Cross Section Views of Leica Lenses

If colleges offered camera equipment anatomy classes, this Leica lens cutaway might be one of the things you’d be examining in the lab. It’s a Leica Tri-Elmar-M 28-35-50mm sliced cleanly down the middle, revealing all the glass and pieces inside that go into making the lens.

These were actually made by Leica students as a graduation project and boxed as a “cutaway model” of the lens.

Here’s the same thing done with a Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux M ASPH lens:

eBay seller leicaplace sells these Tri-Elmar-M cutaways for $995.

Camera companies should do one of these cutaways for every single lens — it’d be neat to see what the guts of our favorite lenses look like!

Image credit: Photographs by Duncan Meeder and used with permission

  • Happy Tinfoil Cat

    Leica lenses, half price!

  • Andrew MacDonald

     Just out of interest, how much would that particular make of lens cost to buy brand new? I know Leica are pretty expensive, so its impressive they just write such an expensive product off by cutting it in half. 

    Awesome Idea though – I’ve never seen the inside of a lens before. Very fascinating. 

  • USSRPhoto

     I have this Zenit-3 in my collection that some cut up for education purposes..

    quite cool too.. there are also quite a few Leica II copies made out of Soviet Zorki cameras that are made into cut-outs that sell for crazy money on eBay.. 

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  • Wingclui

    Leica is one of a few camera makers in the world that always maintain their product in high quality not quantity. 
    The cut-out of the lens is the way to give their loyal Leica users the confident and feeling that they were well spending their money!
    By the way, I wish I were one of them!
    Ha..Ha..! Just dreaming!!!!

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  • Guest

    The 50 Lux ASPH is a $4,000 lens.. and it’s very difficult to get one as they are sold out everywhere. The waiting period for buying it through official resellers is currently a couple of months.

  • John

     I guess they would work for a half frame camera? Maybe Leica is coming out with a new model? :^)

  • Dan Chippendale

    This makes me sad, yet happy at the same time.  I love Leica glass

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  • Josh Ladella

    Actually they should technically still fill the frame (if I learned anything in high school optics)

  • Spirited

    Surely the half without the LEICA branding would sell for less? 

  • Colortrails

    Well played, sir… well played. :)

  • Anon

     What is a Leica student?  Does Leica have an educational institution?

  • Der_reub

    No, no, no…  It should be “Leica lenses, half off!”

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  • Chad Calcagno

     zeiss does

  • Bogdan Radu

     While cool and all, I have to ask WHY oh WHY? Such beauty… gone! (wipes a tear)

  • Daren Richardson

    how does one cut a laser in half like that? 

  • Engineer

    “how does one cut a laser in half like that?”  you just answered that. LASER, very powerful, very effective. don’t look right into the beam….

    it’s not a waste, it’s a technology marvel. very neat, but hell of a price even for the half of it.

  • Aureliano Buendia
  • Andy (Hide Your Arms)

     Came here to ask the same question, the cut does look exceptionally clean, I wish there was a video to show the process.

  • Andy (Hide Your Arms)

     Came here to ask the same question, the cut does look exceptionally clean, I wish there was a video to show the process.

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  • Observer

    Will it work on 1/2 frame camera? 

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  • Anonymous

    Brand new these lenses cost around $4000. 

  • Steve Gilbertson

    It’d be way easier for companies to publish 3D-rendered cutaways of their lenses if they wanted to show of the design/construction. But this is just awesome :-D

  • Av8bluewater

    In Germany there is a heavier emphasis on apprenticeships. I would say they are new employees.

  • Carolin

    just cool

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  • redhawk

    I don’t think they used a laser. You can see machining marks on all the metal surfaces and many of the glass elements are chipped. In the 50 ASPH you can also see dark marks within the metal suggesting high heat associated with a saw blade.

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  • MFX

    There’s no way this could be cut in a single piece. Each piece would be individually cut in half (using a diamond saw for the glass, a laser couldn’t cut that sort of thickness of glass you need around 1.5kW to cut just 1mm thick.) and then carefully reassembled with glue so the bits don’t fall out.