PetaPixel

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


 
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  • Elliot

    and half the people in those Arab countries live in poverty. I am never surprised with the ignorant, indecent and obtuse nature of those Arab princes. It is their habit to own as many expensive materials as possible to show off their unearned wealth to cover their imbecility. Streets of London are full of people like him driving expensive cars irresponsibly and loudly disturbing local residents all the time and he’s probably one of them. If you asked him about the poor people in his country, he’d probably had no idea they even existed.

  • Jake

    Careful sending a lens looking like that to an Arab country. It could easily be confused with a WMD.

  • 11

    Guess how they got rich? selling oil, mostly to west. Why cant we stand some one being rich when they are from middle east or non-west?

    I am sure there are examples of insane filthy rich show offs everywhere, perhaps an example: the 1% when the %99 are being screwed. The wall street greedy bankers… etc.

    In the scale of things, owning a 2mil lens and car does not qualify for a bad show off imo.

  • branden rio

    You’re an idiot. Qatar is a rich country, even Wikipedia says: “Oil and gas have made Qatar one of the highest per-capita income countries, and one of the world’s fastest growing.”

  • kendon

    can you see the moon with that?

  • Toohot Toplay

    Still far cheaper than the World Cup they bought.

  • Moskar Barnack

    This lens is almost strong enough to see the last time a non-poser bought a Leica product

  • Oils Well

    Qatar is also filled with underpaid almost-slaves that do the bidding of these over-entitled lottery winners. For the ultimate statement of their cash over taste ratio, see the London Shard

  • Jason

    The Panasonic branded version of this same lens is only $4200

  • http://akemi-mokoto.me/ Akemi Mokoto

    Impressive.

  • Mansgame

    You wouldn’t want to establish any sort of education, helping the poor, building industry and infrastructure to help move your country out of the stone age with that money or anything. A novelty lens to show how little money means to you makes more sense.

  • Mansgame

    They got rich by being born into wealth. This Prince has not worked a single day of his life.

  • Justin

    whats the lowest f stop of the lens?

  • Eziz

    Yes, but they are not Qatari, they are guest-workers. So as a country it is rich and it’s citizen are too.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    he’s not just a prince who flaunts his wealth, he was a minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and founded the Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation. Not every prince is a stereotypical cliché

  • Joe

    The 1700mm F4.0 Zeiss APO makes that look small.

  • Guest

    Yeah just step in front hand pull your pants down

  • Bruno

    I am pretty sure I can find in the streets of London many princes from non Arab countries who could perfectly fit your description…

  • a Dude

    Why not buy a proper portable f/8 (or faster) 1600mm telescope with Leica mount? They’re available for $1500 or less. You’d spare a good 2 million for travelling around taking pictures with it :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joey-Duncan/1111692326 Joey Duncan

    This is a good example of passive racism. A joke meant to generalize the geographical stereo type and is in turn….. a tad bit racist. His response no doubt will be some means of “ohhhh uhhhh I didn’t mean blah blah blha, I was just making a blah blah joke” Don’t….. think before you speak, the internet needs less of this.

  • Ape Ature

    That’s what the 5.6 in the name signifies

  • Bea Phare

    And what percentage of the US lives in poverty with no access to basic medicine? Also, perhaps driving cars the size that the rest of the world drives wouldn’t line their pockets in a manner that is so disagreeable to you

  • warren fouraress

    does that reply come with subtitles?

  • Manstrap

    Wrong again – he was at one point the world’s most active museum art buyer. You might think that’s an easy job, but there’s a lot of hours spent spending all that money.

  • Whottar

    And their kids who are born in Qatar aren’t citizens either. Super plan. Luck into wealth, treat people like dirt. Buy World Cup. Thanks a ton. There’s a reason it’s pronounced “gutter”

  • Esssshh

    Also if the internet didn’t bother replying to fools like this, they would disappear. Well done

  • Tso

    for deluxe peeping.

  • Violeta Ivanova

    That amount of money is like pocket cash for them, no worries. It’s not like those people have any reason in their minds to put money in world economy and to help undevelopped countries. Better by bling bling. *sarcastic pin intended*

  • Joe

    F5.6

  • mase

    this camera lens better let me see back in time for that price

  • W3PYF

    As good as a Sigma 200-500…ya think? If Leitz sent a hit man to you for that comment, and he was caught in the act, no jury with a serious photographer in thhe pool would convict the shooter.

  • C3PO What?

    Come, follow the magic link that accompanied that reference. You will find a magical land. A land where there is a thing called a joke. Do not be overwhelmed. It will feel strange at first, but then you will relax. re… lax….

  • Nosoupforyou

    With that kinda money, I’d have just paid my servants to bring whatever I wanted closer to me so I wouldn’t have to fuss with photographing it….unless it was a building or mountain or something. Then of course they’d just carry me on their backs.

  • johnrite

    Is that thing on the back where you insert the quarters?

  • Jake

    Well, you’re half right. My response is basically that I certainly didn’t mean to make a joke that was racist or offensive towards Arabs, but rather, some geopolitical satire about the West’s assumptions of the Mid-East and, obviously, the missile-like appearance of the lens itself. As for passive racism, you might be right, since it is hard to avoid doing, or knowing we are doing, something that is inherently passive, ie, an act of non-doing. If we censor ourselves for fear of causing offense, the world would stop development in all sorts of ways – just look at Lenny Bruce or Chris Rock (not that I would put myself on either of their levels). I would be surprised to find anyone who didn’t occasionally engage in passive racism themselves, but regardless I hope I can be forgiven for failing to realize the apparently offensive nature of my comment until after it was pointed out to me. Since 4 of 5 people don’t approve of my statement, I humbly withdraw it. Sorry, folks.

  • Jake

    Well, you’re half right. My response is basically that I certainly didn’t mean to make a joke that was racist or offensive towards Arabs, but rather, some geopolitical satire about the West’s assumptions of the Mid-East and, obviously, the missile-like appearance of the lens itself. As for passive racism, you might be right, since it is hard to avoid doing, or knowing we are doing, something that is inherently passive, ie, an act of non-doing. If we censor ourselves for fear of causing offense, the world would stop development in all sorts of ways – just look at Lenny Bruce or Chris Rock (not that I would put myself on either of their levels). I would be surprised to find anyone who didn’t occasionally engage in passive racism themselves, but regardless I hope I can be forgiven for failing to realize the apparently offensive nature of my comment until after it was pointed out to me. Since 4 of 5 people don’t approve of my statement, I humbly withdraw it. Sorry, folks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DanielGBallard Dan Ballard

    I’ll bet a good dinner that this guy is also into falcons, a common sport there. Now he can get fantastic shots of those birds of prey in action.

  • Gary Paakkonen

    How do you know what this guy has done with his cash! That said, think he’ll let me borrow it??

  • Manwithacamera

    With that money, one can travel around the world with some DSLR and took lot of good photos :)

  • Jim

    “I could use the money to give to charity or feed some starving people, but I think I’ll buy a camera lens instead.” :P

  • Mansgame

    strawman’s argument. The US, even in down times is a global innovator of technology, medicine, space, engineering, etc. There are poor people here but there is also upward mobility and opportunities for them to move up. Arab countries have a select group of princes who get the money from the sale of oil and instead of using that money to help the country, spend it on cars, women, and apparently 2 million dollar leica lenses.

    I’ve met a few of these guys in the US. They are soft, drug addicted, and have never worked a day of their life. It’s truly sickening.

  • Barry Allen

    Is that an anti-aircraft weapon sight in the carry handle?

  • Mansprain

    Your reply is so filled with misconception and generalization that it’s not worth bothering with.

  • command f again

    So during all your meetings that you’ve had with “these guys”, they all volunteered to tell you about their drug addictions? Man, you are a big dollop of gaussian blur on reality.

  • http://twitter.com/BradTrent Brad Trent

    Well…With that kind of gear, I guess that means the Prince will now be a much better photographer than any of you putz’s!!!

  • mlcred

    Oooh — touche!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/charlie.zornes.3 Charlie Zornes

    I would have him have mine for $500.00 less. A fool with fools money is cool!

  • smurffic

    saw one on ebay for half the price, bargain! Funny how a picture and price of a lens can turn fore a political argument. This is just male compensation, I shoot with a 50mm, oh but F1.4!!!

  • Maurice Fleury

    Does it come in black?

  • nineteen85

    You are such the stereotypical ignorant American that it’s sickening. Qatar is not only so much more advanced than much of the west. Take a look at Doha(their capital, I take it you didn’t know that), infrastructure? Check. Building industry? They have spent more than $100 billion USD on their energy industry. Education? Do your research, you’d be surprised.

    Finally, their women are allowed to go out, drive cars, run for politics and be in managerial positions unlike most of the Arab world. And similar to the rest of the west. Modesty is encouraged naturally, but this exists also in other countries not to mention in developed countries in Asia like Korea or Japan.

    I’ve met so many of your kind overseas. They are stupid, ignorant, and have never bothered to get their facts right. It’s truly insulting. I dislike tacking stereotypes on people because America can’t be all that bad, but believe me, people like you and the OWS movement really make the rest of the world laugh.