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Monday, 28 November 2011


Erwin Puts used to have the old version of the Compendium available as a PDF download. No pictures, schematics or graphs, just the text. But even that is a very interesting read.

Although it is still easily findable online, I can no longer find it on his site, so I won't post a link here.

The following was posted on Oct.18/2011 by Erwin. I'm going to be first in line for a copy! His knowledge and thoroughness are second to none.

"New edition of the Leica Compendium

There is such a demand for my Leica Compendium book that a third printing is necessary. It will become available end November 2011 and is printed in very limited numbers."

see http://www.imx.nl/photo/page152/page152.html

Love your site. Visit you everyday. Thanks for all the great info and just plain fun!

Yes, he is planning a limited third edition for 2011, per the bottom post here...http://www.imx.nl/photo/page152/page152.html

The third edition is out (a run of 600 copies apparently). I just got mine.

quote from Mr. Puts' blog:

New edition of the Leica Compendium

There is such a demand for my Leica Compendium book that a third printing is necessary. It will become available end November 2011 and is printed in very limited numbers.

I own the book and am quite happy with it. It is a Nicely done tome, printed nicely, shipped decently, about my only criticism (a slight one) is that some of the illustrations could have been reproduced with a bit more pop. All in All I am exceptionally glad to have been able to support Mr Puts, his website, and his endeavors, by purchasing it directly from him.

Please let us know when it's available. I want one.

I agree with your comments about this excellent book. I've read quite a bit of it, hard to put down (or pick back up....it is heavy.) 1st edition.

Did it answer your question re: Leica history from a couple months ago?


I suggested to Mr. Puts to make the compendium available as a free PDF. Those whot got the money and want a printed one want it anyway.

But I didnt even get a response.

If you are purchasing lenses the book contains MTF charts for all current and most older lenses. A valuable resource for the portrait and landscape photographer to use in comparison to other Leica or Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses. Fantastic resource.

I just heard from Mr. Puts that the third edition is also gone, at least from his own inventory. He suggests several stores that may still have copies.


It is a fantastic body of work. I was lucky to get a book from the second run directly from Mr Puts.

I bought a copy of the second edition from Tamarkin two months ago. He may have some copies remaining. http://www.tamarkin.com/?page_id=3

It is obvious that Mr. Puts has a robust market for his book, although probably not a large enough one to attract the attention of a traditional publisher. If he were interested in making more copies available, my wife and I own a publishing company that we started to support a similar project. We're a small operation, but we understand the difficulties of publishing a labor of love. If you think Erwin would be interested at all, it would be great to talk to him.

–An enterprising publisher

Erwin Puts had a bad experience with the (quasi-)commercial publisher of his previous edition, and vowed not to do that again. It may take some serious convincing and a more solid publisher to change his mind.


Even though I own a used Leica M5 in excellent condition that I was able to obtain from a professional photographer; as with all things Leica, this book (selling from $149-$349 new) is a bit too rich for my blood.

Printing the Leica Compendium book in limited quantities assures collector demand will be brisk. Maybe an eBook version for us Kindle, iPad, etc., owners might make it a bit more affordable but I guess I shouldn't hold my breath.

Irwin also has a nice comparison of the Leica M9-P with the Fuji X100.
He lists the comparison as Part 1. If you read his other reviews, Irwin is one of the most thoughtful writers in the Leica genre out there.

Perhaps he can start a kickstarter project for the next edition?

For the Leica fans: see also the downloads on his site:



Regarding the PDF version and it's availability then un-availability: there seems to be quite a story behind it. IIRC the faerie tale goes like this: Once upon a time Mr Puts wrote the 'original' Leica Compendium for a publishing company,but said publisher seems to have 'forgotten' to pay Mr Puts properly. Therefore Mr Puts offered a PDF version (sans graphics) on his site with a request for a donation if found useful and informative. Unfortunately receiving few donations relative to large number of individual downloads. Fast forward to the present with the advent of quality self-publishing resources, Mr Puts has done exactly that for his revised Leica Compendium. I chose to buy the compendium rather than donate for the pdf I had recently downloaded: figured that was a win/win for him and I in that situation.
Reasonably, in my opinion, Mr Puts withdrew the non-revenue pdf prior to the new edition becoming available to avoid undermining his sales potential. It appears from available information that his self-published edition has proven to be much more popular than he imagined and he was compelled to reach a third printing attempting to meet demand. Note: The Publisher's edition from years before is available right now on ebay for over 300 dollars u.s., when for far less once can acquire the current revised edition (which Mr Puts will actually be renumerated for!). Easy choice in my book. (pardon the pun).

FYI: I found the chapters on optics & the lens design process to be exceptionally informative. I found it raised my 'photography IQ' considerably.

Richard in Michigan

Camerabooks.com does have them for pre-order, which I just did and received an email receipt (2:20pm 11/29/11).

I seem to recall that when Erwin authored an earlier, much slimmer edition of the Leica Compendium a few years back, he had some sort of dispute with the publisher and as a result decided to self-publish his works in the future. This may explain why he's in no hurry to sign up with a commerical house to print and distribute his new book.

Got it at "Camerabooks." But $150 -- Jeez!

$150, or $149-349? It is €78 at Lindemanns in Germany, plus shipping. That $-€ difference is much more than the exchange rate allows... maybe the collectors market is already at work?

I totally forgot to keep an eye on this. I lucked out and managed to pre-order one from Camerabooks.

I can understand and respect Erwin's being reticent to either self-publish more editions, or use a commercial publisher in light of his purported bad experience. I wonder, however, if it would be practical to publish using a Print On Demand system. I've read about this (I think the leader in the market is called Espresso). The customer goes to a location with the Espresso machine, pays for the book, and it gets put onto paper and bound into a physical book. I suppose the quality of photos wouldn't match offset printing, but some book is better than no book, no? It would allow Erwin to make money, and customers to get the books that otherwise wouldn't be available if Erwin doesn't print more. I know the Print On Demand infrastructure is minimal now, but there would be nothing to prevent retailers from printing multiple copies and selling via ebaY, Craigslist, retail etc.



Thanks for the great link to Camerabooks. I immediately ordered a copy of "Third Edition" and it arrived today. What a fantastic book. Flipping through the book, I am humbled; It seems like something that should take two lifetimes to produce.

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