The World’s Most Expensive Camera Lens

A Leica camera from 1923 became the world’s most expensive camera earlier this year when it was auctioned for a staggering $2.79 million. The world’s most expensive lens has a similar price tag… and is also a Leica.

The Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm, pictured above, is a massive telephoto lens that dwarfs any Leica camera that you attach to it. It’s the company’s longest, largest, and heaviest lens.

It was produced as a custom order by one of the world’s wealthiest photography-enthusiasts, Qatari prince Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani, who paid a whopping $2,064,500 for the hefty piece of glass.

That’s not all though. Like any good billionaire photographer would do, Al Thani reportedly purchased a customized four wheel drive Mercedes Benz for the sole purpose of transporting the lens from place to place (the world’s most expensive “camera case”?)

There’s actually a second copy of the lens in existence: a prototype that’s on display at a Leica showroom in Solms, Germany.

While the technical specs of the lens are shrouded in mystery, certain things are known: it’s equipped with a Leica R-mount, it’s approximately 4 feet long, and it weighs at least 132 pounds.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear that there are any sample shots taken with the lens available for pixel peepers, but we’re guessing the shots and the functionality of the lens are similar to the magical Sigma 200-500mm.

(via Geek)

Image credit: Photograph by Leica/MegaPixel

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    I know I’m about 2 years late, but I think Joey himself is actually playing the racist here. Rather, I assume your comment was more meant that the U.S. government would see it as a WMD, not that Arabs would see it as one. Which is a valid satire with no racist intent.

    Unless you intended the joke being the Arabs would think it was a missile of some sort. Which would be stretching words quite far.

  • Walter Person

    just because it is expensive, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the extra money. while I would never buy a lens this big, Leica and Zeiss sell the best lenses. Zeiss even makes some of Leica’s lenses along with 2 other companies. I don’t say this just because I use to sell both. The Leica rangefinder camera i guaranteed “indestructible” for 2 or 3 years, I forget which.

  • Walter Person

    Qatar is the world’s richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World. So I guess he can spend the money.

  • Walter Person

    actually no, 5.6 is how fast the lens is and f5.6 is it’s highest. Think of f stops as fractions 1/5.6, 1/8, 1/11. I don’t think you will be stopping it down 2 far when you should be using at least 1/2000 sec shutter speed just to cut the vibration transferred though the tripod. a 1600mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera is 32 power magnification, or so. this means any vibration is going to magnified 32+, times.

  • Walter Person

    spoken like a man who knows fine optics.

  • Walter Person

    LOL like comparing rocks and oranges. You must be a real photographer too.
    I was more than a little shocked to find out that one of the companies making lenses for Leica at the time was Minolta. But they had to make them to Leica’s standards. They were so much better than the lenses they made for themselves.

  • Walter Person

    No, it’s where you insert your debit card and first born.

  • Walter Person

    Well you just made it quite clear you had never in your life ever handled a lens like this. No way could you track a bird in flight with it.

  • Walter Person

    because nobody but nobody sells a quality 1600mm lens for that price except for astronomy, they don’t work too well on earthbound subjects.

  • Walter Person

    if he can freeze the action and get it in focus, he will have some really awesome snap shots.

  • Walter Person

    it’s a 1600mm lens. Do tou really think the viewfinder can relate to this? Look at the handle on top, it’s also a sight for aiming the lens in the direction of the subject


    insane R&D money on that one

  • Petrovich

    No idea how I got to this 2yr old post, but this would still hold true back then, as it does today: …you appear to be proud of being the tallest midget.

  • Ivor Wilson

    I doubt vibration would be a huge issue. This thing is bound to be mounted on something so substantial that it would take an immense thump to even make it quiver.