Ernst Leitz Canada: ELCAN

La compañia Ernst Leitz Wetzlar decidió fundar Ernst Leitz Canada en 1952. Influido por la guerra fría, o por la necesidad de penetrar el mercado de los contratos gubernamentales americanos, se estableció una fábrica en Midland, Ontario. La fábrica estuvo operativa en 1953.

Estoy recogiendo información para completar esto, lo más interesante es un escrito de Tom Abrahamson:

HE aquí mi lsta, incompleta de la producción Leica de ElCan:

Leica de rosca

  • Leica IIIf y IIf engraved Leica/Midland
  • Leica 72 (half frame) Made in Canada, but some had Made in Germany top-plates on them. It was a camera designed for scientific work and German universities were encouraged to by Made in Germany products.
  • Stereo Elmar (35mm and 33 mm)
  • Summarit 50/1,5 Engraved Leica/Midland
  • Hektor 125/2,5 Some were engraved Leica/Germany but they all came from Canada.
  • Summicron 90/2 SOOZY version screwmount with adapter for M

Objetivos Leica con bayoneta M:
  • Elmarit-M 28 mm f:2,8
  • Summicron 35/2 Summicron
  • 35/1,4 Summilux (non-aspheric)
  • 50/2 Summicron
  • Noctlux 50 mm f:1,0 (toda la producción)
  • 75/1,4 Summilux
  • 90/2 Summicron M-mount (until the 90 Apo/Aspherical
  • 135/2,8 Elmarit (the "goggled" one)
  • 200/4 Telyt (Viso lens)
  • 280/4,8 Telyt (Viso lens)

  • 75/2,4 Apo-Elmarit M
  • 28/2 Summicron (in 1970) and there are many more of these prototypes around. Many are stuck in desk drawers of retired Leitz Canada employees

Cámaras M:
  • M2 engraved Leitz Canada
  • M3 engraved Leitz Canada
  • 1/2 frame M2's
  • M4 "Midland" - some of these had Leitz Germany top-plates, but most, if not all were made in Midland
  • M4-2 All were made in Midland.
  • M4-P All made in Midland
  • The early M6's also came from Canada.

The last Leica camera lens produced was the Noctilux (they still supply optical assemblies for these lenses to Leica Germany.

Leica Canada also made highly specialized optics for the US Military'

180/3,4 Apo-Telyt (6-7 were made in M-mount with goggles - the rest were R-mounts)
66mm/f2 Ultra high resolution lens in M-mount - not coupled to the rangefinder.
50/2 Elcan for the KE-7 Military M4.

There is also a whole series of lenses made for photogrametrical imaging. Most of these are small runs of orders.

I have seen 560/5,6 "clusters" (4 lenses covering 5x5 each - mounted on a 10x10 plate and attached to a Wild/Leitz 10 inch aerial camera.
250/4 designed for infrared - one element is a ruby red glass or crystal.
90/1 Elcan in M-mount. No helicoil as it used rings to set the focussing distance.
6"/f2,8 Aerial lens. Quite common, often seen adapted to old 6x9 Speed Graphics.
2"/2 and 1,5"/f2 Aerial lenses (these were fairly extreme wide- angles covering 120 film or 70mm perforated film. Big, heavy cameras and many were used on Harrier jets during the Falkland war in 1982. Some can be adapted to other cameras, but the film to lens flange distance was very short. T

here was also a series of R-lens prototypes, including a 75/2 Apo.

ElCan also designed ultra high reolution enlargers, the ElCan 121 - it will resolve 275 lines/millimeter on the easel! About 6 times what you can get with a conventional enlarging system. Probably less than 10-12 made. It came with a series of lenses, a 25mm, a 50/2 and a 75/2 enlarging lens. The 50/2 was a modified DR Summicron.

There is a reason why most Leica M advertising from the 60's until late 90's always showed a 50 Summilux on the body. It was virtually the only M-lens made in Germany since 1960 until the Aspherical 35/1,4.

Midland had the benefit of Dr Mandler, one of the foremost lens designers ever and also that they were outside of the heavily bureaucratic Wetzlar plant. If Midland wanted to make it, they just went ahead and did it and never bothered Wetzlar with corporate discussions.

A lot of strange M cameras came out of there, 1/2 frame M4-2's, some 1/2 frame Md-2's, 30 chrome M4-2's and the "Israeli Tank Command" olive green M4-2 version. Some of these were made for "friends" of the company and some were bona fide special order items. The Wetzlar plant stagnated in the 70's - very little creative design was done there. Midland was the creative source in many aspects.

There is very little research being done on the Midland production. Leica Germany is not too interested in it and the current management of ElCan/Rayethon bluntly tells you "No" to any request for information. They make satellite imaging stuff and super sophisticated gun sights and understandibly cant be bothered with some Leica fanatic trying to unearth obscure lens or camera information for old stuff.

For a good 25 years, 1965 to 1990 Midland was probably the top optical facility in the world, both as designers and manufacturers. Occasionally you hear "I prefer the German Summicron to the Canadian one". Sometimes they even carry a price premium! Most of these lenses were made in Canada and shipped to Germany minus the front ring and rear mount = labelled as "parts" and with far less duty than a finished lens. Wetzlar put on a rear mount and a front ring suitably engraved Made in Germany - and they were, both the rear mount and the front ring! The parts that really counted were all made in Canada.

Tom A

Mandler diseño y ElCan también produjo los objetivos Panavision

Cronología según la web oficial


Bricksml -

After more than a century of fine optics production in Wetzlar Germany, Ernst Leitz Canada establishes in Midland to manufacture Leica cameras and lenses.

A brick from the oldest part of the facility in Wetzlar Germany still forms part of the wall just inside the Ellen Street doors of the Midland facility.

MidlandFacilitysml -

Ernst Leitz Canada plant expanded to produce wider range of commercial and defense optics. This unit eventually becomes the core of Raytheon ELCAN's Midland plant.

1959 The ELCAN brand name (standing for Ernst Leitz CANada) introduced by Walter Kluck (one of the original pioneers) for commercial markets, Canadian military and US Navy aerial reconnaissance applications.

PickerXraylensessml -

The Raytheon ELCAN - Picker lens solution was a projection lens with maximum transmission capabilities, an "F:1" lens. The extremely bright F:1 lens optimized the aperture (without compromise to image quality) , therefore maximizing the amount of light captured. The result was a clear, sharp x-ray image revolutionizing the medical imaging market.

LeicaCamerasml -

Ernst Leitz Canada designs innovative lens for Leica that creates new standards for 35 mm quality.

Ernst Leitz Canada awarded design and manufacturing contract for new 70 mm IMAX projection system.

PanavisionLensessml -

1983 Ernst Leitz Canada begins work with [URL="http://www.elcan.com/About_ELCAN/SuccessFiles/commercialOEM_panavision.php"]
Panavision for state-of-the-art cinematographic lens

Hughessml -

Hughes Aircraft Co. purchases Ernst Leitz Canada. The company expands its operations as Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies.

1997 to 1999
ELCANlogosml -
Raytheon acquires the optical business units of Texas Instruments and Hughes Aircraft Co. and form ELCAN Optical Technologies.

2000 to 20002 Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies undertakes an aggressive marketing and technology development program, focusing its combined experience to serve Telecommunications, Defense, Commercial and Industrial markets.

070705 1 -

2004 With 18 years of experience producing rugged, reliable rifle sights for defense contracts, Raytheon ELCAN launches the SPECTER™ line of precision day/night sights for military customers.

IDCsml -

Raytheon ELCAN turns its resources and vision to innovative new approaches in medical imaging and treatment. The emerging Life Sciences customers that will partner with Raytheon ELCAN include applications in indirect digital radiography, optical coherence tomography and pathological spectral analysis.

090910 1 -

2009 Raytheon ELCAN introduces the SpecterOS4x LDS. Raytheon ELCAN is selected by Thales UK’s FIST PMCO as sole-source supplier of the Light Weight Day Sight for the UK MoD FIST Soldier Systems.

2010 logo -

ELCAN Optical Technologies becomes Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies.

Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN) is a Canadian optics and electronics company owned by American defense contractor Raytheon. ELCAN manufactures devices geared towards civilian and military markets. The company currently has locations in Midland, Canada, Richardson, Texas and Málaga, Spain.

Elcan Optical Company


50 years ELCAN 1952 - 2002

World War II had ended only a few years ago and Germany was still recovering from the horrific devastation and the postwar miseries. The suffering of the civilian population in the eastern area of Germany that was overrun by the Soviet army was particularly severe. The family-owned Leitz factory in Wetzlar, West Germany had suffered only minor damage, but there was still a shortage of certain raw materials, sot hat the resumption of the production of civilian products was progressing rather slowly. The frightening thought that the Soviets could be at their doorsteps within hours of a new conflagration caused the company patriarch Ernst Leitz II and his sons Ernst Leitz III, Ludwig Leitz and Guenther Leitz to realize the desirability of a safer location for the company, a second repository for its archives and for a core of experienced workers who could carry on the firm's tradition of superb craftmanship in the he event of the loss of the main plant.

An exploratory team consisting of Dr. Ernst Leitz III and administrative assistant Karl Seng (who spoke flawless British English) traveled extensively for many weeks in search of an appropriate location. Perhaps it was also in the back of their minds that twice before, a wholly owned Leitz subsidiary had been expropriated with no compensation and no subsequent restitution. Canada stood out because of its cultural base, its great resources and its proximity to major markets for Leitz products. The contacts with Canadian authorities led to a choice of three possible locations: Smith Falls, Ontario, Granby, Quebec and Midland, Ontario. Taking into consideration such criteria as reasonable proximity to major transportation facilities (airports, harbors, rail), a terrain and community somewhat similar to that of the parent company in Wetzlar, spacious real estate and attractive costs, the exploratory team selected Midland as the site for the new subsidiary factory. Later on, an over-zealous observer noted that "Midland" has the same number of letters as "Wetzlar", so that it would fit nicely in the he traditional Leitz logo...

As in a classic tale of success, very rudimentary makeshift beginnings in a curling rink steadily evolved into a world class, state-of-the-art facility with extraordinary research and development capability and a highly sophisticated precision manufacturing organization.

Because of government restrictions on funds that could be taken out of Germany at that time, the citizens of Midland assisted by making funds available for the acquisition of land and for the construction of the first company building, as did Walter Carveth, the long established Leitz representative in Canada. Midland families graciously put up the new immigrants in their homes until they were able to find their own accommodations. The owner, publisher and editor of the Midland Free Press Herald, William H. Cranston, was a tireless supporter of the fledgling enterprise. The first president was Guenther Leitz, the youngest of the Leitz brothers, assisted by the enterprising Walter Kluck, who was to become president later on, after Leitz Wetzlar Administrative Director Horst Siegfried had served a term as president.

What the new immigrants, many of whom were accustomed to having a good, frosty glass of beer after a hard day’s work, had not anticipated is the fact that Midland at that time was a “dry” town – no alcoholic beverages were permitted. That problem was very discreetly solved by the formation of a social club on the second floor of a store on King Street in Midland. Alas, it was not long before the local constabulary “got wind” of it, and the activities were back to Coffee and Kuchen and the singing of traditional folksongs…Fortunately, those restrictions have long since been lifted.

During the company’s growth period, the key responsibilities were shared by three Walters: Walter Bauer for Manufacturing, Walter Kluck for Marketing and Walter Mandler for Research and Development. Inevitably, this prompted waggish tongues to refer to the plant as “The Walter Works”.

The mid-70’s were significant within the Leitz organization for the merger with the Wild company of Heerbrugg, Switzerland. This new partnership allied Leitz’s unparalleled experience with the dynamism of a relatively young and aggressive company to form the Wild Leitz Group of Companies with its worldwide commercial and technical network. The ELCAN brand name (standing for Ernst Leitz CANada) was introduced by Walter Kluck (one of the original pioneers) for commercial markets, Canadian military and US Navy aerial reconnaissance applications.

In November 1990, the Hughes Aircraft Company, California, purchased Ernst Leitz (Canada) Ltd., and the Company’s name was changed to Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies Ltd. Hughes Aircraft also announced the closure of a sister operation in Des Plaines, Illinois, Hughes Optical Products Inc. (HOPI), and relocated their equipment/machinery and technology, valued at $5.5M to Midland. In June 1994 Hughes Leitz was ISO 9001 Registered.

In December, 1997 Hughes Aircraft Company and Texas Instruments sold their defence businesses, to Raytheon Company, Lexington, Massachusetts, which included Hughes Leitz Optical Technologies Ltd. Because of the company’s global reputation for excellence and technical expertise, the organization took on the ELCAN brand and became known as ELCAN Optical Technologies.

ELCAN’s continuing success led to the strategic integration in 2000 with a US optical manufacturing facility that Raytheon had acquired from Texas Instruments. In 1997, Raytheon co-located three Texas Instruments legacy optics groups into one powerful enterprise, the Dallas Optics Center of Excellence located in Richardson, Texas. These three groups each having more than 35 years of experience were the Optics Manufacturing and Materials (OM&M) Group, the Optical Design Group (ODG), and the Advanced Optical Materials Lab (AOML). This was augmented in 2000 with the addition of the Digital Display Group, another former Texas Instrument business unit.

The unified operations make ELCAN the largest and most fully integrated North American company with complete opto-electro-mechanical capabilities. ELCAN’s continued growth resulted in the integration of a Spanish printed circuit board manufacturer into the ELCAN family of companies in 2003, thereby enabling ELCAN to increase its capabilities to serve its customers.

(Adopted from the Prologue to the book produced for the 50th Anniversary of ELCAN in Canada by Rolf Fricke, Leica Historian)

La pagina en Facebook:

ELCAN Optical Technologies

Ernst Leitz Canada (ELCAN) is a Canadian optics and electronics company owned by American defense contractor Raytheon. ELCAN manufactures devices geared towards civilian and military markets. The company currently has locations in Midland, Canada, Richardson, Texas and Málaga, Spain.


ELCAN is perhaps best known for making the 3.4x28 power ELCAN C79 optical sight that is widely used on the Diemaco C7, FN MINIMI, FN MAG and CZ-805 BREN families of firearms. The C79 sight is not designed as a sniper sight per se, but is rather intended to be mounted on a variety of rifles and to be used by regular infantrymen as well as designated marksmen.

Another version of basically the same sight is the M145 machine gun optic. The M145 differs from the standard 3.4x sight in that ballistic compensation is provided for in the reticle, rather than in the mount. Reticle illumination is by a battery-powered LED with eleven intensity settings. It is used by the US military for its M249s and M240s.

Elcan+MTF+Computer -


IMAX: Revolutionary Projection Requires Revolutionary Optics - OPTICS by ELCAN!:

spiderman ride - "SEE MORE, HEAR MORE, FEEL MORE -- IMAX is the ultimate movie experience. With crystal clear images up to eight stories high, and wrap-around digital surround sound, IMAX takes you to places you only imagined." (www.imax.com)
Three entrepreneurial Canadians, who made some of the most popular multi-screen films, designed a new projection system to replace the multi-projector systems in use at the time and overcome a number of technical difficulties. IMAX projectors are still the most advanced, highest-precision and most powerful projectors ever built.
Giant screen IMAX produces brilliant, high-resolution images that extend into the viewer’s peripheral vision. Giant-screen IMAX utilizes wide-angle projection onto a flat screen. The IMAX screen has the capacity to display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional movie screens. A standard IMAX screen is 22m wide and 16m high (72.6 x 52.8 ft).
Movie projectors in theatres employ xenon arc lamps because they focus the light very precisely, producing a bright white light that closely mimics natural daylight. This is especially important for IMAX projectors in order to accommodate the IMAX system.
The continuous white light generated has a low lumen effect necessitating the use of more powerful 12-18 kW lamps. These powerful xenon short-arc lamps present their own challenges, not the least of which is the intense heat generated and the associated risk of lens explosion. In 1970, IMAX awarded Ernst Leitz Canada (now Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies) the contract for a new 70mm projection system to overcome these challenges.
In true Raytheon ELCAN style, a revolutionary projection system was delivered to IMAX. For these large format projection systems, Raytheon ELCAN met the challenge faced due to the extremely high operating temperature through the design and fabrication of specialized lenses for wide angle and stereoscopic applications.
Raytheon ELCAN created an unusual 2-part configuration, air spaced, doublet lens system. This system did not utilize adhesives, which would only melt under the extreme temperatures. Proprietary heat reflecting coatings were utilized to further insulate the system in conjunction with water-cooling ports. Special optical glass was used to help limit the risk of explosion.
The IMAX 3D™ process uses two camera lenses to represent the left and right eyes. The two lenses are separated by the average distance between a human’s eyes. By recording on two separate rolls of film and then projecting them simultaneously, the IMAX 3D creates the illusion of 3-dimensions on a 2-dimensional screen. In order to simplify the recording and projection process, Raytheon ELCAN helped to create a single-camera, dual-film projector.
Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies worked closely with ElectroSonic to co-develop a state-of-the-art projection system for the SpiderMan™ ride at Universal Studios™. This projection system demanded custom lenses capable of providing a nearly 180-degree view with no "fish-eye" distortion.
The best motion picture projection systems in the world demand the best optics in the world…Optics by ELCAN.
Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies has resources and expertise to successfully accomplish advanced optoelectronic and optomechanical development and manufacturing projects for your entertainment applications.

Raytheon ELCAN and the Picker Corporation Revolutionize the Medical Imaging Market!

During the technology boom of the 1960s, The Picker Corporation was an important North American manufacturer in the field of nuclear and ultrasonic imaging. As an innovator of x-ray systems, Picker Corporation wanted to be the first to capture detailed x-ray images of internal systems on high-speed motion picture film. This full motion capability would revolutionize in vitro imaging in medical research and diagnostics.
PickerXraylenses - The Picker Corporation presented Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies with their problem: the proposed system was optically inefficient and could not produce bright enough images. The challenge lay in optimizing the coupling of the radiographic image intensifier’s output to the recording media (film) in order to maximize the brightness and resolution of the image. The system required an extremely high performance lens that could capture and focus the available light.
Typical of Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies, the solution was derived from working backward from the limiting factor - the sensitivity of the film. High-speed imaging necessitated the maximum amount of light reaching the film and high definition of the individual X-ray images onto the film.
The Raytheon ELCAN - Picker lens solution was a projection lens with maximum transmission capabilities, an "F:1" lens. The extremely bright F:1 lens optimized the aperture (without compromise to image quality) , therefore maximizing the amount of light captured. The result was a clear, sharp x-ray image revolutionizing the medical imaging market.
This customer success was the beginning of Raytheon ELCAN’s influential work in the medical imaging industry and the basis of recent advancements in the design and manufacture of digital radiography x-ray lenses. (see IDC Dreamt it...Raytheon ELCAN built it!).

Academy Award Winning Panavision Primo-L Lens Series

What do movies, medicine, the military and mass communications have in common? They all depend on “Optics by Raytheon ELCAN” and the world-renowned optical expertise at Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies in Midland. Customers that are leaders in their industry often turn to Raytheon ELCAN to solve challenges that other suppliers have refused to attempt. This was the case with Panavision.
In order to maintain uncompromising quality control and industry leadership – no piece of Panavision equipment is for sale. All state-of-the-art camera systems and lenses are rented to production companies around the world. On return, every piece of equipment is put through a rigorous service check – a camera or lens may be completely stripped apart and rebuilt to be certain it’s in the finest working order. Equipment updates and modifications are also done at the same time to ensure each and every piece of equipment is to Panavision’s exacting standards.
To push the envelope of cinematographical excellence to the next level, Panavision developed a “wish list” set of specifications for a revolutionary new lens system in 1983. Panavision’s optical supplier at the time found the specifications and tolerances to be too tight and refused to even try. Panavision then approached Raytheon ELCAN with their vision for a new standard of visual experience through their new designs.
Major motion pictures are filmed with lenses of multiple focal lengths to accommodate the Directors’ need for a variety of camera shots (telephoto, close ups and wide angle). Different cinematographical lenses in use at the time produced noticeable color aberrations across the focal length spectrum. Each lens change the Director requested necessitated the use of filters or extensive post-production to correct for the change in lenses. This cost, time and extra labor, interfered with the creative filmmaking process.
Panavision’s challenge to Raytheon ELCAN Optical Technologies was to develop a series of lenses with exceptional sharpness & contrast, even field illumination and negligible veiling glare, ghosting or distortion and importantly, that were color-matched across the entire series.
Raytheon ELCAN started their solution by selecting a new high-performance glass material that was risky, but offered huge advantages. This new glass was critical for the novel optical design that Panavision wanted to try. Raytheon ELCAN then utilized a new multi-coating technique to control the color aberrations as well as increase the total transmitted light through the lenses. This combination of design and manufacturing innovation made it possible to shoot multiple angles and shots with multiple lenses without the need for filters or intensive post-production editing.
panavision - The end result was a new family of optics specifically for motion picture cinematography, the Panavision Primo-L lenses, which are still the sharpest lenses available.
One of the first films shot with the Primo-L lens series was “Empire of the Sun" directed by Steven Spielberg.
When no one else could imagine it, design it or build it…Raytheon ELCAN was there.
Academy Awards won by the Panavision Primo-L lens series:
  • Empire of the Sun: 1987 Nominee for Best Cinematography filmed with Panavision spherical lenses.
  • 1990 Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate): For the concept and development of the Primo-L Series of spherical prime lenses for 35mm cinematography.
  • 1991 Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque): For the concept and development of the Primo-L Zoom Lens for 35 mm Cinematography.
  • 1998 Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque): For the concept and development of the Primo-L series of spherical prime lenses for 35mm Cinematography.

Ésta página ha sido vista 4.608 veces

Usuarios Navegando esta Página (0 miembros, 1 invitados)