Leica CL

aka LEITZ minolta CL

35mm MF film rangefinder camera


Production details:
Order No.:10700
System: Leica CL (1973)
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Film type:135 cartridge-loaded film
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Speeds:1 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure metering:Through-the-lens (TTL), stop-down
Exposure modes:Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder:
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.6x
Actual rangefinder base:31mm
Effective rangefinder base:18.6mm
Bright-line frames:40mm & 50mm, 40mm & 90mm
Parallax compensation:Yes
Physical characteristics:
Body cap:14195

Manufacturer description #1

Introducing the Leica CL. Now there are three ways to invest in a Leica.

The Leica CL is the smallest Leica ever built. It is also the Leica that may be owned for the smallest investment.

Although it is small in size and relatively small in price, the CL should not be confused with other compact cameras. The CL was designed by the same engineers who created the Leica M-5 and Leicaflex SL, the finest 35mm cameras in the world.

The CL is built with the same care and painstaking craftsmanship that have made Leicas retain their value over the years better than any other camera. It is everything you expect a Leica to be: a superbly engineered full frame 35mm camera of unexcelled quality and precision.

The CL body measures only 1-1/4 inches thick, 3 inches high and 4-3/4 inches wide and weighs only 13 ounces.

Although the CL is not intended as the basis for a complete rangefinder camera system such as the M-5, it has features never available before in a compact camera. Or for that matter, in most full size cameras.

It is the first compact camera with interchangeable rangefinder-coupled lenses. Two lenses have been specially designed for the CL: a 40mm Summicron-C f/2 and an exceptionally compact 90mm Elmar-C f/4.

The CL will also accept most recent Leica M series lenses from 28 mm to 135 mm, and such accessories as close-up equipment and microscope adapters. With adapter rings, it can even update older thread mount lenses.

The rangefinder/viewfinder displays bright image frames for 40 mm, 50 mm, and 90 mm lenses, coupled with the focusing mechanism for automatic parallax correction.

The CL is also the first compact camera with through the lens metering. Patterned after the M-5 system, the meter measures an area large enough to integrate typical scene brightness. However, it is selective enough to permit quick, accurate readings for difficult, high contrast scenes.

As with the Leica M-5 and Leicaflex SL, Leitz technicians oversee strict quality control throughout production of the CL. Which is why, like the M-5 and the Leicaflex, the CL will take a great picture. And why, unlike any other compact camera, the Leica CL can be a great investment.

Manufacturer description #2

Compact measuring-viewfinder camera. Brightline measuring viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation. Automatically superimposed image frames for 40 and 50 as well as 90 mm focal length. Quick-changing lens bayonet as in LEICA-M models. Built-in CdS exposure meter for selective light metering through the lens. Vertically traveling focal-plane shutter from 1 to 1/1000 sec. and B. Accessory-shoe contact for electronic flash units. Onesided camera suspension. Entire camera back can be pulled off for convenient film insertion.

Rapid film change.

Serial No. from 1300001.

Manufacturer description #3

LEICA CL - The smallest rangefinder camera featuring a LEIGA bayonet lens mount and selective through-the-lens exposure metering

For all who look for maximum photographic quality at minimum cost

The new small LEICA is compact and handy - the lightest LEICA ever. That's why it's the ideal constant companion. Straightforward and easy to use, it has a proven coupled rangefinder. At a glance through the finder you instantly view the subject and all exposure data. Its selective through-the-Iens exposure metering copes with any subject, any brightness distribution. And it has a precision focal plane shutter and interchangeable lenses.

Last but not least it combines maximum optical and engineering precision in the smallest possible space. That is why the LEICA CL helps you shoot fast to capture those fleeting photographic moments in sharp, clear pictures - the LEICA way.

Creative subject control with interchangeable lenses

A fixed lens imposes limitations - interchangeable lenses overcome them. That is why the LEICA CL offers the proven LEICA bayonet lens system. With two specially developed lenses - a 40mm SUMMICRON-C f/2 and a 90mm ELMAR-C f/4 - the new CL ideally meets all needs of creative picture control with minimum effort. More than 90% of all pictures are taken with medium-focus lenses. Hence the 40mm and 90mm lenses offer the most useful practical focal length combination. Both lenses are coupled with the LEICA CL view- and rangefinder. On fitting either lens the appropriate brightline frame automatically appears in the finder.

Features and technology of a modern camera

The new LEICA CL is the last word in styling and functional technology. World-famous LEITZ engineering, based on intensive research and development and nearly half a century of LEICA experience in precision optics and mechanics, unparalleled know-how in the design of high-quality optical instruments - all these factors guarantee top photographic performance and quality in this up-to-date compact LEICA.

The reliability of LEITZ products is world famous. It stems from a tradition of meticulous attention to every detail, stringent testing, expensive special materials, constant production monitoring and final quality control by expert LEITZ engineers.

All this makes the LEICA CL unique for optical and engineering precision. And wherever you go - the LEICA name is backed by the LEITZ inter-international guarantee with world-wide servicing.

1. The precision bright-line view- and rangefinder.

The bright-line view- and rangefinder with automatic parallax compensation shows full view when wearing spectacles. The CL features at-a-glance control settings: brilliant image frames for the 40, 50 and 90mm lenses, central rangefinder field for focusing, selected shutter speed, meter needle and zero index, battery test signal. It has a finder image scale 0.6 x and a 31 .5mm rangefinder base length.

2. Up-to-date exposure metering

Selective through-the-Iens measurement with free choice of aperture/speed combination. Meter needle and zero index visible in the finder. CdS cell of 7.5mm diameter; covers approximately the rangefinder field with the 90mm lens. Measuring range: 16 EV steps from 0.5 to 32,000 cd/sq.m with f/2 lens.

Film speed settings: Adjustable from ASA 25 to 1600 (15 to 33 DIN). Power source: Interchangeable MALLORY PX 625 button cell, 1.35 volts. Lasts about 2 years with average use.

3. The silent focal plane shutter

The newly designed focal plane shutter runs vertically down the film aperture, making for maximum camera compactness. An extremely soft and vibration-free release plus the smooth shutter movement insure shake-free exposures to make the most of the famous LEITZ lens performance. Shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 1/2 sec., intermediate settings usable except between 1/30- 1/60. B setting for time exposures of any length. Automatic hot shoe flash synchronization up to 1/60 sec. with electronic flash and 1/30 sec. with flash cubes.

4. The famous LEICA bayonet lens mount

The LEICA CL uses the LEICA M bayonet mount for life-long precision . This also allows the use of numerous other LEICA lenses as well as rapid and easy lens changing.

All-metal compact body. Tough leather-type textured plastic covering. Glare-free matte black anodized top cover, front panel and camera base. Camera back fully removable in one piece with base. 1/4 inch tripod bush. Film type indicator and rewind crank in base. Carrying strap eyelets at side. Rapid film loading system, takes all standard commercial 35mm film cartridges with or without trimmed film leader. Accessory shoe with hot-shoe X contact.

Size: 4 3/4" x 3" x 1 1/4" (12 x 7.5 x 3.2 cm)

Weight: approx. 13 ozs. (365 g)

Optimum picture quality by precise focusing and exposure

To make the most of LEICA lens performance you must focus and expose exactly.

With the LEICA CL you do both instantly as you look through the finder. The precision focusing system of the LEICA CL is based on the time-proven combined double-image and split-image rangefinder.

Selective and precise exposure metering through the lens is the second outstanding LEICA CL feature. You read the correct exposure individually for every subject. You measure just the subject portion that matters and ignore misleading overbright or overdark portions. This selective metering approach permits precise "close-up" readings even at a distance.

Fascinating scope within the full LEICA system

The small LEICA CL is a worthwhile acquisition even if you already own an M-series LEICA. This is because the CL takes numerous lenses of the LEICA M range, offering a highly useful second camera body.

Even old screw-based LEICA lenses can be fitted via the bayonet/screw adapter.

If you have an old LEICA, the new LEICA CL body brings your outfit up to date - and can utilize the selective through-the-Iens exposure metering with your own LEICA lenses.

Manufacturer description #4

Only Leitz could have created the CL, a true take-it-anywhere camera with all the precision and performance of a Leica. And of all compact cameras, only the CL has Leica's 50 years of leadership in 35mm photography behind it.

Although it is small in size and relatively small in price, the CL should not be confused with other compact cameras. The CL was designed by the same engineers who created the Leica M5 and Leicaflex SL, the finest 35mm cameras in the world.

  • Compact, 35mm rangefinder / viewfinder with interchangeable lenses and through-the-Iens metering.
  • Uses standard 35mm film cassettes.
  • Leica M bayonet mount.
  • All-metal body with black anodized aluminum front panel, base and top cover; balance of back, including side, covered in black-grained plastic.
  • Interchangeable Leica M lenses on the Leica CL. The bayonet lens mount of the Leica CL is identical with that of the Leica M models. Hence numerous Leica M lenses are usable on the Leica CL. In addition, older screwmount lenses can be used with the appropriate bayonet / screw adapter rings.
  • The Lecia CL finder incorporates bright-line frames for the 40mm, 50mm and 90mm fields of view. The total field is approximately that for 35mm lenses, 28mm lenses require the finder.
  • Standard lens, 40mm Summicron-C f/2; symmetrical Gauss type, 6 elements in 4 components; 57° diagonal angle of view; nearest focus 2 3/4 feet; aperture range f/2-f/16 with intermediate half stops.
  • Long focus lens, 90mm Elmar-C f/4; triplet derivative, 4 air-spaced elements; 27° diagonal angle of view; nearest focus 3 1/3 feet; aperture range f/4-f/22 with intermediate half stops.
  • Both lenses complete with lens hood, cap, rear cover, and (90mm only) soft leather pouch.
  • Focal plane shutter with cloth blinds; runs vertically downward 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 second and B... intermediate settings in entire range except between 1/30 and 1/60 second.
  • X-sync at all speeds up to 1/60 second for electronic flash and flash bulbs... hot-shoe contact in accessory shoe on camera body top.
  • Through-the-Iens exposure metering.
  • Exposure meter is a CdS cell on a swingout arm (7.5mm diam.) approximately 8mm in front of film plane... cell swings out of way as shutter release is depressed; returns to metering position upon film advancement.
  • Selective (large spot) meter readings; coupled with shutter speed selection and set by zero alignment of meter needle on adjustment of lens aperture... acceptance angle is 11-1/2° with 40mm lens; 5° with 90mm lens... measuring field centered in image area: approximately double rangefinder field in finder with 40mm lens; identical with rangefinder field with 90mm lens.
  • Film setting range is 25-1600 ASA, 15-33 DIN, and set on dial in center of shutter speed dial.
  • System powered by 1.35 V mercury oxide button cell, PX625 or equivalent... battery test button.
  • Brilliant-frame finder, 0.6 times magnification reflected image frames corresponding to view of 40mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses.
  • Automatic parallax correction of frame masks... viewfinder indications and signals: (1) exposure meter needle and zero mark; (2) swing-in battery test mark; (3) red warning signal indicates meter measuring limit at certain film speeds; (4) shutter speed scale and indicator.
  • Combined split-image and double-image rangefinder with measuring field in center of viewfinder.
  • Camera body 4 3/4 inch long x 3 inch high x 1 1/4 inch deep, without lens; 2 5/8 inch deep with 40mm lens mounted; 4 1/8 inch deep with 90mm lens mounted; strap lugs, winding lever, accessory shoe and shutter speed dial protrude about 5 to 10mm beyond basic body dimensions.
  • Camera body without lens, 13 ounces ; 40mm lens without hood, 4 1/4 ounces; 90mm lens without hood, 8 3/4 ounces.

From the editor

A smaller version of the LEICA M5 with similar TTL exposure metering system. The camera was designed in Wetzlar but manufactured by Minolta in Japan. Production ceased in 1976 after only 3 years.

In the U.S. and Europe, the camera was sold as the LEICA CL. In Japan, the camera was marketed as "LEITZ minolta CL" and supplied with two Minolta lenses manufactured in Osaka: M-ROKKOR 40/2 and M-ROKKOR 90/4.

Special limited editions (1)

Similar cameras (28)

35mm full frame • Manual focus • Film • Rangefinder • Leica M mount

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Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-R2M M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2006
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Cosina Voigtlander BESSA-T M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2001
Konica HEXAR RF E, 1/4000 TTL • WA AM 1999
Leica M-A (Typ 127) M, 1/1000 -- M 2014
Leica M2 M, 1/1000 -- M 1958
Leica M3 M, 1/1000 -- M 1954
Leica M4 M, 1/1000 -- M 1967
Leica M4-2 M, 1/1000 -- M 1978
Leica M4-P M, 1/1000 -- M 1981
Leica M5 M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1971
Leica M6 M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1984
Leica M6 (Typ 2248) M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 2022
Leica M6 Panda M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1990
Leica M6 Titanium M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1992
Leica M6 TTL M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1998
Leica M6J M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 1994
Leica M7 E, 1/1000 TTL • WA AM 2002
Leica MP M, 1/1000 TTL • WA M 2003
Leica MP Original M, 1/1000 -- M 1956
Minolta CLE E, 1/1000 TTL • WA AM 1980
Rollei 35 RF M, 1/2000 TTL • WA M 2002
Zeiss Ikon E, 1/2000 TTL • WA AM 2004
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Chromatic aberration

There are two kinds of chromatic aberration: longitudinal and lateral. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is a variation in location of the image plane with changes in wave lengths. It produces the image point surrounded by different colors which result in a blurred image in black-and-white pictures. Lateral chromatic aberration is a variation in image size or magnification with wave length. This aberration does not appear at axial image points but toward the surrounding area, proportional to the distance from the center of the image field. Stopping down the lens has only a limited effect on these aberrations.

Spherical aberration

Spherical aberration is caused because the lens is round and the film or image sensor is flat. Light entering the edge of the lens is more severely refracted than light entering the center of the lens. This results in a blurred image, and also causes flare (non-image forming internal reflections). Stopping down the lens minimizes spherical aberration and flare, but introduces diffraction.


Astigmatism in a lens causes a point in the subject to be reproduced as a line in the image. The effect becomes worse towards the corner of the image. Stopping down the lens has very little effect.


Coma in a lens causes a circular shape in the subject to be reproduced as an oval shape in the image. Stopping down the lens has almost no effect.

Curvature of field

Curvature of field is the inability of a lens to produce a flat image of a flat subject. The image is formed instead on a curved surface. If the center of the image is in focus, the edges are out of focus and vice versa. Stopping down the lens has a limited effect.


Distortion is the inability of a lens to capture lines as straight across the entire image area. Barrel distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to bow toward the center of the image, producing a barrel shape. Pincushion distortion causes straight lines at the edges of the frame to curve in toward the lens axis. Distortion, whether barrel or pincushion type, is caused by differences in magnification; stopping down the lens has no effect at all.

The term "distortion" is also sometimes used instead of the term "aberration". In this case, other types of optical aberrations may also be meant, not necessarily geometric distortion.


Classically, light is thought of as always traveling in straight lines, but in reality, light waves tend to bend around nearby barriers, spreading out in the process. This phenomenon is known as diffraction and occurs when a light wave passes by a corner or through an opening. Diffraction plays a paramount role in limiting the resolving power of any lens.


Doublet is a lens design comprised of two elements grouped together. Sometimes the two elements are cemented together, and other times they are separated by an air gap. Examples of this type of lens include achromatic close-up lenses.

Dynamic range

Dynamic range is the maximum range of tones, from darkest shadows to brightest highlights, that can be produced by a device or perceived in an image. Also called tonal range.

Resolving power

Resolving power is the ability of a lens, photographic emulsion or imaging sensor to distinguish fine detail. Resolving power is expressed in terms of lines per millimeter that are distinctly recorded in the final image.


Vignetting is the darkening of the corners of an image relative to the center of the image. There are three types of vignetting: optical, mechanical, and natural vignetting.

Optical vignetting is caused by the physical dimensions of a multi-element lens. Rear elements are shaded by elements in front of them, which reduces the effective lens opening for off-axis incident light. The result is a gradual decrease of the light intensity towards the image periphery. Optical vignetting is sensitive to the aperture and can be completely cured by stopping down the lens. Two or three stops are usually sufficient.

Mechanical vignetting occurs when light beams are partially blocked by external objects such as thick or stacked filters, secondary lenses, and improper lens hoods.

Natural vignetting (also known as natural illumination falloff) is not due to the blocking of light rays. The falloff is approximated by the "cosine fourth" law of illumination falloff. Wide-angle rangefinder designs are particularly prone to natural vignetting. Stopping down the lens cannot cure it.


Bright shapes or lack of contrast caused when light is scattered by the surface of the lens or reflected off the interior surfaces of the lens barrel. This is most often seen when the lens is pointed toward the sun or another bright light source. Flare can be minimized by using anti-reflection coatings, light baffles, or a lens hood.


Glowing patches of light that appear in a photograph due to lens flare.

Retrofocus design

Design with negative lens group(s) positioned in front of the diaphragm and positive lens group(s) positioned at the rear of the diaphragm. This provides a short focal length with a long back focus or lens-to-film distance, allowing for movement of the reflex mirror in SLR cameras. Sometimes called an inverted telephoto lens.


A photographic lens completely corrected for the three main optical aberrations: spherical aberration, coma, and astigmatism.

By the mid-20th century, the vast majority of lenses were close to being anastigmatic, so most manufacturers stopped including this characteristic in lens names and/or descriptions and focused on advertising other features (anti-reflection coating, for example).

Rectilinear design

Design that does not introduce significant distortion, especially ultra-wide angle lenses that preserve straight lines and do not curve them (unlike a fisheye lens, for instance).

Focus shift

A change in the position of the plane of optimal focus, generally due to a change in focal length when using a zoom lens, and in some lenses, with a change in aperture.


The amount of light that passes through a lens without being either absorbed by the glass or being reflected by glass/air surfaces.

Modulation Transfer Function (MTF)

When optical designers attempt to compare the performance of optical systems, a commonly used measure is the modulation transfer function (MTF).

The components of MTF are:

The MTF of a lens is a measurement of its ability to transfer contrast at a particular resolution from the object to the image. In other words, MTF is a way to incorporate resolution and contrast into a single specification.

Knowing the MTF curves of each photographic lens and camera sensor within a system allows a designer to make the appropriate selection when optimizing for a particular resolution.

Veiling glare

Lens flare that causes loss of contrast over part or all of the image.

Anti-reflection coating

When light enters or exits an uncoated lens approximately 5% of the light is reflected back at each lens-air boundary due to the difference in refractive index. This reflected light causes flare and ghosting, which results in deterioration of image quality. To counter this, a vapor-deposited coating that reduces light reflection is applied to the lens surface. Early coatings consisted of a single thin film with the correct refractive index differences to cancel out reflections. Multi-layer coatings, introduced in the early 1970s, are made up of several such films.

Benefits of anti-reflection coating:

Circular fisheye

Produces a 180° angle of view in all directions (horizontal, vertical and diagonal).

The image circle of the lens is inscribed in the image frame.

Diagonal (full-frame) fisheye

Covers the entire image frame. For this reason diagonal fisheye lenses are often called full-frame fisheyes.

Extension ring

Extension rings can be used singly or in combination to vary the reproduction ratio of lenses. They are mounted between the camera body and the lens. As a rule, the effect becomes stronger the shorter the focal length of the lens in use, and the longer the focal length of the extension ring.

View camera

A large-format camera with a ground-glass viewfinder at the image plane for viewing and focusing. The photographer must stick his head under a cloth hood in order to see the image projected on the ground glass. Because of their 4x5-inch (or larger) negatives, these cameras can produce extremely high-quality results. View cameras also usually support movements.

135 cartridge-loaded film

43.27 24 36
  • Introduced: 1934
  • Frame size: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2
  • Double perforated
  • 8 perforations per frame

120 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated

120 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1901
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated

220 roll film

71.22 44 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 44mm
  • Aspect ratio: 11:14
  • Diagonal: 71.22mm
  • Area: 2464mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

79.2 56 56
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 56 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Diagonal: 79.2mm
  • Area: 3136mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

220 roll film

89.64 56 70
  • Introduced: 1965
  • Frame size: 70 × 56mm
  • Aspect ratio: 5:4
  • Diagonal: 89.64mm
  • Area: 3920mm2
  • Unperforated
  • Double the length of 120 roll film

Shutter speed ring with "F" setting

The "F" setting disengages the leaf shutter and is set when using only the focal plane shutter in the camera body.

Catch for disengaging cross-coupling

The shutter and diaphragm settings are cross-coupled so that the diaphragm opens to a corresponding degree when faster shutter speeds are selected. The cross-coupling can be disengaged at the press of a catch.

Cross-coupling button

With the cross-coupling button depressed speed/aperture combinations can be altered without changing the Exposure Value setting.

M & X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for M- and X-settings so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In M-sync, the shutter closes the flash-firing circuit slightly before it is fully open to catch the flash at maximum intensity. The M-setting is used for Class M flash bulbs.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.

X sync

The shutter is fully synchronized for X-setting so that you can work with flash at all shutter speeds.

In X-sync, the flash takes place when the shutter is fully opened. The X-setting is used for electronic flash.


Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

Unable to follow the link

You are already on the page dedicated to this lens.

Cannot perform comparison

Cannot compare the lens to itself.

Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.


Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),


CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.


A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance (distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane) is also different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.


The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. Magnification is expressed as a ratio. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.


Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front lens element over multi-coatings.


Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.


Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.