Leica M lenses get the cinema treatment from CW Sonderoptic

leica m 0 8 cinema lenses
CW Sonderoptic, Leica’s sister company, which manages the brand’s cinema products, announced that five classic Leica M rangefinder lenses will receive the cinema treatment. Known for their high quality optics and compact size, M lenses offer unique creative capabilities that will now be available to filmmakers in a familiar body style.

“The character of the Leica M 0.8 lenses is truly unlike anything else in the cinema world at this time,” said Gerhard Baier, managing director of CW Sonderoptic, in a related statement. “The way they render light and the way they treat skin tones and highlights and focus roll off — they have an emotional tone that is almost impossible to put into words.”

Called the Leica M 0.8 series, the new lenses look very similar to the standard M models, but feature integrated focus and iris gears with the industry-standard 0.8 pitch. The aperture diaphragm has also been “de-clicked” for stepless operation that permits a smooth transition between exposure settings, as is common with cinema lenses. Each lens is purpose-built at the Leica M factory in Wetzlar, Germany, and modifying existing M lenses will not be an option.


In order to maintain the compactness the M system is known for, the 0.8 series lenses will maintain the standard M mount and will not be available in PL mount, the preferred mount of Hollywood-level cinema cameras. They will, however, be compatible with Red cinema cameras that use an interchangeable mount design, such as the Epic, Scarlet, Weapon, and Helium, as well as many mirrorless cameras via adapters.

One other advantage besides size is that the M 0.8 lenses are designed for 35mm (full frame) cameras, which makes them compatible with the smaller Super35 cinema format as well as larger sensors like the one found in Red’s Dragon 8K camera. The lenses will also be a perfect match for Sony’s video-focused, full frame mirrorless cameras, such as the 4K a7S II.

The five models receiving the 0.8 update include the 21mm f/1.4, 24mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, and the legendary 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux, one of the fastest lenses in existence. They will be available in early 2017 with prices ranging from $5,975 for the 35mm to $13,550 for the 50mm. While not cheap, these prices are in line with cinema primes from Canon and Zeiss, and considerably less expensive than Leica’s PL mount cinema lenses.

Product Review

Meet Z6, the breakout star in Nikon's new mirrorless lineup

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.

Lens Rentals zooms in on the most popular cameras of the year

As 2018 comes to a close, Lens Rentals is taking a look at most popular cameras of the year, based on rental data. While Sony and Panasonic saw more rentals than the previous year, Canon is still the most-rented brand on the platform.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high-tech and low-budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Social Media

Hotel chain offers an Instagram ‘sitter’ who will post photos for you

If the pressure to post stunning Instagram photos is ruining your vacations, then how about hiring a local Instagram influencer to do the job for you while you go off and enjoy yourself? Well, such a service now exists.
Social Media

Ride the rails and share your stories with Amtrak’s new social media residency

Amtrak is looking for travel fans with a knack for telling stories on social media. The new Amtrak social media residency program wants amateur travelers to share photos, video, and written content from aboard long-distance trips.

MIT science photographer isn’t an artist, but her work could fill galleries

Felice Frankel is an award-winning photographer, but she doesn't consider herself an artist. As a science photographer, she has been helping researchers better communicate their ideas for nearly three decades with eye-catching imagery.

Full-frame mirrorless cameras just made their Hollywood debut with this thriller

The Possession of Hannah Grace isn't just a thriller -- it's also the first Hollywood feature film to be shot completely with a full-frame mirrorless camera. The film was shot with several Sony a7S II bodies and anamorphic lenses.

Luminar’s new libraries don’t even need you to manually import images

Luminar 3's new libraries feature doesn't require importing -- images are automatically added after clicking on a folder. The long-promised libraries feature gives editors a Lightroom alternative with organization tools as well as syncing…
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.

Photography News: Startup redesigns tripod heads ‘inside out’ for more flexibility

Well, this doesn't look like the ball heads that we've seen before. Instead of designing a tripod ball head with a small cutout, the Colorado Tripod Company created one with most of the ball exposed, allowing for more possible angles.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Leica targets street photographers with a pricey camera bundle

Described by the camera company as "your perfect companion in the city," Leica's Street Kit comprises a Leica CL camera body, a 23mm (35mm full-frame equivalent) F2 lens, batteries, a handgrip, and a black leather carrying strap.