Wednesday, April 11, 2018


We sometimes forget that there is more to Leica than just still photography.  Several of the Leica M models, as well as the Leica SL and the Leica S line of cameras do have video capabilities.   But Leica has gone a considerable step beyond that with their CW Sonderoptic division.

They concentrate solely on the production of lenses for the motion picture industry, and by many these lenses are considered the best money can buy.


The Leica Thalia lenses lenses offer a consistently cinematic look and feel throughout the range of 9 lenses from 24mm to 180mm with an image circle of 60mm. The lenses are incredibly lightweight and compact with a matched front diameter of 95mm and are available in PL mount with /i Technology metadata contacts. The unique always-round iris design creates a bokeh that is smooth, distinct and full of character. And although these are not vintage lenses, the Leica Thalias offer many of the characteristics that have led cinematographers to pair older lenses with digital sensors. They are smooth, forgiving, and clear without being overly sharp.


The Leiuca Summilux-C cine lenses are comprised of 12 focal lengths from 16mm to 135mm.  According to CW Sonderoptic, these lenses are ll about the magic.  The magic happens in the design process, where choices in coatings affect the color and contrast, where the inclusion of exotic glass elements and shapes determine the treatment of highlights and focus fall off. It happens in the mechanical design where precision machining gives each focus and iris ring its accuracy with a smooth feel and repeatable action.


The Leica Summicron-C cine lenses are comprised of 11 focal lengths from 15mm to 135mm.  TheSE prime lenses are built with high ASA/ISO digital cameras in mind, offering plenty of depth of field and performance while maintaining a compact size.  Advances in cine lens design allow the Summicron-C lenses to be smaller and more compact than other lenses with comparable performance. Only 4” (101mm) long and weighing between 2.9 and 3.4 pounds (1.3-1.6kg), these lenses are perfect for stabilized rigs, aerial cinematography, underwater cinematography, and stereoscopic 3D.

Leica M 0.8

The Leica M 0.8 lenses bring the iconic character of the Leica M lenses to the world of moving pictures.  For over 60 years the Leica M full frame lenses have captured unique, iconic images around the world. Now CW Sonderoptic is bringing the characteristics of these lenses directly to the cinema world with their new Leica M 0.8 lenses. The Leica M 0.8 lenses interpret light and skin tones with a unique sense of clarity, color and charisma. Now it is easier than ever to bring that character to the world of moving pictures.

CW selected 5 lenses for this series, choosing the fastest in each focal length. They include: 21mm f/1.4, 24mm f/1.4, 28mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4 and the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux.

Where the Leica M 0.8 lenses truly distinguish themselves is in the look that they deliver to digital cameras. Their character is unlike anything else in the cinema world at this time with an emotional tone to the images that is at once impossible to put into words, yet intimately familiar to the senses. The way the M 0.8 lenses render light, give depth to skin tones, shape highlights and roll off focus bring a new opportunity for creativity to all image seekers.

Many of these lenses can also be used on several of the Leica cameras with an adapter.  The Leica M (Typ 240), Leica M-P (Typ 240) and Leica Monochrom (Typ 246) are already impressive digital rangefinder cameras that delight photographers with their feel and performance. By enabling the use of traditional PL mount cine lenses, the cameras can now take on a powerful role for the cinematographer, both on set and on location scouts. From director’s viewfinder to reference photos to HD video and more, the Leica M PL Mount brings a lot to set in a little package.

The Leica SL PL Mount allows users to get the most out of Leica’s first professional mirrorless camera that can shoot both HD and 4K video, as well as full-frame stills. The SL PL Mount fits directly into the camera’s existing L mount as if it were a lens. The bottom of the mount features a 3/8”-16 hole with 1/4-20” reducer for maximum mounting flexibility, either to a professional baseplate for using a follow focus or directly to a tripod.

For more on the Leica lenses from CW SONDEROPTIC  go here here.

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