10th Anniversary 2012-2022
More than just a camera lens database

Leica R system


Leitz introduced LEICAFLEX, their first SLR, in 1964. It was an all-mechanical camera with external CdS cell built into the pentraprism. The LEICAFLEX SL (1968) introduced a TTL ("Selective Light") open-aperture metering (and removed the mirror lock-up feature that was available on the predecessor). The LEICAFLEX SL2 (1974) was a minor upgrade: it offered an additional split-image rangefinder for positive focusing, and a more sensitive exposure meter, as well as an additional accessory-shoe contact.

In order to offer automatic exposure, Leitz teamed up with the Japanese company Minolta. The new LEICA R series cameras were based on Minolta electronics but produced by Leitz in Germany or Portugal. The R3 ELECTRONIC (1976) was the first auto-exposure (aperture-priority) SLR by LEICA based on the XE, the R4 (1980) was a more compact XD-based model which also offered shutter-priority and programmed auto-exposure modes, while the R5 (1986) also added TTL flash exposure metering. The R-E (1990) was an economy version of the R5 with reduced set of features, the all-mechanical R6 (1988) had no auto-exposure, while the R7 (1992) was a redesign of the R5.

The R8 (1996) became a totally new in-house design with new line of accessories. The R9 (2002) was a slight modification of the R8. A 10MP digital back called DIGITAL-MODUL-R transformed these analog cameras into digital.

Leica R lenses combined high resolving power with high image contrast to provide exceptional picture sharpness. The focal lengths ranged from a 15mm wide-angle to a 800mm telephoto. Anti-reflection coatings on highly refractive glasses assured almost 100% light transmission within the entire visible spectrum. The additional ultraviolet light was further absorbed by means of Absorban cement layers. This also assured that all lenses maintained the same color transmission, regardless of focal length. Even at full aperture, the residual aberrations were corrected so well that in practice they did not affect the performance even at full aperture.

There were several variations of the Leica R bayonet mount:

  • 1 cam - introduced with the LEICAFLEX (Standard); has a single sloped cam that transmits the aperture value to the external exposure meter. 1-cam lenses can be used on SL/SL2 and R-series bodies in stop-down metering mode only and not recommended on R8/R9 because of possible damage to the camera's ROM contacts.
  • 2 cam - introduced with the LEICAFLEX SL; has two sloped cams; the second cam transmits the aperture value to the TTL exposure meter. 2-cam lenses are fully compatible with the LEICAFLEX (Standard). On R-series bodies, the limitations are the same as for the 1-cam lenses.
  • 3 cam - introduced with the LEICA R ELECTRONIC; has two sloped cams and a third stepped R-cam that transmits both maximum and set apertures to the TTL exposure meter. 3-cam lenses are compatible with all LEICAFLEX and LEICA R bodies.
  • R only - only has the third stepped R-cam. R-only lenses were made for LEICA R bodies and will not fit LEICAFLEX bodies.
  • ROM - only has the third stepped R-cam plus electrical contacts transmitting the focal length to the body. Even though the data exchange is only supported on the R8/R9 (the information is used in flash metering and also transmitted to the DIGITAL-MODUL-R), mechanically ROM-lenses are fully compatible with all LEICA R bodies. Like R-only lenses, they will not fit LEICAFLEX bodies.

Camera lineup

Leica R mount lens lineup

Fisheye lenses
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Fisheye-Elmarit-R 16mm F/2.8 1974 
Ultra-wide angle prime lenses
3.5 Leitz Wetzlar Super-Elmar-R 15mm F/3.5Pro 1980 
2.8 Leica Super-Elmarit-R 15mm F/2.8Pro 2001 
2.8 Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 19mm F/2.8 [I] E82Pro 1975 
2.8 Leica Elmarit-R 19mm F/2.8 [II]Pro 1991 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar Super-Angulon-R 21mm F/4 S.8.5, E72Pro 1968 
3.4 Leitz Wetzlar Super-Angulon-R 21mm F/3.4 S.VIIINon-retrofocusPro 1964 
Wide-angle prime lenses
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leica Elmarit-R 24mm F/2.8 S.VIII, E60 1974 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 28mm F/2.8 [I] S.VII, E48 1970 
2.8 Leica Elmarit-R 28mm F/2.8 [II] E55 1994 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 35mm F/2.8 [I] S.VI 1964 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 35mm F/2.8 [II] S.VII 1974 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Elmarit-R 35mm F/2.8 [III] E55 1979 
2.0 Leitz Canada Summicron-R 35mm F/2 [I] S.VII 1972 
2.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leica Summicron-R 35mm F/2 [II] E55 1976 
1.4 Leica Summilux-R 35mm F/1.4 E67 1984 
Standard prime lenses
2.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Summicron-R 50mm F/2 [I] S.VI 1964 
2.0 Leitz Canada / Leica Summicron-R 50mm F/2 [II] E55 1976 
1.4 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Summilux-R 50mm F/1.4 [I] S.VII 1969 
1.4 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada / Leica Summilux-R 50mm F/1.4 [II] E55 1978 
1.4 Leica Summilux-R 50mm F/1.4 [III] E60 1998 
Short telephoto prime lenses
1.4 Leitz Wetzlar / Leica Summilux-R 80mm F/1.4 E67 1980 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 90mm F/2.8 [I] E55 1964 
2.8 Leitz Canada / Leica Elmarit-R 90mm F/2.8 [II] E55 1984 
2.0 Leitz Canada / Leica Summicron-R 90mm F/2 1970 
2.0 Leica APO-Summicron-R 90mm F/2 ASPH. E60 2002 
Medium telephoto prime lenses
2.8 Leitz Canada Elmarit-R 135mm F/2.8 [I] S.VII 1964 
2.8 Leitz Canada / Leitz Wetzlar / Leica Elmarit-R 135mm F/2.8 [II] 1968 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-R 180mm F/4 E55 1976 
3.4 Leitz Canada APO-Telyt-R 180mm F/3.4Pro 1975 
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 
2.8 Leitz Canada / Leica APO-Elmarit-R 180mm F/2.8 E67Pro 1998 
2.0 Leica APO-Summicron-R 180mm F/2 E100Pro 1994 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Telyt-R 250mm F/4 [I] S.VIII 1970 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Telyt-R 250mm F/4 [II] E67 1980 
4.0 Leica APO-Telyt-R 280mm F/4 E77Pro 1994 
2.8 Leica APO-Telyt-R 280mm F/2.8 E112Pro 1984 
2.8 Leica APO-Telyt-R 280mm F/2.8 ModulePro 1996 
Super telephoto prime lenses
4.8 Leitz / Leitz Canada Telyt-R 350mm F/4.8 E77Pro 1980 
6.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada / Leica Telyt-R 400mm F/6.8Pro 1971 
4.0 Leica APO-Telyt-R 400mm F/4 ModulePro 1996 
2.8 Leica APO-Telyt-R 400mm F/2.8Pro 1992 
2.8 Leica APO-Telyt-R 400mm F/2.8 ModulePro 1996 
8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada MR-Telyt-R 500mm F/8 E77 1980 
6.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada / Leica Telyt-R 560mm F/6.8Pro 1971 
5.6 Leica APO-Telyt-R 560mm F/5.6 ModulePro 2005 
4.0 Leica APO-Telyt-R 560mm F/4 ModulePro 2005 
6.3 Leitz Wetzlar Telyt-S 800mm F/6.3Pro 1973 
5.6 Leica APO-Telyt-R 800mm F/5.6 ModulePro 2005 
Macro lenses
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm F/2.8 [I] S.VIII1:2 @ CFD 0.27m 1972 
2.8 Leitz Wetzlar / Leica Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm F/2.8 [II] E551:2 @ CFD 0.27m 1980 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Macro-Elmar 100mm F/4 E55For bellowsPro 1968 
4.0 Leitz Wetzlar / Leitz Canada Macro-Elmar-R 100mm F/41:3 @ CFD 0.6mPro 1978 
2.8 Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 100mm F/2.8 E601:2 @ CFD 0.45mPro 1988 
Shift lenses
2.8 Leica PC-Super-Angulon-R 28mm F/2.8 E67Pro 1988 
4.0 Schneider-KREUZNACH PA-Curtagon 35mm F/4 for Leicaflex (Leica R) S.VIII, E60Pro 1969 
Wide-angle zoom lenses
3.5 Leica Vario-Elmar-R 21-35mm F/3.5-4 ASPH. E67 2002 
Standard zoom lenses
3.5 Leica Vario-Elmar-R 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5 E60 1990 
2.8 Leica Vario-Elmarit-R 28-90mm F/2.8-4.5 ASPH. E67 2003 
4.0 Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70mm F/4 E60 1997 
3.5 Leitz Vario-Elmar-R 35-70mm F/3.5 [I] E60 1983 
3.5 Leica Vario-Elmar-R 35-70mm F/3.5 [II] E67 1988 
2.8 Leica Vario-Elmarit-R 35-70mm F/2.8 ASPH. E77 1998 
Telephoto zoom lenses
2.8 P. Angenieux 45-90mm F/2.8 for Leicaflex / Leica R S.VIII 1969 
2.8 Leica Vario-APO-Elmarit-R 70-180mm F/2.8 E77 1995 
4.0 Leitz Vario-Elmar-R 70-210mm F/4 E60Push/pull 1984 
4.5 Leitz Wetzlar Vario-Elmar-R 75-200mm F/4.5 E55Push/pull 1978 
4.5 Leitz Wetzlar Vario-Elmar-R 80-200mm F/4.5 E55Push/pull 1974 
4.0 Leica Vario-Elmar-R 80-200mm F/4 E60 1996 
4.2 Leitz Wetzlar Vario-Elmar-R 105-280mm F/4.2 E77 1996 

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