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Leica M Lenses and Video Authoring

Nenad Jovanovic , Feb 20, 2006; 02:04 a.m.

I am new arround and being posting for the first time at photo.net. Let me introduce myself: I'm a graduate student, making my living as a bike mechanic and recent author of a short movie which went out publically on Dec 30, 2005.

Two years ago I've been helped by my godfather who made me lucky owner of Leica M6 with two ELMARIT 1:2,8 lenses / 28 and 135mm. His idea was to sell it and face the costs of my schooling, but I'd rather change the profession given the circumstances :D

It most deffinetly influenced my perspective and my focus is life is back on visual track. I've been pushed to video authoring by similar accident. My frist short movie was shot with Panasonic camera that a friend lent me and its success and my Leica "background" are leading me toward purchase of AG-DVX100B Panasonic camcorder with Leica DICOMAR optics.

I'm not professional in neither photography nor video authoring, but I'd like to give it a try. I have some prospect projects and being a lifetime film lover I came accross adapters that give indie video productions cinema look with use of 35mm lenses.

I was wondering if anybody has had such an experience of hybriding and bypassing these two worlds, seemingly apart? Manufacturers of the adapters I've found so far do not build Leica Lenses mount but the first one I contacted confirmed that if I can adapt my lenses since their available mounts are for Canon MF, Canon AF, Nikon, PL, and OCT-19, and Pentax, I could use my M optics!

I hope this introduction leaves my doubts in evidence. I'd like to carry with me both gears and use them in my film making. If there's a chance my M lenses could benefit the feel of my video having progressive scan of video recording in addition and 16:9 format, I'd be so happy :) .

I understand focal lengths of ELMARIT and DICOMAR optics may be incompatible of which I have no data what so ever, while existing 35mm adaptor needs an adaptor itself for my lenses it may sound heresy to many, buy I dared speaking out loud of what whirls up in my mind :D.

Is there a case? Please, I'd like to read your verdict :)


Ronald Moravec , Feb 20, 2006; 07:06 a.m.

There was an adapter to add M lenses to Leicina movie cameras made in the 1960`s.

If the Pansonic has a "c" mount system, this is possible. Hopefully someone with more knowledge than I will be able to add or give you more positive information.

Ian W. , Feb 20, 2006; 07:49 a.m.

Manufacturers of the adapters I've found so far do not build Leica Lenses mount but the first one I contacted confirmed that if I can adapt my lenses since their available mounts are for Canon MF, Canon AF, Nikon, PL, and OCT-19, and Pentax, I could use my M optics!

Your list above suggests that it will be possible to use Leica R mount lenses on your camera by way of connecting a Leica R-to-Canon EOS adapter onto the Canon AF adapter you mention. This doesn't help you with your M lenses. In any case, I think you will run into two problems trying to mount M lenses onto a video camera. First, the very short mount to film plane distance of Leica M lenses is likely to make your objective impossible. You may only be able to use the lenses in a kind of extreme macro mode. Second, the typically small size of video camera sensors means that there will be a fairly extreme multiplier effect using M lenses (your 28mm M lens on your video camera may have a field of view equivalent to something well over 100m focal length). This may or may not be a problem.

Even ignoring the above issues, I'm not sure you will see any benefit from using your Leica lenses. Even High Definition video is relatively low resolution compared to high end still capture and normal DV video is much lower resoltion still. Video camera lenses are designed with these limitations in mind. Using M Leica lenses (or other still photography lenses) is likely to be overkill for prosumer video capture.

~ Jon ~ , Feb 20, 2006; 01:15 p.m.

I'm assuming you are talking about the P&S Technic Mini-35 and/or the Movietube. As noted above, the flange focal depth of Leica-M is too short to allow a full throw of focus. The lenses you mention above are all for Single Lens Reflex cameras, the FFD being much greater. Leica- R will work fine. Or, you could do what is most convenient, and utilize the huge selection of Zeiss, Cooke, etc., lenses in PL-Mount available in most rental houses.

I hope you plan on renting, instead of buying, one of these devices, they are both over $10,000.

Helen Bach , Feb 20, 2006; 01:48 p.m.

You can certainly use M-mount lenses on a C-mount camera. I have an adapter, and have used my Noctilux for shooting 16 mm with a slightly modified Eclair NPR. I've never had any desire to use any other M lenses that way.

I also have an M-mount for the mini-35, made by ZCG, but I've never had a chance to try it. If you want to build your own similar system you could accomodate the correct flange focal distance for using M lenses with no problem. There are many DIY versions - check out dvinfo.net

Best, Helen

Dan Flanders , Feb 20, 2006; 04:51 p.m.

During the '60's I used my Leica lenses on a Leicina until the expense nearly bankrupted me so got out of the cine business. I don't know about modern camcorders, but any that take "C" mount lenses can be adapted to accept LTM Leica lenses. I assume that M mount lenses can be used with the proper adapter. I am satisfied that using the LTM lenses resulted in exceptionally improved filmage.

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