Three new Leica Summilux-C cinema lenses

In addition to the new Zeiss cinema lenses, the December issue of Film and Digital Times revealed also three new prime Leica cinema lenses: Summilux-C 16, 29, and 65mm. This will expand the existing set of Leica cinema lenses to eleven different focal lengths: 16, 18, 21, 25, 29, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75 and 100 mm. The new lenses will be officially announced at NAB 2012.

On page 34 of the FDTimes PDF file you can read an interesting interview with Dr. Andreas Kaufmann.

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  • Nobody Special

    Interesting article/interview with Kaufmann. I actually had/read/heard that he had more experience with Leica, I guess not.

    I’m not inspired by that knowledge – his lack of experience with Leica I mean. It does (perhaps) tend to explain his lack of understanding of why R users would be bummed with his death of the R and broken ‘R solution promise’ and leaving them at the side of the road while he moves forward with his ‘vision’.

    Nice to see those shiny new Leica C lenses – probably excellent too. Still would like to know how much all that development (along with the S) took away from the now dead R, and M lens production, etc.???? AND, I wonder when the real decision was made to to forget the R??? Leica “Super Stores”???? Ten or Twelve of them world-wide? Anything is possible I guess, except a 35mm DSLR from Leica.

    • Mistral75

      Nice to see those shiny new Leica C lenses – probably excellent too. Still would like to know how much all that development took away from the now dead R, and M lens production, etc.????

      I would say almost nothing since the development of Summilux-C cine lenses has been done by a separate, new entity. See the interview of Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, page 34 of the pdf file, right column:

      In 2007 we [ACM Projektentwicklung] set up CW Sonderoptik to develop Summilux-C Cine Lenses.

      • Nobody Special

        Please, with respect, I can read. Money is money and whether Leica lens designers were involved and how much Leica manufacturing is involved still costs money, LOTS of it. MY point is that his ‘vision’ seems to never included existing Leica customer clientel (R users) and the fact that he came out with the S line shows that he is willing to take chances WHILE dumping a very large chunk of Leica’s user-base. The fact is he is first Leica ‘owner’ to dump any of it’s user base. The C line is probably really good, as I said.

  • Mark

    I’m sure the R solution is gone because the DSLR market is completely saturated. Two major players and everybody else just picks up their scraps (and I say this as a Pentax user). R lenses can be used more or less on Canon bodies now and in the future I’m sure you will be able to adapt them to a Live View Leica M (unless the luddites at rangefinderforum get their way). You have to know it wouldn’t be a good business decision for them to make a DSLR, not when the majority of their company makes good money on the M, and M lenses. They are the only player in that game, and that’s where they are dedicating their business. As for the Cine lenses, it’s a good move. Compete with just Zeiss and Cooke for really quality glass for the RED, Canon, or ARRI film makers. Sounds awesome to me! Plus it’s an industry where the high costs are actually justified by film budgets.

    • Nobody Special

      I agree, The DSLR market is saturated and Leica had been able to sell the R line because of the quailty of the glass, like the M. I also agree that the C lenses will be (or are) probably awesome too.

      Understand, I have been using their product line for a LONG time and it’s a shame that Leica before Kaufmann, and with him, has a bit of ‘lop-sided idea’ about it’s customer base and bringing and being able to, bring product to market. History is history. He came out with the S system instead of the R and it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t sell a lot more of that than the S with all of the R glass available.

      Yes, using R glass is possible on C or N bodies, but how many people want to use M glass on a non M body? Some do, but most want an M body. I would like them to release a ‘bridge-camera’, a whole new concept that could use M and R glass. I find the M to be in need of a major revision – something with a sculted body, sequence capabilty, a better eyepiece, finder display, fast software, etc.

      Yes, the M ‘luddites’ would freak – as they have before – and Leica has foolishly held on to only one M design. Keep building the traditional M – but stick your neck out Kaufmann – you did it with the S and pissed off the R base, me being one of them. I still like my Pentax too – specifically my 67 – and the used lenses keep going up in price.

      • Mark Sperry

        “how many people want to be able to use M glass on a non-M body?”

        Probably a lot! Look at the adapter craze that has swept around every mirrorless camera. Big time problem though, Leica lenses are luxury items so most people just can’t. If Fuji’s new interchangable X100 is a success and is adaptable you may see a lot of would-be Rangefinder users focusing through the EVF of the Fuji LX or whatever they’re going to call it. Me, I gave up on the Leica dream. Too expensive and nobody else is going to make an M digital RF. That’s why I used Pentax, for the Limited primes, and Fuji, for the X100. It hurt to sell my Bessa-R4a but film has become too much of a chore, and expensive in NYC, where EVERYTHING is expensive.

    • Adam

      I would also like to add that I don’t see Leica ever entering the DSLR market unless they have Panasonic to do the electronics or something cause Nikon and Canon is just wayyy ahead in the tech department. And anything that Leica pushes out, Nikon and Canon will +1 Leica in the next release.

      Besides Leica now is more of a brand/status thing, whether you like it or not, they make better profit margins then Canon/Nikon per camera and not to mention they don’t need to have the latest equipments on their camera (M9 display resolution for etc.)

      • I aways wondered why don’t they just make lenses with Nikon and Canon mount, just like Zeiss.

        • To me it’s obvious… Leica can only be elusive and active in markets where direct comparisons can’t be made.

          M: No other digital rangefinder to compare against

          S: No other all-in-one medium format DSLR for folks who can’t use a real digital medium format camera.

        • Dave

          Because that would dilute the exclusivity of the brand.

          Zeiss is a lens maker; Leica is a lifestyle brand.

          • Mark

            Why they can’t be like a Fashion house and have an affordable brand escapes me. BMW sells the 3 series for not THAT much more than a nice competitor. And Dolce and Gabbana sells D&G.

            Leica should introduce an APS-C M mount camera with a line of “DX” lenses, made in a place where it’s cheap to make things. Hell, have Cosina do it! People can buy up as they like to the “real stuff,” and users who want the experience but can’t bank it suddenly can have a taste. The X1 is a joke after the Fuji X100, and it was way to expensive when it launched. I would love to see a 2,000 dollar digital rangefinder with manual focus lenses that don’t cost more than $1,200.

            Aside from making them less exclusive, I don’t see how this could offset the 1%’s that are going to buy the full frame M, or the pros buying the S2.

          • El Aura

            BMW sells 1.5 m cars, Toyota 8.5 m, that is ratio of less than six.

            Leica sells about 20000 cameras (if you exclude the rebranded compact cameras) and Canon sells maybe 2 m SLRs alone, that is a ratio of one hundred.

            Leica is closer to Ferrari or Aston Martin than to BMW in terms of its position in the market. Incidentally, Aston Martin has also started to sell rebranded compact models (Toyotas).

      • Nobody Special

        Agreed, and all true.

        Having experienced Leica when they were still trying to stay in the game and be relevant – one could get ‘hooked’ because they were more of a camera company trying to get up and running to stay relevant.

        Now, as you say, they are a brand status thing – they were that way in the past – but now even more so. They do make some great glass – but long ago if I ever new Kaufmann would choose to vault we R users I would have gotten out years ago. At least C and N moved forward w/o dropping the most versatile field-useable products they made – their SLR’s.

        No one said anything about the ‘Super Stores’……… the ultimate statement of Leicas’, ‘we’re not humble chest pounding’. I’m always open to them actually becoming relevant but at this time it doesn’t look like it. Nikon D4 or D800 anyone?

  • J Shin

    One thing about the Cine lenses and all the commemoratives and titaniums that people here deride, they are very expensive, with very high margins. High profits means more money to invest in new product lines.

    I assume much of that profit is going toward the EVIL, which is in a new enough field that Leica has a fighting chance of being a significant (even mass?) brand again. EVIL designs are eating into DLSR sales enough that, Leica can come in with a smashing product and catch back up on all the lost momentum.

    And, yes, I would consider the EVIL a great “R solution”, and it will be a good “M solution” as well. There is no way M will last forever as a status brand alone, and there needs to be a successor. Wow; compact M lenses with 0-distortion wides, and no-compromise monster R lenses with 200 lp/mm resolution. Who could beat that? It would have to beat NEX-7 in design and performance, of course, but Leica has the wherewithal, and now cash, to do it. It may be the first time since the III that people buy a Leica body for the body, not for the lens.

    And, to think, after the M5 collapsed, Leica wanted to discontinue the M line and focus on the R line! Heart-felt thanks to everyone who bought the Ms and Ss; Leica may rise again. 🙂

    [I do consider R8/9 the best manual-focus SLR body ever, but you have to admit that the DMR was “too little, too late”, that AF was far off, and that Leica was going to be perpetually behind. R sales was dropping precipitously. Even though the EVIL “R solution” will be oh-so-very late, it will not be behind. All the know-how from S will go into it as well. I, for one, will wait.]

    • Nobody Special

      Having been caught in the Lieca-promise-waiting game too many times, I will not languish or wait. But rather watch from a distance and simply believe it when I see it and when Leica comes through something different and new. Any EVIL won’t likely be built for the R solution alone – but an EVIL may have an adapter for R lenses, etc.

      All the promises including using the software processor from the S2 are simply that; more promises. I just think it’s time to look at Leica without the rose-colored glasses or kneeling at their feet and just see if they pull something off for the Leica masses.

    • J Shin

      Fair enough. We all vote with our pocketbooks. Right now, no one gets my vote, and Leica is merely a front runner. I’m like an American voter who keeps rooting for a party just because I’ve voted for them before, even though it is, ideologically, a different party, hoping that they see the light and turn around.

      Then again, I was a big John Edwards supporter, and Eliot Spitzer, so maybe that’s not so good. 🙂 At least Edwards’s campaign never cashed my check, and Leica hasn’t had any affairs, just a lot of dates with other people. Perhaps you feel like it’s having an affair.

      • Nobody Special

        I always vote as what I call an – ‘american’ – neither party, just what furthers fairness and opportunity for the people who vote and not ‘big influence’.

        Leica has struggled for years; I passed up a job with Leitz/Leica in the late 70’s because you could see ‘the writing on the wall’. They had started to dwindle operations in the States. No more free equipment loans to pros (I was freelancing then) no more regional offices, they were slipping. I still believe the biggest mistake they made then was not building an AFSLR in the early 80’s – that killed them for years, it’s a shame.

        I really hope they make it; I see now that Kaufmann’s lack of direct life-long business experience has led him to move Leica the way he has. A good business philosophy says treat your customers like family (or a date!!!!).

    • Cine lenses and all the commemoratives and titaniums that people here deride, they are very expensive, with very high margins. High profits means more money to invest in new product lines.

      Cine lenses aren’t expensive just for the heck of it. They need to conform to very tight tolerances and they’re made in very small quantities. So profits aren’t going to be like selling SLR lenses for similar prices.

      no-compromise monster R lenses with 200 lp/mm resolution

      People’s fascination with R lenses is driven more by brand loyalty and desire for uniqueness than knowledge of how lenses work. Prophet Erwin Puts himself acknowledges that the 180mm f/2 Summicron-R is the highest IQ R lens ever made. And if you investigate you’ll find that its resolution by today’s competition’s standards is unimpressive.

      If you want to say Leica’s lenses are good, keep the marketing/religious hype aside, speak in terms of optics and explain how light rays bend differently just because the name “Leica” is found on the front of the lens.

      • Nobody Special

        Then let’s put the glass formulas (in mathematical terms) in our comments too. There is plenty of excellent glass from other companies out there, not just Leica.

        I for one, prefer the – shall I say, ‘visual signature’ of certain R lenses not because they are Leica lenses but because of the way they render colours on transparency film. Too, most of them are older designs. I also prefer some of the Pentax 67 lenses for the same reason – over some of the Hasselblad/Zeiss. We can’t expect people who buy certain brands to know how each bends photons in different wave-lengths.

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