Use M-Mount and M42 Lenses on Mirrorless Cameras


Sometimes technology gets in the way of quality. For example, the finest wristwatches made today are self-winding units with jewels used as pivot points. They’re mechanical works of art assembled by hand, and you won’t find a battery or quartz crystal inside any of them. The best sounding stereo system you can buy today will include a high-end turntable and a pair of monophonic tube amps; it might actually be illegal to play an MP3 file on one of these rigs.

A similar situation exists with camera lenses. Like an MP3 player, the convenience of features such as autofocus and optical image stabilization are hard to dispute, but the best glass in the world can be found in manual focus lenses that contain no electronics whatsoever. Such is the case with M-mount and M42-mount lenses made by Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander.

The glass used in Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses is of the highest quality, and the lenses are coated to render neutral colors, and not the overly saturated colors produced by some manufacturers’ lenses. With relatively short focal lengths, typically ranging from 20mm to 135mm, and lacking autofocus motors and other various electronics, M-mount and M42-mount lenses are physically small in addition to being optically pure, making them ideal matches for compact, high-end digital cameras such as the Micro Four Thirds cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic, the Samsung NX200, Sony’s NEX cameras and Ricoh’s unorthodox GXR camera. It goes without saying that Leica lenses and Leica cameras have always paired off well.

M-mount and M42-mount lenses have been around longer than most living photographers, so there are millions of them in existence and they never stop working unless you drop them. Their simple mounting schemes make it easy to design adapters for use with other cameras, and their high quality, immense popularity and extreme longevity make it economically feasible for manufacturers to produce such adapters, even for today’s leading edge digital cameras.

The M42 mount made its debut in 1949, when Zeiss used 42mm screw threads with a 1mm pitch to attach lenses to the Contax S camera. Various advancements were made over the years, including automatic control of the aperture. But the basic mounting scheme never changed, allowing newer lenses to work on older cameras and older lenses to work on newer cameras. The M42 mount has in fact been used by so many manufacturers that it has come to be known as the Universal thread mount.

The Leica M mount is a bayonet-type lens mount that was introduced in 1954, on the Leica M3. Bayonet-mount lenses are easier and faster to attach and remove than screw-mount lenses. So trustworthy is the M mount that it’s still in use today on the Leica M7, a 35mm film camera, and on the digital Leica M9. Modern Leica lenses have been treated to more technological advances than older models, but you can still use any new Leica lens on a 1954 M3, and you can slap any vintage M-mount lens on a brand-new M7 or M9. Now that’s impressive.

Before we begin to discuss any specific lenses, it must be made clear that this article is not the place to discuss every lens made by Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander; there are simply too many of them. And we here at B&H know that every one of these lenses is special in one way or another, and what might be one photographer’s favorite lens could be one that’s unappealing to another photographer. Every photographer, especially those who use lenses as special as these, has their own particular preferences, image-making parameters and priorities. So please don’t be offended if we happen to touch upon some lenses you don’t like and to not mention your favorite ones. Again, we can’t cover all of them.

Leica M-mount Lenses

Leica lenses are among the best in the world, relatively rare and priced accordingly. But for many photographers there is simply no substitute for good glass. Of course, all Leica lenses feature the Leica M-mount. And some will feature Leica’s 6-bit coding, which manifests itself as six black-and-white dots that form a bar code to communicate its specs to compatible, newer Leica cameras.

The first thing to point out is that these are all prime lenses. There are no zooms. Zoom lenses simply aren’t precise enough for this category. The closest you’ll get to a Leica zoom lens is the Super Wide Angle/Wide Angle Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 Aspherical Manual Focus Lens with Universal Wide-angle Viewfinder. This lens is ideal for times when you want some flexibility in wide-angle focal length but don’t want to carry more than one lens. If you can do without the higher speeds offered by single focal length lenses, say for daytime architecture photo shoots, this is an ideal lens. It offers three focal lengths (16mm, 18mm and 21mm), selected by twisting a ring on the lens. A shoe-mount Universal Wide-Angle Viewfinder included with this lens allows precise cropping on the M7, MP and digital M cameras.

If you want a more traditional wide-angle lens, Leica offers models ranging from 18mm to 28mm. The 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M Aspherical lens is ideal for shooting in close quarters, or for squeezing large objects such as buildings into the frame. It’s worth noting that there are two 21mm models, a 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M and a 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M. Offering extreme high-speed performance, the f/1.4 Summilux costs more than twice as much as the Super-Elmar-M, but if you can get by with an f/3.4 lens, the Super-Elmar-M weighs only about half as much as the Summilux.

In the same league as the 21mm f/1.4 lens but with a slightly less extreme wide-angle view is the Leica 24mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical Lens. Originally optimized for use with the digital M8 camera, this high-speed, high-performance lens lets you take in entire landscapes even when the sun has faded from view—and at a hefty weight of 1.1 pounds. Lighter, much less expensive options include the 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M Aspherical lens and the 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M Aspherical lens. They cost and weigh about a third as much as the f/1.4 model. A faster 28mm lens is the Summicron-M 28mm f/2.0.

A “normal” lens is one that keeps spatial relations roughly the same as they would appear to the naked eye. On 35mm cameras, and digital cameras with full-frame sensors, normal lenses are traditionally considered to be 50mm. But when you have a digital image sensor that’s smaller than a 35mm film frame, a crop factor causes shorter lenses to have a more normal field of view. This is the case with all mirrorless digital cameras with the exception of the Leica digital M9, which has a full-frame image sensor.

35mm lenses are ideal normal lenses for all of the Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras that are gaining popularity. There are four 35mm Leica lenses to choose from. These are an ideal compromise between wide angle and 50mm, giving you a normal view with a little more wiggle room than a 50mm lens. There’s the super-fast 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M, the Leica 35mm f/2.0 Summicron-M in Black or Chrome and the 35mm f/2.5 Summarit-M, which weighs less than half a pound and costs about half as much as the f/2.0 models.

Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M

Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M

If you’re looking for a 50mm Leica lens there are four models to choose from. The lightest and least expensive one is the 50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M, weighing only 8.1 ounces. More expensive but faster units include the 50mm f/2.0 Summicron-M and the 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M in black or silver. But the ultimate 50mm lens, both specification-wise and price-wise, is the 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M. This is probably the fastest lens you’ll ever get your hands on. The lens can close down to f/16, but it’s optimized to shoot at apertures of f/1.4 and wider, allowing you to take pictures with almost no available light—and without a flash, of course.

Moving up in focal length is a pair of 75mm lenses that provide a more natural perspective than 90mm lenses do, making them ideal for portraiture. While both 75mm lenses are relatively small in size, the faster of the two is the 75mm f/2.0 APO Summicron-M Aspherical lens. At 15.2 ounces, this telephoto lens weighs less than a pound and is only 2.6 inches long—very easy to keep in your camera bag. But for half the price you might prefer the 75mm f/2.5 Summarit-M lens. It’s lighter and shorter than the 75mm f/2.0 lens, but slower, too. It features the 6-bit dot code that identifies the lens to M cameras with onboard circuitry. Its f/2.5 aperture brings attention to the subject while blurring the background, while the 11-bladed circular diaphragm creates a pleasing bokeh.

There are three choices in 90mm Leica lenses. Like the 50mm and 75mm lenses, you have the choice of f/2.0 and f/2.5, depending on your needs and budget. There’s the 90mm f/2.0 APO Summicron-M Aspherical lens and the 90mm f/2.5 Summarit-M lens. Then there’s the 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M Lens Kit, which comes with a Macro-Adapter M and Anglefinder M. The Macro-Adapter M, made specifically for this lens, allows close focusing from 2.5 feet down to 1.6 feet. The Anglefinder M is a rotating 45-degree eyepiece that makes it easy to view subjects without having to hold the camera right in front of your face. The longest lens in this group is the 135mm f/3.4 APO Telyt-M. It is 4.1 inches long, weighs 1 pound and features a built-in sliding lens hood.

Zeiss ZM Lenses

Leica lenses are great if your budget is vast, but if you’re looking for sweet glass on a budget that’s only half-vast, then Zeiss lenses might be the way to go. While some Zeiss lenses do cost a small fortune, most of them are more affordable than their Leica counterparts, while still offering similar quality and performance. All Zeiss lenses meet high standards of performance, reliability and image quality, with advanced flare control and slight geometric distortion. They all feature 1/3-stop interval click stops, allowing exact exposure, precision 10-bladed diaphragms for a pleasing bokeh and wear-resistant filter mounts for long-term durability. Available in a variety of prime focal lengths, these Zeiss lenses will mount on Zeiss Ikon and Leica M Mount rangefinder cameras. Let’s start with the shortest lens.

The Zeiss super wide angle 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZM lens for Zeiss Ikon and Leica M Mount cameras is useful for shooting wide vistas and dynamic architectural scenes. It’s a pricey lens available in black only. Much more affordable and nearly as wide angle is the 18mm f/4 Distagon T* ZM lens, available in silver or black. Also in the super-wide-angle category is the 21mm f/4.5 C Biogon T* ZM lens, available in silver or black. If you need a faster super-wide-angle lens, check out the 21mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM, available in silver or black.

Leaving the super-wide-angle category, and entering the moderately wide-angle category, we have the Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM lens. This versatile wide-angle lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1.6 feet, making it ideal for product shots as well as landscapes, cityscapes and architecture. It’s available in black and silver.

With a focal length of 28mm, the 28mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM lens exhibits a bit less geometric distortion than shorter lenses, but nonetheless can still take in a pleasingly wide view of landscapes and cityscapes. It’s an affordable lens that’s great for traveling, as it weighs only 8.1 ounces and does equally well at capturing people, places, scenery and architecture. The lens is available in black or silver.

For a wide-angle lens approaching normal length, we have the Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon T* ZM lens. A 35mm lens is an ideal focal length for everyday use, as it will never let you down, no matter what you’re photographing. And with an f/2 aperture, this lens is reasonably fast. Whether you’re a traveler, photojournalist or street photographer, this lens will capture most subjects equally well. This affordable lens is available in black or silver. If you photograph outdoors more often than indoors and can get by with a somewhat slower lens, the 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM lens might just be exactly what you need. The 35mm f/2.8 lens is available in black or silver at a lower cost than the f/2 version.

If you want to shoot with the most normal angle of view possible, a 50mm lens is what you need. Zeiss offer two choices in 50mm lenses. The more affordable of the two is the Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar T* ZM lens. An ideal prime lens for general use, the 50mm f/2 offers high resolving power, even performance across the entire frame and reduced flare and ghosting. The 50mm f/2 lens is available in black or silver. At a higher cost, the Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 C Sonnar T* ZM is faster and brighter than the f/2 model. The C in the name stands for Compact, which it is: this lens is only 1.4 ounces heavier than the slower 50mm f/2 lens. The 50mm f/1.5 lens is available in black or silver.

Moving to the telephoto range, Zeiss offers two 85mm models, an f/4 and an f/2. The 85mm f/4 Tele-Tessar T* ZM lens is an ideal focal length, for portraits and bringing subjects closer to the camera, without being overly large or hard to handle. The lens is available in black or silver. If you want a faster 85mm lens that offers better low-light performance, at roughly four times the price, the Zeiss 85mm f/2 Sonnar T* ZM lens is the one to shoot for.

Zeiss also makes a few lenses with the Universal M42 screw mount, and adapters are available to mount these lenses on Micro Four Thirds, Samsung NX and Sony NEX cameras. The M42 lenses include the 25mm f/2.8 ZS Distagon lens, the 35mm f/2 ZS Distagon T* lens and the 50mm f/1.4 ZS Planar T* lens.


Voigtlander lenses are of good quality, and they’re a lot more affordable than Leica and Zeiss lenses. They’re typically manual focus prime lenses, and many of them are directly compatible with the Leica M Mount.

The Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar lens offers a 121-degree angle of view. It’s one of the widest-angle lenses you’ll find short of a fisheye, yet it exhibits minimal distortion for such a wide-angle lens. Also consider the 15mm f/4.5 Super Wide Heliar Aspherical lens if you want a super-wide-angle lens that’s somewhat less encompassing.

If you need a compact, lightweight wide-angle lens, you should check out the 21mm f/4.0 Color Skopar P Pancake lens. The lens is just 1 inch long, weighs only 4.8 ounces and its focusing lever goes from minimum distance to infinity in less than ninety degrees of rotation. Also small in size is the wide-angle 25mm f/4 Color-Skopar P Pancake lens, which is just 1.2 inches long and weighs 4.8 ounces. Not a pancake lens, but nonetheless wide angle, is the 28mm f/2.0 Ultron lens. It’s an ideal lens for everyday use in low-light environments.

If you want a lens that really excels in low-light conditions, look no further than the 35mm f/1.2 Nokton lens. This lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 52.5mm when paired with an APS-C camera, so it’s great for everyday use. If you want a similar lens at half the price of the f/1.2 lens, the 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic lens has your name on it. It’s a multi-coated lens with good contrast and excellent low-light performance, even though it doesn’t open up quite as much as the f/1.2 model.

Voigtlander also offers the Single-Coated 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic lens, which exhibits good edge-to-edge sharpness with less contrast and more shadow detail than a multi-coated lens. Many photographers prefer single-coated lenses for black-and-white photography, and some even prefer them when shooting digitally. The most affordable 35mm lens offered by Voigtlander is the 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar PII lens. It features an all-metal lens barrel and a 10-bladed diaphragm for pleasing out-of-focus highlights.

Voigtlander also offers 40mm lenses in multi- and single-coated versions. The multi-coated 40mm f/1.4 Nokton lens is fast, compact and lightweight, and ideal for use in everyday low-light settings. The single-coated 40mm f/1.4 Nokton lens produces lower-contrast photos in black and white and color.

If you’re looking for a very fast 50mm lens, Voigtlander’s 50mm f/1.1 Nokton lens is the way to go. It features an all-metal lens barrel and 10-blade diaphragm and weighs less than 1 pound. Last, but not least, we have the Voigtlander 75 mm f/1.8 Heliar lens. It offers good low-light performance and is ideal for portraiture.

Lens Adapters

Because they’re small in size and lightweight, all of these manual-focus M-Mount and M42-Mount lenses make great companions for today’s compact mirrorless digital cameras such as the Micro Four Thirds cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic, the Samsung NX200, Sony NEX cameras and the Ricoh GXR. After all, attaching a 5-pound lens to a 1-pound camera defeats the purpose of having such a lightweight camera in the first place.

All you need to attach an M-Mount or M42-Mount lens to a mirrorless camera is the right adapter. Because the lenses are fully manual, including focus, you will have to shoot in manual mode, regardless of any modern features the cameras might offer. The exception, of course, is that you can expect full functionality when you use a modern Leica lens on a Leica Digital M camera. And remember that you can use any M-Mount or M42-Mount lens with these adapters, regardless of whether they were made in the 1950s or this year.

B&H carries hundreds of lens adapters, but here we’re concerned only with adapters that will allow M-Mount and M42-mount lenses to work with mirrorless cameras. If you want to adapt an M-Mount lens to a Micro Four Thirds camera you have three choices of adapters: there’s the Novoflex Leica M Lens to Micro Four-Thirds Camera Body Adapter, the Voigtlander Micro Four Thirds to M Lens Mount Adapter and the Dot Line Micro 4/3 Mount for Leica M Bayonet Lens. If you want to mount an M42 lens on a Micro Four Thirds camera, the Novoflex M42 to Micro Four Thirds Lens Adapter will do the trick.

If you want to put an M-Mount lens on a Sony NEX camera you’ll need the Novoflex Adapter for Leica M Lens to Sony NEX Camera. And if you want to mount an M42 lens on a Sony NEX camera you’ll need the Novoflex Adapter for M 42 Lens to Sony NEX Camera. If you have a Samsung NX200 camera and would like to mount M42 lenses on it, you can use the Novoflex M42-to-NX Lens Adapter to make it happen.

If you happen to have a Ricoh GXR, there’s a neat accessory that will allow you to use M-mount lenses on it. The Ricoh GXR is an unusual interchangeable-lens camera in that the different lenses available for it come in module form with built-in image sensors. The Ricoh GXR Mount A12 for Leica M Mount Lens is a module that contains an APS-C size CMOS image sensor and a mount for Leica M lenses. Of course, you also need the Ricoh GXR camera body in order to use the lens module. But all combined, it’s a relatively inexpensive solution for a digital camera that accepts Leica M lenses.

If you have any questions about these lenses or adapters, please feel free to post them in the Comments section below.

  Filter Size f-Stop Range Minimum Focus Distance Magnification

Angle of View

Groups / Elements Length Maximum Diameter Weight
Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 Aspherical Requires filter holder (67mm) 4.0-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:38 @ 16mm
1:35 @ 18mm
1:30 @ 21mm 
107° @16mm
100° @18mm
92° @21mm 
7/10 2.4" (62mm) 2.1" (54mm) 11.8 oz (335 g)
Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super-Elmar-M Aspherical 77mm (only with dedicated hood) 3.8-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:34.6 100° 7/8 2.3" (58mm) 2.4" (61mm) 10.9 oz (310 g)
Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical Series 8 filters in lens hood 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:29 92° 8/10 2.6" (66mm) 2.7" (70mm) 20.5 oz (580 g)
Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M f/ 3.4 Aspherical 46mm 3.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:29.8 91° 7/8 1.7" (43mm) 2.1" (53mm) 9.8 oz (279 g)
Leica 24mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical Series 7 filters in lens hood 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:25 84° 8/10 2.3" (59mm) 2.4" (61mm) 17.6 oz (500 g)
Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar-M Aspherical 46mm 3.8-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:25.6 84° 6/8 1.6" (41mm) 2.1" (53mm) 9.2 oz (260 g)
Leica 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M Aspherical 39mm 2.8-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:22 75° 6/8 1.2" (30mm) 2" (52mm) 6.4 oz (180 g)
Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2.0 46mm 2.0-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:22 75° 6/9 1.6" (41mm) 2.1" (53mm) 9.5 oz (270 g)
Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux-M Aspherical 46mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.4 63° 9/5 1.8" (46mm) 2.2" (57mm) 11.3 oz (320 g)
Leica 35mm f/2.0 Summicron-M Aspherical 39mm 2.0-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.5 63° 5/7 1.4" (34.5mm) 2.1" (53mm) Black: 9 oz (255 g) / Chrome: 12 oz (340 g)
Leica 35mm f/2.5 Summarit-M 39mm 2.5-16 2.6' (80cm) 1:20.4 63° 4/6 1.3" (34mm) 2" (52mm) 7.8 oz (220 g)
Leica 50mm f/2.5 Summarit-M 39mm 2.5-16 2.6' (80cm) 1:14.1 47° 4/6 1.3" (33mm) 2" (52mm) 8.1 oz (230 g)
Leica 50mm f/2.0 Summicron-M 39mm 2.0-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:11.5 47° 4/6 1.7" (43mm) 2.1" (53mm) 8.5 oz (240 g)
Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M 46mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:11.3 47° 5/8 2.1" (52.5mm) 2.1" (53.5mm) 11.8 oz (335 g)
Leica 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux-M Aspherical 60mm 0.95-16 3.3' (100cm) 1:17 47° 5/8 3" (75mm) 2.9" (73mm) 24.7 oz (700 g)
Leica 75mm f/2.0 APO Summicron-M Aspherical 49mm 2.0-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:7 32° 5/7 2.6" (67mm) 2.3" (58mm) 15.2 oz (430 g)
Leica 75mm f/2.5 Summarit-M 46mm 2.5-16 2.9' (90cm) 1:9.9 32° 4/6 2.4" (60.5mm) 2.2" (55mm) 12.2 oz (345 g)
Leica 90mm f/2.0 APO Summicron-M 55mm 2.0-16 3.3' (100cm) 1:9 27° 5/5 3.1" (78mm) 2.5" (64mm) 17.6 oz (500 g)
Leica 90mm f/2.5 Summarit-M 46mm 2.5-16 3.3' (100cm) 1:8.9 27° 4/5 2.6" (67mm) 2.2" (55mm) 12.7 oz (360 g)
Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M 39mm 4.0-22 2.5’ (77cm)/1.6’ (50cm) with Macro-Adapter-M 1:6.7 (1:3 with Macro-Adapter-M) 27° 4/4 1.6" (41mm) 2" (52mm) 8.5 oz (240 g)
Leica 135mm f/3.4 APO Telyt-M 49mm 3.4-22 4.9' (150cm) 1:9 18° 4/5 4.1" (104.7mm) 2.3" (58.5mm) 15.9 oz (450 g)
Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon T* ZM 72mm 2.8-22 11.8" (30cm) 1:18 110° 9/11 3.6" (92mm) 3.1" (78mm) 19.4 oz (550 g)
Zeiss 18mm f/4 Distagon T* ZM 58mm 4.0-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:23 98° 8/10 2.8" (71mm) 2.6" (65mm) 12.3 oz (350 g)
Zeiss 21mm f/4.5 C Biogon T* ZM 46mm 4.5-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:20 90° 6/8 2.2" (56mm) 2.1" (53mm) 7.4 oz (210 g)
Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM 46mm 2.8-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:21 90° 7/9 2.9" (75mm) 2.1" (53mm) 9.9 oz (280 g)
Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM 46mm 2.8-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:18 82° 7/9 2.8" (71mm) 2.1" (53mm) 9.2 oz (260 g)
Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon T* ZM 46mm 2.8-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:16 75° 6/8 2.4" (62mm) 2.1" (53mm) 8.1 oz (230 g)
Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZM Biogon T* 43mm 2.0-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:18 63° 6/9 2.7" (68mm) 2" (52mm) 8.5 oz (240 g)
Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 C Biogon T* ZM 43mm 2.8-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:17 62° 5/7 2.2" (55mm) 2" (52mm) 7.1 oz (200 g)
Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar T* ZM 43mm 2.0-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:12 47° 4/6 2.7" (68mm) 2" (52mm) 8.1 oz (230 g)
Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 C Sonnar T* ZM 46mm 1.5-16 3' (90cm) 1:15 45.7° 4/6 2.5" (63mm) 2.2" (56mm) 8.8 oz (250 g)
Zeiss 85mm f/4 Tele-Tessar T* ZM 43mm 4.0-22 3' (90cm) 1:9 29° 3/5 3.7" (95mm) 2.1" (54mm) 10.9 oz (310 g)
Zeiss 85mm f/2 Sonnar T* ZM 58mm 2.0-16 3.3' (100cm) 1:10 29° 6/6 3.2" (82mm) Not specified by manufacturer 15.9 oz (450 g)
Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 ZS Distagon (M42) 58mm 2.8-22 6.7" (17cm) 1:2.3 80° 8/10 3.5" (90mm) 2.5" (64mm) 16.9 oz (480 g)
Zeiss 35mm f/2 ZS Distagon T* (M42) 58mm 2.0-22 11.8" (30cm) 1:5.3 62° 7/9 3.8" (97mm) 2.5" (64mm) 18.7 oz (530 g)
Zeiss 50mm f/1.4 ZS Planar T* (M42) 58mm 1.4-16 1.5' (45cm) 1:6.6 45° 6/7 2.7" (69mm) 2.6" (66mm) 12.3 oz (350 g)
Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 Ultra Wide Heliar 67mm 5.6-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:39.6 121° 8/10 1.7" (42.5mm) 2.9" (74.6mm) 8.1 oz (230 g)
Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Super Wide Heliar Aspherical 52mm 4.5-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:31.3 110° 6/8 1.5" (38mm) 2.3" (59mm) 5.5 oz (156 g)
Voigtlander 21mm f/4.0 Color Skopar P Pancake 39mm 4.0-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:21.8 91° 6/8 1" (25.4mm) 2.2" (55mm) 4.8 oz (136 g)
Voigtlander 25mm f/4.0 Color Skopar P Pancake 39mm 4.0-22 1.6' (50cm) 1:17.9 82° 5/7 1.2" (30mm) 2.2" (55mm) 5.5 oz (156 g)
Voigtlander 28mm f/2.0 Ultron 46mm 2.0-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:23 75° 8/10 2" (51mm) 2.2" (55mm) 8.6 oz (244 g)
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton 52mm 1.2-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.9 63° 7/10 2.4" (62mm) 2.4" (61mm) 16.6 oz (471 g)
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic 43mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.9 63° 6/8 1.1" (29mm) 2.2" (55mm) 7.1 oz (200 g)
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic (Single Coated)  43mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.9 63° 6/8 1.1" (29mm) 2.2" (55mm) 7.1 oz (200 g)
Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar PII 39mm 2.5-22 2.3' (70cm) 1:17.9 63° 5/7 1" (25mm) 2.2" (55mm) 4.7 oz (134 g)
Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton 43mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:15.4 56° 6/7 1.2" (30mm) 2.2" (55mm) 6.2 oz (175 g)
Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton (Single Coated) 43mm 1.4-16 2.3' (70cm) 1:15.4 56° 6/7 1.2" (30mm) 2.2" (55mm) 6.2 oz (175 g)
Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 Nokton 58mm 1.1-16 3.3' (100cm) 1:17.9 45.9° 6/7 2.2" (57mm) 2.75" (70mm) 15.1 oz (428 g)
Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8 Heliar 52mm 1.8-16 3' (90cm) 1:9.9 33° 3/6 2.9" (74mm) 2.3" (58mm) 15.1 oz (427 g)

Items discussed in article


I have a Pancolar lens Aus Jena which uses a M42 screw mount. What would be a good adapter for the Leica M mount? 

You might look at the Novoflex LEMCO Universal Screw Mount (M42) Lens to Leica M Body Adapter.  Novoflex makes the best machined adapters on the market, and has excellent quality control.  Otherwise, we also carry the FotodioX M42 Pro Lens Adapter with Built-In Iris Control for Leica M-Mount Cameras if you were looking for something less expensive. 

I noticed the Fuji X-Pro 2 is coming out soon, which I believe can use Leica M lenses with an adapter. Correct?

If you were to update this article to today, what 2016 digital cameras would you suggest I consider? I have a Leica M6 film camera and lenses, and have been patiently waiting for alternatives to a $6,500 Leica digital body.

Thank you. Excellent article. Bill

Correct. The Fuji X-Pro 2 will allow use of a lens adapter for use with Leica M Lenses. The applicable adapters can be found here:

Fuji as of yet does not offer a Full Frame Mirrorless option, however for some of the best possible quality at a lower price point I would consider the Sony Alpha a7S II Mirrorless Digital Camera to be a suitable option for you. This will provide fantastic low light performance with a wide dynamic range.  There are also several Leica M Mount adapters available for Sony:


I have a Jupiter 9 85mm f2, that Iwant to use on my Leica M6. What adapter do I have to by in order to fit the lens on the camera?

Best regards


From researching the Jupiter 9 lenses online, I've come to find that they were made with either an M39 mount or M42 mount depending on when/where it was manufactured.  Are you able to confirm which mount your particular version has?  If not, please submit images of the lens, (front back and sides - all angles) so we may try to visually confirm.  You may send your email request directly to, and our agents there would be able to help you.  If you are able to confirm, feel free to reply back here and I can search for a compatible adapter.

Hi I am so confused, please help. What mirrorless cameras (if any) will take an M-mount lens without an addapter. That isnt a Leica.

I want to buy a specific M mount lens and then get a mirrorless camera that it will fit on. I dont have the budget for a Leica.

Does this holy grail exist?


Currently (aside from Leica) there are not any other digital camera systems which use the "M" mount as a native mount.  If you want to use an "M" type lens on a digital camera, it will require an adapter. 

I have a question about two lenses I own, I have used the Contax G2 cameras with the lenses I own but am hoping to be able to use the two lenses that I have now, a Contax G mount Zeiss Planar 35mm f/2 and the Contax G mount Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8, with a mirrorless digital camera.

I would like to keep and use but not sure what is out there that will work with these two lenses. Any help or suggestions would be great!

You're in luck! There are adapters available to mount your G lenses to virtually all mounts of Mirrorless cameras.  Below is a link for you to regard all the options (some may offer more functionality depending on the particular version).  See the link below for details:


                 I have four lens Takumar with M42 Mount and I am going to buy a Sony a7s. Which adapter do yo recommend?. 

I would suggest looking at the Novoflex M42 to Sony NEX adapter.  It would be a great option for mounting your M42 mount lenses onto the Sony a7S.

The question is where to find it in India and whether it reliable?

Novoflex and Voigtlander both make extremely well machined and reliable adapters.  B&H does ship internationally, and could ship these adapters to India.  Shipping times would depend on the shipping method that you chose.  If you add the item to your cart, on the right hand side of the page there is a shipping calculator.  Once you enter in the country of destination, the various shipping options, along with their respective costs and shipping times, will be revealed.

Hello. Is there an adapter that would let me use M42 lenses on a Leica M mount?

We carry two adapters that would allow one to mount M42 mount lenses on a Leica M-mount camera.  You can find those if you Click Here.


I have several really nice M42 lenses I want to re-purpose for shooting video and stills through a Sony NEX-7, but prices of adapters varies so much that it's hard to decide what to go with. I could go on eBay and find one from China for under $10, which to some people makes the adapter you offer seem outrageously priced. I know that this one is a professional product and those other options are just made in someone's garage, but surely that's not just the only reason to go for the Novoflex.

Please know that I'm not in any way critical of a store who sells a product that is not obviously better for a significantly higher price - I encounter that kind of criticism at work every day. But, I have to ask; what problems would I likely encounter by opting for the cheaper product, and how is the Novoflex worth the higher price?


I already have several Zeiss lenses for 35mm Contax bodies; want to move to Digital SLR. I will buy the camera body that matches the largest number of my Zeiss lenses. if none, and Zeiss doesn't think there are, then Will buy the camera body with adaptors. Does anyone have adaptors for these lenses.

Vario-Sonnar 70-210mm f/3.5 Macro AE

Vario-Sonnar 80-200mm f/4 MM

Vario-Sonnar 35-70mm f/3.4 MM

Distagon 25mm f/2.8

Macro Planar 100mm f/2.8 Macro AE

S-Planar 60mm f/2.8 Macro AE

Tele-Tessar 200mm f/4 AE & MM

Tele-Tessar 300mm f/4


You have 2 options, there are adapters for the Sony NEX mount and Micro Four Thirds. I would go the the NEX as these cameras use a larger APS-C size sensor.

So if you use, say, a 50mm M42 lens with a Nikon V1...what would the equivalent lens be on a 35mm camera?

The Nikon CX sensor has a 2.7x Crop Factor, so a 50mm lens on the V1 would have an equivalent focal length of (50 x 2.7) 135mm's.

For the nikon1 vr mirrorless camera, what compatible lenses and adaptors can be used? Can I use nikon lenses i have for my d700?

Hi,  I have a Olympus E-pl1 and an Angenieux Retrofocus Type R11 lens.  What is the proper adapter I would purchase?

The C designation on the 50mm 1.4 Zeiss lens does not mean "compact", it means classic.  Apparently the image quality and design are based on a vintage Zeiss lens used for portrait work seventy or so years ago..... That's the story i'm told Zeiss gives concerning that particular piece of glass.

Very interesting and timely article. Much appreciated.

So what would your advice be to get the Lumix G Micro 4/3 LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. Lens to work with a NEX7 ?

many thanks in advance.


There are no such adapters currently available. Since the NEX-7's APS-C sensor is larger than a 4/3rd's, I do not believe the 25mm f/1.4 lens would be a good fit.  I've heard the Sony SEL24F18Z 24mm f/1.8 E-Mount Carl Zeiss Sonnar Lens is excellent.

A wonderful article. And at the right least for me. I have  50mm, 35mm and 90mm screw mount Leica lenses. Leica had at one time supplied a screw to bayonet adaptor. Could I use these lenses on the Sony Nex-7?

I also have 55mm, 105mm, 35mm and 200mm manual(Circa 19 78) Nikon lenses. Any hope to use these lenses on the Nex-7?

Thank you for this article. I wait for your response


We have several adapters that will allow you to use a Leica L39 Screw Mount, Leica M and Nikon F Bayonet lenses on a Sony Nex-7 camera.  

NEX-7 Adapters