LEICA-R CANON COMPATIBILITY DATABASE

Explanation of the acronyms and abbreviations used in the table

 

 

WHY IS THE CANON 5D LISTED IN ITS OWN COLUMN?

Canon 5D and 5D Mark II owners have reported various adapter and lens combinations catching on the mirror. If a lens mounts and performs correctly on the Canon 1-Series family, unfortunately that does not guarantee the lens-adapter combination will operate correctly on the Canon 5D family. Complicating matters, there are variances amongst Canon 5D’s. For Contax lenses the Canon 5D’s variances in the mirror box have proven troublesome. Fortunately, this does not seem to be as much of a problem for the Leica-R lenses. Probably because the flange thickness on a Canon / Leica R is about 3mm versus ~1.425mm for Canon / Contax adapter.

WHAT ABOUT EF-S MOUNT CAMERAS SUCH AS THE CANON 7D AND 70D?

Canon dSLRs with the new EF-S mount such as the Canon Digital Rebels, 20D, 20Da, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D and 7D work fine. The EF-s cameras have smaller mirrors, so just about any lens will work them. The new Canon 7D and 550D (Rebel Ti2) have a larger viewfinders than their predecessors, so manually focusing these new bodies is easier.

WHAT ABOUT THE CANON 1 SERIES FAMILY?

Initial reports indicate it is best to consider the 1D family (Mark I, II, III and IV) as having the same clearance as the 1Ds family. The the Leica 21-35mm ASPH needs its rear shroud removed.


THE DATABASE SHOWS “YES”, BUT I KNOW THE LENS DOESN’T FIT!!!

Deciding whether a lens deserves a “YES” or not can be tricky because one reader may report “Yes” and another person says it will not work. Most likely the problem is not the lens or the camera body, but the adapter. To address these conflicting reports the “I” category was added, meaning “iffy” - as in the lens may or may not work. Detailed comments are provided in the Lenses section.

DOES ROM OR CAM MATTER?

When fitting a Leica lens on a Canon EF mount the CAM vs ROM option does not matter since the Leica ROM contacts do not work with a Canon body. With most lenses being purchased in the secondhand market, the biggest upside of a ROM lens is that it is most likely newer and maybe in better condition than an older lens.

WHAT DOES “R-CAM” MEAN?

Some lenses are R-CAM only, R-CAM means the lens will only work on R-bodies, not the older Leicaflex bodies. Karen Nakamura has a nice write-up on CAM vs ROM vs R-CAM. If you are using the data table to ID lenses, then I highly suggest Google’ing the Leica lens model number in question to make sure the data in the table is 100% correct. Many CAM lenses could be upgraded to ROM by Leica, so just because a lens has a Leica ROM, do not assume it is the newer model.

HOW DO YOU “SHAVE” THE CANON 5D’s MIRROR?

For some lenses no adapter works until shaving the mirror and/or modifying the rear of lens. If you are a die-hard DIY kind of person and want to modify your camera, here’s a link with some pictures. If you decide to shave the mirror, you are doing so at your own risk.

A WORD OF CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING USED LENSES

A common discussion on user forums is how to adjust infinity focus. Generally, this can be done by rolling back the rubber grip on the focus ring (if there is any) which reveals the screws holding the focus ring in place. Loosening the screws allows the focus ring to be repositioned. This adjustment can be disastrous on a floating element lens design. These lenses were designed for the exit pupil to be an exact distance from the film plane. If that distance is compromised, lens performance will suffer.

Such adjustments may negatively impact lens without floating element designs too. Since the first person “optimized” lens for infinity focus with their adapter, it is likely the next person will have trouble finding an adapter that works properly. In effect this adjustment creates the “good copy / bad copy” syndrome. When buying a used lens - ask the seller if they have made any such adjustments. Ask if the lens has been sent to Leica to ensure proper calibration.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Leica first introduced the R-mount in 1964, so some of these lenses are almost 50 years old. Some lenses have undergone 2, 3 or 4 redesigns. Different versions can be worth considerably more than others, so knowing exactly which lens you are buying is critical. As mentioned earlier, some Leica CAM lenses can be converted to ROM (by Leica Solms), so identifying a lens by mount type (CAM vs ROM) is not fool-proof. Identifying a particular lens can be done by filter size, hood type, cam count, size / weight, etc. I hope all the information presented in the table is correct, but there are no guarantees. Treat the information as a quick reference and always do your own independent research to make sure the data jibes. Some helpful books include:

  1. Leica R Compendium: Handbook of the Leica R System by Jonathan Eastland, 1995.

  2. Leica An Illustrated History:  Lenses by James L. Lager, 1994.

  3. Leica R. Angewandte Leica Technik by Gunter Osterloh (I think this is printed in German...), 2000.

These books can expensive ($50 to $150), but if you spend 20 hours trying research a lens or two via the web, the book is a far more time efficient tool. If you decide to mount a non-EF Canon lens to a Canon camera, you are doing so at your own risk. This PebblePlace.com makes no guarantees or warranties - implicit, explicit or otherwise. Use your common sense - if something feels wrong --- then stop and examine the adapter, the lens, etc. Until you know for sure a lens and adapter works correctly with your camera, go slow and pay close attention.

 

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