Quality of Leitz Canada R lenses

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I have search the "R" related archives (maybe not too well, however) regarding Leitz Canada lenses for the R system, in hopes of learning about the overall quality or users' experiences with the 50mm f/2 lenses (and other lenses) made in Canada. My local camera shop has one for sale in the $300 range. Any feedback would be appreciated, as I cannot find an adequate discussion in the archives. Pardon my redundant request about a topic that has surely been covered here a hundred times.

By the way, I'm seriously thinking about unloading my autofocus Nikon N90s system and going with the camera shop's Mint condition demo R7. They are offering it and the 50mm lens for $1,300. My goal is to "get back to basics" within the Leica product line (even though it will cost more, and probably yield fewer bells and whistles) as compared to Japanese cameras. As with the Leica M system, I now prefer to enjoy using a more mechanical, metal constructed, and a bit more simple camera body that forces me to have more input into the end result, rather than just hold an expensive "state-of-the-art" point and shoot like today's modern auto focus professional camera. Just my preference.

-- Steve Brantley (sbrantley@nccommerce.com), February 21, 2002


Country of origin is not an issue. More pertinent is generation. The Canadian 50mm Summicron-R is a first-rate lens, better than the earlier German lens using Series VI filters. Likewise, the Canadian 135mm Elmarit-R is superior to the earlier German version.

OTOH, the Canadian 250mm Telyt-R and 35mm Summicron-R are less desirable than the newer German versions. The 180mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt- R is a Canadian lens, long considered a benchmark for optical quality, which was only recently replaced with the German 180mm APO- Elmarit-R. There are lots Leica-R reviews at


-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), February 21, 2002.

I own an R5, R6.2, R7 and R8 and my R7 is my favorite. I looooove that camera. I have in the past had as my primary systems Olympus, Nikon, and Canon and I've found I like the Leica R system the best, though Nikon comes a close second losing out only on its wide angle lenses (which are excellent but not Leica). Nikon's flash system I think is by far the best too... I loathe EOS, perhaps in part because it was forced on me by the newspaper I worked at at the time (that however forced me to go Leica R with my own $$ so perhaps it was a fortuitous turn).

Leica R isn't really a logical choice if you are a working pro. But it is a delightful way to be irrational. I miss the flash accuracy of Nikon--not too happy with any Metz including the 54mz-3 or whatever it is. But I have been able to tell a certain quality from the lenses that even translates into newsprint--while I was at the newspaper my co- workers could even tell so it's not just me blathering.

-- Dave Yoder (lists@daveyoder.com), February 21, 2002.


The Canadian 50mm R is superb - on a par with the current Summicron-M. Price seems OK, but you might be able to pick up one even cheaper on ebay as there seem to be a million people selling them (perhaps to pick up the new 50mm 'lux?). The R7 is nice camera, but I suggest you might want to consider an R6.2 if you really want to go back to basics as the R7 is a bit larger -- but there again if you really want the auto exp features the R7 is nice. Also you might want to check out a s/h R8 which is often sold at a price not much different to the R7.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), February 21, 2002.

Hello Steve. R7 is a pleasing camera to use however ensure warranty on purchase..Canadian 50mm.delivers excellent results,even close up.Build quality of early German 50mm, a little heavier. Regards.

-- Sheridan Zantis (albada60@hotmail.com), February 21, 2002.

I have both an r6.2, an SL and a minolta af camera. I love my leicas and they both get a lot of use. With carefull shopping you can buy good used R glass at a reasonable price compared to M glass or newer Nikon glass. I would not however part with my minolta. I have two young children that play sports, and an AF camera with one good long zoom lens is capable of capturing pictures on a more consistent basis than leica is. good leica zooms are also quite expensive.

If you can keep your nikon and pick up a good clean SL. they are less expensive than the R7 and they are a very solid reliable camera. see doug herr's website (from previous post) His photo's many of which are taken with an SL are phenominal.

-- greg mason (gmason1661@aol.com), February 21, 2002.

Erwin Puts states in his Leica Lens Compendium that the second version of the 35 Summicron-R was designed in Midland and produced in Germany.

He also says that the second version has better performance in the field and up close but both lenses are equal at f/5.6. The first version appears to have fine performance on axis at wider aperatures but not so good in the field.

He also implies that the 50 Summicron-R is better than the M version and that it's more difficult to design lenses for the M because of size restrictions.

-- Bud (budcook@attglobal.net), February 21, 2002.


I recently bought a Canadian R 90mm/F2. It's some 20 years old but survived very well. In the shop, I saw 3 and they were excellent.

It seems that the Canadian lens are well crafted to very high standard. So if the lens appear in good shape, it will deliver those nice pictures.

About the R7, I have one, my only Leica, bought in 97. It's accurate, well built and the Electronics are well designed. DX, Auto mode, Manual, you will find all the N90 possibilities but it's another world. Heavy, well in hand, it can be quick to shoot. Or you can make each photo a real ceremony. Batteries last some 3 years, to the point where you don't understand when the icon in the view finder light up.

At USD1300 it's a bargain I would not miss. These days, 3 cams lens are sold by buckets on Ebay, not too expensively.

My opinion is: it's a deal.

But don't expect your R to keep a value as M. If there are so many lens, it must be for some rason.

So? Buy the R7 to take pictures from some of finest lens, enjoy it. Cheers. X.

-- Xavier d'Alfort (hot_billexf@hotmail.com), February 22, 2002.

I enjoy using my R7 for 5 yrs now and never had any problems with it. It is completely bugfree, which unfortunately can not be said about the R4 and others. With getting a 50 mm-SUMMICRON you make no mistake either. Focussing with this lens is easier than with other camerasystems using f 1.7 or even 1.4.

Try it out and get it; the price seems to be spot on, in case the condition is mint.

Good shooting

-- K. G. Wolf (k.g.wolf@web.de), February 24, 2002.

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