Leica Summilux-C cinema lenses now shipping

Band Pro announced that the first sets of Leica Summilux-C cinema lenses have shipped from the new factory in Wetzlar, Germany. The Leica Cine lenses are exclusively distributed by Band Pro. A set of eight lenses costs $178,000. Here are three sample videos shot with the new Summilux-C cinema lenses and various cameras (Arri Alexa, Red Epic-M, Sony F35):

Leica Summilux-C w/ Harris Savides, ASC from Band Pro Film & Digital on Vimeo.

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's work 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.

Special thanks to TCS for providing the Alexa camera package and so much more. (*edit - credits incorrectly list 'F35 Package from TCS', the camera was an Arri Alexa).

Music is All Sewn Up by David Holmes. Available on iTunes here http://bit.ly/erBUGO

Leica Summilux-C w/ Tom Lowe from Band Pro Film & Digital on Vimeo.

Shot in 5K on a Red Epic. Director/DP Tom Lowe took the Leica Summilux-C lenses out for a shoot in the deserts of the Southwestern US and returned with this impressive footage.

This piece showcases the lack of distortion in the wide range (most of this piece was shot with the 18mm prime). Other optical characteristics are the edge-to-edge sharpness of the lenses when wide open (see the astrophotography shot).

Music is Violin Concerto: III by Philip Glass. Available on iTunes here http://bit.ly/hJsUrI

See Tom's other work at www.timescapes.org

Leica Summilux-C w/ Randy Wedick from Band Pro Film & Digital on Vimeo.

Shot in Uncompressed 1080p on a Sony F35. Band Pro's technical consultant Randy Wedick took the Leica Summilux-C lenses out to San Francisco & Sonoma to test them out.

This piece shows a wide variety of lighting conditions, particularly very strong backlight and other scenes where you would expect and encounter flare. Many shots are made at T/1.4 or T/2 (with the help of Tiffen NDIR filters in strong daylight). Beautiful edge to edge sharpness and the hard to describe "Leica look" really come through.

Special thanks to Joel K & Vanessa for setting up the incredible Scribe Winery location.

Music is A Walk In The Park by Beach House. Available on iTunes here http://bit.ly/cXSLVr

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  • http://www.TravisDart.com Travis Dart

    This website is selling cine lenses (“Vantage Macro Lenses”) and they say they use Leica glass:

    http://www.vantagefilm.com/file/pdf/equipment_03.pdf

    Are these lenses the same thing? They don’t look the same.

    • http://www.TravisDart.com Travis Dart

      Oh, I found a discussion about it on REDUser:
      http://reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?25095-Leica-Vantage-Cine-Lenses

      The people there seem to think these are “rehoused” Leica-R lenses.

      • Nobody Special

        Anything is possible, but unless the back-focus distance was the same (for starters) simply re-housing the R lenses would be a neat trick.

        I can’t help but wonder (as usual) whether and what else was sacrificed in the Leica Camera product line (I understand this is Leica ‘Cinema’) for this lens line? Not knowing what kind of profits are to be made, how does putting the production effort into these take away from what may have been a new digital camera line, etc??? One would expect results to be least as good as the Zeiss, etc., but are they that much better?

        • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

          One would expect results to be least as good as the Zeiss, etc., but are they that much better?

          What makes you think they’re better than the Zeiss ones? ;)

      • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

        That’s the first thing that pops to anyone’s mind but I don’t think Leica made 10 primes from 16mm to 100mm all with a f/1.4 max (T 1.4 aside).

        • Joaquim Prado

          if they are better or not doesn’t matter. At the end all will look about the same, pretty sure that zeiss and leica will look fantastic anyway.

          • http://www.TravisDart.com Travis Dart

            Since the Zeiss Master Primes are the standard and cost about as much, it seem that Leica would have to make better lenses if they want to compete. But when the Master Primes are almost perfect, I don’t know how much room for improvement there is.

          • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

            Travis Dart:

            Yes, the Master Primes are near perfect and I think this attempt is just to add some variety to the high end cine prime choices.

    • http://leicarumors.com LR admin

      never heard of those lenses – maybe they are just using Leica glass

  • http://tumbleweed-092.livejournal.com Slow Gin

    All three videos are pleasure to see. Thanks for sharing!

  • Drew

    Those videos are nice, but someone needs to put a similar cost Zeiss, Leica and Cooke prime lens on the same cameras (one digital, one film) and shoot the same scene to really give people a point of comparison. Since they all come with the same mount, it shouldn’t bee too difficult to do this test.

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Most people who use these kinds of lenses don’t just go out the nearest camera store during their lunch break and buy them. Also a lot of commercial videographers/photographers don’t care for how lenses compare at the atomic level like we do :)

  • http://photoartbymark.zenfolio.com photoartbymark

    i need to sell my house hold on it may take a while

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdghantous/ Pikemann Urge

    If anyone is interested:

    http://www.fdtimes.com/articles/index.html

    Scroll to ‘Leica Summilux-C Cine Lens Saga (PDF)’. One of the cool features is that the lens barrels are not overly wide, but they still allow accurate focusing at close distances. Very, very good reading, even though motion photography has different dynamics to stills. :-)

  • Dermot McDermot

    $180,000! Seriously!

    I used R lenses on a 35mm Aaton camera from the mid-80s to the mid 90s and the results were terrific but perhaps not worth that much. Having used Nikkor lenses for some time on my own converted Eclair Cameflexes and the Aaton, we often had the chance to compare Nikon and Leica lenses side by side. From time to time on multi-camera shoots, we could also compare Panavision lenses. I rarely used Zeiss lenses, especially not super speeds. After using fast lenses for some time, I found that ƒ2.8 lenses were perfect for moving pictures used in drama.

    I am sure it is a personal preference, but for me, with fast lenses used close to wide open, the fact that you could have someone’s nose in focus while their eyes were out of focus was just plain silly as well as detracting from the story. A 2.8 lens is fast enough for almost everything unless you want to shoot night for day.

    Anyway, back to the comparison. These opinions were formed over a long time with negative film viewed on a monitor directly off a state of the art telecine. There was no positive print involved so most of what was seen could be put down to the lens, negative and camera,and since the lenses were the only variable…

    Nikon lenses appeared to be sharper on film than leica lenses. Some long Nikkor teles (600mm IF ED) are incredibly sharp but this, on movies is a fairly useless asset because the depth of field is so shallow and the difference between incredibly sharp and just out of focus in the same shot is very noticeable.

    Leitz R lenses on the other hand were slightly softer than Nikkors but the result was that slightly more of the picture appeared to be in focus. This doesn’t mean that Leitz lenses were too sharp… out of focus is still out of focus, but as noted above, even on a wide lens, when part of the image is razor sharp and part just slightly soft it can be quite disturbing. Overall, focus pullers loved the Leitz lenses.

    The next big difference is contrast. Leitz lenses appeared to hold backlight better without flaring than Nikkor lenses by a couple of stops. Where Nikkor lenses would flare badly, Leitz lenses still remained nicely contrasty. This makes lighting a set a lot easier.

    Having used Leitz lenses, we didn’t go back to Nikkor lenses except for long teles and super wide angles which Leica don’t make.

    The negatives with Leitz lenses were/are still focussing action and a long focus throw but these are the same things which make them a good long term investment.

    The Panavision lenses of the period were fairly similar to Leitz lenses and there were often rumours that they actually were Leitz glass. However, someone was lying about the focal length. When using things like 20 and 19mm lenses side by side, the Panavision lenses looked like a 22-24mm compared with the Nikon 20mm and the Leica 19.

    And Zeiss? The problem with comparing with Zeiss lenses is that the front elements of most hire lenses appeared to have been “cleaned” with steel wool… and at the time, most were super speeds and not worth the effort.

    These are all personal opinions but they do seem to follow the numbers (if you read the Leica numbers). Another thing is that most professionals use hire cameras and rarely have the chance to try lenses other than than what is supplied by the hire companies, normally Zeiss and Panavision.

    The problem with using these lenses on video is that most video lenses are ground to resolve up to the limit of the system and no further and often the results when using film lenses which are designed to drift gently off the chart are less than wonderful.

    Just my 2c worth…

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