Leica R Mount Lenses for the Canon HDSLR’s


I started giving a Leica list out to individual colleagues and the request kept coming, so we decided to share it with everyone on the blog.  These lenses are only R-Mount, they are the cream of the crop and through variest test we have found them to be excellent.


  • Slightly warm in color, I alter my color temp. 200 degrees colder to counteract
  • Wonderful Contrast and color reproduction
  • Creamy
  • Lenses do not breathe while racking focus
  • Better cinema style  focus rack then other still lenses


  • Flare easily,  will need to have lens hoods, matte boxes and french flags to help combat losing contrast
  • After we de-clicked the lenses the blades on the f-stop ring close while shooting.  Be sure to tape your f-stop every time you shoot so  your exposure doesn’t drift
  • Older lens technology, not up to date coating
  • Out of focus highlights will give you a stop sign effect because of not having as many iris blades

This lens set was put together with love and commitment to excellence by my good friend David Marconi and Eva Jay http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0545861/.  He is a writer/director and has fallen in love with this technology.   David is directing a movie in the fall of 2010, where we will be taking the Leica’s and our Canon 5D’s to the Moroccan desert to shoot a thriller.

In early June David asked me to take this group of lenses and put them to the test. We used them on a Medal of Honor commercial with Bandito Brothers and a Nike commercial that Robert Elswit, ASC photograghed http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005696/

Fotodiox lens adapters are the tightest fitting and will focus at infinity.

Here are the best websites according to David and Eva for factual info. about the Leica’s.



Leica Lenses MIN. F-STOP MAX. F-Stop
15 mm Elmarit -R ASPH ROM Leica 2.8 22
19 mm Elmarit -R Leica 2.8 22
21 mm Super-Angulon-R Leica 4 22
28 mm Elmarit-R Leica 2.8 22
35 mm Sumilux-R Leica 1.4 16
50 mm Summilux-R Leica 1.4 16
80 mm Summilux-R Leica 1.4 16
90 mm APO- Summicron-R Leica 2 16
35 mm Leica 2 16
60 mm Macro Leica 2.8 22
100 mm Macro Leica 2.8 22
280 mm Apo-Telyt-R Leica 2.8 22
280 extender Apo Extender-R 1.4 x
180 mm Telephoto-Apo-Summicron-R Leica 2
Apo-Telyt-R Modular Leica lens system
280/400/560 mm Lens Head Telephoto-Leica-R
400/560/800 mm Lens Head Telephoto-Leica-R
1x 280/400 – Focus Module 2.8
1.4x 400/560- Focus Module 4

  1. Mark Tomalty 5 years ago


    Just an FYI.
    The image of the lens used to illustrate this post is an ‘M’ 50 1.4 and not an ‘R’ series 50 1.4


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Mark Tomalty, Thanks so much for helping me out, I will change that.

  2. Cort Fey 5 years ago

    Thanks for this. How do you feel they compare to the more modern Zeiss ZF lenses? I think I read (maybe here?) that Panavision primo lenses are made with Leica glass – do you see any familial similarities?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Cort Fey, You are very welcome, The Zeiss are very contrasty lenses. The Canon’s are creamier. The Leica’s have similar characteristics to the Panavision Primo but lack the technically advanced lens coating and cinema focus throw. The Leica still lenses flare easy.

  3. Patrick 5 years ago


    thanks for an awesome blog and some truly inspiring work!!
    I was wondering if you could give some recommendation on a small set of focal lengths to invest in.
    I’m thinking mostly Leica R series and a maximum of three lenses.

    Hope this isn’t a really stupid question.

    Thanks again!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Patrick, You are very welcome. I would invest in at 21,35, 50, 90 and a 180mm Leica R mount.

  4. Eric Diosay 5 years ago

    Hi Shane – I was waiting for a blurb from you regarding Leica R lenses. I prefer alt lenses such as Leica R and Zeiss ZF over Canon’s offerings. The cine-like focus, solid all metal bodies and amazing images are a huge draw.

    I use fotodiox adapters for my Zeiss primes and while I can focus to infinity, there is a little bit of play at the mount. As for the Leica Rs, have you looked into Leitax adapters (http://leitax.com/Leica-lens-for-Canon-cameras.html)? David’s work is impeccable and the adapters feel a lot more solid than most others.

    Thanks again for your continued support of the community and your evangelism of HDSLRs.


    @ericdiosay on twitter

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Eric Diosay, I checked out those Leitax adapters and they look awesome. I am going to look at those. Thank you so much for the research and you are very welcome.

  5. Paul S 5 years ago

    Shane, after hearing about the Leica R’s on your blog a while back, I decided to check them out. I now have a Leica addiction, with you to thank.

    You had mentioned in a previous post that you were adding a touch of blue in the custom WB to counter the warmer yellow tones. Do you still do that, or is the -200 in color temp all you do now?

    Also, have you had a chance to try out the Leitax mounts? I actually prefer them over the Fotodiox adapters and have them on all my Leicas.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Paul S, Yes, I just alter the color temp. on the Leica’s. I found 200 degrees to about right. No I haven’t had a chance to try the Leitax mount. Tell me more about it. Thanks so much.

  6. Mark Tomalty 5 years ago

    Hey Shane,

    If you don’t mind I’d like to add some more detail to your list of suggestions and Leica R glass on Canon
    DSLR’s in general.
    As a still photog for over 30 years I’ve bounced back and forth between Nikon,Canon, and Leica and…pi$$ed
    away far too much money in the process.
    Anyways, back on point.

    Those considering Leica R should note that some lenses (from wides to some normals) have an issue where the
    rear of the lens obstructs the path of the mirror in the camera and will need to be adapted.
    The following link explains better than I can: http://www.pebbleplace.com/Personal/Leica_db_Specific_Lenses.html

    Officially, all Leica R lenses are no longer in production so everything has to be purchased from used
    channels or dealers with existing inventory.

    Of the 50’s the most current (E60 filter size) and f 1.4 aspherical is the most desirable but are not too common and a bit pricy-but then what Leica lens isn’t.
    The older 50 f 2.0 is very nice and much more compact and affordable than the asph 1.4

    90mm’s come in a couple of flavors,an older 2.0 and 2.8 as well as a more recent 2.0 APO design which is
    fantastic. The APO design is internal focus and maintains its physical dimension while the other have the
    barrel lengthen as one focuses closer.

    There are also a few iterations of the 180. The most current versions, both APO, are among the best in their
    class. There is a 2.8 apo which is compact, internal focus, and deadly sharp as well as an incredible 2.0 apo
    that has a unique and beautiful out-of-focus optical signature-huge but the internal focus with this lens
    is about the best on the planet and can easily be tracked with one or two fingers.
    There is an older 2.8 and 3.4 version of this focal length but I would avoid them considering the options
    either from Leica or Canon.

    The 21 is an extremely old design and I have heard mixed reviews-some in love with it and others the
    polar opposite so it might come down to variance between individual lenses.

    The most current 19mm (though it needs the camera mirror to be shaved a bit) is a killer lens with
    silky smooth internal focus. Sharp is an understatement

    Hope this helps,

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Mark Tomalty, WOW!!!, thank you so much for your help on this. I really appreciate all of this info. to all of our colleagues. This is very important information to pass on. I don’t remember the 90mm breathing. We specifically tested that. Yes we had all of our lenses modified by Duclos Lenses http://www.ducloslenses.com/Duclos_Lenses/Main.html so that we did not have to shave the mirror. Thanks again.

  7. Mark Tomalty 5 years ago

    I’m actually having second thoughts,now, as to whether the older 90mm’s actually do change as
    one focuses closer. As I haven’t used them in a few years, I’ll have to confirm with someone who has one.


  8. Paul S 5 years ago

    Thanks for the quick response, Shane, I’ll give the -200 WB a shot.

    Leitax mounts aren’t adapters, but instead they’re a replacement mount that installs right on top of the original R mount. It essentially turns a Leica lens into a native EOS lens, with all the benefits that entails – no play, infinity focus, etc. I’ve found it to be the most elegant solution for adapting any lens to Canon. Here’s the link –


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Paul S, that sounds kick ass. I will get that crackin’. Thank you so much again.

  9. Paul S 5 years ago

    Mark, I have the original 90/2 (v1 with the 2-piece drinking cup lens hood) – it does breathe slightly as you rack focus, and the barrel extends as well. Not sure if the v2 pre-APO does the same.

  10. maureen ganley 5 years ago

    Shane, Your generosity in sharing is reaching so many people…unique & special within such a difficult professional landscape…making the world a better place! If I could beg a question..I’m getting started on building an online video library. Interviews will be shot in MD offices, restaurant kitchens,fitness centers..focus is food, fitness&preventative health. Feeding/educating the little people of the world with a strong/creative message…any simple suggestions in how to equip novice video makers?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      maureen ganley, Thank you so much for those wonderful kind words and support. I would get a lightweight tripod, your 5D, so handheld support from Red Rock, manual follow focus, little clamp-on matte-box with an eyebrow. Extra batteries, UDMA Extreme CF cards, and a Zacuto Z-Finder is absolutely essential. A small Kino Flo lighting kits, maybe the Diva’s. Lite Panel Kit with some 3″x6″ bricks and a couple 12″ x 12″ Lite panels. I would get a lighting monitor, that HP Dreamcolor is pretty cheap, some HDMI cables. If you want to do some moves maybe a cine slider or cam rail system. 30″ flex fills in bounce and diffusion, some c-stands, grip clips, roll of color correction gels and diffusions. These are some things that come to mind.

  11. Mark Tomalty 5 years ago

    Shane, to build on Maureen’s question.

    As a still photographer making my entire income for the last 20 years from stock imagery I’m looking towards
    motion stock as a way to diversify my still imagery and buy a little more life in the biz.
    As such, I envision myself working in 30-60 sec clips and, once I get a handle on the basics of motion shooting and
    post I will be generating content at a pretty decent pace.

    My question is what software should I be looking at to manage and input metadata info such as caption
    and keywords so that I’ll, obviously, be able to retrieve specific clips on demand?


  12. Toby Angwin 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    A question about your camera mount. I’ve just shot a clip with a friend’s Redrock dslr baseplate and kit and had to drop some shots due to the follow focus wobbling the camera too much. You said on a previous post you had a custom baseplate made and a plate from Really Right Stuff on the camera. I am feeling that this might work on the kit I’m putting together was wondering if you are custom mounting the RRS plate direct onto your baseplate or are you using one of their quick releases too?



    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Toby Angwin, Unfortunately we are not going to be selling those. It is what makes are Moviemaker so strong, how fast you can move from one conversion to the other. The baseplate is our design and then we intergrate the RRS L-bracket and quick release.

  13. Stuart Allman 5 years ago


    You have had quite a few posts about optimizing lens selection. I would be really grateful if you could capture a still frame of video of the exact same scene with each of these lenses (Nikon, Canon, Leica, Zeiss, Panavision) using the same camera settings. I’d like to see the difference since that’s what really matters. Not doubting you, but I have no clue as to the magnitude of the differences.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Stuart Allman, what a great idea for a blog post. We will do this very soon. I can do that no problem. Thank you for the idea and your support.

  14. Artur Mazur 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    You said somewhere that fast lenses are not so good for dslrs because of problems with accurate focusing. Is it possible to shoot in low-light situations with 2.8 lens and still achieve good results with high iso settings on canon 5D? I’m asking because I’m torn between 1.4 and 2.8 contax lens and the price difference is quite big.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Artur Mazur, My advice to you would be to spend the money on the 1.4 Contax. What I said was when shooting action, or with a lot of camera movement being down below a 2.8 is very challenging for a focus puller. But having the ability to go way down to a 1.4 for lock off shots, or one’s with subtle movement is HUGE!!!

  15. Sadaiel 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    the best as ever !
    I use quite always leica lenses: I personally own summicron 35,50,90 and 60, 135. I also have 100 apo and 180 apo 3.4.
    I love these lenses. But in some cases I don’t have infinity focus. I have several adapters, Fotodiox too, but using 21 super angulon, 28 2.8, 35 summicron, 60 macro, and 100 APO, I don’t achieve infinity focus: in fact I didn’t buy 21 and 28 for this. Some lenses are closer to infinity focusing, some others are far.
    Is this just my problem ?

  16. Sadaiel 5 years ago

    Shane, thank you very much !

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Sadaiel, You are very welcome!!!

  17. Steve 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    I’m curious if the newer and older versions of Leica lenses are similar in color and contrast. Is it wise move to mix them together or is it better to buy only the newer ones to have consistency in look?
    BTW Can’t wait for the Zeiss vs Leica vs Primos comparision, fantastic idea!


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Steve, They look very consistent in color and contrast, the only thing that I noticed that the older lenses flare a little easier because their lens coating is not as advanced. Working on that lens comparison blog, will be a bit. We are going to be doing that at the bootcamp in August.

  18. Darren 5 years ago

    Hey Shane i really appreciate all you are doing on this site! it really has helped me as a budding cinematographer.

    I would like to know where i could get these leica lenses from your list.

    I cant seem to find them on ebay…well the types speicified in the list. i find others.

    I cant offrod those right now and actually am gearing up to get some old russian primes for now. But i;d still like to know where to source these leica’s when i’m ready.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Darren, Thank you so much for you kind words and support. I will get some leads for you and get back to you.

  19. Darren 5 years ago

    Wow…such a fast response…I look forward to ur reply. Greetings from Jamaica (caribbean)…if you are ever in this neck of the woods it would be kool to talk over a good meal of jerk chicken :)

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Darren, Jerk chicken sounds amazing. I will take you up on that, and I will have Julien track these primes down. They seem very interesting.

  20. Darren 5 years ago

    Also…you should try these russian primes and tell me what u think if u have the time

    Supertakumar 50mm 1.4
    Helios 40 (85mm)
    Mir 24 (35mm)

    There are others like the zenitar 16mm
    Helios 44
    And others in the supertakumar series.

  21. Darren 5 years ago

    My mistake…the supertakumars are japanese vintage…not russian.
    Also the helios 44 is a 58mm.

    I was turned onto those lenes by my collegues at dvxuser.com.

    I used the supertakumar 50 with my 7d to shoot this…http://www.vimeo.com/13410432

    ( That’s 7d audio that won’t be used :) ) Don’t mind if u don’t understand what’s being said :)

  22. guillermo garza 5 years ago

    hi every one, hello shane.. first of all, thanks for all the valuable info that is being shared through your site I have found it extremely helpful.

    I have a question for shane and every one else… I am about to shoot a detective television series which is going into its second season here in mexico, the thing is I shot the first season with the sony EX1+letus adapter and the arri zeiss high speed 1.3 MKIII primes. I was left with a very limiting light sensitivity of 125 iso. Ive convinced the producers to bet on the canon 5D system.. but now come the lens choices. I have not been able to test any of the PL mount options for the 5d and ive been reading that it does not take every PL lens due to issues with the mirror and that some lenses don’t cover the full frame of the 5D. ive been looking to invest in some lenses myself and ive read the great info in this site on both zeiss ZE and leica-r. now the question.. and I am asking for a personal opinion.. which of the two (ZE , LEICA) lens kits would you choose and why? for a moody, suspenseful type of story.. in a high speed, two camera, 6 pages of script a day type of shoot? I can not test all of the possibilities myself because of budget issues and there is nowhere to have access to this gear in my city so your opinion is very valuable to me.

    thanks to Shane and everyone for sharing your hard work. it is very much appreciated. as soon as I start this project I hope I can contribute as well..

    if anyone is interested, you can catch some scenes of the 1st season of the show here.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      guillermo garza, You are very welcome and thank you for those kind words. The 5D is the best for what you are doing. The PL mount is limiting. If you can find a set of the Dalsa 4K primes then they will be perfect for your shoot. You can go with a 24mm all the way to a 180mm lens. They are going to be geared for wireless follow focus, they will have iris gears, they will be much more user friendly for your focus pullers. Your next best bet is the Arri Ultra Primes. You can use form a 32mm up to a 180mm. In the still lens department I would see if you can get your hands on the Leica’s. They will be far superior to the Zeiss. The reason being is if you are shooting that fast. You are not going to have that much time to light. The Zeiss are very contrasty and slow, where the Leica’s will see into the shadows a little better and most of them are a 2.0 or a 1.4. Now finding these Leica’s is a very difficult feet. They are hard to find and you will have to surf all the Leica sites to try and put this set together. I do not know what your time frame is, so if your time frame is tight and you want to go the still lens route, that I personally don’t advise. Then Zeiss would be your only option. I hope this helps.

  23. guillermo garza 5 years ago

    that helped a lot, thanks for the fast response, And for pointing me in the right direction. I will look into the leicas. the dalsa (being rehoused leicas *brilliant idea) seem awesome but just out of my price range, the ARRI ultra primes ive used and loved for commercials and more decently budgeted projects.. I think ill try my luck at finding the leicas and have them cine-mod at duclos. im grateful for your detailed advise..

    Another question, what about zooms from the still world? which have you tried? Im after a long telephoto zoom for use as a variable prime not so much for zooming in the actual shot, just for quick reframing of specific long distance shots (we steal a few of our street scenes in tough neighborhoods)..

    fader/variable ND? has anyone here used it? does it maintain color and sharpnes? what about IR pollution?

    thanks shane and everyone posting for the very valuable information..

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      guillermo garza, The Lecia’s seem like your best option. The 70-200mm Canon Zoom is not bad. All the other ones suck. Fader ND’s are the worst thing you can do for your image. I have designed Water White ND filtration specifically for the Canon 5D. You can get them at a discount rate at my Bootcamp, or buy them at Filmtools in L.A. They keep it totally clean without the magenta shift that all the other filters give you. You can also get an WW IR ND version of this from 3,6,9,1.2. They give you a slight more golden tone. You are very welcome.

  24. Darren 5 years ago


    You don’t want to get the fader nd. I use one currently because I don’t have anything else. However..many tests over at dvxuser have shown the fader nd to degrade image quality making images softer especially anything beyond 50mm. It also has a green shift in colour. The fader is also plastic. What they have been doing however is a DIY variable filter solution by getting 2 high qulaity B+W filters, one circular and one linear and stack them. The linear being on the outermost…and then turn it to dial in correct exposure. I haven’t personally tried it but many of them have and they report there is no image degradation. I’m going to go that route.


  25. Darren 5 years ago

    Oh and to clarify…its circular and linear polarizers.

    Shane posted a topic about tiffen water whites IR nd’s and those seem to be worth looking into.

    For me though I need a more variable type for quick changes in exposure.

  26. Darren 5 years ago

    on 2nd thought i think i will go with the Tiffen and stack :)

  27. Eric Diosay 5 years ago

    I had heard many things about the Fader ND being soft but LCW recently released their Version II which is supposed to correct this issue. It does not. And now, I am currently relegated to shooting with a matte box and filters. I would like to maintain the small, light footprint of my rig so I will definitely look into Darren’s and your solution.

    As for Leica-R lenses, there are a several of various sizes on eBay, but you have to be careful. Some of the lenses are really old with typical issues. I currently have a set of Duclos/Leitax modded Leica’s in 19mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and a 90mm sourced through eBay but this took almost six months to acquire.

    Thanks, again, Shane.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Eric Diosay, It is not only the softness, it is the fact that you are using a polarizing filter. So all the beautiful reflection off of someones face that makes them feel alive is gone. All the reflection off of the ground, ocean, basically any reflective surface is compromised. I use polarizing filters to see through car windows to help deepen a sky, and when I shot “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” I chose to take the reflection off of their faces for the period look I was going for. But unless you are going for those types of things. The fader ND’s suck.

  28. guillermo garza 5 years ago

    I imagined that the fader nd should have some nasty issues, too good to be true I think. thanks for the heads up everyone.. im going to try for the water whites and will check out the 70-200 thanks Shane..

    I have till mid January to put my leica set together. If anyone is selling I’m interested. Eric, is the coating and flare issue with the leicas something that gives you too much trouble or is it manageable? what about lights in the frame how does that work? also, do they cut well with other brands of glass?

  29. Darren 5 years ago

    Yeh Eric I do see leica’s on ebay, but just not the specific ones on Shane’s list. I’m not familiar with the differences in the types of leica’s but I do see a number of summicron (I believe). If those are also good I’d probably invest in them as an alternative. The ones I found aren’t that fast though averaging at about 2.8 if I remember ( I could be wrong).

    I have a question for you guys…shane also…I’m a fan of the old glass hence my supertakumar and the russians I’m gonna get, but how about Zeiss contax/yashica’s. Anybody using these? They can be had for reasonable prices. I imagine since they are zeiss they would be good.

  30. Marcelo Trotta 5 years ago

    Hi, I use a set of Leicas and love the results. Excellent color rendition, resolution and by far the most beautiful bokeh. They’re also very robust and much more apropriated for cinema use than the autofocus lenses. In my set I have:
    21mm Angulon
    28mm Elmarit
    35mm Summicron
    50mm Summicron
    90mm Elmarit ( a bit slow but incredible quality )
    135mm Elmarit
    180mm Elmar
    and the great 105-280mm Vario ( as the 5D is still full frame, the longer end of the 70-200mm in video, for example, is not enough so Ive started to research the 100-300mm zoom range and found this wonder ). As for the adapters I use the Novoflex. They are quite expensive at US$ 290 each but they keep focus to infinity and also hold up the lenses collimation ( when you set the focus by eye, if you meter the distance, the scale confirms the same focus ).

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Marcelo Trotta, I am so happy with what I have been shooting on the Leica’s. They are a pain in the ass to find, but well worth it.

  31. Marcelo Trotta 5 years ago

    Yeah, Theres lots of models and they’re getting difficult to find. Yesterday I was checking this store’s site here in Brazil and there was a 100mm Macro-apo. Ive tried to jump on it but it was sold in a couple of hours…My 90mm Elmarit is a bit slow but its MOD is 70cm and the results are quite good. Now Im trying to find a 90mm Summi APO, wich is regarded to be the best overall lens. But you know what? Ive been more and more connected to the look I see than to specifications. I just like the look the Leicas give me and Ive tested them transfered to 35mm and enjoyed the results, both aesthetically and technically. Here you’ll find an article I wrote for the ABC ( Brazilian Association of Cinematography ) on the use of DSLRs on fiction TV series. It’s in portuguese but there you’ll find a couple of picts etc.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Marcelo Trotta, I totally agree. The Leica’s are where it is at. You have to be patient. It is a long haul.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Marcelo Trotta, I looked at your article, even though I could not read it, what was your picture style? The images look wonderful. I am sold on the Leica’s. There is a reason that all Primo Panavision Primes are Leica glass, they are the best. Period, the end.

  32. Marcelo Trotta 5 years ago

    Hey Shane, after some testing I decided to go with: -1 Sharpness, -2 Saturation and -2 Contrast. In Neutral or Faithfull the images looks too contrasty to my taste ( and , probably, to the majority of the colorists as well ). I light mostly with heavy diffusion on one side and negative fill on the other, so my lightning already comes contrasty but i like to have the smoothest gradient i can get. On the other hand if you lower too much things at the Picture Styles settings, the light design is gone.The thing is to have the image as close as possible to what you want right out the camera, don’t you think? The less you twist in post, the less you you have to struggle with the Canon cameras issues , such as heavy compression. At the end if you put more contrast in a scene in post, you’re actually introducing more compression ( as you reduce the amount of different shades of grey… ).

  33. Darren Scott 5 years ago

    hey Shane i hear you talk about “creaminess” of lenses all the time…what exactly does that mean.

    Offtopic…check out this vid i shot on my 7d i thought you would like…pretty interesting way down there.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Darren Scott, This is what I have been trying to achieve in the HDSLR platform for awhile. Getting the right combination of glass to respond with the 5D sensor. So far the best combination that I have found to give that Digital film look is what I call creamy, but sharp. Creamy is the ability of a lens to roll off highlights smoothly and not have that harsh sharpness that you get with other lenses. Also the roll off into the shadows, with this extended dynamic range you get a creamy look but still hold a nice sharp image. So rating lenses that deliver this would be as follows: Panavision Primo Primes, which is Leica glass in a Panavision wrapper, then Leica R mount lenses adapted to the EOS mount, then finally Canon L Series glass, no Zooms only the primes. I hope this helps.

  34. Darren Scott 5 years ago

    Sorry you may not be able to watch it on Facebook…


  35. Darren Scott 5 years ago

    thanks Shane.

    Remember to check out the supertakumar 50mm (1.4) and 85mm (1.9), and the helios 40-2 (85mm). get em on ebay. tell me what u think.

  36. Bill 5 years ago

    Shane, Marcelo,

    Shane, are the mirrors shaved on your/rental 5D(s)?

    Marcelo, is the mirror shaved on your 5D(s)?

    Great info on the Leicas however I am getting confused as to what works without modification and what does not.

    I have completed my set of Mamiya M645 lenses in my kit, however I want to start getting the Leica’s and bring the kit to the next level.

    Thank you,

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Hi Bill, The Leica’s are R mounts, you just need to put a Leitax adapter on there and you are good to go. There are a couple modifications that I had Duclos lenses do for the wider Leica’s. They had to shave the back of the rear element ring so that it did not hit the mirror. No I do not modify any of my 5D’s other than the PL mount versions that HOT ROD cameras has done. You are very welcome.

  37. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey shane, could you talk a little more about which Leica R lenses you needed to be sent in to get shaved down? I know you say the summilux are the best lenses to get, but for some of us who can afford those, what is your opinion on the Elmarit R lenses? I was thinking the 24 elmarit, 35 elmarit, 50 summilux, 90 elmarit. Would you say this lens set is a far superior set then the Nikon AI/AIS glass, in particular, the 35 1.4, 50 1.2, 85 1.4?

    thanks shane!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, with all of my testing, the Leica’s seem to be the best fit for the Canon CMOS sensor. But that is truly my eye telling you this. You are an artist. If you feel you can deliver the images that you love with the Nikon’s then go for. I love the Nikon AI/AIS glass. Blogs are great for information, but that is exactly what they are. You have to then take that information and see if it fits your artistry. I started with Nikon AI/AIS glass because that is what I owned.

  38. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane! i am ordering the leica R 50 1.4 and doing some camera tests against the nikon and zeiss. Lets see what works best, I like the idea of the Leica a lot. I think superior optics should be the victor and love the idea of the longer focus throw to give myself a chance. The only thing with the Leica that throws me off is the f.4 21mm. I also really like the idea of having a Canon L zoom set for commercial and faster paced work and a leica R set for more cinematic work. Wish me luck! I will update you once i make my decision.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, don’t embrace the Canon Zooms, go for the Leicas, they kick ass. The 21-35mm, 35-70mm, and the 75-200mm all t3.5.

  39. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey Shane, Have you done any tests with the Leica R mount Angenieux 70-210/3.5? I know these lenses are legendary in the cine world, i was wondering if this still lens holds up on the big screen or if it even is worth looking at for the 5ds?
    thanks again for everything you have and continue to do for cinematographers around the world!

  40. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Thanks for the advice, what do you find from these lenses that make them more superior then the canons even at a slower 3.5?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, I find that they deliver a better contrast range than the Canons.

  41. Thai 5 years ago

    Hi Jane

    Recently I came across your blog. Since then I am checking i regularly. Thanks for all these great infos!

    I was inspired by your article about mounting Leica-R on 5D for video work, and thus purchased the Leica 35 F2, 50 F2 and 100 Apo Macro today (all used). Although I didnt have time to test the lenses intensively I noticed the following things: all three lenses do breathe. And second when I pull focus (from Chrosziel) quite rapidly back and forth there is an image jump at the starting point. My Leicas are connected via a Novoflex adapter which fits quite well. Based on what I read I assumed that Leica lenses dont breathe at all. Therefore I am even more worried about image jump when pulling focus. I am not sure if image jump is due to the Novoflex adapter. It seems quite tight to me although there might be a little bit of play when pulling focus very fast. Is this normal or am I missing something?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, this is a pro-sumer plastic camera, that we are all asking it to do stuff that it was not designed to do. You are also asking the mount to not flex slightly when you do a rapid focus rack. Well unfortunately you will fail. I have very tight mounts and my image moves with in the optics also. You just cannot do that kind of shot or slow it down a bit. It is all about trying to not show this cameras cons. One thing you can do that I would advise is getting the Leitax mount that you remove the R mount from the lens and then screw this mount directly to the back of the Leica lens. You will not have that play that every adapter has, other than the plastic body flexing. Just a quick question. Did you buy the exact name and lens that was on my blog post. Because buying the same millimeter means nothing in the Leica world it has to be the exact make and t-stop. You are so very welcome and I thank you for the support.

  42. Thai 5 years ago

    shane, sorry for misstyping your name!

  43. Thai 5 years ago


    Thanks for your quick reply! After some more testing I must say that I was mistaken. The Novoflex adapter (which is of metal) does not move at all. In fact it is very tight (it cost a hell of money here in Switzerland).
    So I think the image shift has something to do with the internal floating of the glasses when racking focus, which surprises me after having read such good comments from you about Leica -R lenses. I check serial numbers of all my Leicas and they seem to be quite new (production year 1993). And I think I bought the right ones based on your list ( 35 2.0 summicron; 50 2.0 summicron; 100 2.8 apo macro elmarit). However you ar right about slowing down focus movement which improves. But there is still image shift. Probably I will bring the lenses to a local dealer and have them inspected. Maybe they can adjust the internal floating?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, they could have been damaged in shipping, there are little set screws that hold each piece of glass in the lens, I have this happen all the time on the cinema style lenses. On Terminator:Salvation we shipped in a 40mm Primo from LA to Albuquerque, New Mexico and it would not find its focus, the elements had jarred loose.

  44. Thai 5 years ago


    one final question, do your Leicas breathe when racking focus?

  45. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey Shane, i just received the 50 1.4 and the 21 f4. The 50 is gorgeous! but i am not sold on the 21, i feel it is not as sharp as the canon 16-35 2.8 II. Do you have any suggestions? Is the 19mm 2.8 a better lens? This hicup is giving me some doubt on these lenses, If i cant provide consistent quality from wide to tele, i am afraid of using them as a whole set. thanks shane!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, Your 16-35 Canon is not sharper, it is contrasty than the Leica, which makes it look sharper. I don’t use any of those Zooms. I will take a Lecia over any of that Canon glass. The Leica’s look far more cinematic, but to each his own. If you love that Canon glass you are not going to like Leica. I like Leica because that has been what I have been using to shoot 13 of the 15 movies I have done.

  46. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Also, With the 35mm 1.4, i assume that lens needs to be shaven down? Or does it fit on the 5dmkII with the Leitex adapter?

  47. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Oh man, i am starting to annoy myself now, Last question i promise! I only ask because i am not happy with the 21mm i got, its being sent back tomorrow. With the 35mm, did you find the 1.4 being worth the extra money in comparison to the quality of the 35 2.0? Same with the 80mm, did you find the 80, 1.4 being worth getting over the 90mm 2.0? thanks again for all your time spent to help us small filmmakers make the best choices!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, yes

  48. Thai 5 years ago


    I had a film shoot using my Leicas for the first time yesterday. I only used the 50 f2, 35 f2 and 100 2.8 apo macro. I am very happy with the images, very sharp, nice color and a creamy look very different to my Canons. If I understand you correctly you said it is worth getting the 1.4 over 2.0. Are you referring to image quality that is even better or that they are faster? Shooting below 2 with the 5d is an overkill in my mind. So I dont need the extra stop.
    The only thing that I was hoping the Leica would deal better is lens breathing. Unfortunatrly I must say that my Leica lenses dont do a better job than my Canons in this regard. I would like to hear your personal opinion here.
    Again I appreciate your time and support.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, when I am suggesting the 1.4 over the 2.0, it is when you least expect it expect it. I found myself in a subway station without the ability to use any light. I went with a sliding shot and went all the way down to a 1.4 to bring the subway station to life. These are situations as a filmmaker that you will be put under. Having that extra stop is priceless. The Leica’s breathe hear and there, but come one, you are dealing with still lenses. If you want excellent quality glass without breathing then you have to either shoot Panavision Primos or Dalsa 4K Primes, it is simple as that.

  49. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane! I actually hate the canon glass, i shot with the 50 1.4 today, did a bunch of tests and comparisons to the zeiss zf, nikon ais, and canon, The leica is far superior in every way, i am in love. My only complaint was the 21mm and its strong vignetting, do you find the 19mm 2.8 a better lens then the 21mm? I am trying to decide to either keep the 21 or ditch it for the 19mm. Any thoughts?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, I told you. I am looking at these babies on a 32′ screen and the Leica’s are the only ones holding up in a cinematic way. But they are quirky just like the camera we both love. Love the 19mm. Ditch the 21

  50. Thai 5 years ago


    I am wondering if your Leicas breathe while racking focus?

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