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Leica C Cine Lenses
Ike Lee and Andreas Kaufmann with Leica Cine lenses on Leica M 240. Photo by Matthias Frei

Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C Cine Primes

By: Thorsten Overgaard, July 29, 2014 (Updated July 22, 2018)

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The Leica Cine lenses are out and about. The set is $262,000 for the Summilux lens set and 100,000 for the Summicron set. But the lenses can also be found invidually for around $17,500 and will fit onto a Leica M 240 via the Leica C-to-M adapter.

CW Sonderoptic changed name to Leitz Cine when they opened up their new headquarter in Wetzlar, June 2018.


The Cine Lenses are made for cinema use, but as can be seen here, one can also attach them to a Leica M 240 still camera. See further down in the article.

Leica SL 601 with Full Metal Jacket
Leica SL 601 with Full Metal Jacket MJ_H1 adapter for Leica Cine lenses. See further down.


In February 2015 the lenses won an Sci-Tech Oscar themself, and a lot of movies nominatedfor Oscars used Leica Cine lenses as well. Including the Movie of the Year, Birdman.


Leica Cine lenses was used for the Oscar-winning Movie of the Year 2015, Birdman. Notable for the long sequences of continuos filming. Diretor Alejandro González Iñarritú, Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, Steady Cam Operator Chris Haarhoff and lead actor Michael Keaton.


Leica Summilux-C lenses are motion picture lenses with specifications never seen before, approaching the realm of the wavelength of light. They use multiple aspheric elements with some tolerances are down in single digit microns.

The main aims set forth in designing them has been light weight, small size and a fast aperture. The lenses are designed for slightly greater than full 35mm cine frame. A full cine frame is about 28- 29mm, the Leica cine lenses are 33-36mm.

The lenses also feature a patented small diameter focus scale. Every mark in every lens is individually calibrated and engraved. Further, the scales on each lens match each other in a complete set - a first in movie prime lens making, making changing of lenses much faster and simpler.

As og September 2013 the first 100 sets of lenses had been delivered and reportedly there is a one year waiting list currently, though they can be rented in many rental houses.

For a complete updates list of rental houses that has Leica Cine lenses in stock, see the list here at CW Sonderoptic.


The 2014 Coen-brothers movie Gambit was shot with Leica Summilux-C lenses
The 2014 Coen-brothers movie Gambit was shot with Leica Summilux-C lenses by Florian Ballhaus.


The unique thing about the Leica Cine lenses is that they are made by Leica, compact and not that expensive compared to what movie primes usually cost. Compared to Leica M lenses and Leica R lenses, they may look quite expensive, but they are actually in the mid-range of movie primes, maybe even in the lower end.

The evolution of the Leica Summilux-C lenses is an impressive process that has been covered very well by Jon Fauer, and down this article there is a link to his complimentary 110 page PDF magaine with articles about them.

The story began with with Christian Skrein’s concept of Leica lenses for motion picture production. Then with added practical experience from Otto Nemenz. Then the blessing, vision, and financing from Leica Camera AG owner Dr. Andreas Kaufmann. Finally hired legendary optical designer Iain Neil and equally esteemed mechanical designer Andre de Winter (who was hired at Ernst Leitz Canada by Dr. Mandler in March 1969 and has been at it ever since).

Today a group of the most skilled Leica Camera AG employees has been tranferred across the Leitz Park square in Wetzlar, to the Leica sister company CW Sonderoptic, to help manufacture and assemble these masterpieces. Erik Feichtinger and Gerhard Baier are Managing Directors.


Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Leica Summilux+C
Leica M240 with Leica 50mm Leica Summilux-C . With the new ARRI PL-to-M adapter from Peter Denz in Munich that turns the Leica M into a superb Director’s Finder or rather intersting still camera. The ARRI PL-to-M mount adapter provides extra support for heavy PL lenses, it is an adapter with baseplate.


As of November 20 2015 the Leica SL will start shipping with 4K video capability and adapters for Leica Cine lenses and Leica S lenses. Don't underestimate the 4K video ambitions in the Leica SL which is here seen with the 29mm Summilux-C. Photo: Saul Frank/Camera Electronics







The complete Jon Fauer report on the Leica Cine lenses

Jon Fauer has covered the Leica Cine adventure in a number of article for FD Times. All of it available as the complimentary PDF download "Leica and CW Sonderoptic Report".

Jon Fauer, ASC runs Film and Digital Times and was the man behind the documentary Cinematographer Style


Arri Mini with Leica Cine 18mm Summilux-C f/1.4
Arri Mini with Leica Cine 18mm Summilux-C f/1.4


Leitz and Leica in moviemaking history

One little known fact is that in 1970 Ernst Leitz Canada was awarded the design and manufacturing contract for the new 70mm IMAX projection system and in 1983 Ernst Leitz Canada began work with Panavision for their state of the art cinematographic lenses.

Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" from 1987 is one of the movies that was made with Panavision Primo-L Lenses from ELCAN (Ernst Leicat Canada) and was Oscar-nominated for Best Cinematography.


Steven Spielberg on the set of Empire with ELCAN lenses from Leitz
Steven Spielberg on the set of Empire of the Sun in 1986 where they used, amongst others, a 800mm Panavision Primo-L lens from ELCAN (Ernst Leicat Canada).


Leitz C-mount 25 mm Hektor-Rapid cine lens
Early Leitz C-mount 25 mm Hektor-Rapid cine lens on a 16 mm Bolex H16 of 1935. Bolex also made adapters for regular Leica screw mount lenses on its cameras, like this popular 3.5/50 Elmar lens with the VALOO hood that allows convenient setting of f-stops. Photo: Rolf Fricke.

  Leitz Leicina
  Leicina was Leitz 8mm cameras

Leitz also did 8mm Leicina with Dygon and later with Angenieux zoom ("Leicina Vario") and Schneider zoom.

A rare top of the ine Leicina Super 8 model had Leica M bayonet mount as well as a Cinegon 10mm M-bayonet lens and Schneider Super Zoom with M bayonet and server motor. del oo






Leica R lenses on RED and Blackmagic

Before Leica Cine lenses became reality, the Leica R lenses was the fairly economical and easy way to ge the Leica look on movies - and still is. Some of the now 20-40 year old R lenses from the Leica R line are available and will do the job with an adapter. The most sought-after would be the Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R ASPH f/2.8 that sells for around $12,000 second-hand while many other interesting R lenses are available in the $1,000 - $2,000 range.

You can also add Leica R lenses to the Blackmagic cameras with the Metabones Leica R Lens to Blackmagic Cinema Camera Speed Booster or the pocket version, Metabones Leica R Lens to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Speed Booster or m

For a complete list of R-lenses, see my Leica Lens Compendium.

Director Reid H. Bangert from Northpass Media in Rome with the RED Scarlet equipped with a Leica 50mm Summilux-R f/1.4 lens
Director Reid H. Bangert from Northpass Media in Rome with the RED Scarlet equipped with a Leica 50mm Summilux-R f/1.4 lens (and large ND-filter) used for the short documentary "A Life With Leica". Photo: Thorsten Overgaard.


The Oskar Barnack 1911 Cine Camera

Back in the early 1900's movie cameras was usually made of wood, so a metal camera was quite unusual. Back then moving pictures was to the world what internet was to the 1990's. Oskar Barnack had a very strong lifelong personal interest in moving pictures and this was basically what lead to first this movie camera and eventual to the Leica 35mm still camera. I will get into this later in my article about Oskar Barnack.

1911 cine camera prototype made by Oskar Barnack
In June 2014 Leica Camera AG revealed this 1911 cine camera prototype made by Oskar Barnack. It is now on display in the factory in Wetzlar. Back then movie cameras was usually made of wood, so a metal camera was quite unusual. Photo: Jon Fauer © Film and Digital Times


1911 cine camera prototype made by Oskar Barnack
The Leica Cine 100mm Summicron-C f/2.0 on a RED Dragon camera. Photo by: Curt Schaller.


1911 cine camera prototype made by Oskar Barnack
The Leica 29mm Summicron-C with a ARRI PL-to-Leica M adapter on Leica M 240.
Photo by: Curt Schaller.

The Full Metal Jacket with PL moiunt for Leica SL 601

Leica SL 601 with Full Metal Jacket MJ_H1 adapter for Leica Cine lenses
Leica SL 601 with Full Metal Jacket MJ_H1 adapter for Leica Cine lenses.

The Leica M ARRI PL Mount Adaptor now ships

April 2015: The adaptor for the Leica M 240 and Leica M-P 240 that allow it to take PL mount lenses (Leica Cine lenses) now ships from CW Sonderoptic in Wetzlar. The adaptor is a baseplate and handgrip with an adaptor mounted and makes the Leica M 240 into a directors viewfinder, allows set photographers to use the same lenses as the film camera, and of course Leica M 240 owners to buy or rent Leica Cine lenses and use them on their Leica M 240.


Leica M 240 with the Leica M PL Mount Adaptor. More info.


My test of the Summilux-C cine lenses on the Leica M 240

I had the possibility to use the Leica 18mm Summicon-C f/2.0 and the Leica 100mm Summicron-C f/2.0 lenses with the adaptor on my Leica M 240 and Leica M 246 in Los Angeles in September 2015.

I did a variety of shoots of portraits and street in West Hollywood and (Straight out of) Compton.


The adaptor is a two-piece installment on my Leica M 240 camera. First the bottom plate is mounted and then the bayonet is screwed onto the bottom plate. The aluminium "vings" you see are for tightening the lens in the bayonet. You tirn one way it is loose, the other way it is tight.


The bottom, handgrip and bayonet is a massive set as can be seen here. The SD-card and battery is changed by removing the stainless steel plate in the bottom. A screw in the bottom is manually screwed in to tripod mount fo the camera body to keep the bottom plate safe in place.





Maria-Magdalena photographed in Hollywood with the Leica M 240 with Leica 100mm Summicron-C f/2.0 (3200 ISO).


Characteristics of the Summicron-C

What I recognized first in the Leica Summicron-C was the control of tones and very balanced colors that I have seen in my 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8 lens that is one of the most exotic and complicated lenses Leica Camera AG ever mad (it sells for 12,000 - 16,000 on eBay these days).

The tonal control I am talking about is best seen in the details of the grill of the Porsche 911.

But what the Leica Cine lenses has that the Vario-Elmarit doesn't have is the flare and flower of bokeh when shot straight at a light source or with a strong light source just in the edge. This was exactly what I had hoped for, because I didn't want the look of a Leica S lens.

It's all very addictive and I dared to ask CW Sonderoptic if it was actually possible to buy a single lens instead of a set of 6. It is.

I decided to visit CW Sonderoptics to talk more about what i speacial about the cine lenses. I recognize that they have more glass than a Leica M lens, and this might give some of the look of a Leica R or Leice S lens. But it was clearly this wan't all there was to it.




It's an addictive set to work with. Here is the 18mm Summicron-C f/2.0 on my Leica M 240 and the Leica 100mm Summicron-C f/2.0 next to it.


The Leica 25mm Summilux-C f/1.4 at work at the red carpet at the Grammys 2016. The lens is mounted on a Phantom Flex4K that does high speed video 360 around the dresses for Fashion Police (using a Cinebot Robot Arm). © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


Leitz Cine introduces "full-frame" THALIA lens series for VistaVision and Super 35 cinematography

August 2017: Where still photography like to increase the megaapixels, the cine cameras increase the sensor size and thus require lenses with even larger diameter coverage. The THALIA lenses does just that, they cover up to ARRI ALEXA 65, RED 8K and more with an image circle of 60mm. THALIA is Greek and means, "pletiful". Price range is around $25,000 per lens and there will be 24, 30, 35, 45, 55, 70, 100, 120 and 180mm.
With aperture ranging from f/2.2 tol f/3.9 they are not Summilux-C or Summicron-C lenses. But they cover full-frame, and they are lightweight and not terrible expensive in cine context.


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Movie credits for Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C lenses

The Leica Cine lenses has been used in Iron Man 3 (Jeff Cronenweth, ASC), X-Men (Newton Thomas Sigel), Transformers: The Age of Extinction (Amir Mokri), The Book Thief (Florian Ballhaus, ASC), Dawn of Planet of the Apes (Michael Seresin, BSC), Gambit (Florian Ballhaus) and many other movies and commercials.

Brian Percival with Leica Summilux-C
The Book Thief director Brian Percival with Leica Summilux-C on a directors finder
. The Book Thief was made with Arri Alexa XT Plus with Leica Summilux and Angenieux Optimo Lenses.


Harris Shavides test of Leica C-Summilux lenses

Shot in ARRIRAW 3K on an Arri Alexa. Master DP Harris Savides ASC took the Leica Summilux-C lenses into the Upper West Side of NYC for a test shoot.

Those familiar with Harris Savides' work (American Gangster, will see his trademark style come through in this piece. This film in particular shows the absolute sharpness in the focal plane that these lenses provide, combined with the soft pleasing focus falloff. Highlight tones & flare quality is notable as well.

The quality of the bokeh (out of focus highlights) in this piece is a combination of lens & the Alexa itself. Notice as the circles travel from the edge to the center as they go from an almond shape to a circular shape. After shooting on these lenses with many cameras, this feature only showed itself on the Alexa.

Leica 25mm Summilux-C Movie Prime Lens

The Leica Summilux-C Multi-Aspherical lenses

Multiple aspherical optical design and available in 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm with additional focal lengths 16mm, 29mm, 65mm.

Made of Titanium. 1.6 - 1.8kg (3.5 - 4.0 lbs.).

Price for a set $262,000 (8 lenses).

Leica 35mm Summilux-C lenses was designed to be a groundbraking new line of leightweight PL mount primes designed to deliver ultra-high optical performance for film and digital capture.

These new T1.4 close focus primes employ a unique multi-aspheric design and high-precision cine lens mechanics to provide unmatched flat field illumination across the entire 35mm frame and suppression of color finging in the farthest corners of the frame with no discernable breathing.

All the Summilux-C lenses share a uniform length ana 95mm threaded lens front and similar location of focus and iris/aperture rings (which allow quick interchange of lenses).


A set of Leica Summicron-C lenses
A set of Leica Summicron-C lenses on display at FJS International


A sectioned drawing by opto-mechanical designer André de Winter for one of the Leica Cine lenses. A great deal of skill goes into designing the optical elements as well as the mechanical (opto-mechanical) design. Not to mention the assembling that is done by some of the brightest heads at Leica Camera AG wo has been transfered to the other side of the Leica Campus in Wetzlar .


The Leica Summicron-C

18mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm, 100mm with additional focal lengths 21mm, 29mm, 40mm, 135mm.

Made of Stainless Steel. Lower cost alternatives to the Summilux-C, with full coverage up to and including the new RED Epic Dragon Sensor in 6K Mode.

1.3 - 1.5kg (2.7 - 3.4 lbs.).

Price for a set is $101,450 (6 lenses). Individual lenses - where available - approximately $17,500, though $23,200 for the 135mm Leica Summicron-C.


Leica Cine Primes Year Aperture   Size Image circle Weight Price $
16mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2014 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
18mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
18mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
21mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
21mm Summicron-C 2014 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm   $ 17,450
25mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
25mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
29mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2014 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
29mm Summicron-C 2014 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm   $ 17,760
35mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
35mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
40mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2014 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
40mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
50mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
50mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
65mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2014 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
75mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
75mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
100mm Summilux-C Multi-ASPH 2012 - f/1.4 - f/22 - closed   142 x 95mm 33mm    
100mm Summicron-C 2013 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   101 x 95mm 36mm    
135mm Summicron-C 2014 - f/2.0 - f/22 - closed   118 x 95mm 36mm   $ 23,200


Feature comparison of Leica Summilux-C and Leica Summcron-M

See definitions in the bottom of the page

  Summilux-C Summicron-C
Focal Lengths: 18, 21, 25, 35, 40, 50, 75, 100 mm 18, 25, 35, 50, 75, 100 mm
Additional Focal Lengths: 16, 29, 65 mm 21, 29, 40, 135mm
Focus rotation: 300°
Iris rotation: 180°
Image Circle: 33+ mm 36 mm
Length: 142 mm / 5.6"

101 mm / 4"
(135mm Summicron: 188mm / 4.6")

Weight: 1.6 - 1.8 kg (3.5 - 4.0 lbs.)

1.3 - 1.5 kg (2.7 - 3.4 lbs.)

Telecentric: Telecentric
Color balance: Color balanced to match closely.
Color: Natural color balance
Breathing: No breathing Very little breathing
Reflective coatings: Extremely low reflective coatings
Lens design Multiple aspherical Classic high performance
Resolution: Extremely high
Contrast: Extremely high Very high
Relative ilumination: High relative illumination over field
Chromatic aberation: Very low
Front and rear filter: Yes No
Net holder Yes No
Made of: Titanium Stainless Steel
Lens mount: PL
Matched focus and aperture ring Yes (all focal lengths in both sets are the same)
Expanded focus in critical range: Yes No
Mount on Leica M240: Yes, via PL to M adapter from Peter Denz
Design: Professor Iain Neil (optics) and André de Winter (mechanics)



Leica Cine Macrolux for macro

CW Sonderoptic introduced the Mactolux 1X adaptor that can be mounted on front of the Leica Cine lenses in May 2016. Like the ELPRO for Leica lenses, it makes the lens into a macro lens.


Guillamue Deffontaines
French cinematographer Guillamue Deffontaines with the Leica 100mm Summilux-C f/1.4 with two Macrolux 1X adapters on front, at the Cannes Film Festival 2016. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


Emmanuel Froideval and Tommaso Vergallo
Lunch at CW Sonderoptic at Cannes Film Festival 2016. Emmanuel Froideval and Tommaso Vergallo admiring the macro images.


Leica M lensese as Leica M 0.8 Cine lenses

At Photokina, Sepotember 2016, it was announced that a handfull of the Leica M lenses has been redesigned for cine use at "Leica M 0.8 Cine" by CW Sonderoptic which is the sister-company to Leica Camera AG, with headquarter just next to Leica in Wetzlar.


Leica M 0.8 cine lenses with RED camera
"Leica M 0.8 Cine"
by CW Sonderoptic.



The story of CW Sonderoptic = Cine Wetzlar

CW Sonderoptic GmbH was founded in 2008 to design, manufacture and market Leica-branded cine lenses for film, television and commercial production. The “CW” stands for “Cine Wetzlar”, a reference to both the company’s mission and legacy. It is based at Leitz Park in Wetzlar, Germany, the original hometown of Ernst Leitz and Leica Camera.

Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, majority owner and chairman of the supervisory board of Leica Camera AG, started CW Sonderoptic to design and develop what became the Leica Summilux-C cine lenses. The concept behind these lenses was originally conceived by photographer and filmmaker Christian Skrein along with Hollywood rental house owner Otto Nemenz.


Inside CW Sonderoptic in Wetzlar
Inside CW Sonderoptic in Wetzlar, Germany. Photo: Jon Fauer © Film and Digital Times.


The dream for the set of Leica Summilux-C lenses was for them to be the most advanced cinema lenses yet created in regards to size, performance, mechanical precision, and optical tolerance. To create such a design they brought in legendary cine lens designer Iain Neil. Together they determined the specifications and features of the lenses and began production with the first sets delivering in early 2012.

After the favorable market reaction to the Summilux-C lenses, CW Sonderoptic began working on a new product line, the Leica Summicron-C cine lenses. First shown in early 2013, the Summicron-C prime lenses offered a smaller, lighter lens that maintained a high quality while being only one stop slower. These lenses began delivering to the cinematography market in late 2013.

Under the guidance of Managing Directors Gerhard Baier and Erik Feichtinger, CW Sonderoptic continues to develop and manufacture new and innovative products for cinematographers all over the world.

CW Sonderoptic also is represented in the Leica Store Los Angeles. An overview of where to rent or buy Leica Cine Primes is available here.

Blog at

CW Sonderoptic Los Angeles
8783 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048 , USA
Telephone +1 (818) 653-4381
  CW Sonderoptic GmbH
Am-Leitz-Park 1
35578 Wetzlar



Jon Fauer, Iain Neil, Rolf Fricke (LHSA), Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, with Leica Summilux-C lenses at the LHSA meeting in Pittsburgh, 2011.
Jon Fauer, Iain Neil, Rolf Fricke (LHSA), Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, with Leica Summilux-C lenses at the LHSA meeting in Pittsburgh, October 2011.


Lens designer Iain Neil on lens design for Hollywood

In this September 2009 video Academy Award-winning optical designer Iain Neil discusses lens design, working with cinematographers, and the future directions of movie-making.

Ian Neil has worked as executive vice president of Research and Development and chief technical officer at Panavision Inc., manager of systems engineering at Ernst Leitz Canada Ltd. (ELCAN), and head of optical design at Barr & Stroud Ltd. (now Thales).

Iain Neil is an optical consultant based in Switzerland. With over 150 worldwide patents, Neil has published and edited more than 30 papers and books, and has received 11 Scientific and Technical Academy Awards, 2 Emmys, and the Fuji Gold Medal, for his work in optics and lens design for cinema. Among Academy Award winners, Neil has the most of any living recipient, and is second only to Walt Disney in total awards.




André de Winter

  André de Winter, Leica and Leitz
  André de Winter

As this article is written, André de Winter marks his 45th anniversary with Leitz and Leica. Since 2007 he has been working on the Leica C lenses as Chief Mechanical designer at CW Sonderoptic.

He was hired by Dr. Mandler in March 1969 to work on opto-mechanical design at Ernst Leitz Canada, Ltd. (ELCAN). Back then Gerhard Bechmann was head of the design department and the first projects André de Winter was put to work on, was the Leica-M underwater-housing for the US Navy and the 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and he worked directly under Dr. Mandler and Gerhard Bechmann.

A 10mm Panavision drawing by André de Winter.
A 10mm Panavision drawing by André de Winter. One of the 10 Panavision lenses he did the mechanics for in the early 1980's, from Ernst Letiz Canada, Ltd.


André de Winter in Hollywood with the Oscar the cine lenses won in February 2015.


Tests of the Leica Cine lenses

Alfonso Parra test 2013

RED Dragon and Leica lenses... "I have to say they we have tested just about every combination of lenses with the RED Dragon sensor and the Leicas win. This really should be no surprise. All the Leicas cover the full sensor and have the most resolution of all lenses tested. While some lenses will necessitate dropping down to 5.5K to cover... the Leicas don't. The resolution of these lenses are completely matched with the Dragon sensor."
- Jim Jannard August 2, 2013


he 2014 Coen-brothers movie Gambit was shot with Leica Summilux-C lenses
A sexy t-shirt from CW Sonderoptic with the 35mm Cine lens ...



What does Summicron mean?

The word "Summicron" refers to the maximum lens aperture of this lens, here f 2.0. There are many guesses how this name came about, a popular one being that the "summi" came from "summit" (summit means the highest point of a hill or mountain; the highest attainable level of achievement) while the "cron" came from "chroma" (ie. for colour).
Not so: The name (Summi)cron was used because the lens used Crown glass for the first time, which Leitz bought from Chance Brothers in England. The first batch of lenses were named Summikron (Crown = Krone in Deutsch). The Summi(cron) is a development from the original Summar (the 50mm f2.0 lens annoy 1933)


What does Summilux mean?

Refers to the maximum lens aperture of f/1.4. "-lux" added for "light" (ie. the enhanced light gathering abilities).


What does ASPH mean?

ASPH stands for "aspheric design".
a-spherical = non-spherical.
Most lenses have a spherical design - that is, the radius of curvature is constant. These are easy to manufacture by grinding while "spinning" the glass. This design however restricts the number of optical corrections that can be made to the design to render the most realistic image possible. ASPH lenses, however, involve usually 1 element that does *not* have a constant radius of curvature. These elements can be made by 1) expensive manual grinding, 2) molded plastic, 3) Leica's patented "press" process, where the element is pressed into an aspherical ("non-spherical") shape. This design allows the manufacturer to introduce corrections into compact lens designs that weren't possible before. Practically, the lens performs "better" (up to interpretation) due to increased correction of the image, in a package not significantly bigger than the spherical version.

ASPH is a method where the glass is pressed, and if you think about it for a little while, it means that you can make shapes that you can't possibly grind: With grinding you can make a curved shape. With pressing (ASPH) you can make the shape of circles in the water if that is what is required.

Spherical lenses
Normal speric lens (grinded)   ASPH (note the shape of the glass as result of pressing reather than grinding)

Spherical uncorrected versus Spherical corrected:
Spherical lenses


A lens design where the size of things doesn't change when focus and aperture changes. The relative size of things stay the same. Telecentric lenses tend to be larger, heavier, and more expensive than normal lenses of similar focal length and f-number.

Refers to the shifting of angle of view of a lens when changing the focus. It noticeably changes the composition of the shot.

PL mount
An open standard introduced by ARRI in the 1970's. Today used by Leica, Zeiss, Angenieux, Cooke, Fujinon, Canon PL, etc.

Leica Summicron-C
Leica made a 40mm Summicron-C lens in the 1970's for the Leica CL camera and the sister-camera Minolta CL. There is not similarity to the Leica Summicron-C Cine lenses, except for the name. This make it a little difficult to search for sample photos online, of course.



- Thorsten Overgaard, July 29, 2014
Updated September 25, 2015




Thank you
For help, corrections and information to

Jon Fauer
Andre de Winter
Film and Digital Times
Matthias Frei
Curt Schaller
Paul Hofseth
Thorsten Overgaard's Leica Article Index
Leica M cameras:   Small Leica cameras:
Leica M10   Leica Q full-frame mirrorless
Leica M10-P   Leica CL
Leica M Type 240 and M-P Typ240   Leica TL2
Leica M-D Typ 262 and Leica M60   Leica Digilux 2 vintage digital rangefinder
Leica M Monochrom Typ246 digital rangefinder   Leica Digilux 1
Leica M Monochrom MM digital rangefinder   Leica Sofort instant camera
Leica M9 and Leica M-E digital rangefinder   Leica Minilux 35mm film camera
Leica M9-Professional digital rangefinder   Leica CM 35mm film camera
Leica M4 35mm film rangefinder    
Leica M lenses:   Leica SLR cameras:
Leica 21mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica SL 2015 Type 601 mirrorless fullframe
Leica 21mm Leica Super-Elmar-M ASPH f/3.4   Leica R8/R9/DMR film & digital 35mm dSLR cameras
Leica 21mm Super-Angulon-M f/3.4   Leica R10 [cancelled]
Leica 28mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4   Leica R4 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH FLE f/1.4 and f/1.4 AA   Leica R3 electronic 35mm film SLR
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leicaflex SL/SL mot 35mm film SLR
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95    
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M f/1.0 and f/1.2   Leica SL and TL lenses:
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f//1.4    
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0    
Leitz 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0 "rigid" Series II   Leica R lenses:
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25   Leica 19mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4   Leica 35mm Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica 75mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 50mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0   Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit f/2.8
Leica 90mm Summarit-M f/2.5   Leica 80mm Summilux-F f/1.4
Leica 90mm Elmarit f/2.8   Leica 90mm Summicron-R f/2.0
Leitz 90mm Thambar f/2.2   Leica 180mm R lenses
    Leica 400mm Telyt-R f/6.8
Leica Cine Lenses:   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leica Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic   Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/4.0
History and overview:   Leica S:
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Leica Definitions   Leica S2 digital medium format
Leica Lens Compendium   Leica S digital medium format
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The Solms factory and Leica Wetzlar Campus   "Magic of Light" Television Channel
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Calibrating computer screen for photographers   Thorsten Overgaard Masterclasses & Workshops
Which Computer for Photographers?   Lightroom Survival Kit (Classic)
What is Copyright? Advice for Photogarphers   Lightroom Presets
Synchronizing Large Photo Archive with iPhone   Capture One Survival Kit
Quality of Light   "Finding the Magic of Light" eBook (English)
Lightmeters   "Die Magie des Lichts Finden" eBook (German)
Color meters for accurate colors (White Balance)   "The Moment of Impact in Photography" eBook
White Balance & WhiBal   "Freedom of Photographic Expression" eBook
Film in Digital Age   "Composition in Photography" eBook
Dodge and Burn   "A Little Book on Photography" eBook
All You Need is Love   "After the Tsunami" Free eBook
How to shoot Rock'n'Roll   The Overgaard New Inspiration Extension Course I
X-Rite   The Overgaard Photography Extension Course
The Origin of Photography    
Hasselblad/Imacon Flextight 35mm and 6x6 scanner   Leica M9 Masterclass (video course)
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Leica Forums and Blogs:    
Leica M10 / M240 / M246 User Forum on Facebook   Heinz Richter's Leica Barnack Berek Blog
Jono Slack   Leica Camera AG
Steve Huff Photos (reviews)   Leica Fotopark
Erwin Puts (reviews)   The Leica Pool on Flickr (blog)   Eric Kim (blog)
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Software for Photography   Ventilated Shade E46 for old Leica 35mm/1.4 lens
Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade for Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH
Mega Size Signed Prints   Ventilated Shade E43 for older 50mm Summilux
Mega Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for 35mm Summicron-M ASPH
Medium Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade for older 35mm/f2 lenses
Small Size Signed Limited Prints   Ventilated Shade E39 for 50mm Summicron lenses
Commisioning Thorsten Overgaard Worldwide   Ventilated Shade for Leica 28mm Summilux
Thorsten Overgaard Archive Licencing   Ventilated Shade for current 28mm Elmarit-M
Video Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for older 28mm Elmarti-M
Photography Books by Thorsten Overgaard   Ventilated Shade E49 for 75mm Summicron
Home School Photography Extension Courses   ventilated Shade E55 for 90mm Summicron
Overgaard Workshops & Masterclasses   Ventilated Shade for 28mm Summaron
Artists Nights   Ventilated Shade for 24mm Elmarit
Gallery Store Specials   Ventilated Shade E60 for 50mm Noctilux and 75/1.4

The Thorsten Overgaard Photography Extension Course 2010
A Leica 35mm Summilux-C Cine lens on the Leica M 240 of Ike Lee via the PL to M adapter (C-to-M adapter). With Dr. Andreas Kaufmann at the new Cafe Leitz at the Leica Camera AG factory in Wetzlar. Photo: Matthias Frei  

Leica logo

LEItz CAmera = LEICA
Founded 1849 in Wetzlar, Germany.


Also visit:

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Von Overgaard Gallery Store
Von Overgaard Ventilated Shades
Books by Thorsten Overgaard
Leica Definitions
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Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 35mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95
Leica 50mm APO-Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
Leica 75mm Summilux-M f/1.4
Leica 75mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/1.25
Leica 90mm Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0
Leica 35-70mm Vario-Elmarit-R f/2.8
Leitz Cine lenses from CW Sonderoptic
7artisans 50mm f/1.1
Leica Digilux 2

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Light metering
White Balance for More Beauty
Color Meters

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Which computer to get
Sync'ing photo archive to iPhone
Lightroom Survival Kit 8
Capture One Survival Kit 12

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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 online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

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