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Leica R to M Lens Adapter

Leica is sending me one of the first Leica R-adapter M units soon (about $310), which I will put to use testing these four Leica R lenses on the Leica M Typ 240:

Coverage will go into Guide to Leica.

The first order of effort will be to assess the practical issues of using the M240 with the adapter; handheld but also in a tripod scenario. Then there is assessing how well the R lenses actually perform on the M240 sensor, including especially flare or reflections, which can be an issue for traditional DSLR lenses uses on digital sensors.

Leica R-adapter M

Leica’s description. Note that it is practical for use only on the Leica M Typ 240, which has a Live View feature.

The R-Adapter M from Leica enables Leica R lenses to be mounted on the Leica M series cameras. It can attach R lenses to any M-series digital camera, such as the M-E or M Monochrom, however with the M Digital Rangefinder's Live View capability, use of the R lenses is optimized.

There are no electronic or mechanical functions between camera and lens that are bridged by the adapter, however, when the adapter is attached to the M camera, a list of 20 dedicated R lens profiles is made available on the camera, including EXIF lens recognition and calibrated imaging workflows for each lens.

While all R lenses can be mounted to the M camera with this adapter, only the last generation of R lenses can receive digital corrections, such as the reduction of corner vignetting, via the adapter.

This adapter opens up the creative doors for the Leica M by making available numerous R series lenses, including zoom lenses. Combine this adapter with an optional electronic viewfinder and you can shoot your M Digital rangefinder like a DSLR, including video capture.

I had the foresight (or dumb luck) to buy these four APO lenses back when no one wanted Leica R glass any more. I just finished reversing the Leitax to Nikon mount conversion on the 100mm and the 180mm so that now all four lenses are back on Leica R mount, ready for testing on the Leica M Typ 240.

  • Reportedly the 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R is optically the same as the 'M' version, an idea I like, since I prefer the ergonomics of the R version (and I don’t have the M version).
  • The 100mm macro offers a superb macro lens for the Leica M Typ 240 with a stop more speed than the Leica 90mm f/4 macro.
  • The 180mm is a perfect companion to the 90mm and is not so large or heavy to preclude regular use. It has terrific penetrating power for dusk shots.
  • The 280mm is quite a lens, but also quite a committment to carry and focus. Still it is a relatively compact package for that kind of reach.

With Live View focusing on the Leica M Typ 240, all of these lenses are now eminently usable options (even more so once Leica updates the M240 to support the VF-4 high-res EVF, since the VF-2 is marginal).

Leica 90mm f/2 APO-Summicron-R ASPH
Leica 100mm f/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit-R
Leica 180mm f/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R
Leica 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R
(not to scale)
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