington candids. ["Howard Baker's Washington" 1982 - AZN] As I recall he was pretty good. Both were Republicans. Guess good Democrats wouldn't be seen using such an 'elitist' tool.

Not so much a polical leader, but WW2 General George S. Patton, Jr was an avid Leica photographer, even during campaigns. In 2006 his photos were collected together and published in "Patton's Photographs: War as he saw it" by Kevin M. Hymel (ed) (2006) ISBN 1574888714.


Leicas also made an impact during the otherwise Nikon-F dominated Vietnam War.

Larry Burrows, who covered the Vietnam war for Life Magazine for nine years (1962-71), was a Leica user. You can read a detailed biography and even see a Roger Mattingly photo of him with a couple of M3s, in this Feb 2003 Digital Journalist article by David Halberstam [8].

Ditto Tim Page, the 'Nam photojournalist who apparently was also the inspiration for the Dennis Hopper character in Apocalypse Now (1979).

Nick Ut, the PJ who used a Leica M2 to take the famous "girl burned by napalm" image, is also featured in a Digital Journalist article. (If you are wondering about the exact names of people involved in that particular photo, see this informative July 2003 post at <LUG - 25/msg03717.html> about Vietnamese names.) Ironically, Mr Ut took another famous photo of an anguished woman in Beverley Hills exactly 35 years later…

Meanwhile Eric Draper, White House staffer and Personal Photographer to the President, could be seen on TV using a Leica M during the US State of the Union Address in 2003. Apparently Leica Ms have to be used in the White House (and Oval Office) to keep the (shutter) noise down. See this Jan 2003 discussion at < #004RmHa>.

Speaking of Press and White House photographers, in April 2008 Randy Leffingwell [70] sent me the following note:

I believe most U.S. Presidential photographers since Yoichi Okamoto have used Leicas. I know first-hand that David Hume Kennerly documented Jerry Ford's presidency with Leica Ms because I introduced him to Ms during a Nelson Rockefeller campaign stop in Chicago in the late 1970s. DHK shot for Time and never had tried Leicas. He "played" with mine and quickly saw the benefits of their size and near-silence. Over ensuing years, I saw Kennerly frequently; he sometimes had two or three M cameras and lenses.
The current crew photographing Bush alternated between Leicas and Contax rangefinders - Contax winning out early on because of its focusing and exposure aids. (In less noise-sensitive situations, they all use Canons, however.)
My first newspaper job sas as KC Star staff shooter. I met David Douglas Duncan […] he shot the Viet Nam War (and perhaps even latter days of Korea) using 2 MPs with (I believe) Nikkor RF 25 and 50mm lenses. He told me part of the reason was their quiet shutters - when it was necesary to be silent, the Nikon Fs were far too loud. The other reason was that Nikon F only had a 28mm f3.5 that was difficult to focus and not sharp.
I met Larry Burrows and Don McCullen. Burrows used a similar kit, and for a while McCullen did as well.

In 2005, the Photo-Agency "Group M35" proudly claimed they were the world's only agency whose photographers exclusively use Leicas. From their website:

We also share a common belief in the one tool of the photographic trade that has, since the inception of 35mm photography, been without equal: the Leica Camera.
Our members are all Leica photographers, which is the most obvious explanation for the superior quality of our printed work (over that of any other 35mm camera).

Make of this what you will…

Professional Hunters

Here are couple of famous big-game hunters who were also leica users [10]:

(1) Famous American writer Robert Ruark mentiones in one of his books from his big-game hunting in Kenya, that his no-less famous proffesional hunter Harry Selby, who acccompagnies him during a month-long safari, carries a Leica. In fact Ruark mentiones it when it is stolen from Selby by some natives.
(2) Famous female pilot of the thirties and well-known "femme fatale" Beryl Markham (once a mistress of the prince of Wales and later king in England) was also the owner of a Leica wich she used to take pictures of the game in Kenya.

In May 2007 I received the following correction about Selby's Leica from [65]:

I actually still have the first book where Ruark describes his first African safari: "Horn of the Hunter" (1957). Harry Selby was indeed the white hunter, but the stolen gear belonged to Ruark himself.
Ruark says that his Leica, Ikoflex and Rollei were stolen on his first African safari. "What makes me furious is my Leica. It had thirty five very fine exposures of game in it…" There are photos of animals and safari scenes in his books credited to several white hunter folks.

Other appearances…

National Geographic

Lots of Leicas can be found poking around in the National Georgraphic www site. Just type "Leica" in the "Search Our Site" box at the top of the NGS page — this will return a (long) list of all the pages with Leica pictures [1].


By using their "Camera Finder" feature, you can obtain a statistical display of different Leica camera models used by Flickr community members. Grain-of-salt however as the data is derived from EXIF tags embedded in the photo uploads, which are often missing in "optimized for web" JPEGs.


According to Charles Klopman, from 1954 onwards all of Paramount's "Vistavision" movies were filmed using Leitz lenses. For those who don't know what VV is, it's basically 35mm still photography applied to motion pictures, whereby each frame of the movie is actually a standard 24mm x 36mm frame — double the size of a normal "35mm" movie frame.

Furthermore, Nico Beyer, German director who makes TV commercials and video clips, still uses Lecia R lenses mounted either onto vistavision cameras, or else directly onto a R9 for stop-motion "techno speeded-up" MTV effects (LFI magazine, 6/2003 at pp.47-50) — <>

For more information on Vistavision, see the Widescreen Museum site.


Leicas have also made their mark at NASA [17]. See the following link for a story about a beaten-to-death M3 used to photograph astronauts, politicians, flight-controllers and other behind the scenes topics from the Mercury missions up until the latest shuttle launches:



A Leica unexpectedly appears up in a history of the 1930s Depression in Frederick Lewis Allen "Since Yesterday - The 1930s in America" (1939), at Chapter 10 § 5:

[…] During the early years of the Depression one began to notice, here and there, young men with what appeared to be leather-cased opera glassess slung about their necks. They were the poineers of the camera craze who had discovered that the Leicas and other tiny German cameras, which took postage-stamp-size pictures capable of enlargement, combined a speed, a depth of focus, and an ability to do their work in dim light which opened all sorts of new opportunites to the photographer. […]

Leicas were at an early Watergate trial, back in the days when the working press weren't all Canon Zombies — see G.Gordon Liddy "Will" (1981) at Chapter 24:

Nikons clanked and Leicas whispered in the hands of backwards-scuttling photographers while swarms of reporters, like so many Middle Eastern street vendors hustling microphones, milled around us as I made my way with Peter Maroulis [Liddy's attorney - AZN] into the United States Courthouse at the foot of Capitol Hill for my arraignment on 19 September [1972].

A Leica pops up in the cartoon book, "Tintin - The Castafiore Emerald". You will find lots of drawings of a photographer with a M3 [5]. Believe it or not, Leica have even released a special edition "Tintin" minulux to commemorate this [8].

[5] notes that there is a reference to a Leica camera in the book "Uncle Tungsten, memories of a chemical boyhood" written by Oliver Sacks.

In the chapter "Images" Oliver Sacks writes about his cousin Walter: "Walter had a beautiful little Leica, with ƒ3.5 lens — the first 35-millimeter miniature camera I had seen. The Leica was his favorite camera when he went hiking."

Not obscure enough?… [15] reports that an early 1930s Leslie Charteris "The Saint" novel also features "a Leica negative" as a piece of crucial evidence, depicting the villain with Hitler. In the later "Senor Saint" series (1953-55), in "The Golden Frog" the Saint is described thus…

The slacks were tailored of the lightest Italian shantung, the shirt was a still finer silk, even the sandals were of beautiful leather and finished like expensive shoes. The camera was the newest and most costly model Leica.

Finally, Dutch author W.F. Hermans, in his novel "de donkere kamer van Damocles", also features use of a Leica camera for WW2 espionage work [5].


Many thanks to the following contributors to this topic:

[1]    Ken Geter
[2]    Tristan Tom
[3]    Frank Sheeran
[4]    Andy Piper
[5]    Bert Keuken

[6]    Brooks
[7]    Jeff Voorhees
[8]    Mani Sitaraman
[9]    Douglas Kinnear
[10]    Troels Hojer

[11]    chaz
[12]    Phil Marcus
[13]    Mark Langer
[14]    Sonny Carter
[15]    David Killick

[16]    Dave Doyle
[17]    Kyle Cassidy
[18]    Claesson Pipping Henrik
[19]    Henry So
[20]    Howard Cummer

[21]    Paxton's Photographics Sydney, Salesman "H"
[22]    Chad Hahn
[23]    Andrew Bachchaconne
[24]    Joe Buechler
[25]    Todd Phillips

[26]    Pat Dunsworth
[27]    Sal Ortega
[28]    Christopher Williams
[29]    Alfie Wang
[30]    Alan Walsh

[31]    Luke Dunlap
[32]    Alex Lofquist
[33]    Tom Abrahamsson
[34]    John Osterholm
[35]    Kevin Sarsfield

[36]    John Wilton
[37]    Gary Trendler
[38]    Dr Albert Knapp
[39]    Phong
[40]    Alejo Fernandezsasso

[41]    Jerry Pfile
[42]    James Mitchell
[43]    David Eppstien
[44]    Jake Tauber
[45]    Mark Wahlster

[46]    Robert Byrd
[47]    Robert MacDonald
[48]    Craig Roberts
[49]    Neal Frieden
[50]    Christopher Chen

[51]    "David"
[52]    Aizan Sasayama
[53]    Joel Halbert
[54]    John Martins
[55]    Christiaan Phleger

[56]    Joseph Esmilla
[57]    Fazal Majid
[58]    Val Pantoja
[59]    Hans Berkhout
[60]    Elaine Ashton

[61]    Roger Michel
[62]    John Francis — Montreal
[63]    Jacques Prudent — Montreal
[64]    Rei Shinozuka
[65]    Geoff Hopkinson

[66]    Tim Delbeck — Germany
[67]    David Gray
[68]    Sjef Janssen — Norway
[69]    Brian Belliveau — USA
[70]    Randy Leffingwell

[71]    Steve Barrett — USA
[72]    Christopher Marciano — USA
[73]    Joe Lee — Hong Kong
[74]    Alan Magayne-Roshak — USA
[75]    Howard Cornelsen — USA

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