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Leica M Type 240 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 33
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Leica M Type 240 Digital Rangefinder Camera - Page 33

Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom and Leica M Type 240:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18   M9-P   Links
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23                             29  
Leica M 240
30 31 32 33 34       38                     What if?  
Leica Video           35 36 37                         Books


This article is about three cameras that are related, but different. Therefore pages 1-19 is the Leica M9, Leica M9-P and Leica M-E. Page 20 is the Leica M Monochrom and from page 30 is the Leica M 240.
Some of the previous pages will be relevant for Leica M Monochrom and Leica M 240 owners.

By: Thorsten Overgaard

 

The Leica R Lenses Catwalk

Back in the 90's some folks from Leica Camera AG stated officially that the Leica R lenses were the best Leica lenses ever made and hinted that the reason simply was that there was more glass and a larger tolerance, relatively.

But that was a few years ago.

Now, 15-20 years later we find ourselves equipped with a Leica M camera that takes R lenses. But also a generation of Leica M lenses later. So what is the significance of being able to use Leica R lenses on a Leica M 240 camera with a Leica EVF-2 electronic viewfinder?

The R-lenses are deeply interesting, and a very emotional connection to Leica history. The best lenses ever made!

Yet, it could give you a hint that I have most R lenses in the range from 19mm to 400mm, and since I got the Leica M 240 eight months ago, I have used the R-lenses almost not at all. Then again, I didn't use them for many months before, even though I had the Leica R9 DMR digital back for them.

 


Vienna, September 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

In the 50mm range the worlds best 50mm standard lens, the Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0 (no 11 215) was designed by Dr. Walter Mandler in 1976 and produced untill 2009. It is larger, but essentially the same as the similarly designed Summicron-M (version IV, no 11 826) that is still in production as the rather economical standard lens ($2,295) for the Leica M. This M version of the 50mm Summicron is a downsized version of the R version and was designed by Dr. Walter Mandler in 1979 and is still in production.

The two lenses are close to identical, only size differs. The resolution of the lenses (lines per inch they can resolve) and relative assembling tolerance is larger on the Leica R version. As with the Leica S lenses, large lenses have more glass and larger dimensions, hence a micron mis-alignment in assembling has less influence the larger the lens design.

 


Inside a 1963 Citroen DS23 Chapron convertible. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

New lens designs
But when we come up to present time, we discover that lens master designer Peter Karbe designed the ultimate Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 lens that started delivery in 2013. The main ingredients in the upgrade of the 50mm is greatly improved precision in grinding the glass surfaces used in the lens, and the low tolerances in assembling the lens. In other words, with todays machinery the lens designers can work with much smaller tolerances.

The 'secret' of the Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 being the worlds best 50mm lens is to a large degree the perfection implied in the process, mainly in the assembling. Imagine how narrow tolerances we are talking about with the floating element in the lens (that ensures precise focus when the aperture is changed. Without floating element a lens will change focus when the aperture is changed. Something we didn't notice when we used film, but with digital sensors the overall tolerances has become very narrow). And when the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 was designed (likewise with floating element) a few years ago, Leica Camera made new machines to reach a new and sofar unheard level of precision in the grinding and assembling.

So as for older lenses being the best ... I am sure that is not the case anymore. You may prefer their soul and look, but that the new lenses are better technically is undisputed.

 

50mm Summicron-R   50mm Summicron-M   50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH
         
   
Leica R-to-M Adapter
Leica Adapter R-to-M (no 14 642)
       
         
Design by Dr. Walter Mandler:   Design by Dr. Walter Mandler:   Design by Peter Karbe:
Design by Dr. Walter Mandle   Design by Dr. Walter Mandle   Design by Peter Karbe
         
Closest focus: 47 cm   Closest focus: 70 cm   Closest focus: 70 cm
Production 1976 - 2009   Production 1979 -   Production 2012 -
        APO
        ASPH
        Floating element
E55 filters   E39 filters   E39 filters
Price today: $500 (second-hand)
Adaptor price: $310 (new)
  Price today: $2,295 (new)
$1,100 - $2,000 (second-hand)
  Price today: $7,195 (new)
340g   290g   300g
Length 41mm   Length 43mm   Length 47mm
Diameter 61mm   Diameter 53mm   Diameter 53mm
         

(For more on ASPH (aspheric design), APO (apochromatically corrected) and FLoating element, see the Leica Definitions page).

 

Bela Fleck and Chick Corea
Bela Fleck and Chick Corea performing. Leica M240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

 

The newest Leica R lens designs date back to 2002 with the Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-R ASPH (version III, no 11 350). The year before in 2001 the Leica 15mm Super-Elmarit-R ASPH was done (by Schneider), and before that the 1998-version of the Leica 50mm Summilux-R f/1.4 (version III, no 11 344).

In fact, the last Leica R lens that was made was the one-off special delivery of the 1600mm APO-Telyt f/5.6 for Sheikh Saud Al Thani of Qatar in 2006. That lens resides in a musem warehouse in Doha, Qatar whilst a prototype is on display at the Leica Camera AG factory in Germany (see the Leica History page for more).

 


The Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0 has one big advantage going for it: The most narrow focus range is 47 cm which get you real close and create a whole new range of selective focus and sparkling bokeh.

And for the record, this is the different views between the Summicron-R at closest focus 47 cm and my old Summicron-M (Version II) at closest focus 100 cm:

     
 
Summicron-R at closest focus 47 cm   Summicron-M (Version II) at closest focus 100 cm

 

End of the R era
By 2009 Leica Camera AG announced that they stopped production of Leica R lenses and would not produce more R lenses when the stock had run out. The reason being that Leica Camera AG would focus on the Leica M system and the Leica S digital medium format system.

Leica R10
There would be no Leica R10 but instead some other solution for R lenses; or rather a future solution for those who owned R lenses. We now know this is the Leica M Type 240.

 


My daughter Robin Isabella von Overgaard posing for the Miami Workshop in July 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

 

The Leica R Lenses on the Leica M 240

One can speculate why Leica Camera AG went from the CCD sensor in Leica M9 to the CMOS sensor in Leica M Type 240. Was it to fulfill the promise of a Leica R soultion? Or because of higher ISO, less energy use, lower production costs of sensors, possibility of video and/or to offer Live View?

 


The Leica R-to-M adapter for the Leica M 240 that finally became widely available in December 2013

 

Regardless, the fact is that the Leica M Type 240 has a very special version of a CMOS sensor designed for and with Leica Camera AG (together with the Belgian company CMOSIS, and produced by ST Microelectronics in Grenoble). And with that sensor, Leica R lenses can be used on a Leica M camera.


Leica R-to-M adapter (no 14 642) enables you to mount Leica R lenses in the Leica M 240.


More views of the Leica R-to-M adapter kit (photo by Dale Photo & Digital)
.


         
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It's not a large Leica M, it's a small Leica dSLR

If you add a EVF-2 electronic viewfinder, a Leica R-to-M adapter and perhaps a Leica Handgrip to the Leica M Type 240, you essentially have a 24MP dSLR camera (digital Single Lens Reflex camera, but with Live View through the EVF-2 digital viewfinder).

The genius of the concept was a bit hard to grasp at Photokina 2012 when it was presented. And also then the video feature was presented as a built-in option. Not to mention the new CMOS sensor instead of the beloved CCD-sensor.

 

Manzini cafe in Berli
The Manzini Cafe in Berlin. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

All in all it was just too many add-ons to a camera that many choose for the simplicity, the engineering and the world's best lenses. Why make it more complex?

But if one turns around the viewpoint from having to use dSLR cameras to shoot with long tele lenses, then one is looking at the worlds smallest full/frame 24MP dSLR. And it can even be turned into a compact Leica M those days where the long tele lenses are not needed.

 

The original 10MP dSLR as of 2004   The NEW compact 24MP as of 2013
Leica R8 DMR dSLR   Leica M Type 240 as dSLR

Leica R9 DMR with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 zoom.

 

Leica M Type 240 with 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 zoom, using the Leica R-to-M adapter.

Leica R8 DMR dSLR   Leica M Type 240 as dSLR
100-400 ISO, 10 MP, 1.5 frames per second   200 - 3200 ISO, 24 MP, 3.7 frames per second

 

Join a Workshop Far Away from Home

 

 

History Lesson: The Leica R solution

We're interrupting the story with a short Leica History Lesson for the new arrivals in the class.

The Leica R cameras started out with the Leicaflex cameras in 1964 as an answer to the Japanese SLR-cameras (Single Lens Reflex) that threatened their Leica M rangefinder camera, that had so far been the de facto standard for photo journalism around the world. Nikon, Canon, Yashica and many others had tried to copy the rangefinder concept with their own rangefinder cameras, but then suddenly they came up with the SLR camera that had many advantages over rangefinder.

 
  SLR with a prism in eye-level
   

(The world's first true 35mm SLR was the Soviet "Sport" camera in 1936, but that might confuse the story. The actual breakthrough of 35mm SLR happened from the Contax S of 1948 that had a prism viewfinder - thus seeing through the lens [Single Lens Reflex] from eyelevel via a prism and not from above the camera looking down at a matte screen. This set off the real SLR takeover in the 1950s where the Japanese camera producers introduced SLR cameras like the 1959 Nikon F and the like).

With that Leica Camera AG had to become the copycat and come up with their SLR cameras. The first in the line was the 1964 Leicaflex. A camera that feels like a mechanical Leica M made into a SLR camera. With the most sexy shutter sound ever heard. A remarkable camera, though with much less automatic features than the Japanese produced SLR-cameras.

 


From my film days. A Buddhist Sunday School, Sri Lanka, January 2005
Leicaflex SL motor with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f1.4, 100 ISO Astia, Imacon/Hasselblad Flextight Photo scan.

The period from the first Leica SLR to the end of the Leica R system in 2009 is quite a downfall from the market leader in everyday tools for photojournalists to becoming an exotic brand with - granted - the best lenses.

Leica invented the AF (Auto-Focus) in the 70's but management in Germany decided to sell it as "nobody want's auto focus", and only God knows how many opportunities the Leica brand missed in this awkward and surreal period of camera history where the "grandfather of 35mm" slid down from market leader to becoming an exotic brand everybody knew, but only ecentrics used.

 

Leitz Leicaflex SL black
My Leicaflex SL from 1973 which I bought as new in 2005 in the box after it had been lying around in a German photo store for 32 years, never opened. Here with the Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0

 

Fast forward to the digital age with dSLR cameras (digital SLR cameras, hence the dSLR). After trying to keep the pace with the SLR market for 30 years, then came digital cameras. The first Nikon/Kodak dSLR cameras in the end of the 1991 had a 1MP sensor (and a Digital Storage Unit the size of a camera bag) which was not exactly a threat to the Leica film quality.

  Leica DMR digital back from back on R9
  A Leica R9 with the DMR Digital Module R (photo/graphics, August 2004)

As late as 2002-03, Leica management officially stated that film was still superior and implied that by continuing to offer only film solutions the world of photography would come to their senses sooner or later and realize it too.Leica did not see a need to go digital.

But that changed, and in 2006 Leica finally came up with the digital solution for their Leica R8 and Leica R9 cameras: An interchangeable digital back. In a few seconds one could take off the film back of the Leica R8 or Leica R9 and mount a digital back on the camera. Voila, 10MP CCD sensor made with the world's leading sensor company Kodak and the worlds leading scanner company, Imacon. The Leica DMR Digital Module R.



The Leica DMR was shaped to the Leica R9 almost as the R Motor. Left: Leica R8 with DMR digital back and Leica  35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 and right: Leica R9 w/motor and film back, with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmar-R ASPH f/4.0

 

However, the joy was shortlived. A couple of years after the introduction, Imacon in Copenhagen was sold to Hasselblad in Sweden who wanted the unique Imacon knowledge deployed in the digital Hasselblad units.

That put a stop to the further production of the Leica DMR digital back. Rumor has it that the owner of Leica Camera AG, Dr. Andreas Kaufmann had wanted to buy Hasselblad, and if so, it is likely that the owner of Hasselblad didn't want to share Imacon knowledge with Leica. In any case, the Leica DMR digital back was history (and Leica Camera AG and Andreas Kaufmann eventually went on with developing the Leica S medium format system, competing with Hasselblad).

 


Singer and actress Joy Villa in Berlin, September 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

By the end of 2009 there had been produced 3,000 units of the Leica DMR Digital Module R and now Leica Camera AG was unexpectedly without a digital R camera!

The obvious answer would be to develop a Leica R10 dSLR camera that was fully digital like the competitors. But Leica instead of announcing a Leica R10, Leica announced that they would stop production of Leica R lenses.

Almost in the same breath they presented the Leica M9 as a surprise on September 9, 2009 at 9.09 AM in New York, and promised that Leica Camera AG would produce "some solution" for Leica R lens owners. A camera that they could mount their precious lenses on, without stating if it would be a pocket camera, a medium format camera, and certainly not that it would one day fit on a Leica M digital rangefinder.

 


Lively details: Leica M 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8
, also referred to as the worlds best zoom lens.

 

The early Leica M solution for R lenses

  Leicz Visioflex II
  Leica Visioflex
   

It should be mentioned that the urge to cover the gap between the Leica M rangefinder and the SLR cameras is not new. Leica devised the Leitz Visoflex system for the Leica M as early as the 40's, a mechanism between the Leica M and Visoflex lenses so that one added a mirror - just like SLR cameras - to the Leica M. Thus one could see through the lens, and that was helpful when doing macro with the 60mm Visoflex macro lenses, or tele photography with the Visoflex range of tele lenses from 200mm to 560mm.

Leica may have refined the 1924 Graflex 4x5" camera for glass plates that used a mirror, and inspired the 1949 Zeiss Ikon VEB Contax S and other SLR cameras. Who knows?

 


The Leitz Visoflex add-on that made it possible to look through the lens via a mirror. A mechanical edition of todays digital viewfinder, the EVF-2. The Visoflex also works on Leica M9 and Leica M Monochrom, though a little bulky.

 

It would be wrong to say that the Visoflex solved all Leica Camera AGs problems with the flood of SLR cameras. But it did work very well for those relatively few Leica M rangefinder users who adopted the system.

What is interesting to see is that the EVF-2 has a design reference back to the Visoflex.

 


Denmark. Leica M240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

 

Leica M as a modular system camera

The solution was the Leica M 240 that, thanks to Live View and the EVF-2, enables it to take Leica R lenses. On top of that it also takes Nikkor/Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad and many other lenses.

What enables this is the CMOS sensor that allows Live View, which means that the shutter curtain is up all the time (when in Live View mode), and thus one can see the image that the lens projects onto the sensor 'live' on the screen on the back of the camera or in the EVF-2 electronic viewfinder. No need for mirrors.

For the first time since 2009 Leica R lens owners have a Leica digital body to mount their R lenses on. In the meantime one could buy a R-to-Canon adapter and mount the R lenses on a Canon, or get the lenses' bayonet mount changed to Nikon so as to use them on a Nikon dSLR. But none of that is the same as mounting a Leica R lens on a Leica body, Leica R owners kept reminding Leica Camera AG at any given chance.

 


Reading Dan Brown. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 (which also has macro)

It would be wrong to say that the Leica M Type 240 with R lenses is a serious attempt to make a dSLR camera that will compete with Nikon and Canon. First off, Leica does not offer any new R lenses; the users have to have them or buy second-hand lenses. And compared to the handling of the dSLR cameras on the market today, the Leica M Type 240 with R-lenses is more for curiosity and artistic work in the studio, or macro photography in the garden. It is not likely that very many will take the Leica M 240 with R lenses to the Winter Olympic Games to shoot reportage for a week.

The Leica M with Leica M lenses is a better competition to dSLR cameras than the Leica M with R lenses.

The modular system of the Leica M offers some additional features for the traditional Leica M shooter. As well as a Leica M to the macro or telephotographer who chooses the Leica M Type 240 for that purpose.

 

Sample photo Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 at 1000 ISO
The Marselisborg Royal Palace in Aarhus, May 2013. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 at 1000 ISO.

Sample photo Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 at 1000 ISO
100% crop of the photo above of The Marselisborg Royal Palace in Aarhus. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 at 1000 ISO.

 

Leica R lenses on the Leica M

The old R lenses still exist and have a large fan base. I still have my 10MP Leica DMR digital back that was developed by Leica, Kodak and Imacon and of which only 3,000 were made

 

Leica M 240 at Photokina 2012 © Thorsten von Overgaard
Testing the Leica M with R lenses at Photokina, September 18th, 2012. Many may have percieved the Leica M240 to be a complicated camera.

 

A compact dSLR
Truth of the matter is that Leica M is still a M camera in it's feel and soul. It just so happens that you can turn it into an extremely compact (mirrorless) dSLR-type camera if you add the handgrip and M-to-R adapter.

Or a compact Leica M
If you have no intention of adding handgrip and R lenses, the Leica M is still the Leica M in all its simplicity. I think a lot of people missed that fact after having seen all the images and videos from Photokina 2012 of people holding the Leica M fitted with a Leica 28-90mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 zoom (which has since gone up in price so it has reached $ 8,000+ on eBay!).

 

Leica M with battery pack attached, Leica R to M lens adapter
A compact dSLR: Truth of the matter is that Leica M is still a M camera in it's feel and soul. It just so happens that you can turn it into an extremely compact (mirrorless) dSLR-type camera if you add the handgrip and M-to-R adapter. (Above the Leica M 240 with studio Leica Multifunctional Handgrip attached (GPS and several connections for flash control), the Leica R to M lens adapter (and a Leica 70-180mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 lens), as well as the EVF-2 (Electronic ViewFinder). Not bad, actually ...

 


Leica M240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

 

New M body built to hold heavy lenses

The body of the Leica M Type 240 is in many ways the same as it always was, but redesigned with a new body that is not assembled. Basically one piece of metal with a top section attached. The bayonet section is a metal plate slid down and mounted to the body on the front.

Its top and base plates are machined from solid brass, and its full-metal body is manufactured in one piece from high-strength magnesium alloy. Rubber seals protect the camera body against dust and water spray. The glass covering plate of its monitor screen is manufactured from scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® glass.

This so that the camera can hold heavy R lenses. The bottom of the camera is one piece, but with the bottom plate added as an outside protection of the SD slot and battery slot. The tripod is attached to the bottom of the camera body itself, not the bottom plate. This to make sure the camera is sturdy and stays on the tripod, no matter how large a R lens you mount.
All in all, very much like the MacBook Pro made out of one piece of metal and not screwed together of many parts.

 

Arvuth Areethamsirikul
Leica M 240 with Leica 180mm Summicron-R f/2.0 tele lens and Leica APO-Extender 2X. Photo by: Arvuth Areethamsirikul.

 

What You See Is What You Get

WYSIWYG is a new term with Leica M 240. One of the strong points of the Leica M as an artistic tool has always been that you as the photographer envisioning your photo and using the Leica M to get it. You could never know - or see in the viewfinder - exactly what you would be getting. You had the vision and had to try your best.

With the Live View and EVF-2 electronic viewfinder you suddenly see what you get in terms of exposure, focus, dept of field and all. And that opens up for the use of factually any piece of equipment you can find ways to attach to the Leica M Type 240.

 

Sheena Chohan
Indian actress, Miss Kolkata and Miss Universe India in 2010, Sheena Chohan. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. Copenhagen, June 2013. © 2013 Thorsten Overgaard.

 

The "new" macro possibiliyt with the Leitz OUFRO

Here is one thing you want to get if you have the Leica M 240 or plan to get one. The OUFRO macro ring. It basically does the same for any lens as the Leica 90mm Macro-Elmarit-M f/4.0 Macro kit does ($ 4,000 for the kit including all parts), except that with Live View you do not need the goggles and the coupled focusing device the 90mm f/4 Macro kit comes with.

 


Leica M 240 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 and the OUFRO adapter for macro. I also used this kit for video as you can see on Vimeo.

 

Price of the OUFRO is $100 to $200 (or more as it becomes rare) from any camera store that has old stuff, or from eBay. As was produced from 1959 to 1983 it is not available as new stock, and stock won't be enough to supply every Leica M240.

On page 36 of this article you can see a video where we used the OUFRO macro ring with the Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0.

The OUFRO can be stacked. The more of them you stack, the closer you get.

 

OUFRO on the Leica M Type 240
OUFRO on the Leica M Type 240 for macro. OUFRO is an original Leitz Extension Ring (produced 1959-1983 as part no. 16469Y and part no. 16469). OUFRO can even be stacked for greater magnification and will work on the Leica M Type 240 as macro for all lenses, including the Noctilux, 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0 (as shown on this picture) and even 21mm lenses.

 

The original (vintage) Leica R bellows

With some luck you can also find the original Leica bellows for the R system for $500 to $1,500 on eBay and elsewhere. For 1:18 macro photography, also the Leica PHOTAR lenses and Leica PHOTAR-Adaptar-R is worth a study (Model No 14 259).


The Leica RB2 bellows for the Leica R system (Model No 16 880) that will work with the Leica R lenses in front and the Leica R in the back, or the Leica M 240 with the use of the Leica R-to-M adapter. What can't be seen in this image (the sign under the bayonet that says "Germany" is that the original Leica bellows was actually produced by Novoflex in Germany. The bellows (here shown with the attachment next to it for photographing slides) is usually 300-600 Euro on eBay and at dealers. Photo: Jose Antonio Salcedo

 

Macro Photography with the Leica M 240 and Leica R bellows

  http://www.overgaard.dk/pdf/Leica-Leitz-3667-3678-Universal-Focusing-Bellows-Screw-Mount-UXOOR.pdf
  The Leitz Universal Focusing Bellows for screw mount cameras can also be added to the M 240 via a screw-mount-to-M-bayonet adapter, but do use the Visioflex housing as they will cover the bayonet release and never come off again! Download manual.
   

I recently got the Leica R bellows (No 16 880) for something like € 320 and was of course quite curious to see how they would work.

Macro is like opening the door to an entirely new world of small things and details you don't notice with the eye. But bellows is taking it one step futher, to the tiniest details.

The bellows are for the Leica R system, so one has to use the Leica R-to-M adapter to attach them to the Leica M 240. And then any Leica R lenses will sit on the front.

It is not a higly portable equipment, so one could also look for some of the older Visoflex bellow sets as the one illustrated to the right. Or the 2014 model Novoflex further below on this page. Novoflex used to make the Leica R bellows, so apart from the missing red dot, they are nice too.

 

Leica M 240 with Leica R-to-M adapter and Leica R bellows
The Leica M 240 with Leica R-to-M adapter and Leica R bellows (Model No. 16 880) and Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0. On a Leica Table Tripod.

 

The enlargment is quite impressive, so I had to dig out a miniature Tabasco bottle I had saved for this macro moment, just to learn that even a tiny bottle like that won't fit inside the frame of this macro kit.

The Leica M 240 seemed a little confused as to the preview of exposure, but eventually got it right. I can't quite figure out what the reason for the confusion could be, but eventually they got along without further explanation.

 

Leica M 240 macro sample photo
This was how much bottle I could fit inside the frame. Thank God it only takes a little dip of Tabasco to feel the effect! Leica M240 with Leica R bellows attached via the Leica R-to-M adapter, and the Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0 @ f/8.0

 

Leica M 240 macro sample photo 100% crop
A 100% crop of the image of the small Tabasco bottle.

 


As can be seen here, the bellows are hardly in use though the lens is quite a distance from the body. The distance can be approximately double from the sensor of what it is here. The Leica M 240 with Leica R-to-M adapter, Leica R bellows (Model No. 16 880) and Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0. On a Leica tripod.

 

 

Getting closer with the Leica M 240 and Leitz R bellows

My next experiment was the nib of a pen. The complications of staging macro photos so you get the light, the angle and all is boggeling. But for this test I found the macro unit itself to be useful to put things on or - as here - attach a Mont Blanc pen.

 


My next experiment: A fountain pen nib. As can be seen I expanded the bellows a bit more than the previous Tabasco shot so as to get closer to the nib.

 


The full frame from the nib, taken with the Leica M240 with Leica R bellows attached, and the Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0 @ f/8.0. The further one gets (the longer stretched the bellows are), the larger the enlargment becomes.

 


100% crop of the macro photo above of my Mont Blanc nib.

 

 


Now, doesn't that look impressive! Leica M 240 with the Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8 attached via the Leica R bellows and the Leica R-to-M adapter.

 

400mm macro photography is the new black..!

Ok, so listen. Before you get onto eBay to buy those Leica R bellows, you need to complete your shopping list with a Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8 (or perhaps the Leica 800mm Telyt R).



Macro photography in Bali, March 2014. Leica M 240 with Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8 on Leica R bellow, using the Leica R-to-M adapter.

It may come as a surprise, that when you use wider lenses as macro, you need to get really close to do macro. Hence, small tele lenses like 90mm and 100mm are good, and perhaps a 400mm is just what you want.

I did a little experiement in my kitchen with the Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8. It is an outstanding tele lens, light-weight and made in an incredible brilliant simple design. As you can read in my 400mm Telyt article, this lens is basically two two black aluminium tubes screwed together intoto one long, with one lens element in the front (which you can actually unscrew for easier cleaning on both sides of the lens). They sell for $500 in stores and eBay.

 

The Leica µ-pocket by Erwin Puts
My test photo of Erwin Puts' "The Leica µ-pocket" (µ means "micro") and the Mont Blanc pen, with the June Newton book "Alice Springs: Portraits" as background. Leica M 240 with the Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8 @ f/6.8, attached via the Leica R bellows and the Leica R-to-M adapter.

 

Leica M 240 macro photography with 400 Telyt-R
Leica M 240 with the Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8 attached via the Leica R bellows and the Leica R-to-M adapter. The distance from camera back to the subjec is approximately 5 feet here (150 cm).

 

Distance to the subject - space to work
As you can see, the distance to the subject is quite perfect for flowers where you wait for a hummingbird to come by, or it simply gives a lot more freedom and space to work with. Rememeber, the control og light and reflections are microscopic, so you easily get claustrophobia trying to adjust small things in a small scenery. Iit is nice to have the possibility to move between camera and subject.

 

 

New 2014 Novoflex bellows for the Leica M 240
(with Leica M or Leica R lenses)

In February 2014 Novoflex introduced bellows for macro photography, as well as bellows for tilt/shift macro photography for the Leica R and Leica M system. The combinations are many, so one can use a Leica M 240 with Leica R lenses, or with Leica M lenses.

Novoflex BALPRO-series:
LEMA + APRO for the M240-camera body
PROLEI + LEI-M for M-type lenses
PROLEI + LEI-F for R-type lenses

Novoflex CASTBAL-bellows attachment unit:
LEMA + AUNI for the M240-camera body
UNILEI + LEI-M for M-type lenses
UNILEI + LEI-F for R-type lenses

 

Novoflex CASTBAL
Leica M 240 with Novoflex CASTBAL Tilt/Shift HF LEM

 


Leica R8 with Novoflex CASTBAL Tilt/Shift SYS 90er

 

Join a Workshop Far Away from Home

 

 


Denmark. Leica M240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

 

 

The hunt for the special look

If you like to tweak cameras a bit, and some do, you can obviously start messing around with R lenses on the Leica M.

What is to be gained will be a special look that, due to the fact that R lenses are limited now, will be rather exclusive. And a special look is what you often are looking for. So many photographers spend days trying to make a perfect Leica S2 or Hasselblad or Canon image into a picture that looks like it was made on film in the 70's. With a Leica R lens you can sometimes do the same, simply by using it.

Actually, the same is the case for many of the older Leica M lenses from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Even older Leica screw-mount lenses from the 30's and 40's can be fitted to the Leica M, Leica M9, Leica M-E and Leica M Monochrom via a simple adapter and will create a look of something quite different than what todays lenses will produce (usually very detailed and rather sharp, yet a different handling of light, and much less contrast).

 

Sample photo by Leica M Type 240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
Berlin, May 2013. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 at f/1.4, 200 ISO.

Sample photo by Leica M Type 240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4
A 100% crop of the above photo from Berlin, May 2013. Leica M Type 240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 at f/1.4, 200 ISO.

 

The 80mm Noctilux..?

The Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 is the crown jewel of R lenses in my opinion. It was the one I used the most on both Leicaflex film cameras when I shot slide film, and also my preferred lens on the Leica R9 with the DMR digital back. Today the 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 is available for around $2,000, give or take.

It has a very special look. The narrow field of sharpness in a 80mm f/1.4 is very similar to the narrow field of sharpness in a 50mm f/0.95.

In terms of how they treat colors or light, especially if you shoot against the light source, is very different. The new lenses as the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 has very strong control of micro details, including high contrast in micro details. The 80mm Summilux has the softer look of the 70's and - as can be seen on the above 100% crop - a sort of halo effect in the micro details.

Size-wise the two lenses look very similar in size on the Leica M240.

 


Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 on Leica M240


Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 on Leica M240.

 


Denmark. Leica M240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

 


Leica M240 with Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4

 

Anything you can attach, you can use ...

It will take some hours or days to update yourself, as a Leica M user, to the fact that anything you can attach to the Leica M 240 will work with it. Thanks to the EVF-2 electronic viewfinder you can focus any lens, focus using any form of tube, bell device (super-macro). It is so unusual an idea that ... it will take you a while to get it. I will encourage you to experiement, and do so before everybody else. Because a lot of the really odd stuff that might fit on the Leica M 240 will not be available in large numbers.

 


Alejandro Tawil seen through a Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 and an ashtray (hence the flare).


Leitz Micro-Ibso Photomicrography Attachment MIKAS-M
The Leitz Micro-Ibso Photomicrography Attachment MIKAS-M can be found from anywhere from $89 to $700 and is an attachment with M bayonet that allow you to photograph through medical microscopes like B&L, AO, Leitz, etc. that use a standard eyepiece size of 23.2 mm (0.913"). In case you wondered.

 

Tilt-shift with Leica 28mm PC-Super-Angulon-R f/2.8 on the Leica M Type 240
One of the things you can do is to get the 28mm PC tilt-shift Leica R lens and get straight lines on architeture and skyscrapers with the 28mm PC on the Leica M 240. Prices currently are $1,500 - $2,000 for this lens.
The lens is made by Schneider to Leica specifications. There is no real review of this lens, but users seem to agree that it is best at f/8 to f/11 but can be opened up to good effect. For example using the tilt shift to eliminate foreground in landscape.

A Leica M9 with the Nikkor 28mm tilt-shift lens. The Leica tilt-shift lens is about the same size. On the Leica M9 it does not make a lot of sense, but on the Leica M240 you can focus and tilt with the EVF-2 and preview exactly what you will be getting. Photo by Fleming.

 


Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 on the Leica M Type 240. Photo by: Thomasfoto

 

Leica R lenses for video on Canon, Nikon, RED, etc

Leica R lenses have been used for a while on Canon and RED cameras with adapters. That is one reason the price started to rise already a couple of years ago on certain Leica R lenses (28-70mm f/2.8, 19mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.8, 60mm Macro f/2.8 and so on).

 

Johnnie Behiri working with the Leica M Type 240
Johnnie Behiri working with the Leica M Type 240 on a Mini skater with Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0. See the videos on Page 36 of this article.

 

Even a simple and not very expensive Leica lens such as the Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/4.0 is a high standard lens when it comes to video. It doesn't have a narrow sharpness at f/4.0, it's compact, extremely well built, aspherical and ... Leica glass!

 


Leica M 240 with the most straight-forward solution for videographers, the the Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit R ASPH f/4.0. The reason is that many videographers prefer a zoom so they can adjust the frame, and f/4.0 because it is much easier to maintain focus. Thankfully there are plenty of those lenses around, and the price is very reasonable ($750, give or take).

 


Breakfast in Berlin, September 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

Where to find second-hand Leica R lenses

eBay of course is an obvious place to find Leica R lenses. eBay is also the place where the prices will go to the highest possible (because it only takes one person with enough money to want it, to drive the price up).

Here are some of the pages I usually visit to find second-hand Leica equipment:

New World Camera in Italy

Meister Camera Berlin, Germany

Meister Camera Hamburg, Germany

Leica Shop, Vienna, Austria

Red Dot Cameras, London, UK

Adorama.com, USA

Popflash.com, USA

Camera Electronics, Perth, Australia

 

Photographers vs. collectors

One of the problems with the Leica R lenses is that they of course are in limited numbers. Some very limited, the rest just limited by the fact that they are not being produced anymore.

Few days after finishing this article, a Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 ASPH MACRO was bid up above $30,000 on eBay, whilst at the same time two other samples were available for respectively $10,000 and $13,500. The least expensive was in fact the one in the condition.

This seem to be the same mechanism used to make artists look very popular and valuable by bidding their art up to high prices - done by are dealers via third parties. Also known as "bullshit art" which is art pieces that nobody - or few - would ever hang on their wall, but that for some reason are very popular and hyped. Art pieces is per definition made in limited numbers, so. if you can build an agreement that this artist goes for such and such prices, that is the new price.

Hence, if you can take a lens that exist only 200 of and trade it up with yourself to 3x or 4x, you can make a fuss about nothing.

For collectors the value is that it is limited, and what the future trading price will be. As with so many things, buying for less than you can sell for is all that matters. Not if the lens was originally sold for $3,000. What is at work is trying to make a very limited lens a very expensive lens.


A 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit "bidding itself up" from $1 to $30,100 on eBay. The last bidder left the bidding at $8,500 and after that, one person has done all the bidding, in one day raising the price to $30,100 (except for one bid at $30,000 from a new account that have never bought anything on eBay; and that bid was topped with $100 by the same bidder who raised the price by $200 over 120 bids without any other bidders).

I can't think of many other R lenses that can be speculated about in the same manner. The 1600mm that there is made only two of, of course. As well as some ELCAN lenses and Leica R prototypes (you can read more about ELCAN R lenses made for the military and the 1600mm f/5.6 R lens made for Al Thani in Qatar on my Leica History page).

The Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 exist with and without ROM contacts. That is an electronic contact inside the lens' bayonet that tell a Leica R9 camera which lens it is, and what the exact aperture correction is. The ROM equipped lenses are considered newer and are more expensive than the ones without. But if you are not going to use it on a Leica R9, you will never notice the difference (and even on the Leica R9 it is not important at all).

Moreover, Leica Camera AG could, and probably still can, modify lenses to have the ROM contact.

 

Staying in good health

One of the often overlooked qualities of Leica cameras and Leica lenses is that they are handmade. This means that the factory have plenty of qualified people who can disassemble a lens or camera and repair or replace worn out and defect parts.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, I scratched my Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE on the front glass two weeks after I got it; and Leica Camera AG replaced the front glass for 250 Euro. I also had borrowed out a 90mm ASPH that got a scratch from some movie lamps on the front glass. The repair of that front glass is 600 Euro.

Previously I have had Leica Camera AG replace the lens shade and the outer front tube on my Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 for a very reasonable amount. Just to get it back and treat it the same way so that it needed a new lens shade again. Some times you have to choose if you want the lens to look perfect, or if you want to use it!

The price structure for repairing handmade Leica cameras and lenses is very different from buying spare parts for your car. Car spare parts are very expensive! A built-in lens shade for a Leica lens as the 80mm is somewhat the metal price (less than 10 Euro), plus the labor. Similarily, the price to get the aperture on a very complicated lens (as for example the 35-70mm that has 22 blades), is simply labor.

So this is a possibility with almost all cameras and lenses. They can get fixed, lubricated, adjusted and some times be reborn to perfect condition.

Speaking of which, if we are talking older lenses and cameras like screw mount from the 40's, even those can be fixed. Not always by Leica Camera AG as they let go of a lot of the staff and tools for the screw mount cameras and lenses when they moved the factory from Wetzlarer to Solms in the 80's. But there are quite a few repair facilities around the world that can deal with even very old cameas. Leica Shop in Vienna is one that can do it.
Mr. Ottmar Michaely in Wetzlarer is a independent third part repair man considered an expert. He grew up playing with Leica cameras (read; he disassembled them as a teenage boy) and learned a lot from the original technicians at Leica, and later took over a lot of the tools and knowhow when he was very young. Leica Camera AG threw out the tools (during the relocation of the factory). So Ottmar Michaely deals with very rare Leica cameras and lenses that is extremely rare and extremely valuable.

In other words. The lens or camera you use and abuse now, it can still be repaired and made to look like new one day, many years later.

Don't worry.

 

 


Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 (Version II, 1964). Paris, April 2013.

 

The website of Douglas Herr

The website I have looked at the most to judge which Leica R lenses to get over the years has been www.wildlightphoto.com by Douglas Herr. Apart from being a skilled wildlife photographer with a continious output of great photographs, Douglas also has a good overview of the Leica R lenses and Leica R cameras. Unfortunately his overview require password (after some of the photos were abused on eBay), so you have to e-mail him to get a password.

Doug Herr
Not all Leica photographers are M photographers. Doug Herr of Wildlightphoto.com in Sacramento County, California, is a Leica R user, specialized in birds of western North America.

 

 

 

The Leica R lens catwalk

Here is some of the Leica R lenses applied onto the Leica M Type 240. I would recommend the handgrip for most R lenses, but it was not available when I did the photos.

 

Henrik Vibskov
Henrik Vibskov catwalk at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Photo: Thorsten Overgaard, Leica R8 with DMR digital back and Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8

 

Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 Macro
The rare Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 Macro lens. Leica wanted to make the best zoom in the world, and they did. They started production 1996 but stopped producing the lens in 2002 after having made 200 of them. Apart from stellar glass it features the most advanced (and most complicated with the most blades) aperture in the Leica range of lenses.
One can discuss the relevance of using such a large lens on the Leica M 240, especially as the price is $10,000 - 14,000 these days. Collectors, Leica fans and RED users have discovered the qualities of this lens. Both the optical qualities, as well as the rarity makes it an item that is bound to go up in price no matter if it fits onto a camera or not.

 

Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/4.0
The fairly inexpensive kit-lens, Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/4.0 is a great lens, and as it is the case with all the zoom lenses Leica has produced (which automatically excludes the Leica branded ones made by Minolta and others), this lens is as good at 35mm as a fixed 35mm Leica lens. And the same is the case all the way to 70mm.
It is obviously very inexpensive to produce compared to the Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 Macro and was made as the lens to buy a Leica R8 or Leica R9 with. It is the perfect video kit lens as most videographers will want a less lightstrong lens that can also zoom. For the Leica M Type 240 it could be seen as a rather compact all-round travel lens. Available at prices around $750 it is quite a piece of optics for a reasonable amount.

 

Leica R zoom lenses on the Leica M Type 240

One of the qualities of Leica zoom lenses, almost without any exceptions, is that the Leica zoom lenses are as good as the Leica fixed focal length lenses at any given zoom length.

For video use zoom lenses are very handy as the camera will often be attached to a tripod - and so it is easier to change zoom than to change the tripod position.

 


The Leica 80mm Summilux-R f/1.4 is the crown jewel of the Leica R lenses in my opinion. The Noctilux of the R system, an extremely sexy lens that has the right feel and proportions. In fact many think it is the Noctilux when it is on the camera or on a table as it has about the same size and front glass.

 


The Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0 (no 11 215) was the worlds best 50mm lens when it came out in 1976 and still is superior in many regards. The question is if bigger glass is the same as better results ... some say it is, and Leica Camera AG themself stated in the 1990's that Leica R lenses were the best optics around in the world (meaning better than M lenses).
It is not an expensive lens at acquire, and it is fairly compact on the Leica M type 240. The Leica 50mm Summilux-R f/1.4 is a very sought-after lens for videographers and other enthusiasts, so that can be hard to find for reasonable prices (usually $2,000-$3,000). After all, if you want to put a Leica 50mm Summilux on a Canon camera for video, the R-lenses are the ones to look for as the M-lenses won't fit. But if you have a Leica M Type 240 you have the choice of many splendid 50mm lenses born with the M mount.

 


The Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0 (no 11 219) is an rather economical lens with very good glass (prices around $800 plus/minus depending on condition, quite a bit more for the APO-Summicron-R ASPH version (no 11 350). Just a very sturdy piece of mechanics and glass. Though is is not difficult to find an old or new 90mm "real Leica M" lens with M mount.


The Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8 exist in this older version with very wide front hood (as seen above. Prices around $1,500 plus/minus), and then the newer version that is much more compact (prices around $3,500) that has better control of light, as well as built-in filters (ND, yellow, green and blue).
I fail to see why one would get this one instead of the very compact Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4 or the sexy Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 ... unless one already has this and likes to play with the classic look of a Mandler designed lens. I will say though, that for video it has a very good balance and grip.

 


For video the 21mm Elmarit-R f/2.8 has a very good balance and grip. Photo by Simon Falkentorp.

 

 


The Leica 400mm APO-Telyt-R f/6.8 on the Leica M 240. This is an interesting tele lens because it has fast-focus grip. It is simply a release button one press, and then it's simply pushing the front in or out till the focus is there. Very fast. The quality is outstanding, and the simplicty of the unit is breathtaking: Basically a long aluminium tube that can even be unscrewed so it is two shorter and more compact tubes (fits easier in a photo bag), and the lens element is one simple piece of glass in the front (that can also be unscrewed for cleaning on both sides).
If you look at the picture above, what you see is a piece of glass in the top, connected to the camera with a long aluminium tube. That's all, that is how simple it is made. Usually these sell for $500 - $1,000 which is quite fair for an outstanding 400mm lens. There also exists a Leica 560mm APO-Telyt-R.
The modular tele lenses (280mm/400mm/800mm) are quite heavy and quite expensive compared to the Telyt lenses, usually in the area of $15,000 - $40,000 for a lens or the set.

All the Leica R lenses fit on the Leica M Type 240

With the Leica R-to-M adapter you can mount a great number of Leica R lenses onto the Leica M Type 240. Get an overview in my Leica Lens Compendium.

 

 

Anita Steinwidder
Austrian designer Anita Steinwidder. Leica M240 with 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

Novoflex adapters to fit many lenses to the Leica M Type 240

Here you can find adapters from 149€ to 400€ in the Novoflex Adapter Finder where you can find adapters for Leica M Type 240 to fit Leica R lenses, Nikon lenses, Hasselblad 6x6, Contax/Yashica, Canon FD, Exakta 66, Minolta AF, Sony Alpha, Olympus OM, Pentax 6x7, Pentax K and Visoflex II/II lenses.

 


Novoflex-adapter on Leica M Type 240. Photo by: Tim Dornbusch.

 

Novoflex Leica R to M adapter

Leica M 240 with the Novoflex R-to-M adapter and the Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0. Photo by Martin Grahl.

 

 

Tolerances and Made in China adapters

If one spent a minute to consider the tolerances/precision in the assembly of Leica lenses, as well as the calibration of the bayonet mount on the camera body to ensure the lens is mounted precisely, it also becomes obvious that an adapter is not always an adapter. It might seem like a simple add-on, but if the adapter between the lens and camera is not precise, the focal plane of the lens is not precise.

I got a Made in China $11 adapter via eBay before Leica was ready with theirs, and when you use it with a 80mm or 400mm lens it is quite visible in the final result if the adapter moves slightly in the mount (which it does).

The original Leica adapter is preferred, and the Novoflex adapter is probably the second-best. For some the best, considering price/quality. Though I don't see the point in saving $200 in an adapter that connects a $7,000 camera to an expensive lens.

 


Vienna, September 2013. Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95

 

To sell or to buy, that is the question

The feel of Leica M is something special. The perfection, the simplicity and the image quality. There are plenty of very special and unique new lenses from Leica that are still being made, and there is a great deal of old and very old lenses that offer the same simplicy and compactness as the camera itself, and which has the unique look you can't find with any other cameras.

Hence, why run around with a monster of a camera with adapters and R lenses and digital viewfinder if you can get something special with a neat, compact, ultra-sexy Leica M with simply ... Leica M lenses!

I've never been into complicated cameras, and frankly I have been close to pressing the "for sale" button quite a few times on my R lenses and cameras. Then again, I never sell old equipment, or at least I tell my self that I shouldn't. But the more I hear what people are up to with the R lenses, and how the interest and prices skyrocket, the more I realize that I might be in a special club. Because I already got most of them.

But if that trouble with adapters and all is really something I want to waste energy on ... time will tell.

 

 

Leica M 240 handgrip in two editions

A plain Leica Handgrip M can be attached to the camera bottom and offers the possibility to screw on a rubber finger lock (that comes in three sizes with the handgrip).

A slightly larger studio Leica Multifunctional Handgrip connects up into the camera body via one large (the size of an iPhone 5) connector and has GPS as well as four connectiors on the handgrip for USB, power and two types of studio sync. This studio handgrip also comes with the three rubber finger locks.

The two types of handgrip for the Leica M
The two types of handgrip for the Leica M. One is simply a Leica Handgrip M, the other is the Leica Multifunctional Handgrip has GPS and studio sync with flashes. Photo by Thorsten Overgaard.

 

 

Leica R Lens User Group on Facebook

Feel free to join the Facebook group for more nerd talk about Leica R lenses on the Leica M Type 240 and any other camera they can be fitted onto.

 

Leica M 240 User Group on Facebook

Feel free to join the Facebook group to share with almost 2,000 other Leica M 240 users and dreamers.

 

Robin Isabella von Overgaard
My daughter Robin Isabella von Overgaard posing for the Miami Workshop in July 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

Focusing with Leica R Lenses on the Leica M 240

The Automatic Focus Aid on the Leica M240 only works with Leica M lenses as they trigger the rangefinder mechanism in the camera - which is what tells the Automatic Focus Aid to start zooming in 5X or 10X so you can see when you have reached the focus.

With all other lenses, you will have to use the Focus button on the front of the Leica M240. Not surprisingly, some people have played with making that button easier to use!

 


Mark Norton from London mounted this 7mm rubber bump on the focusing button.  

 


G.P. White San Francisco also tweaked his focus aid button.

 

Advertisement:
The Thorsten Overgaard Photography Extension Course 2010

 


Inong Hassan acting as model at the Vienna workshop, September 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

Preset profiles for Leica R lenses in the Leica M 240 menu

The Leica M 240 offers a number of preset profiles for the Leica M240 that one can manually select in the menu. Thus the EXIF file will contain information about which lens was used (if you remember to set it), and may to some degree correct the lenses.

These are the lenses currently in the menu:

Super-Elmarit-R 1:2,8/15 mm
Elmarit-R 1:2,8/19 mm
Elmarit-R 1:2,8/28 mm
Summilux-R 1:1,4/35 mm
Summicron-R 1:2/35 mm
Summicron-R 1:2/50 mm
Summilux-R 1:1,4/50 mm
Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2,8/60 mm
Summilux-R 1:1,4/80 mm
Summicron-R 1:2/90 mm
APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2,8/100 mm
APO-Telyt-R 1:3,4/180 mm
APO-Elmarit-R 1:2,8/180 mm
APO-Summicron-R 1:2/180 mm
APO-Telyt-R 1:4/280 mm
Vario-Elmar-R 1:3,5 - 4/21 - 35 mm
Vario-Elmar-R 1:3,5 - 4,5/28 - 70 mm
Vario-Elmar-R 1:4/35 - 70 mm
Vario-Elmarit-R 1:2,8 - 4,5/28 - 90 mm
Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 1:2,8/7 0 - 180 mm
Vario-Elmar-R 1:4/80 - 200 mm


Leica M24 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
Princess Joy Villa. Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. Vienna, September 2013.

 

 

Epilogue

As you may have noticed, many of the photos on this page are done with the Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. This for the same reason as many of my Leica M9 photos previously have been made with the Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0: It was the lens I choosed to use on the Leica M 240 most of the time, despite the stock of Leica R lenses and other lenses I have.

Great as the R lenses may be, this prove three points for me:

It reconfirms that most Leica M photographers shoot 90% or so of their photos with one lens (not matter how many or few other lenses they have). That is how it is for me (and it does not restrict me from dreaming of, buying and occasional using and keep liking other lenses).

The Leica M lenses are made for Leica M cameras and are unique in how compact they are compared to their counterparts in the Leica R and other dSLR systems.

Modern Leica M lenses have reached a quality where I do not find it necesasry or worth my while to add a Leica R-to-M adapter and Leica R lenses onto the Leica M 240. The M lenses does the job.

 

Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0

 

What people use Leica R lenses for

I think the whole point of this R lens article, from my viewpoint, is that I don't see much need to use the R lenses on the M240. Hence, I don't. The R lenses simply stay in the trolley with the rest of the R equipment, except for those few exceptions where it make sense to add for example the 35-70mm to the M240 to do video.

With the excellent 90mm, 50mm and 21mm Leica M lenses available and in use (in my case) there are not much need to pull out any of the R lenses for me.

So far I think most use of R lenses on the M240 has been done for fun and to try it. I haven't stumbled over any serious use of Leica R lenses on the M240, only single photos that were good, but did not reptesent a new workflow or style. Merely test photos.

 

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It is my impression that most Leica R lenses in the years to come will see the most beneficial use on RED cameras and as an upgrade (above Zeiss in my opinion) on Canon and Nikon dSLR cameras.

If Leica Camera AG had known what the future would hold of overwhelming success for Leica M digital rangefinders and Leica M lenses (with 6-18 months waiting lists), and would have had the courage, they might simply have said "No more Leica R lenses" in 2009, instead of promising a Leica R support system that basically nobody requires now, four years later in 2013.

This might be a controversial standpoint, but it is true in my case. And I continue to wonder how the Leica M 240 would have been if Leica Camera AG hadn't felt obliged to fulfill that promise they made in 2009, to deliver a "future solution for Leica R lenses".

 

eica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Robin Isabella von Overgaard. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.

 

I see the redesign of the M body, to a new and stronger design, and the CMOS sensor as things Leica Camera AG might not have gone through, had it not been for that promise they made in 2009. But I also see those changes in the Leica M as something that strengthen the camera. Everything happens for a reason, as I some times say, meaning that a departure from the planned might actually result in a better future adventure.

So as to the importance of finding an answer to, "Did Leica Camera AG do this or that for what reason?" let me just conclude that the outcome is a stronger camera than the Leica M9. And overall so strong that, in my case, it does not require Leica R lenses to use.

 

 

 

To be continued ...

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Princess Joy Villa, Jan Grarup and Peter Coeln and me taking a ride in a 1963 Citroen DS23 Chapron convertible outside the Leica Shop Vienna. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.


   
   

 

– Thorsten Overgaard, October 20, 2013.
Edited October 22 on eBay prices and repairing older Leica R lenses.

   


Index of pages covering Leica M9, Leica M9-P, Leica M-E, Leica M Monochrom and Leica M Type 240:

Leica M9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18   M9-P   Links
Leica Monochrom 20 21 22 23                             29  
Leica M 240
30 31 32 33 34       38                     What if?  
Leica Video           35 36 37                         Books


This article is about three cameras that are related, but different. Therefore pages 1-19 is the Leica M9, Leica M9-P and Leica M-E. Page 20 is the Leica M Monochrom and from page 30 is the Leica M 240.
Some of the previous pages will be relevant for Leica M Monochrom and Leica M 240 owners.


Above: Indian actress, Miss Kolkata and Miss Universe India in 2010, Sheena Chohan.
Leica M Type 240 with Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 Macro. Copenhagen, June 2013.
© 2013 Thorsten Overgaard.


 

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Thorsten von Overgaard.
Photo by Eric Kim

 

The photos on this page have been edited in Adobe Lightroom 3.6 and few or none have been adjusted further in Photoshop. To read more about my workflow, visit the page of my "Lightroom Survival Kit".

 

 

Also visit:

Overgaard Photo Workshop
Leica Definitions
Leica History
"Photographer For Sale"
Leica Lens Compendium
Leica Camera Compendium
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Digilux 2
Leica M9 and Leica ME
Leica M Monochrom
Leica M 240
Leica M 240 Video
Leica X

Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica S medium format dSLR
"On The Road With von Overgaard"
Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty


Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or onlline. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to thorsten@overgaard.dk for
advice, ideas or improvements.

 

 

 


 

 


 

 






 

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Photo seminars Berlin Copenhagen and Hong Kong

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Photo seminars Berlin Copenhagen and Hong Kong

 
           
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