Compatibility of the Leica M lenses
with the Minolta CLE and the Leica CL

 


 

The Minolta CLE is compact. Its telemetric base is reduced, therefore the rangefinder window is nearly upon the optical axis, close to the top of lenses. The Rokkor CLE lenses (28, 40 and 90 mm) have been designed with this compactness in mind. The Leica M lenses and especially their sunshades are likely to block the sight in the viewer, or, worse, the window of the rangefinder, having focusing impossible.

 

 

The 28 CLE on the Minolta CLE
CLE et 28 mm

 

These photographs try to give the best idea of the obstruction of the rangefinder : perfectly free with the 28 CLE, it is obviously out of order with the 50 f1.

 

The 50 f 1 Noctilux on the Minolta CLE :
50 f 1 sur le CLE

The opening of the CLE is not as wide as that one of an M6: 

   

 

 

The cell is located at the bottom on the Minolta CLE, a protective shroud baffle limits the free passage, preventing the mounting of the widest rear optical groups.

 
 

Minolta CLE
CLE

The cell of the M6 is on the upper left corner (looking from front). This design leaves free passage for the largest rear optical groups.

By the way, the position of the cell on the M6 origins a non-symetrical response of metering. Some differences in the shroud baffle of M6 are recorded, the last version being the widest.

 

Leica M6
M6


Criteria to be taken to mount Leica M lenses on a Minolta CLE :
  1. Over all, the mechanical possibility to mount the lens, which excludes:
        lenses whose rear is too wide (such as the 35 mm 1,4)
        lenses provided with undismountable spectacles.
  2. Is the rangefinder focusing possible? without sunshade? and with sunshade ? at all the distances ?
        check carefully what occurs at short distance: the frame in the viewer glides to the right bottom, correcting the parallax and the image of rangefinder in superposition may vanish.
  3. which frame appears in the viewer ? is this well the proper frame ?
  4. does the cell react suitably?

The best way to proceed is to try to mount the lens on a Minolta CLE body, the shutter curtain of which is maintained opened by firing it on long-time exposure. One sees the inner of the camera and thus can limit the risk of scratching the lens and/or the case (I slightly rubbed the rear element of a 35 mm 1,4).
It is wise to focus the lens at its closest distance (so, the optical unit is carried ahead the deepest in the barrel). Then mount the lens while supervising the introduction (for example the 135 mm f 4 wears a protruding pin). Once mounted, while keeping the focal shutter opened, rotate gently the lens on infinity, still looking in the camera to the movement of the optical unit and supervising its action on the focusing cam.

Then, inspect what occurs in the viewer. Check focusing in horizontal and vertical framing (both - I insist) at infinity, medium and short distance with another lens working properly.

Ouf! a little long.

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Late Leica M lenses on the CLE


Lens

Part
Number

Fitting

Frame
visible

Obstruction
in viewer

comment

tested
myself

Wide lenses

21 mm 2,8

11134

yes

28/90

1/4

the sunshade blinds the rangefinder
possible to use but defective

no

21 mm 2,8 aspherical

11135

yes

28/90

1/4

the sunshade blocks the rangefinder
possible to use but defective

yes

24 mm 2,8 aspherical

11878

yes

?

?

size nearly as 21 mm asph - the whole viewer of CLE covers 24 mm

by Robert Jones

28 mm 2,8 old

11804

yes

28/90

1/5

correct - a little bulky

yes

28 mm 2,8

11809

yes

28/90

1/5

correct - a little invading

yes

28 mm f 2 aspherical

11604

yes

?

1/8

nearly perfect

by Double Expo

35 mm 1,4 old

11870

no

/

/

impossible to fit
the rear lens rubs - danger

yes

35 mm 1,4 aspherical

11874

yes

40

1/4

possible to use but defective

yes

35 mm f 2
(before 1980)

11309

yes

28

?

possible to use but defective

no

35 mm f 2

11310

no

/

/

impossible to fit

no

35 mm f 2 aspherical

11879

?

?

?

?

no

Standards

50 mm f 2 old

11819

yes

40

1/5

possible to use but defective

yes

50 mm f 2 new

11819

yes

40

1/5

possible to use but defective

yes

50 mm 1,4

11114

yes

40

1/4

possible to use but defective

yes

50 mm f 1 new

11822

limit

40

1/3

focusing impossible
rangefinder window blocked
strongly defective

yes

Tele-photo lenses

75 mm 1,4

11815

yes

40

1/4

no adequate frame
focusing almost impossible

yes

90 mm f 2

11136

yes

90

 

just acceptable
impossible to focuse near

no

90 mm f 2 apo

11884

?

?

?

?

no

90 mm 2,8 old

11800

yes

90

free

perfect
focusing inaccurate with 2,8

yes

90 mm 2,8 new

11807

yes

90

free

good
focusing inaccurate with 2,8

yes

135 mm 2,8

11829

to avoid

/

/

spectacles rub while
mounting, and blind
viewer and rangefinder

yes

135 mm f 4

11851

hard to fit

90

free

correct - no adequate frame
possible to use with accessory finder

yes

135 mm 3,4 apo

11889

?

?

?

?

no

Varifocal

28/35/50 mm

11890

?

?

 

?

no

Complement

Visoflex 3

16498

yes

?

/

withdraw viewing hood
before mounting
Bulky - Precarious release

yes


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Old Leica M lenses on the Minolta CLE

Warning : I reproduce a table of semi-official Minolta information. I did not test myself.


Lenses

Part
number

Fitting
possible

Frame
visible

Obstruction
in the viewer

comment

Short lenses

15 mm f 8

11003

not

/

/

impossible to fit

21 mm f 4

SUMOM

yes

28/40

?

possible - no adequate frame
cell unpossible to use

21 mm f 3,4

11103

yes

28/40

?

possible - no adequate frame
cell unpossible to use

28 mm 2,8 old

11804

yes

28/90

yes

correct - invaded sight

Standards

50 mm 1,5

SOMIA

yes

40

yes

no adequate frame
focusing impossible close

Tele-photo lenses

90 mm 2,8 old

11129

yes

90

a little

correct

90 mm f 4

11540

yes

90

free

correct

 

Screw M lenses on the Minolta CLE

Lenses

Part
number

Fitting
possible

Frame
visible

Obstruction
in the viewer

comment

Table to supplement with some of these lenses

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

/

 

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Leica CL and Rokkor CLE lenses on the Leica M cameras


The Leica CL and Rokkor CLE lenses are mounted without any mechanical obstacle on the Leica M bodies.
However Leica gives warnings: the focusing could be inaccurate on the Leica bodies with the Leica CL lenses. They have a direct slope to actuate the focusing cam, simpler and less expensive to machine than the differential slope of the Leica M lenses.
I haven't seen great difference. Sincerely, the focusing of the Noctilux at f1 is a greater challenge than that of a 40 CL on an M6.

On an M6, a 28 mm CLE projects the 35/135mm frames, the 40 CLE projects 50/75 mm frames and the 90 user is happy to see the 28/90 mm frames. This may be modified by a repair man, by a recess on the cam of the lens, but the so modified lens will no more project the correct frame on a CLE body ...


The greatest disadvantage is the absence of specific frame in the viewer of an M body for the 40 CL and CLE. One will frame on hazard. A pity, as the 40 CL is a super Summicron. I found it more incisive than the 40 CLE. It is said however that it is the same ...

Since the full viewer of the M6 is approximately 28 mm, the 28 CLE was a good choice with it instead of former Leica M 28 which were a little weak until the 11804 included. The last 28 mm Leica exceeds head and shoulders the CLE, which I keep from now on in a box. At the 2000' Photokina a new 28 mm f2 has been introduced, advertised as even better.

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On the Leica CL: fitting retractable Leica M lenses.
Some optics not to be gone up

Warning : I only mention Leica  information. I did not test myself.

Retractable lenses

To avoid damaging the mobile arm carrying the cell of the Leica CL, these optics must be provided on the sliding part of the barrel with an adhesive tape (of old Dymo kind) limiting their retraction in the body.

The tape must be stuck on the outer part of the sliding barrel, just below the head of the lens. Its width must be at least 9,5 mm with: Elmar 50 mm f 2,8 and f 3,5, Summar and Summitar 50 mm f 2, Elmar 90 mm f 4. The width of the tape must be at least 13,5 mm with the Hektor 50 mm f2,5.

 
Lenses impossible to mount

The Elmarit 28 mm F 2,8 before number 2314921 and the Super-Angulon 21 mm can't be used on the Leica CL, nor the 90 mm f 2, 135 mm f 4 and 50 mm f 1.

But the Summilux 35 mm f 1,4 (which doesn't fit the Minolta CLE) can be used on the Leica CL.

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Leica lenses chronological table


Leica data

Year

From

To

Year

From

To

Année

From

To

1962

1913001

1967100

1971

2468501

2503100

1980

3013601

3087000

1963

1967101

2015700

1972

2503101

2556500

1981

3087001

3160500

1964

2015701

2077500

1973

2556501

2663400

1982

3160501

3249100

1965

2077501

2156300

1974

2663401

2731900

1983

3249101

3294900

1966

2156301

2236500

1975

2731901

2761100

1984

3294901

3346200

1967

2236501

2254400

1976

2761101

2809400

1985

3346201

3383200

1968

2254401

2312750

1977

2809401

2880600

1986

3383201

3422890

1969

2312751

2384700

1978

2880601

2967200

1987

3422891

3455870

1970

2384701

2468500

1979

2967201

3013600

1988

3455871

?

An approximate list based on marketed items

1989

3480000

3505000

1994

3645000

3680000

1999

3825000

3860000

1990

3505000

3540000

1995

3680000

3730000

2000

3860000

3900000

1991

3540000

3585000

1996

3730000

3760000

2001

3900000

3950000

1992

3585000

3610000

1997

3760000

3790000

2002

3950000

 

1993

3610000

3645000

1998

3790000

3825000

2003

 

 

If you have any info on last years, please e.mail me

 

Leica cameras chronological table


Leica data

Year

From

To

Year

From

To

Year

From

To

1962

1037000

1065200

1970

1248200

1267500

1978

1470000

1502000

1963

1067501

1091000

1971

1267500

1289000

1979

1502000

1527200

1964

1091001

1102900

1972

1289000

1345500

1980

1527200

1543000

1965

1102901

1136500

1973

1345500

1375000

1981

1543000

1564000

1966

1136501

1164865

1974

13750800

1386700

1982

1564000

1604000

1967

1164866

1185000

1975

1386700

1443000

1983

1604000

1637500

1968

1185001

1205000

1976

1443000

1449000

1984

1637500

1664000

1969

1205000

1248500

1977

1449000

1470000

1985

1664000

1682000

An approximate list based on marketed items

1986

1682000

?

1992

?

?

1998

?

?

1987

?

?

1993

?

?

1999

?

?

1988

?

?

1994

?

?

2000

?

2470000

1989

?

?

1995

?

?

2001

?

?

1990

?

?

1996

2150000

?

2002

2760000

 

1991

?

?

1997

?

2250000

2003

 

 

After 1968, many batches have been spread over two years or more, therefore the limits are fuzzy (emphasized numbers).
If you have any info on years after 1986, please e.mail me



Serial numbers of Leica CL :
Leica CL   1973/1974 :  1300001 - 1335000   1974/1975 :  1395001 - 1410000   et 1975/1976 :  1425001 - 1440000   (65000 have been made)
Some special bodies  :
M2 lacked in black   1962 :  1053101 - 1053250   1964 :  1093501 - 1093750   1965 :  1130001 - 1130300   and 1968 : 1207000 (only one)  (total 701) 
M3 lacked in black   1962 :  1059850 - 1059999   1964 :  1097701 - 1097850   1965 :  1134001 - 1134150 - and   1966 :  1157591 - 1157600  (total 460) 
M4 lacked in black   1968 :  1207001 - 1207480   1969 :  1225001 - 1225800   1969/70 :  1246201 - 1248100   1970/71 :  1266001 - 1266100   1970 :  1266132 -1267100 - and   1971 :  1286201 - 1286700  (total 4749) 

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Leica bookmarks


  Cameras
 

Camera Quest Classics Camera by Stephen Gandy, a repairg man : a lot of pages, of which a bunch on Leica, Minolta CLE and other RF cameras. Documented and self experienced, a bit opinionated.

  Lenses
 

Leica papers by Erwin Puts, guru of Leica lenses testing

Hologon 16 mm - Heliar 15 mm by Godfrey DiGiorgi, and other good material on his site (Minox etc..)

  Corporate's website
 

Leica : the site was easier to navigate before its relooking during the 2000' summer. Choose "publications" and then "product information" to get the page dedicated to the uploading of litterature.

 
    haut de la page

Homepage Table of contents Photography
 

 
© <Dominique Césari> - Last update 5 - 21 - 2002