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CW Sonderoptic, Leica's sister company responsible for making the exceptional Leica Summilux-C and Summicron-C Cine lenses, is introducing a range of five M lenses with redesigned features for cine production. The aperture is step-less for smooth and continuous iris control. Both the focus ring and aperture rings have been replaced with machined 0.8 module / 32 pitch gear rings, which can be used in standard cinema follow-focus systems. Otherwise, the lenses retain their M mount and use the same optical design as their still photographic counterparts.


CW Sonderoptic selected some of the more exotic M lenses for this roundup:

  • 21mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH
  • 24mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH
  • 28mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH
  • 35mm Summilux f/1.4 ASPH
  • 50mm Noctilux f/0.95 ASPH

While the wider FOV of these lenses will benefit the Super35 frame size (very similar to APS-C), the benefit of using full-frame M lenses is that some cinema cameras like the RED Dragon 8K VistaVision use frame sizes larger than typical PL-mount cine lenses can provide. Of course, these lenses are also perfect for those building a Leica SL (Typ 601) video rig.

I'll be sure to get hands-on with the new lenses at Photokina. Make sure to follow my coverage of the show.

Pricing on the lenses is forthcoming and availability is slated for Q1 2017. You can pre-order at Leica Store Miami, an authorized CW Sonderoptic dealer, at 305-921-4433, or by emailing

Press Release from CW Sonderoptic

Introducing the Leica M 0.8 Lenses, a Dynamic Solution for the World of Moving Pictures

CW Sonderoptic, sister company to Leica Camera, will introduce the new Leica M 0.8 lenses at a series of trade shows in September, including IBC, Cinec and Photokina. The Leica M 0.8 lenses bring the iconic look and character of Leica’s legendary M glass directly to the world of moving pictures by making it easier than ever to work with these lenses in true cinema applications.

Unique Character for Moving Pictures

For over 60 years the Leica M full frame lenses have inspired photographers and cinematographers alike with their unique interpretation of light, skin tones and color. Now, thanks to a series of design innovations, the new Leica M 0.8 lenses can bring that classic look to a variety of professional cine cameras.

The Leica M 0.8 lenses retain all the classic image characteristics of the regular Leica M lenses, but feature a smooth iris rotation and larger 0.8 module / 32 pitch gear rings for focus and iris. Redesigned mechanics allow them to work seamlessly with traditional cine accessories. They will be purpose-built, assembled and calibrated on the regular Leica M line at Leica Camera in Wetzlar.

CW selected 5 lenses for this series, choosing the fastest in each focal length. The lenses will be available individually or as a set and include:

  • 21mm f/1.4
  • 24mm f/1.4
  • 28mm f/1.4
  • 35mm f/1.4
  • 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux

Where the lenses will really make their mark is in the look that they will deliver to all cameras regardless of sensor size. Gerhard Baier, Managing Director of CW Sonderoptic, said, “The character of the Leica M 0.8 lenses is truly unlike anything else in the cinema world at this time. 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. We are very excited to bring this new opportunity for creativity to the industry.”

Big Images from Small Lenses

Designed for full frame (24x36mm) sensors and film stocks, the M 0.8 lenses will cover larger sensors like RED’s Dragon 8K VistaVision, Sony a7 series and the Leica SL. Smaller sensor cameras like Super35 and S35+ will benefit from using more of the sweet spot of the lens. With weights ranging from 320g (.7 lb) to 700g (1.5 lb) they are an ideal option for weight-conscious configurations like drones and gimbals. Their short length from 5.8cm (2.3 inches) to 7.7cm (3 inches) lends them to compact camera work and tight spaces.

The M 0.8 lenses will retain the existing Leica M mount, which is necessary to maintain their compact size. RED’s DSMC and DSMC2 designs allow the use of their Leica M Mount on all of their cameras with interchangeable mounts, including Scarlet, Epic, Weapon 6K, Weapon 8K VV and Helium 8K. A modified OLPF will be required for RED cameras and will be available directly from CW. Adapters are also widely available for Sony E and FZ mount cameras, including the Sony a7 series, FS5, FS7, F5 and F55. The lenses of course work well on the Leica SL camera, which shoots high quality 4K and HD video.

The new M 0.8 gear rings are custom-made for each focal length and anodized, fitted and calibrated to match the rest of the lens housing. They are designed to be incorporated during initial assembly, but not to be added to existing lenses.

The lenses are expected to start delivering in Q1 2017 and will be available through CW Sonderoptic’s global reseller network. Current estimated prices per lens range from €5300 for the 35mm to €12,000 for the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux.


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