Leica M cameras are legendary within the photograph trade. Historical past performs a job—the sequence has been in manufacturing for the higher a part of six many years, and Leica’s legacy goes again farther, to the very first digicam to make use of 35mm movie greater than a century in the past. And, with a number of exceptions right here and there, a contemporary digital Leica M10-R helps each M-mount and its predecessor, Leica Thread Mount (LTM) lenses, with none sacrifices in performance.

Leica M10 with Vintage Elmarit LensLeica M10 with Classic Elmarit Lens

An absence of in-lens electronics performs a giant half. Leica lenses are purely mechanical, and whilst you should not anticipate a lens from the 1950s to be as optically chic as fashionable glass with unique aspherical components, you may anticipate the identical expertise when utilizing them no matter whether or not it is with a 35mm Leica M-A or digital M10 digicam.

In the present day’s Manufacturers

Leica, Voigtlander, and Zeiss are the main manufacturers making M lenses at this time. All of them share German roots, although the Voigtlander imprint is now owned by a Japanese producer, Cosina.

They have been joined in recent times by some very boutique manufacturers. Some, like one-man store MS Optics, think about brief manufacturing runs of lenses set aside by ultra-slim designs or extra-bright apertures, with pricing that is aggressive with Voigtlander and Zeiss.

Others are up-and-comers: 7artisans, Kipon, TTArtisan, and Venus Laowa are newer names to photographers, however have all launched M lens designs in latest months. Their lenses are typically inexpensive than different manufacturers. TTArtisan, for instance, sells a 50mm F0.95 lens for $755—Leica’s Noctilux-M 50mm F0.95, for comparability, prices $12,495.

Rangefinder and Mirrorless EVF Cameras

You should not anticipate the identical stage of expertise from a funds lens as a hand-built Leica lens, however not everybody looking for M glass is pairing it with a rangefinder. Anybody with a mirrorless interchangeable lens digicam can use M lenses with a easy adapter.

We have even seen some adapters that add autofocus to the purely guide lenses. The Techart Professional Leica M adapter is an attention-grabbing product, however is slightly little bit of a ache to make use of in follow, in addition to costly.

Leica Lens on Sony CameraThis classic Leica Summicron lens works with fashionable mirrorless cameras by way of an adapter

Now, that is true of just about any totally guide lens, however M lenses are usually smaller and lighter than these made for classic SLRs, and adapters are shorter too. With an EVF digicam, you may focus an M lens manually with a through-the-lens view, a bit completely different from an optical rangefinder.

No matter what sort of digicam you utilize, there are a wealth of M lenses to select from, each new and previous. We have highlighted a few of our favorites that we have reviewed through the years right here, together with some recommendation for looking for classic lenses.

 

Extensive-Angle Views

Leica Wide Angle Tri-Elmar / M10 MonochromLeica Extensive Angle Tri-Elmar / M10 Monochrom

For many rangefinder house owners, a reasonably extensive to plain prime is your main lens. Most M digicam viewfinders present framing guides for choose focal lengths from 28mm by 135mm. Some movie fashions, just like the discontinued Voigtlander Bessa R4, supply wider-angle protection, however you may must seek for them on the used market and ship movie out or spend time processing it your self.

With most rangefinders, extensive lenses require exterior viewfinders, both optical or digital, for framing. There are ample choices to select from, although, together with the one in-production zoom lens for M cameras, the Leica 16-18-21mm Tri-Elmar, and Venus Laowa’s 9mm F5.6 FF RL, presently the widest rectilinear lens you will get for a full-frame system.

Voigtlander 15mm LTM / Leica M (Typ 240)An out-of-production model of the Voigtlander Tremendous-Extensive Heliar 15mm exhibits notable shade shift and vignette when used on a digital Leica M (Typ 240). The third version of the lens, now on sale, fixes the issue.

You will must take some care when looking for a digital digicam, as a handful of extensive lenses exhibit odd shade shifts on the nook of the body. Many of the worst offenders are solely out there secondhand, however bear in mind that it is a concern with some lenses which were round because the movie days, together with the Zeiss C Biogon T* 21mm. A free software program app, appropriately named Cornerfix, is beneficial if you wish to compensate for the impact.

The digicam you utilize performs an element, too. Some digital fashions do a greater job suppressing shade shifts. Others might not present odd colours, however will smear particulars within the corners. Leica’s purpose-built digital M cameras embody on-sensor corrective optics—microlenses—and really skinny protecting materials over the sensor to get probably the most out of wide-angle lenses.

Meaning you may’t anticipate the identical efficiency from the identical optics when utilizing lenses, notably extensive ones, with mirrorless cameras from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, or Sony. Kolari Imaginative and prescient, a small store greatest identified for infrared digicam conversions, can modify choose full-frame mirrorless cameras for a price. It guarantees that nook decision might be extra consistent with a Leica physique as soon as it is carried out.

Voigtlander 10mm/1:5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar E

Voigtlander 10mm F5.6 Hyper Extensive Heliar

The Voigtlander 10mm/1:5.6 Hyper Extensive Heliar E is the widest rectilinear lens you will get for any full-frame digicam, however its edges are mushy and present a heavy vignette.

MSRP $1,099.00

Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 ASPH.

Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/Four ASPH.

For those who see in ultra-wide angles the Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/Four ASPH. is a strong lens on your rangefinder digicam, but it surely must be stopped down for optimum efficiency.

MSRP $5,450.00

Leica Super-Elmar-M 18mm f/3.8 ASPH.

Leica Tremendous-Elmar-M 18mm f/3.Eight ASPH.

The Leica Tremendous-Elmar-M 18mm f/3.Eight ASPH. is a pointy, compact rangefinder lens, but it surely requires big 77mm filters.

MSRP $3,250.00

Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 4/18 ZM

Zeiss Distagon T* 4/18 ZM

For those who’re a fan of utmost extensive angles, the Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 4/18 ZM is a lens to contemplate on your rangefinder or different mirrorless digicam.

MSRP $1,428.00

Lomography New Russar+

The Lomography New Russar+ lens captures pictures with a basic, low-contrast look, but it surely has shade shift points when used with some cameras.

MSRP $649.00

Voigtlander Ultron 21mm F1.8

Voigtlander Ultron 21mm F1.Eight VM

The Voigtlander Ultron 21mm F1.Eight is a wide-angle lens that captures quite a lot of gentle, however you may need to cease down for edge-to-edge crispness.

MSRP $1,149.00

Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.4 Aspherical VM Image

Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.Four Aspherical VM

The Voigtlander Nokton 21mm F1.Four lens marries fashionable optics to classic aesthetics with a lot success, capturing serene pictures and delivering the true mechanical guide focus expertise to which many nonetheless cling.

MSRP $1,049.00

Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 4,5/21 ZM

Zeiss C Biogon T* 4,5/21 ZM

The Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 4,5/21 ZM is an impressively compact wide-angle lens for rangedfinder cameras, however shade shift is usually a drawback on digital our bodies.

MSRP $1,201.00

Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/21 ZM

Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/21 ZM

The Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/21 ZM is a strong various to Leica glass for rangefinder shooters, but it surely’s not that sharp on the edges.

MSRP $1,428.00

Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/25 ZM

Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/25 ZM

The Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/25 ZM is a pointy wide-angle rangefinder lens. It is not excellent, but it surely’s a strong performer and good worth in comparison with Leica glass.

MSRP $1,201.00

Commonplace Prime

Leica Elmarit 28mm / M10-DLeica Elmarit 28mm / M10-D

A 28mm lens is about as extensive as most photographers will go for the standard lens on a Leica digicam—it is the widest you may get with a contemporary digital and older movie rangefinders, and matches the view of at this time’s smartphones. For a era of photographers making their first footage with iPhones, it is a comfy angle of view.

You would possibly desire a lens with a barely tighter view. For rangefinders, look to a 35mm as a reasonably extensive customary, and to 50mm lenses in case your pictures lean towards topic isolation otherwise you simply desire a narrower view of the world.

Leica M10 Monochrom with 50mm APO-Summicron LensLeica M10 Monochrom with 50mm APO-Summicron Lens

Oddball focal lengths do make their means into the system, although. Leica offered the 40mm Summicron-C within the 1970s as the usual lens for the compact CL movie digicam, however there are not any body strains to assist it in any M sequence digicam, movie or digital. The lens has its devotees, this creator included. In the present day, Voigtlander sells two 40mm lenses, the brilliant Nokton F1.2 and the compact Nokton F1.4.

It is on the 50mm the place you may discover lenses with extraordinarily brilliant apertures. Leica’s Noctilux line was born out of the focal size, and has progressed from F1.2 to the current-generation F0.95 offered at this time. Third events, together with MS Optics, TTArtisan, and Voigtlander, have additionally marketed lenses with apertures bigger than F1.Four in latest reminiscence. If you would like a quick 50mm lens, the M system has you lined.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH. (2016)

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.Eight ASPH.

The Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.Eight ASPH. lens improves on the picture high quality and design of its predecessor.

MSRP $2,295.00

Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Leica Summilux-M 28mm f/1.Four ASPH

The Summilux-M 28mm f/1.Four ASPH. is a brilliant lens with no distortion and powerful edge-to-edge sharpness, however as with all Leica gear, you may pay a hefty worth for it.

MSRP $6,595.00

Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/28 ZM

Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/28 ZM

The Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/28 ZM is half the value of its Leica counterpart, however its edge efficiency leaves one thing to be desired.

MSRP $1,087.00

Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens 2.8/32 M

Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Artwork Lens 2.8/32 M

The Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Artwork Lens 2.8/32 M is absurdly small and produces pictures with a pointy heart and blurry edges, however it’s a must to love the low-fi look to like the lens.

MSRP $349.00

Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.4 ASPH.

Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.Four ASPH.

The Leica Summarit-M 35mm f/2.Four ASPH. is a small prime lens for Leica rangefinders that covers a basic wide-angle subject of view. Its heart is kind of sharp, giving approach to softer edges when shot at wider apertures.

MSRP $2,250.00

Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH.

Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH.

The Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. is a pointy, compact wide-angle lens for rangefinder cameras, and it comes with a Leica price ticket.

MSRP $3,195.00

Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.Four ASPH.

The Leica Summilux-M 35mm f/1.Four ASPH. may be very small contemplating its angle of view and aperture, however its efficiency does not fairly match its worth.

MSRP $5,150.00

Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM

Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM

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The Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM is an extremely sharp optic with a large aperture, and a simple choose as Editors’ Selection.

MSRP $2,290.00

Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2/35 ZM

The Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2/35 ZM is a large aperture rangefinder lens that delivers wonderful sharpness close to the center of the body, however picture high quality suffers on the edges.

MSRP $1,087.00

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.4 ASPH.

Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.Four ASPH.

The Leica Summarit-M 50mm f/2.Four ASPH. is a pointy, compact prime lens for Leica rangefinders, but it surely does not supply an enormous financial savings over the quicker Summicron-M 50mm f/2.

MSRP $1,950.00

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH.

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH

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The Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. is as near an ideal lens as I’ve ever used, but it surely prices greater than the newest digital M.

MSRP $7,995.00

Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH.

Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.Four ASPH.

The expensive Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.Four ASPH. is the go-to standard-angle lens for a lot of a rangefinder shooter, and with good motive.

MSRP $3,995.00

Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M

Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M

The Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M is a clone of the basic Russian Jupiter Three lens, recent off the manufacturing line, however you pay a giant premium for getting new.

MSRP $649.00

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1

Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1

The Voigtlander Nokton 50mm F1.1 captures an unimaginable quantity of sunshine, in addition to pictures with a really shallow depth of subject.

MSRP $1,000.00

Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM

Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM

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The Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM is a good customary angle lens for rangefinder cameras; slightly little bit of barrel distortion is its solely actual flaw.

MSRP $860.00

Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM

Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM

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The Carl Zeiss C Biogon T* 2,8/35 ZM is a compact lens for rangefinder cameras with a average wide-angle subject of view. It is extraordinarily sharp from edge to edge, and worthy of our Editors’ Selection award.

MSRP $860.00

Quick Telephoto

Leica Summarit 75mm / M (Typ 240)Leica Summarit 75mm / M (Typ 240)

Lenses with focal lengths longer than 50mm supply narrower angles of view, and fall into the realm of telephoto. Leica cameras embody framing guides for 75mm, 90mm, and 135mm optics within the viewfinder.

I like to recommend 75mm and 90mm choices a bit extra strongly for rangefinder photographers. Frankly, it’s kind of of a ache to border photographs within the comparatively tiny space lined by the 135mm strains within the viewfinder, and the lengthy focal size requires you to take extra care to focus exactly.

It is value it to consider switching to the Visoflex EVF with an M10 sequence digicam in case you go for a lens just like the APO-Telyt-M 135mm, and it is a fully crucial add-on if you wish to get pictures targeted completely when utilizing the Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 at its widest aperture.

Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4 ASPH.

Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.Four ASPH.

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The Leica Summarit-M 75mm f/2.Four ASPH. does not are available the commonest focal size, but it surely’s lethal sharp and fairly compact, incomes Editors’ Selection honors.

MSRP $2,150.00

Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM

Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM

The Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar T* 4/85 ZM is a pointy brief telephoto lens for rangefinder cameras, however fashionable digital our bodies haven’t got 85mm body strains.

MSRP $940.00

Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.4 ASPH.

Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.Four ASPH.

The Leica Summarit-M 90mm f/2.Four ASPH. is a strong alternative for rangefinder photographers on the lookout for a compact brief telephoto lens, but it surely’s not fairly an Editors’ Selection.

MSRP $2,350.00

Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH.

Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH.

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The Leica APO-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH. is a virtually flawless telephoto lens for Leica rangefinder cameras. It is sharp from edge to edge and has a large f/2 most aperture.

MSRP $3,995.00

Leica APO-Telyt-M 135mm f/3.4

Leica APO-Telyt-M 135mm f/3.4

The APO-Telyt-M 135mm f/3.Four is the longest lens out there for the Leica M system. It may be difficult to focus, however Reside View makes it simpler to make use of.

MSRP $3,650.00

Trendy Classics and Classic Gems

Lomography LC-A Minitar 1 / Leica M (Typ 240)Lomography LC-A Minitar 1 / Leica M (Typ 240)

Many attain to older M glass for tasks that demand a little bit of a classic look. Costs, availability, and situation range. For those who’re versed in shopping for previous photograph gear, you may be effectively conscious of watching out for issues like oil on aperture blades and stiff focus rings, however it might be value it to internet pictures and movies with a glance that is naturally a bit softer, with a bit much less distinction, and unpredictable flare.

For those who do hunt down older glass, be ready to take care of the occasional lemon. I’ve purchased and returned M lenses for numerous causes—I had my eyes on a goggled Leica Elmarit 135mm F2.Eight at one level, however discovered its focus calibration to be means off. Fairly than foot a restore invoice, I opted to return it.

That is a luxurious you may have when shopping for from a photograph specialty retailer—the massive on-line retailers all have fairly full of life used departments. That will not all the time be true in case you go the eBay route, so examine the itemizing. Web dialogue boards additionally function a market amongst members; Leica Discussion board and Rangefinder Discussion board are two fashionable locations for M system photographers.

If returns aren’t an possibility, or you will have a chunk of drugs you actually need to be introduced into good working order, restore retailers are your greatest route. DAG Digicam Restore and Golden Contact focus on Leica.

You can even purchase a brand new lens that is primarily based on an previous design. Leica, Lomography, and Voigtlander have all produced fashionable takes on some classic lenses for photographers who do not need to use an precise vintage.

Leica Summaron-M 28mm / M Monochrom (Typ 246)Leica Summaron-M 28mm / M Monochrom (Typ 246)

The Leica Summaron-M 28mm F5.6, Lomography New Jupiter, and Voigtlander 50mm Heliar draw pictures like lenses of yesteryear, however are constructed with fashionable strategies. You will not have to worry about sending them in for service.

No matter whether or not you are shopping for new or used, or for a 35mm movie physique, digital Leica, or one other model’s mirrorless digicam, there are good causes to buy M-mount lenses. You may benefit from the newest lenses with clinically excellent optics, or hunt down older lenses and optical formulation for pictures with character.

We have highlighted some evaluations of lenses now not in manufacturing right here, together with some fashionable takes on classic lenses that you may nonetheless discover on the market at retail.

Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6

Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6

The Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6 lens captures pictures with a classic look, setting your pictures aside from a crowded fashionable panorama.

MSRP $2,495.00

Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M

Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M

The Lomography New Jupiter 3+ 1.5/50 L39/M is a clone of the basic Russian Jupiter Three lens, recent off the manufacturing line, however you pay a giant premium for getting new.

MSRP $649.00

Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Art Lens 2.8/32 M

Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Artwork Lens 2.8/32 M

The Lomography LC-A Minitar-1 Artwork Lens 2.8/32 M is absurdly small and produces pictures with a pointy heart and blurry edges, however it’s a must to love the low-fi look to like the lens.

MSRP $349.00

Lomography New Russar+

The Lomography New Russar+ lens captures pictures with a basic, low-contrast look, but it surely has shade shift points when used with some cameras.

MSRP $649.00

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH.

Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.Eight ASPH

Within the Leica world, the Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.Eight ASPH. lens is a relative cut price, however you do not get stellar edge-to-edge efficiency at its most aperture.

MSRP $2,195.00

Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH.

Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH.

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The Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH. is a pointy, quick, wide-angle optic for Leica rangefinder cameras; it is costly, however a superb performer.

MSRP $4,295.00

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