Leica reference database on your smartphone or iPad
Leica lore is well documented and there is any number of reference books to consult. Frustratingly, though, few if any publications cover the whole history of Leica cameras, lenses and accessories as well as the latest equipment. It takes a computerised database for that; something that can be constantly updated to take into account continuing developments.
I was pleased to see the new LC-DB app for iPhone and iPad (and, I believe, coming out for Android) that attempts to provide an on-going handy reference tool. It includes accessories, camera and lens sections together with history serial numbers (but only up to 1999 for cameras and 2015 for lenses) and what appears to be a comprehensive list of six-bit codes. The latter, interestingly, provides codes for non-Leica lenses from Zeiss, Voigtländer and others.
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LC-DB has been produced by Italian Leica enthusiasts Pio-Andrea Guaraldo who runs the Italian-language website Bynoctilux.com. I downloaded the app a few days ago and paid the very reasonable 99p as a gesture of suppor (I believe this could have been an introductory offer, however). There is a free version if you want to dip your toes in but since I didn’t try this I cannot say how it is restricted in relation to the paid application.
The application consists of one long list of items under the five main headings of Accessories, Camera, Lenses, Serials and Tips. From there you can drill down to further lists and, eventually, to the main reference screen. There are quick access buttons at the bottom of the screen for Home (the full list), Cameras and Lenses, plus a Favourites list. When looking at any specific item, whether camera, lens or accessory, you can press a star button at the top of the screen and the item then appears in the favourites list. Unfortunately, at the moment, this appears to be nothing more than a static list. All you can do is remove items, but you cannot click on an item and drill down to find out all the details. I hope this is an aspect that will be addressed in the future.
This is a very basic application when compared with the sort of stuff we are used to on our phones these days. It’s all text, no colour, no attempt to make it look attractive. But it does serve a purpose and I think all Leica owners will be happy to have this amount of reference material instantly available on their smartphone. I am sure I will find it useful and I'm hoping it lives up to its promise as I get more familiar it.
It’s early days and, if enough of you buy the app then I hope Pio-Andrea will be encouraged to keep the database up to date and, in time, make it visually more attractive. Go to your country's Apple App Store and search for LC-DB.