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03-08-2011, 04:43 AM   #1
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Question about Leica R mount lenses

I'm sure this will have been covered somewhere on the forum but I can't find it. Is there a difference in quality or otherwise in the Leica R mount lenses made in Canada and Germany? Why are some branded Leica and some Leitz? What does 3 cam refer to that I have seen in some literature? What is the difference between summicron and elmarit lenses?

Thanks in advance.


Last edited by samski_1; 03-08-2011 at 04:59 AM.
03-08-2011, 06:39 AM   #2
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1) there is no difference at all between the lenses made in Germany and the ones made in canada. For some stupid reason some Leica aficionados labelled the Canadian lenses as inferior under the premise that Canadians cannot build anything worth dog spit - that is far removed from the reality that mechanically and optically Canadian made Leica lenses are Identical to their German counterparts.

2) Leitz/Leica are the same thing, older lenses and enlargers tended to be labelled "Leitz wetzlar" a Similar parallel can be drawn between the era when Pentax branded lenses "asahi optical" or "Asahi Pentax "- they eventually dropped the "Asahi" part and used the name Pentax instead. As I understand it there are currently three subsidiaries that brand their products under the Leica name. Leica geosystems - they produce surveying equipment, Leica Microsystems - makers of microscopes and Leica Camera AG - makers of the Leica camera and Lenses.

3) what is 3 cam? with not indication to the context of the term, I cannot help you.

4) the difference between summicron and Elmar/Elmarit? Leica name their lenses based on their widest aperture: summicron lenses are f/2 Elmar/Elmarit lenses can be f/2.8 to f/5.6

Last edited by Digitalis; 03-08-2011 at 06:45 AM.
03-08-2011, 07:27 AM   #3
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Canada and Germany is the same issue as Vietnam and Japan. It looks like countries losing wars produce more valuable optics. :-D
03-08-2011, 07:34 AM   #4
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Here is a good site explaining the Leica R-mount:

Leica R bayonet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

03-08-2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for the info Digitalis.

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
3) what is 3 cam? with not indication to the context of the term, I cannot help you.
This is the heading for an ebay listing, there are several listed in a similar way:
Leica Macro Elmarit R 60mm f2.8 Lens 3 Cam
In the description it says "this is a 3 cam lens".

Any ideas?
03-08-2011, 02:02 PM   #6
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I recall reading somewhere that E.Leitz Canada or ELCAN gear was, in some periods, considered to be of HIGHER quality than the German-made stuff. Sorry, I have no citation. Just a rumour?
03-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #7
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To add to previous posts, "Leica" is short for "Leitz Camera" as the company, Leitz Wetzlar, was also in microscope or some similar business before.
03-08-2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by samski_1 Quote
Thanks a lot for the info Digitalis.



This is the heading for an ebay listing, there are several listed in a similar way:
Leica Macro Elmarit R 60mm f2.8 Lens 3 Cam
In the description it says "this is a 3 cam lens".

Any ideas?
No problem, i'm here to educate and inform.

the Leica R series bodies used "cams" - Leica technical jargon name for the internal mechanical linkage the lenses used communicate aperture values to the camera body. Which is a system not at all dissimilar to the Nikon aperture "claws" that nikon used to achieve a similar effect. Early lenses only had 1 cam, then Leica produced a body with AE they added two cams, and eventually they produced 3 cam lenses. There are compatibility issues with using 1 and 2 cam lenses in modern R8/R9 camera bodies, but there is a way for those older lenses to be adapted to suit them. Depending on what you are using these lenses for I don't think I would worry about it all that much.


Last edited by Digitalis; 03-08-2011 at 06:55 PM.
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