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Leitz Canada / Leica APO-Elmarit-R 180mm F/2.8

Medium telephoto prime lens • Film era • Discontinued


APO The lens features apochromatic optical design.

Model history

Features highlight

8 blades
Built-in hood


Production details
Production status: Discontinued
Production type:Mass production
Order No.:11273
Original name:LEITZ CANADA APO-ELMARIT-R 1:2.8/180
System: Leica R (1964)
Optical design
Focal length:180mm
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica R [47mm] (1 cam, 2 cam, 3 cam, R only, ROM)
Diagonal angle of view:13.7° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:7 elements - 5 groups
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Automatic
Number of blades:8
Closest focusing distance:1.5m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:7 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:Internal focusing (IF)
Focusing modes:Manual focus only
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Physical characteristics
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀76×132mm
Weather sealing:-
AquaDura coating:-
Filters:Screw-type 67mm
Lens hood:Built-in telescopic round
Lens caps:14291 (front)
14162 (rear)
Teleconverters: Leica APO-Extender-R 2X → 360mm F/5.6

*) Sources of data: Manufacturer's technical data ● Leica R-System: Lenses booklet (April 1999).

Manufacturer description #1

The overall optical performance of this apochromatically corrected 180 mm lens can certainly be compared to that of the faster LEICA APO-SUMMICRON-R 180 mm f/2 lens. Even at full aperture, it is remarkable for its outstanding image quality. Coma as well as astigmatism and curvature of field can barely be detected. The rubber-armored lens hood effectively protects the lens against damage from impacts. As a lightweight and compact lens with this focal length, it is very well suited for portraiture, fashion, sports and landscape photography – even when it is not used on a tripod. Ingenious mechanical design and pleasing ergonomics make focusing especially easy.

Manufacturer description #2

Perfect hand-held exposures require a lens like this one: peak performance at full aperture, extremely high contrast, and clear rendition of the finest nuances. The overall optical performance of this apochromatically corrected 180mm lens make even the most critical photographers enthusiastic. At full aperture it has outstanding image quality that can hardly be improved by stopping the lens down. Coma, vignetting, astigmatism and curvature of field are practically nonexistent. It is remarkably compact and elegant for a lens with this focal length. It is excellent choice for portraiture, fashion, sports and landscape photography – even when you are working without a tripod. All in all, it is a fast high-performance telephoto lens that satisfies the highest expectations, even under difficult conditions. It has an integrated lens hood.

Manufacturer description #3

The focal length of 180mm is of particular photographic importance in the LEICA R system. The APO-TELYT-R f/3.4 180mm introduced this focal length to the LEICA range of high-performance lenses, and has since earned itself a formidable reputation. With the ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm introduced several years ago, Leica succeeded in producing an ultra-fast high-performance lens which is nevertheless very compact and easy to use.

Leica has now combined the special features and the excellent qualities of these two lenses in the new LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm, which replaces the two previous 180mm lenses in the LEICA R lens range, the ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm and the APO-TELYT-R f/3.4 180mm.

Like its predecessors, the LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm excels not only through its superb image quality, but also through its high functionality and convenient handling. Its design is based largely on that of the ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm and was even slightly improved to make it more ergonomic. Thanks to its length to bayonet flange of 132mm and its front lens diameter of 76mm, the lens has an elegant, even slim appearance. It is particularly suited for hand-held exposures, as it is convenient to hold and enables the photographer to shoot without tiring.

The general optical performance of the new APO lens is praised by even the most demanding photographers. Even at full aperture its image quality is exceptionally good, and there is no need to stop down. Contrast and resolution are superb on the optical axis and throughout the entire image field.

High speed lenses with long focal lengths and the highest in image quality call for apochromatic correction. Apochromatic correction is the elimination of residual errors in the so-called secondary spectrum present in the optical system. These errors are particularly evident in tele-photo lenses. Shortwave blue light is refracted more sharply than light at longer wavelengths (dispersion). This phenomenon causes colour fringes which reduce contrast. The apochromatic correction counter-balances this tendency by bundling the entire spectrum in a limited range. The measures that Leica took to eliminate this residual error makes the APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm one of the top lenses in its class.

The image quality of the LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm at infinity is distinguished by the virtual absence of coma, astigmatism and field curvature. Stopping down to eliminate these residual errors is therefore not necessary. In the close range, which with this lens extends down to 1.5m, the exceptional performanceis retained almost in full.

The level of pincushion distortion (approx. 1%) is extremely low and hardly visible in the picture. Vignetting (a decrease of light towards the edges) is virtually insignificant in practice, and from apertures of 4 or 5.6 and smaller, the lens is entirely free of artificial vignetting.

The APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm is also equipped with internal focusing. Thus, throughout the entire focusing range, only the elements in the interior of the lens move. The length of the lens therefore remains constant during refocusing, and the equipment rests conveniently in the user's hand. The extensible lens hood has rubber rim guards enabling the photographer to place the lens on a surface without risk of damage. Use of the APO-EXTENDER-R 2x produces an optical system with the data f/5.6 360mm. The superb image quality remains largely unchanged when this 2x converter combination is employed.

The APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8 180mm offers serious LEICA photographers a fast high-performance telephoto lens which can be used for portraits, fashion, sports or landscape photography and which meets highest demands even in difficult conditions.

Manufacturer description #4

01 - 12/2003 - High-speed telephoto lens LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm

Leica Camera AG, Solms is now offering an improved version of its compact high-speed telephoto lens LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm. By applying a new optical design, it was possible to modify the shape of the lens to make it compatible with the APO-EXTENDER-R 1.4x. This combination results in a high performance, ultra compact lens with 250 mm focal length, an initial aperture of f/4 and smallest object field of 120 x 180 mm. The optical performance is already outstanding at full aperture — stopping down does not produce any significant improvement. The LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm is an ideal travel lens for reportage, architecture, landscapes and portraits.

The LEICA APO-ELMARIT f/2.8/180 mm consists of seven elements in five groups. Four of these elements have special refractive properties which enable a high degree of apochromatic correction. This explains the lens's exceptionally low color scatter and high imaging quality even at full aperture. Contrast and resolution are excellent over the whole field of view. The optical performance is retained in the close-focus range (up to 1.5 m), too. Field curvature, coma and astigmatism are practically non-existent. Due to the internal focusing - a cemented component with two lens elements is moved within the optical system - the physical length of the lens remains constant during focusing. This means that the center of gravity of the camera and the lens does not change, so that hand-held photography is easier.

“The superb ergonomics of the LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm are a noticeable benefit when using the Extender, too. The lens and the Extender form a well-balanced and stable unit which is easy to keep still for hand-held photography. Focusing is fast and accurate due to the silky smooth helical movement of the focusing mechanism,“ says Sven Sturm, Product Manager of Leica Camera's Systems Division.

The LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm can also be used with the Extender 2x. This combination achieves a focal length of 360 mm at an aperture of f/5.6. The smallest object field at the shortest focus setting of 1.5 m is 84 x 126 mm, which is equivalent to a reproduction ratio of 1:3.5.

To enable the LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm to cover the macro range, the LEICA MACRO-ADAPTER-R is the ideal accessory. The photographer can then get as close as about 90 cm, which is the distance at which many insects instinctively take flight when approached. The smallest object field is then 84 x 126 mm, which is equivalent to a reproduction ratio of 1:3.

The LEICA APO-ELMARIT f/2.8/180 mm replaces the predecessor model of the same name. All the previous lenses in this series can be adapted for use with the APO-EXTENDER-R 1.4x in Leica's Customer Service department on request.

The LEICA APO-ELMARIT-R f/2.8/180 mm will be on sale at Leica stockists' from November 2003.

From the editor

Version 1 (order number 11273) is only compatible with APO-Extender-R 2X, while version 2 (order number 11357, introduced in December 2003) can be also used with APO-Extender-R 1.4X. We decided not to dedicate a separate page to version 2, since the specifications (number of elements and groups, closest focusing distance, weight and dimensions, filter size etc.) of both versions are the same.

Typical application

portraits, distant subjects, distant landscapes with perspective compression effect, travel

Lenses with similar focal length and speed

Sorted by manufacturer name

2.0 Leica APO-Summicron-R 180mm F/2 E100Pro 1994 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 180mm F/2.8 [I] S.VIII 1968 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 180mm F/2.8 [II] E67 1980 
2.3 P. Angenieux DEM 180mm F/2.3 APO ⌀82Pro 1986 
2.8 P. Angenieux DEM 200mm F/2.8 ED ⌀82 1989 

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice


Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

Professional lens (Top class)

One of the best fast medium telephoto primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

Apochromatic optical design

All glass elements in an optical system refract light in certain colors to a different extent. This leads to the effect that not all rays of light from a multi-colored subject are focused at a single imaging point – the result of this is chromatic aberration.

In this lens, the chromatic aberration is minimized by apochromatic correction.

A need for apochromatic correction arose with the increasing popularity of color film. Now, with high-resolution digital sensors, the need for superior control of chromatic aberrations is even more pertinent than when film changed from monochrome to color.

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Unique Leica Look

Leica lenses are one-of-a-kind optical masterpieces that are impressive because of their unique Leica Look. This is ensured through exceptional optical design combined with selected materials and the highest quality standards.

Leica lenses reveal their full potential only when mounted on Leica cameras, since only these have sensors precisely matched to their optical characteristics.

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.


Sorry, no additional information is available.


Replacement lens cap, black finish, for Leica E67 lenses.


Replacement rear cover for Leica R-mount lenses except 21mm.

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, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

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. 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".

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Fixed focus

There is no helicoid in this lens and everything is in focus from the closest focusing distance to infinity.

Overall linear extension

The entire lens optical system moves straight backward and forward when focusing is carried out. This is the simplest type of focusing used mainly in wide-angle and standard prime lenses. It has the advantage of introducing relatively little change in aberrations with respect to change in focusing distance. With telephoto and super telephoto lenses this method becomes less beneficial in terms of operability because of the increased size and weight of the lens system.

Front group linear extension

The rear group remains fixed and only the front group moves straight backward and forward during focusing. This method is primarily used in zoom lenses and allows to design comparatively simple lens construction, but also places restrictions on zoom magnification and size reduction.

Front group rotational extension

The lens barrel section holding the front lens group rotates to move the front group backward and forward during focusing. This method of focusing is also used only in zoom lenses.

Internal focusing (IF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned between the front lens group and the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

Rear focusing (RF)

Focusing is performed by moving one or more lens groups positioned behind the diaphragm.

Methods of internal and rear focusing have the following advantages:

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.

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 and/or rear lens elements 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.