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Julius Laack, later Julius Laack Soehne,[1] was a camera and lens maker, based at Curlandstrasse 60, Rathenow (Brandenburg, Germany).[2] The company seems to have started in 1884.[3] McKeown[4] lists a ferrotype camera from 1895, and a number of folding plate cameras. Laack lenses were used on smaller-format cameras at least up to the Second World War. During the time of the German Democratic Republic the company became state-owned and was part of VEB Rathenower Optische Werke (ROW), together with Emil Busch and Nitsche and Günther.[5]

Laack lenses, especially the Pololyt, appear on other German companies' cameras including the Altissa Altiflex and Altix, Welta Reflekta and KW Pilot Super. Laack also made a range of cine lenses as well as filters. In addition, Laack worked on other photographic implementations, such as film testers.[6]


Ferrotype camera

'Ferrotype Cannon' c1895

Gazelle Tropical

9×12 cm tropical folding plate camera. Pololyt or Dialytar lens and Compur or Ibsor shutter.[7]



10×15 cm folding plate camera. Polyxentar f/6.8 lens and Koilos shutter.


9×12 cm vertical folding plate camera. Pololyt f/6.8 lens and Rulex shutter.

Padie "Luxus" D

  • Omfa München (Munich) Doppel-Anastigmat Correktar f4.5 135mm and Rulex shutter[8]
  • Laack 4.5 Doppel Anastigmat in a Rulex shutter

Roland Reise Kamera



Folding press camera with focal plane shutter. 6.5×9, 9×12 or 10×15 cm. Dialytar lens (various maximum apertures).

Stereo Camera

12 x 9 folding stereo plate camera

  • with Dialytar Series T f/6.3 15cm in Stereo Pronto[9]


6.5×9 cm folding plate camera[10]

? Meteor

Existence not certain[11]

Name? Horizontal

  • 12 x 9 folding plate camera with Polyplan f/7.2 135mm in Vario shutter[12]


Laack was first and foremost an optical company making lenses for cameras, binocluars and microscopes. Laack produced a wide range of lenses for still photo and cine cameras as well as enlargers.[2][13] An advertisement in 1934 claimed that over 500,000 lenses had been produced by Laack and Laack Söhne.[3] Well-known names are Dialytar, Pololyt and Texon. A listing of Laack lenses is provided as a separate entry.



  1. One of the sons was Ernst Laack (Listed as German soldier in WWI: Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Mechanik und Optik 1914, p.272)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kingslake, R (1939) The Development of the Photographic Objective. in: Keith Henney, Handbook of photography. (London: Whittlesey House, pp.37-68, esp. p. 59.
  3. 3.0 3.1 The 50th anniversary of the company is mentioned for 1934: The British Journal Photographic Almanac and Photographer's Daily Companion 1934, p309.
  4. McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p592.
  5. Die Geschichte der optischen Industrie in Rathenow II (History of the optical industry in Rathenow part II) at Kompetenzzentrum Optik Rathenow (Rathenow Optics Centre)
  6. German Patent DE559983, 'Vorrichtung zum Prüfen von Filmen' filed 28 April 1928 and granted 27 September 1932 to Julius Laack Söhne, Rathenow, at Espacenet, the patent search facility of the European Patent Office.
  7. Seen with Pololyt f/4.5 135mm on Flickr
  8. Photoshop Guru
  9. s/n 59344) Yeshen Venema's site and Yeshen Venema via Flickr
  10. Pololyt f/4.5 105mm; eBay September 2012
  11. This model isn't in McKeown: can anyone confirm it?
  12. body 152mm x 145 m; ebay October 2012.
  13. Greenleaf, Allen R. (1950) Photographic Optics. Macmillan, New York. pp82 & 201-8.