Are Leica lenses autofocus?

Are Leica lenses autofocus? This is often a question asked by beginners and it’s a crucial one that uncovers the Leica philosophy.

Are Leica lenses autofocus Table Of Contents

Are Leica lenses autofocus?

Some Leica lenses are manual focus, some are not. When referring to Leica lenses, most people have the Leica M mount in mind so in that sense, Leica lenses are not autofocus. They have not been since the very first Leica M! But weirdly enough, if you are willing to forgo the M body, there might be a way to get AF, more on this below.

Leica M6 black Summicron lens RFI
Are Leica lenses autofocus?

Why aren’t the M lenses autofocus?

Leica is a company that thrives and is loved because of simplicity and tradition. The first M mount lens had no autofocus and it is still the same to this day. M cameras are the purest cameras you will find and only has the least amount of electronics possible and they are for the most part fully manual so this is why there is no autofocus.

The other part of it is, adding motors and more will make the lens and camera bigger, and Leica photographers love their small camera. There is also the fact that there is something special about shooting a camera in manual mode, there is a connection between you and the photograph that most Leica photographers simply cannot live without.

Leica Elmarit R 28mm 28 RFI
Are Leica R lenses autofocus?

Are Leica R lenses autofocus?

Just like the M series, the R bayonet lenses are not autofocus, autofocus wasn’t really a thing back in 1964 when the first one was released. This would be ripe for AF but it was never a priority for Leica. In fact they needed the help of Minolta to get certain basics right like the autoexposure system.

But just because the M series (and R series) are manual focus lenses doesn’t mean that Leica is against autofocus. Not at all, they have plenty of cameras and a lens mount that is autofocus.

Which Leica lenses have autofocus?

While the M an R series of cameras and lenses are all about that manual lifestyle, every other offering of Leica is autofocus.

Leica’s mirrorless cameras (L mount) are all autofocus cameras. They either come in the TL or SL variant, one is for the crop APSC sensor cameras like the CL and TL2 cameras while the other is full frame. All are autofocus and so is Leica’s medium format camera.

Leica M6 bench RFI

Is there an autofocus M camera?

There is no autofocus M camera nor will there ever be. The closest thing would be the Leica Q series with an autofocus Summilux f1.7 lens but this is of course a fixed lens camera.

While the lenses are manual focus, if you have yourself an alternative body, there is a way to get autofocus with adapters. There’s the FotodioX Pronto for Fujifilm, Sony and even Nikon Z. There’s a few drawbacks like the size (got to fit that moto somewhere) and it’s not compatible with some of the older Phase detection AF cameras but besides this, this is the only way to get M autofocus lenses.

M mount autofocus
A Sony A7II with autofocus M adapter and Elemar 135 f/4 (source)

Also remember the crop factor. The Fujifilm cameras are APSC so there is a x1.5 crop factor, the A7 and Nikon Z are full frame on the other hand making them better if you want the same focal length you get on your Leica.


There you have it, are Leica lenses autofocus? The answer is it depends on what cameras we are talking about. Because most people associate Leica with the mythical M mount, then for the most part Leica lenses are manual focus and so is their old R mount. You can get autofocus on alternative bodies with an adapter but nothing from Leica themselves. For everything else Leica lenses are autofocus.

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