Leica M lenses 6-bit digital coding

Leica 6-bit Name

For image optimization, all newer M system lenses feature a 6-bit code (indicated in black or else white dots) which allow Leica digital M cameras to recognize which lens is mounted (with as many as 64 lenses with 6-bit coding) plus retain this knowledge in the metadata of the image.

Along with utilizing this coding on every new lens Leica features a retrofitting service that allows existing M series lens owners to install the code onto each of their lenses at a charge of $136 US (95 EUROs).

Leica Lens Coding

New Leica rangefinder system Lenses have a code installed on the ring of the bayonet (see the dots at the top of the image above) allowing digital Leica M cameras to identify the lens class. The coding on the lens being mounted aids the camera in optimizing image quality.

Every lens leaving the factory after July 1st, 2006 feature the new coding, though does not affect use with current Leica analog cameras including the LEICA MP, LEICA M7 along with other classic models manufactured since 1954. Current lenses as well as a great many earlier versions can be updated at the owner's cost to take advantage of the image optimization inside the M camera. These lenses are well-suited for the M digital camera even without the update code, except that the added features are not able to be utilized.

6-bit Name

The name "6-bit coding" came about because there are six fields installed on the ring of the bayonet that are indicated in either black or white dots to symbolize a binary code number from 1 through 64. The M digital camera optically reads this information and identifies the lens based upon this binary code. In addition to the image quality improvement, the information gathered is also enter into the data of the EXIF picture file.

Because of their renowned quality, just about every Leica M lens is already perfect for use on digital. Then again, this 6-bit coding additionally takes advantage of the operation reserves in the camera's image processing system allowing the excellent image results Leica customers expect.  

Many Leica lenses manufactured from 1963 to date can be retrofitted. A list of these lenses on the tables below or contact Leica Info-Service (Tel. 06442/208-111). The lone Leica lens in the present lineup that cannot be retrofitted with the 6-bit code is the LEICA APO-TELYT-M 135 mm f/3.4. because of the 1.33 extension factor allowing it it incompatible to be used on the M digital camera

Updateable Leica M Lenses

Lens Name Color Order # Delivery Date
Elmarit-M 21mm f/2.8 ASPH. Black 11135 1997
Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH. Black 11604 2000
Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Black 11874 1994
Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. Silver 11882 1996
Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. Black 11891 2004
Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Black 11826 1994
Elmar-M 50mm f/2.8 Black 11831 1995
Summilux-M 75mm f/1.4 Black 11810 1998
Apo-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH. Black 11884 1998
Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 Black 11633 2002
Macro-Adapter M Black 14409 2002

Discontinued Updateable Leica M Lenses

In addition to lenses currently available, even those lenses that were stopped being built quite sometime back can be retrofitted (see table below). As Leica Camera AG considers system compatibility being a vital feature, a great many lenses manufactured as far back as 1963 have the ability to be retrofitted.

Lens Name Color Order # Delivery Date-until
Elmarit-M 21mm f/2.8 Black 11134 1980-1997
Elmarit-M 21mm f/2.8 ASPH. Silver 11897 1997-2004
Elmarit-M 24mm f/2.8 ASPH. Silver 11898 1996-2005
Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Black 11804 1979-1992
Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 Black 11809 1992-2005
Tri-Elmar-M 28-35-50mm f/4 ASPH. Black 11890 1998-2000
Tri-Elmar-M 28-35-50mm f/4 ASPH. Silver 11894 1999-2000
Summilux-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH. Silver 11883 1994-2004
Summicron-M 35mm f/2 Black 11310 1979-1996
Summicron-M 35mm f/2 Silver 11311 1993-1996
Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.0 Black 11821 1975-1994
Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 Black 11868 1992-2004
Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 Silver 11856 1992-2004
Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Black 11817 1969-1979
Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Black 11819 1979-1994
Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Silver 11825 1992-1994
Summilux-M 75mm f/1.4 Black 11814 1980-1982
Summilux-M 75mm f/1.4 Black 11815 1982-1998
Summicron-M 90mm f/2 Black 11136 1980-1989
Summicron-M 90mm f/2 Silver 11137 1993-1989
Apo-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 ASPH. Silver 11885 2002-2004
Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 Black 11800 1973-1989
Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 Silver 11808 1997-2004
Elmarit-M 135mm f/2.8 Black 11829 1963-1997

Please see either an authorized Leica shop or contact Solms Customer Service to do the retrofit. The. Customer Service phone number +49 (0)6442 208-189.  New Article Apr 20, 2011

Popular Photo Accessories

Articles Index