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. Thai 5 years ago


    don’t take me wrong. I am very happy with the Leica and will definitely drop my Canons when it comes to shooting film. But also for still images, color rendition and bokeh are wonderful. I like much more than my Canons.
    I was just confused when you said in the pros section that Leica glass don’t breathe. Maybe you meant breathe less.
    Thanks again for guiding us.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, They don’t breathe as much and feel more cinematic.

  2. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Excellent insight Shane! They do seem quirky, but are wonderful! They give the images a new sense of “pop” that even the zeiss can’t do. They make the images feel more cinematic and give a new sense of 3 dimension space. They have wonderful contrast and seem to add a bit of latitude that is very welcome! In terms of the 19mm, Do you use the Version I or Version II? Have you tested both? Which one produce better results? or were they similar enough to go with the less expensive version I? thanks again for spending the time doing all of these tests on lenses that someone like me doesn’t have the budget or resources to do myself!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde,yes they are great. I am glad you are loving them, because I can tell you one thing. The only lens that fits this sensor characteristics is Leica. Period. I would go to the website that I put on the Leica blog to get that info. I am not sure what version I have. They might be able to give you insight.

  3. Greg Greenhaw 5 years ago

    I love the Leica R’s
    35mm summicron “bokeh king”
    100mm APO 90
    50 summicron
    28 elmarit
    But I was going to get the 19 elmarit but choose the Canon ts-e 17mm instead since the optics were so much better.

    The TS-E is a manual focus lens so it doesn’t have the same issues the autofocus lenses do.
    The 19mm leica is famous and hard to get but you need to shave the lens/mirror to make it work.

    I’m going to sell me 50mm and 28mm since I use the 35mm more.


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Greg Greenhaw, I will buy those two lenses from you. I am building a second set fo the same lenses that our listed on the Leica Blog. Thoughts?

  4. Thai 5 years ago


    I am starting to love my Leicas too. Got a commercial photo shoot today and shot every manual with my Leicas (I had a punch of my Canon L in my bag but did not even touch them). Back to the days where there was no AF in photography! As for film I will definitely switch to Leica (still keep my Canon as backup).

    BTW, coming from photography I also shoot with a Hasselblad V system with a digital back from Leaf. I already tested the Hasselblad lenses on my 5D II before reading this blog. Images came out quite nice, although not as nice as the Leicas. The only negative thing is lenses are prone to flare (especially the 50mm) and have 5 blades only. Otherwise handling and focus throw is very cinematic.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, I tried the Hassleblad lenses but did not fall in love with them. The out of focus highlights do not give you nice balloons of light. They breathe huge, but do have a nice cinematic focus throw, but their contrast, color and dynamic range felt like a Zeiss.

  5. Andrew wehde 5 years ago

    Shane, Does your 19mm 2.8 have the built in filters in the front? This is a sign of version 2. Version one is the larger optical glass in the front where as the 2nd version has the same berrel width through out the lens as well as built in nd filter. Would love to know which one you are using. This is my last lens I need,

    I have the 35 2.0, 50 1.4, 80 1.4, 135 2.8

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew wehde, I have the version one. I do not have any ND filter with mine. Nice set you are putting together there. I find them so great and so cinematic in there contrast range.

  6. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Thanks Shane for the info! I notice you have both the 60mm and 100mm macro on your list, Which one of the two gives a more macro shot? I am not sure the correct way to word this. I notices the 100mm macro has about a 26″ close focus and the 60mm has under 12″ I would like a macro in my kit for those extreme close up shots, in other words, have you decided which one provides that better then the other?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, You are very welcome. I like the 60mm myself.

  7. Thai 5 years ago


    I agree with you regarding the Hasselblad lenses. I still use them for photography with my Hassi V and digital back.
    Otherwise I go with my Leica. I will add the 19mm 2.8, then I have a pretty good set. For the moment I stay with 35, 50, 90 F2 and 100 macro, until I find more occasions where I need to go faster.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Thai, sounds like you are putting together a kick ass kit. Thank you for all of your support.

  8. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Shane, I finally received my Leitex Mounts. I have found they still have vertical play when i am using a follow focus. Did you run into the issue? Did you do anything to help stabilize the lens to minimize or eliminate this movement?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, Unfortunately there will be always a little play. The Canon mount is not the greatest for holding lenses stable, other than theirs. I would call Leitax directly to see if there is an adjustment to the mount that can help this play.

  9. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    I think it is also due partially to the camera body flexing on the zacuto mount, do you have any experience with the viewfactor cage with eliminating the flex and stabilizing the camera body? I do see the small flex between the lens and body, very little, but i think most of the image movement is the camera body flex because my leicas have such a tight focus pull… I wonder if that can be loosened as well???

  10. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey Shane, I just got my 19mm 2.8 in the mail. It is version one like yours and i was doing some tests and i noticed when used in bright light during the day, you get a white halo ring around the edge of the frame and the same goes for at night with a practical light in the shot, same effect happens. Does this happen with yours?

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, yes, I love that. The lens flares it is the equivalent of a 12.7 mm lens.

  11. Tim Whitney 5 years ago

    Shane, thank you! I just received my first Leica a few days ago (35mm Summicron-R) and am just now picking my jaw up off the floor. I really see what you mean about the “cream” in the highlights, it just handles blowouts so elegantly. I am officially a Leica convert now. 50 f/1.4 and the 90 f/2 are next on my list. Thanks again!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Tim Whitney, I told you so. It is the best lens with this sensor. Period. I am glad you are enjoying them. Rock on!!!

  12. sammy 5 years ago

    Leica zooms? There are Leica 35-70 and a 22-90 mid-range zooms.
    Curious if anyone has given these a go.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      sammy, I have a 21-35, 35-70, 28-70 and the 75-200mm. They rock!! Probably the only zooms that I fly on my 5D other than an occasional Canon 70-200mm IS.

  13. Keidrych Wasley 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    I’ve been given some money out of the blue and have decided to take this opportunity to invest in some lenses. At the moment it is between the canon L primes and Leica’s. I would also like to use the lenses for still photography so the AF of the Canon’s is tempting.

    One option is the Canon:
    24mm L 1.4 MKII (bit too soft until 2.8?)
    50mm 1.4
    85mm L 1.2 MKII
    100mm macro IS.

    The other option is the leica:
    21mm R 2.8
    35mm summilux R 1.4
    50mm summilux R 1.4
    90mm summicron R F2 (non – APO) OR 80mm 1.4.

    I wonder if you could share any of your experience, advice and thoughts?

    Thanks you so much.

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Keidrych Wasley, there is not better glass to put in front of this sensor than the Lecia’s. period. The end. Plus you don’t have to worry about the endless focus ring scenario with the L series glass. Duclos will de-click the Leica glass so that you can do iris pulls if necessary and not be locked into 1/2 stop increments.

  14. Anthony 5 years ago

    Shane — or anyone — have you gotten the Summilux-R 35mm/1.4 to work on the 5D? Most of the charts say that it’s not possible, that it will protrude into the mirror. Is this the one you had Duclos shave down? Just curious … as I would prefer the Summilux to the Summicron, but want to make sure it’s compatible with the full frame cams …. thx!

  15. Michael Svitak 5 years ago


    This is Mike Svitak from the elite team. The 35mm Summilux DOES fit on the 5D, but it does have to be shaved. This also goes for the 21-35mm zoom! Also, good to know that the 24mm will not fit either, but the glass protrudes into the mirror so it CANNOT be shaved down.


    • Chris McAlister 4 years ago

      Hey Mike,

      Thanks for the info. The 24/2.8 hits the mirror? I haven’t experienced that with mine yet…

  16. Richard Allen Crook 5 years ago

    Shane, how about vignetting on the 5d with these lenses? Any more of it compared to the Canon L? Less? Thanks!

  17. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey Shane! What screw in filter do you use with the 82mm 19mm 2.8? I ordered a 82mm, but there is a slight vignette in the corners. I am worried if i go up to the 86mm with a step up fliter, there will still be a vignette since the filter will protrude forward more. Any advice? I have all whitewater 77mm for the rest of my leicas, amazing!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, We use the 77mm and electric tape it right to the front. We try to keep all of the filters one size so that we don’t have to carry different sizes and it keeps the cost down also. Try the tape. I am glad you are liking the Water White glass, it is so clean. I cannot be happier with the Leica resolution. Loving them too!!

  18. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    hmmm, i just took a look at your suggestion. I think i am a little confused. The front screw on for the 19mm is 82mm. When i place the 77mm filter on top of the front element, the convexed lens hits the 77mm filter. Is there a method that you guys use? Correct me if i am wrong, but i remember you mentioned awhile back that your 19mm is Version One with the 82mm front. Version two has no front thread and have a built in nd filter. Thanks again for helping me out!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, yes mine is version one, what is yours?

  19. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    mine is version 1 as well. When you lay the 77mm filter on top of the convexed lens. Do you let the two pieces of glass touch? How much of a vignette is there in the corners of the frame? For me, there is a noticeable vignette happening.

  20. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    Yes, the 19mm does have some frustrating filter limitations. I read you had the same issue with the 86mm fliter. We use 4×5 whitewater filters when we run into this problem. It is not as secure as screwing in a filter, but will get the job done.


  21. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Thanks mike! Do you actually tape the 4×5 onto the lens or use a mattebox? Just like you guys, i love not using a mattebox to keep weight and shear size down, and lets not forget how well the leicas flare! Thanks for all the help!

    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Andrew Wehde, yes, taping it out to keep it light or with a Matte Box if you are in studio mode or on the crane.

  22. Keidrych Wasley 5 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    I’ve decided to buy Leica 50mm F2 summicron, 35mm ‘cron, 90mm ‘cron and 19mm elmarit. I wanted to ask if you have tested the older 50’s/35’s with the more modern versions? What differences have you noticed? I’m thinking particularly in contrast and wide open performance. I was going to get the 50 summicron F2 1978-1997 version.

    I have also been thinking about a summilux 50mm, the problem is the summilux is harder to find and often quite expensive. I’ve read that the old 50 summilux is less contrasty (a good thing) than the new one but also quite soft wide open. I’d really appreciate any info you might have. Thanks again for your time Shane. Hope you have a great holiday season!

  23. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    The 19mm gets a little tricky without a mattebox, but definitely can be done! Good luck!


  24. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    We have had the opportunity to test various models of leica R primes against each other and had mixed results. We did an extensive test with the 28mm and found the newer version to be sharper and capture more vivid colors. The older version of this tended to be softer and have a slightly more magenta tone to it. We haven’t done much testing with the summicron leicas, but we did have a chance to test versions of the 50mm summilux. It had similar results as the 28mm, but without the magenta hue to it. What it boils down to, in my opinion, is what look you are trying to attain.

    We have the 50mm t1.4 and, like all lenses this fast on the Canon 5D the depth of field is basically nil. A beautiful tool to have the ability to use when you are shooting, but not necessarily something that needs to be utilized in all situations.

    Hope that helps!


  25. Keidrych Wasley 5 years ago

    Thank you so much Mike.

    So, pretty much any 1.4 50 is good in your opinion? Just that earlier ones are a little softer? But i take it not so soft that it is not really usable? Which 50 1.4 did you guys decide to keep?

    Thanks again

  26. Michael Svitak 5 years ago

    Either 50 is going to look superb. The earlier ones are a bit softer. Shooting at a 1.4 is definitely usable! But we tend to use it as more of a look for specific shots, rather than in a narrative environment. We have the older version of the 50mm Summilux.

    • CatAndHearRatMeat 4 years ago

      Hi Mike,
      Admire your effort on educating people. I started gathering Leica R’s little over a year ago not necessarily only for movie mode but simply because of the quality of glass…! It’s great, it’s heavy, it’s fully manual, just the way we like it(my day job is being a focus puller on movies and episodic here in NY). As for the image quality… again just the way it is in film world, you can get craps out of gold if the job is done poorly, but when done well… my fellow industry professionals immediately notice the difference and ask what lens I used- this mainly because even to professionals in the real world where 5D has sort of become D or E body(A, B and C being bigger ones like Alexa then D being Sony F3, then our good ol 5D as a Digital Eyemo), they only think of using Canon lenses.
      Anyway, I saw how you guys put distance markings on your lenses. Coming from Ac background, I did the same when I started using 5D with manual primes, but yours look so much slicker and easier to see than mine. I just cut 1/2″ p-touch very tiny after 10x mag eyefocused on Putra chart, $ bill, to what I think as the most usable markings(like how Primos and S4s did the amazing jobs, but not so much with Optimos and Master Primes though they are great lenses)- 2′, 2′ 6″, 3′, 3’6″, 4′, 5′, 6′, 8′, 10′, 12′, 15′, 20′, 25′, 50′ … something like that. Any suggestions of making it look slicker? I know this has nothing to do with HDSLR tech and more of a labeling q’s but I just can’t figure it out. Thanks bunch in advance. Please feel free to PM me. It’d be great to hear from you.


      P.S. These lenses have the same optics as Van Diemen Leica on PL… and though well- housed, they are not that well labeled and still $8k/pop!

  27. Keidrych Wasley 5 years ago

    Thanks again mike.

    I have one more question. I’m going to get the 19mm elmarit but i wondered if you had tested the first and second version? I know Shane has the first version. The second version needs shaving a bit but is supposed to be much sharper and so on, though this might not necessarily be the best thing. So.. did you test both and go for the first version for a specific reason?

    Thanks again. It’s a great help.

  28. Shane,

    I have a full set of Leica R, from the 28mm Elmarit, to the 250mm Telyt. All lenses with serial # above 310XXX, in other words, very similar coatings on all. I A/B tested them on a focus chart comparing them to my Zeiss ZF.2 lenses that I also have, a kit that was cine-modified by Duclos. The results were, to say the least, disappointing on the leica side. The 28mm Elmarit AND the 35mm Summicron were both fuzzy in the corners that I simply cannot imagine shooting with either of them at all, even in the 2.40:1 ratio. Plus, the 28 had a very distracting fall-off at 2.8. The Zeiss ZF.2 28mm and 35mm were clear winners, by far. The 50mm Summicron was as good as the 50mm Zeiss Macro-Planar, and the print showed nice color separation on both. The 80mm Summilux is a gem, but so is the Zeiss 85 1.4. Both looked magnificient. The 100 Apo-Elmarit was as good as the Zeiss 100 Macro-Planar, with a slight edge of more sharpness on the Zeiss. The 135 Elmarit, 180mm Elmarit 2nd generation and the 250mm Telyt were all compared to the Zeiss 85 and 100, and the Leicas looked good to wonderful. And mixing and matching them in the same scene seemed to be totally possible. I would have posted pictures of the RAW tests to show you guys, but I don’t know how to post them here.

    My biggest disappointment was the 28 and the 35, both MUCH lower in results than the Zeiss of equal length. Plus, the size of the actual lenses made difficult the use of my motors with filters and mattebox, especially the 28mm Elmarit.

    These were all tests made to establish fall-off, contrast and sharpness results, all done at a f2.8 stop. Why 2.8? Well, even if I look to expose at least at f4 anyway, I think that 2.8 is a realistic and popular stop for wide exterior nights, when lines and architecture fill the frames, and you don’t have a zillion dollars to light the set.

    Now, on the “color separation” side of life, I will be shooting more tests in coming week, and I will go have a look on the speedgrade DI to see the results. I will keep you informed, if you’d like, but I was wondering if any of you guys actually did side-by-side A/B tests with the Leicas VS Zeiss ZFs?

    Thank’s again Shane for your dedication and passion in sharing your knowledge! Too bad it’s not always like that in this business… as it should, if you ask me…

    Francois Archambault, S.O.C.

  29. Samuel Hurtado 5 years ago

    wow, great info Francois, thanks for all the detail, and for the
    comparison with the zeiss lenses

    your conclusions kind of confirm what my web research had found, which
    led me to get the cheaper but sharper elmarit 35mm instead of the
    faster summicron 35mm

    some Leica-R lenses ordered by weighted MTF sharpness at f/2.8 (and at
    f/4), best to worse:
    0.81 (0.86) – ElmaritR 90mm
    0.81 (0.84) – SummiluxR 50mm
    0.79 (0.87) – SummicronR 50mm
    0.78 (0.81) – ElmaritR 35mm
    0.75 (0.78) – SummicronR 35mm
    0.74 (0.80) – ElmaritR 180mm
    0.74 (0.79) – ElmaritR 28mm
    0.73 (0.78) – PC Super AngulonR 28mm
    0.71 (0.75) – ElmaritR 24mm

    all that info is coming from photodo.com

  30. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    We own a first gen version of the 19mm and have not tested it against the second gen yet, but hope to do that as soon as we can get a 2nd gen to test against.


  31. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    Thanks for all the info! We have not done extensive A/B testing Leica R versus Zeiss. We have done Leica vs. Canon though and the Leicas were out-preforming the Canon. Also, when testing we shoot video in addition to stills and playback on the dreamcolor. Each class of lenses behaves differently. It boils down to what sort of look you are trying to achieve and knowing how to set your picture profiles according to each brand of lens. We have specific Zeiss, Canon and Leica profile settings in our cameras to enhance lens performance, this is very beneficial for matching multiple brands of lenses.


  32. Mike Svitak,

    the testing I’m doing has to do with how it’s going to look after a film finish. Therefore, it became obvious to us that sharpness was a paramount lens characteristics to check and test. As you may already know, when tests are done for film projects, lens sharpness is verified after actually rolling film with the lens, using a focus chart, and then the stock gets labbed, and then the camera assistant inspects single frames on that neg test roll using a magnifying glass on a light table. That’s why verifying lens sharpness by simply looking at a video rolling in front of you, even on the HP dreamcolor, will not give you reliable results.

    What we did was compare RAW still pictures taken with the lenses, using proper focus charts, and had 11 x 14 high quality photo prints made. All of a sudden, you see everything…

    As far as I’m concerned, I tested 2 of each 28mm and 35mm leica lenses, and they all showed the same issues: blurry corners and sides. Then, just for shits and giggles, those same lenses were tested on a 7D, and with its 1.6x crop factor, the sharpness results were highly superior, the 7D sensor using less glass with it’s narrower circle of confusion. Having said that, I have to say that I prefer the “feel” of the leicas. Their lower contrast and creamier look makes them more cinematic. But even then, with good color correction (and a good colorist, these guys are the key to success on every project), we were quite easily able to get that similar “cinematic feel” with the Zeiss. Plus, the Zeiss being less easily “polluted” by lens flares (unless you want that, of course), wide shots are easier to work and match, contrast wise. But I haven’t thrown the towel yet, I’m now looking for a 35mm Elmarit to test… It is supposed to be much sharper that the Summicron… Can’t wait to find one…)

    I am also a musician, and I feel that shooting with the Canons is very much like recording soundtracks in a studio. The raw basic recorded tracks HAVE to be clean, precise, no effects, and as true and faithful as possible to the actual tonal range of the instrument. That will give you the best possible raw material for the mixing process afterward. When shooting with the canons, some will say that you should expose DSLR footage as if it was reversal film, and I totally agree with that because it is in the same frame of mind as recording sound. Expose it right (with the Dreamcolor…), shoot it properly, compose FOR the story and the action happening in front of you. The rest happens in post. And since “post” is where you’re “stuck” with what you’ve shot, if one lens is less sharp then the others, it is more of a serious challenge to match then a slight color issue. If your raw material has blurry corners and sides, then, that’s what you’ve got, period. Color matching is the job of professional colorist, and even if some color issues are difficult to deal with, most can be fixed and matched to a degree where most of the time becomes seamless in the cut. But sharpness CANNOT be added, and so for me, it is priority #1.

    Mike, I agree with you when you say that establishing a look and knowing how to get it is important, you are totally right. But I still think that sharpness (and it’s constancy…) is the only BEST FRIEND in the Canon 5D DSLR world. And that best friend involves 2 entities: 1- the actual glass of the lens, 2- and, mostly, a trusty focus puller. Even with the sharpest lens in the world, a bad focus puller will make everything ugly. A good focus puller is an artist. Not only will the shot be sharp, but he will rack at the proper moment, at the proper speed, and for the right reason. And that’s crucially part of visual story telling. Impressive cameras and high quality tools and accessories are important. But humans will give any of those tools Artistic depth and visual purpose.

    Jeez! I’m gettin’ philosophical now… that enough, I need a drink…


    • Author
      Shane 5 years ago

      Francois Archambault, S.O.C., can I join you for that drink? Thank you so much for all of your testing and research. I hope that Mike and Adobe are getting to the bottom of your problems.
      I am on the same pursuit for this platform to be able to hold up on a 60′ screen. All the tests that I have done found that the Primo’s were the ultimate capture medium with glass. Sharpness with a hint of cream. I am in agreement with you treating the 5D like reversal film stock. Get it close, what you see is what you get. That is why I love cinema glass which is not so current and sharp. I find the new lenses from Leica, Zeiss, and Angenieux are way too sharp for the HD platform. To me it delivers HD, plastic, too crisp images, not Digital Film.

  33. Erik 5 years ago


    I am wanting to purchase probably 3 of the Leica R primes for a 5D and have typed in lots of the different ones on your list to search for them used…and I’m pretty confused as some of them are exactly as you’ve written out but the price differences vary WILDY, with little difference in what condition they’re supposedly in. This is making me doubt if the lower-priced ones are the same as the higher-priced, if it has to do with the age (very hard to find the year manufactured), and so on. I confess I’m not a Leica expert so I really am having difficulty telling what is what. Is there are particular kind that I can’t really go wrong with, like the Summilux or Elmarit series? I’m kinda on spec overload at this point, any help would be much appreciated!

  34. Mike Svitak 5 years ago


    Summilux are the best, fastest (t1.4), and usually most expensive. Maybe a better way to start your package is deciding what 3 lenses you want in your bag.


  35. Andrew Wehde 5 years ago

    Hey Mike Svitak, I read that you use a specific picture profile setting for the Leica’s. Would you be open to sharing that info with the few of us who have committed to the leicas on the dslr platform for filmmaking?! Would love to get an idea of what you guys have found to be the ideal adjustment to get the absolute best out of these lenses! They really do shine, I have a bunch of really big clients in town (chicago) all of which are also post houses and they go nuts over these lenses in comparison to anything from canon/nikon/zeiss. It is wonderful being the only DP in town who has them!

    • Chris McAlister 4 years ago

      Andrew, I also live in Chicago and adhere to the Leica primes, for obvious reason. They’re the cream of the crop, but it all comes down to what you do with them. Don’t single yourself out just yet.


  36. Keidrych Wasley 5 years ago


    I’m wondering if anyone has any experience with both the Leica 19mm elmarit version 1 and 2? I’m torn between which one to get. I’ve read that the V2 is sharper and more contrasty, but this is not necessarily the best thing for video work. It is also more expensive.

    Thanks for any advice.

  37. Mike Svitak 4 years ago


    We do have a specific profile for the leica lenses. It is very similar to the profile we use for Panavision Primo lenses. I would be happy to see if we can post some picture styles online for you, but we create these picture styles by shooting stills in a similar environment then taking those still images and adjusting the contrast, saturation and curve with the CANON PICTURE STYLE EDITOR that comes with the camera. I’d recommend creating their own picture style before they go out shooting. What we are trying to do is gain a couple extra stops of latitude by reaching into the blacks while still holding the highlights.

    One thing to remember is that you will need to set different picture styles for the 5D AND 7D because the sensors behave differently. We have general settings for CANON, ZEISS, PRIMO, and LEICA for each camera.


  38. Mike Svitak 4 years ago

    We use version 1 of the 19mm.

  39. John Hally 4 years ago

    I’ve been using a Leica 80mm f1.4 since before DSLR’s did video, and since the 5D2 have gone almost entirely to Leica R. Many work beautifully, but I’ve had some infinity focus issues, most notably with the 35-70mm f4 and the 400mm f6.8; can anthing be done? Adapters, mods (I don’t anticipate ever going back to Leica R cameras, so non-reversible is doable)?

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      John Hally, have you tried the Leitax mod http://www.leitax.com/Leica-lens-for-Canon-cameras.html. It requires you to take the R mount off and attach their mod that gives you the infinity focus and works around these loose adapters.

      • John Hally 4 years ago

        Thanks, Shane, I’ll give Leitax a try…I’ve done Novoflex and various others—most lenses are close, but the 35-70 maxes out at a few yards…

  40. Nadya 4 years ago

    Thank you for this blog Shane, very enlightening! As are the posts. I have been considering buying a 35mm prime lens (with financial restrictions of course)to use with 5D and have been undecided- for a while considering the upcoming Zeiss 35mm 1.4 (but it’s expensive for my budget). But then I found this blog. What are your (or anyone’s!) opinion on the best 35mm Leica lens for “film” purposes to go with the 5d? Comments appreciated!

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Nayda, thank you so much for those kind words and welcome to the Hurlblog, I see K Wasely is taking care of you. We love Leica’s here.

  41. K Wasley 4 years ago

    Leica M lenses do not work with a 5D, so that cuts that out. So you are left with Leica R and there are only two options which keeps things simple!

    1. Leica 35mm summilux 1.4. This is the most expensive option and the lens will need to be modified to clear the 5D mirror, which will cost extra. Great lens.

    2. Leica 35mm summicron F2. This is a cheaper lens due to the F stop. Very nice lens in my opinion. You want the second version which is serial number 2791417 and up. Expect to pay $600 to $1100 dollars depending on condition and where you buy it from. Forums can be a good place for a good deal. Leica forum, getDPI, FredMiranda and so on.

    Happy hunting…

  42. Nadya 4 years ago

    K Wasley- Thank you!

  43. Nadya 4 years ago

    One more question- why does the serial number have to be 2791417 and up? Do any serial numbers lower than that not work? thanks!

  44. Chris McAlister 4 years ago

    Shane or Mike, have you guys had a chance to check out the new Zeiss CP.2’s? If so, what was your impression on them?

  45. K Wasley 4 years ago

    “One more question- why does the serial number have to be 2791417 and up? Do any serial numbers lower than that not work? thanks!”

    This is just because from that serial and up is the second version of the lens, which i would recommend.

  46. Tomi Gangl 4 years ago

    Thanks Shane for all this blog informations!
    I m buying a cannon 5D mark 2 and i want to use it especialy for shoothing on green screen.
    I want to catch the whole human figure in the picture.
    Which is the best lens that i should use for green screen shoothing in an interier?

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Tomi Gangl, I would use a 50mm. That would look nice and give you full figure.

  47. Mike S 4 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    I’m a film student and I’m interested in getting started in DSLR filmmaking. Your site and blogs have been my major source for info on the topic so far, so I want to thank you for that. I plan on getting the 550D because its cheaper, so I can invest in some good lenses and upgrade the body in the future. I was wondering if you knew anything on how the Leica Rs work with the T2i, and with the crop sensor on the T2i, what lenses you think would be best to start with. Whatever information or tips you can give would be very very appreciated. thank you so much

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Mike S, I would save your money and get a 5D. The 7D, T2i, 550D all don’t hold a candle to it. If you are serious about making movies then I feel you need to start with the ultimate capture medium. Those others are all going by the wayside fast and the one that remains is the 5D. I would go for the 28, 50, 80, 100mm macro R Leica’s to start. They will deliver wonderful cinematic images.

      • Mike S 4 years ago

        Thanks, Shane, you’re such a huge help. A second summer job will definitely be worth it :). I’m guessing you’re referring to the 5d mark ii? or the original 5d? also do you know where I could buy the Leica Rs? I dont see any on amazon or b&h. Thanks!

        • Author
          Shane 4 years ago

          Mike S, eBay baby. Thank you so much for those kind words.

        • K Wasley 4 years ago

          The 5D MKII. The 5D does not do video. In terms of Leica lenses, internet forums often have the best deals. Try the leica forum, GetDPI and fred miranda to start. I’ve paid significantly less than ebay prices getting lenses, often mint, from these forums. You want Leica R lenses don’t forget. Best of Luck!!!

  48. Martin H 4 years ago

    Hi Shane,
    short question about the Fotodiox adapters. There are several different versions avaiable at theire website (pro grade; consumer grade; with chip…) wich adapters would you recommend for use on a 7d. Thanks for this great Blog by the way its a big source of inspiration…

    greetz from Germany

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Martin H, Pro grade, no need for the chip. SHould run you around 80 bucks.

  49. Ron 4 years ago

    Hi Shane,

    Excellent forum! I have learned alot.

    Initially I was going to purchase the “Red” however, decided on the Canon 5d ii. Been playing around with it for a month now. Found the Canon 24-105mm lens so, so. Bought the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 to see the performance. Then I ordered the Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZE. Still waiting for it to arrive. Noticed your pro Leica stance and I would have went for Leica if I would have found this blog earlier. Next lens will be a Leica. It has been a fun journey so far.

    So for the Leica lenses:
    1. Need the Mount
    (ebay: Fotodiox Leica R – Canon EOS lens mount adapter PRO – $79.95)
    2. R Lense
    (use the pebbleplace site as pointed out for whether the lens will work:
    http://www.pebbleplace.com/Personal/Leica_db.html )

    By the way, your videos are fantastic.

    Much appreciated,

    Ron – from Edmonton – lots of snow still on the ground.

    PS. I thank everyone else who has contributed information too! Thanks.

    • Author
      Shane 4 years ago

      Ron, Thank you so much for those kind words, sounds like you are on your way. I would go with the Leitax mounts, these are the best. Don’t mess around with the fotodiox. I find that each lens gives you a different feel. You have to choose the project and then choose the lens that fits the style and look of that project.

    • Fredrick Dent 4 years ago

      Shane, I’ve been building my collection of Zeiss and Leica R lenses for decades now, and I wonder how you adapted the Leica wide angles-15,19, 35 Summilux- for the 5D II. Thanks, Fredrick Dent

      • Author
        Shane 4 years ago

        Fredrick Dent, I had Duclos lenses shave the rear element and use Leitax mounts.

        • Fredrick Dent 4 years ago

          Shane, That sounds like a winner. Thanks, Fredrick

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