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Tuesday, 06 April 2021


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Here you can see the late Mr. Puts...


The picture is uncredited because the author couldn’t locate the source. He also says Mr Puts’ images are very rare.

His brother-in-law posted a nice tribute on Erwin’s website, while also noting that the site archives will be restored.


Thanks for this Mike. I admired Erwin and his book has a respected place on my shelf. I would say that Erwin was largely responsible for the modern day veneration of Leica as a brand above all others which is not something I agree with. However, unlike many of today’s YouTube vloggers who use a camera for one day and then post a review (!!), Erwin was extremely meticulous in his testing. Not just bench testing, but real world testing. He had clearly articulated definitions of which qualities he was testing for and which he valued. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of Leica history in general and lens history and technical issues in particular. And, he shared them generously with the rest of us. He was apparently a very nice man and had a real impact in the niche he was passionate about. It would be very nice for any of us to be so remembered.

I have most of Erwin Puts' books and they are overwhelmingly informative, if sometimes like a scientific textbook. I valued his opinions of Leica lenses, based on objective testing and reasoning. He also evaluated some Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses, comparing them to the Leica offerings, occasionally in the latters favor. He pointed out that Leica's MTF curves were calculated, whereas Zeiss' were from actual measurements. Not to mention his frank discussion of Boke'. He was a measure of reality in the realm of Leica infatuation that will be missed.

Someone found this:

There's a photo of him there, not sure how long the page will stay up

Erwin and I connected briefly and many years back when he was active in the LUG (Leica User Group). Then he left. Some people had asked him if he "worked" for Leica. Quite a sensitive sort of person who had strong views and also easily rubbed the wrong way.

The ol' dogs at LUG still remember him, and there was a brief mention when he died in March.

To know more about LUG, here's a link to their YearBook (2019).


The 2020 one will be coming out anytime.

I never met him, but enjoyed his work immensely. Its the kind of effort and dedication that we often take for granted, and don't realize how much work it took until it is too late, and the person is gone. More importantly, his was the kind of effort from a time long passed, when commitment to science, factual history, and deep powers of observation and investigation were sufficient. We will miss him and others like him who make these efforts. May we all tip our hats to such good people. RIP.

In the course of his last 15 years, Burt Keppler was a fervent Minolta booster. I was of the impression that he was personally acquainted with the Minolta management, and always ready to give that company his support whenever ethical and appropriate opportunity permitted.

Of course, Minolta never fully survived their loss in the Honeywell versus Minolta decision, when it was ruled that they had infringed on the original Honeywell AF patents. It was all downhill thereafter, despite their intense promotion of IBIS.

Puts was unique. A genius. Of course he was a fan of Leica, but he also respected Zeiss very much.

I have learnt a lot from Erwin Puts, not only about Leica cameras and lenses, but also about films, film processing and darkroom technique.

After I had sent him some old copies of Réponses Photo magazine he was looking for, we corresponded briefly and he signed one of the Compendiums I bought from him. I have since sold the books, the only books I have sold for more than I paid for.

Our relationship ended suddenly after I disagreed with him on an unimportant matter. He continued to let me have access to his pictures on the net; lots of cat pictures but also other models . . .

Here is link to much of what he published on the net


Very nice post about history of photography, I didn’t know about Erwin Puts and did a little research, starting with the article that you suggested by Ken Rockwell. Unfortunately the Compendium is hard to find and the link to download the pdf version doesn’t seem to work. I was able to find the 8th edition of the Leica pocket book which should have the section on lenses written by Mr. Puts.

I also read your post written at the time of publication of the second edition of the Compendium and learned why it was printed in such limited numbers.

One question for you, would it be possible to put the the pdf files of very hard to find photography books on this site so everybody could have access to them? I am sure you know a lot more about all the copyright issues.

Thanks again for the nice and informative post.

Erwin Puts and Leica: his love for his subject was based on ever increasing knowledge, rather than self-fulfilling delusion. A deeply moving lifelong dedication.

I learnt a lot about lenses from his books. His reflections on Leica cameras in the digital era also gave me a model for how to make use of my film experience when working with digital cameras.

Very sorry he is gone.

FYI if anyone is looking to order one of Erwin's books from the website. Paypal will process the order and take your money but you can't get the books any longer.

If you go to the homepage (https://photo.imx.nl) you will find in small print at the bottom: "Please do not email, orders for the ebooks cannot be processed any longer." But you don't get any warning before the transaction actually processes.

Hopefully Erwin's representatives can figure out a way to turn off the Paypal links.

I do not buy many photograph books. Did buy a few of his ... it is so sad. Rip.

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