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Thread: Leice "R" lens question

  1. #1
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    Leice "R" lens question

    Hello.

    About a month ago I purchased my first rangefinder, an M8u and have picked up a few lenses.

    Having a great time with it!

    I have noticed a lot of Leica lenses with an "R" in the name. Are those lenses compatible with an M camera, or are those specifically for SLR's?

    In addition, those APO Extender-R's seem like a great way to get more reach out of a telephoto. Would those be compatible with an M camera. If not, is there any recommendations on a way to get more reach out of a, say 90mm summicron, without having to purchase the 135mm?

    Thank you for your help.

    Dmabry2010

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    Member overgaarcom's Avatar
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    The R lenses are for the Leica R cameras, most recent the Leica R8 and R9 film cameras which can also be made digital with the Leica DMR digital back.

    The R lenses can be used on the M cameras, but as there is no rangefinder coupling, you won't be able to focus them. Which mean that you might get an R-to-M adapter ( for example from Adorama for 50$ http://www.adorama.com/CZLCLCM.html )and use the wider R lenses such as the 19mm f/2.8 and focus it manually (it has enough depth of field so that you can focus approximately and hit focus anyways).

    (In case you haven't noticed, the way the M camera focus is that the lens, when the focusing ring is turned, pushes back and forth the back of the lens which hits the small metal thing inside the M cameras bayonet in the top. And that is what moves the range finder focus. Quite clever and precise and magic in fact).

    You could then consider the Visioflex III which is a SLR add-on for the Leica M where you get a mirror and a viewfinder to look through so as to focus. However, that part (is an old one that still works and bring joy to many M owners) extends the range from the sensor plane to the lens so that the R lenses become macro lenses.

    So there you are. Yes and no I guess is the answer.

    I have the R cameras why I have R lenses anyways (though I haven't used them on the M9 yet), but building a collection of lenses it would be wiser perhaps to look only for M lenses. You have a full range of lenses from 1960ies and up that will fit the modern M camera.
    Last edited by overgaarcom; 1st May 2010 at 06:40.

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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    Thank you for such a thorough answer.

    I'll stick to the M's, then.

    Trying the few lenses I have so far has been a blast.

    Dmabry2010

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    For some R lenses, it can be quite nice to use them on the M through an adapter. For instance a fisheye does not need rangefinder coupling to focus:


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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    How did you get the dog to pose?

    We have cats. They won't pose. Well, the few times they do, they don't wait for me to compose and focus.

    Great photo, btw!

    Dmabry2010

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    Just keep a plastic bag with dog biscuits in your pocket
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    I would just add a note to Thorsten and Jaap's comments -- while you can use some of the R lenses on the M cameras with an adapter, they are not well adapted. They did mention the fact that you have to guess the focus, but what they did not mention is that the R lenses tend to be much, much larger than the M lenses, so they do not balance well on an M camera. A typical R wide angle will be quite large and ergonomically unwieldy. It may be ok if you already have that R lens and want to use it occassionally on an M body, but if you do not have lenses already, it is much much better to consider only M mount or screw mount lenses, both of which are made to be used on M cameras or can be adapted while maintaining focus.
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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    Yes- but for instance a decent fisheye is not available in M mount, nor are shift lenses, for that you have to look in the R range.
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    Member overgaarcom's Avatar
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    Re: Leice "R" lens question

    Quote Originally Posted by dmabry2010 View Post
    How did you get the dog to pose?

    We have cats. They won't pose. Well, the few times they do, they don't wait for me to compose and focus.

    Great photo, btw!

    Dmabry2010
    I guess for cats a FISH eye would work wonders. Just tell them to look for the fish inside

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