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Wild was an optical company based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland. It was founded in 1921 and made survey instruments, photogrammetric survey aerial cameras, microscopes and other items like military optical sights. It also made some camera lenses, mainly for its aerial cameras.

In 1946 lens designer Ludwig Bertele moved to Switzerland and joined Wild, where he designed the sharp wide-angle lenses Aviogon and Super Aviogon, both delivering image resolution 100 line-pairs/mm in the corners und 250 lp/mm in the center on an image frame of 18×18 cm, without any distortion. Optics like these made Swiss aerial cameras the benchmark for professional work in geo-photography. The Aviogons gave the model for Zeiss's Biogon, the first super-wide angle lens for 35mm film.[1]


In 1962 Wild Heerbrugg took over the Leidolf camera factory and it was then used for manufacturing surveying equipment, including at least one camera. Wild Heerbrugg merged with Ernst Leitz in 1987, was renamed Wild Leitz AG in 1989, and became part of the Leica holding company in 1990. Today it is incorporated in Leica Geosystems, still based in Heerbrugg, but now separate from Leica Camera AG, and owned by the Swedish Hexagon group.[2]


  • Aviophot Aerial Camera System
  • Artillery photogrammetric camera APK1 (panoramic camera) about 1970, making seven exposures on one 4x5-inch sheet of film. Wild 98.8 mm f/8 lens, with shutter speeds 1 - 1/500 second, plus 'B'.[3]


lenses for aerial photography[4]

  • Falconar 1:1,4 f=9,8cm (70mm film)
  • Aviotar
    • Aviotar, angle of view 54°
      • Normal Aviotar 300mm f:4
  • Aviogon
    • Normal Aviogon, angle of view 70° (large format)
      • Normal Aviogon 213mm f:4
    • Universal Aviogon, angle of view 90° (large format)
      • Universal Aviogon 152mm f:4
    • Super-Aviogon, angle of view 120° (large format)
      • Super-Aviogon 88mm f:5.6
      • Super-Aviogon 88mm f:4


  1. History of Zeiss Biogon in German, on Artaphot
  2. 'About Us History' at Leica Geosystems.
  3. Wild APK1 panoramic camera with tripod, yellow and orange filters and film holders, offered for sale at the 28th Westlicht Photographica Auction (now Leitz Photographica Auction), on 21 November 2015.
  4. New Generation Lens Systems for the Wild Aviophot Aerial Camera System, by Wild's lens designer Klaus Hildebrand in 1982