After years of hesitation, Leitz released their first mirror reflex camera in 1965: the Leicaflex.
At a time when Nikon, Canon and Pentax were already well-established manufacturers of mirror reflex systems, Leitz continued to believe that SLRs were a temporary market phenomenon.
When the company eventually announced their entry into the SLR market, critics anticipated the new release with bated breath: the Leicaflex was intended to offer as many characteristics of the M series as possible. The camera featured the cloth shutter of the Leica M, along with an ingeniously constructed lock-up function preventing the mirror from slapping into the top of the mirror box – resulting in an incredibly smooth shutter release with barely noticeable mirror bounce. Another distinguishing feature was the camera's big and bright viewfinder.
However, in terms of sales the camera did not live up to the company's high expectations, with a total production of no more than 37,000 models. With its CdS meter window on the prism housing (instead of a TTL meter), the Leicaflex was already slightly outdated even at the time of its release.