Half a Million Dollars in Leica Movie Lenses and Other Gear Stolen from LA Film Set


A late-breaking holiday shopping tip: If someone offers you a screamingly good deal on a Leica Summilux-C movie lens, be very suspicious. That’s because there’s currently $500,000 worth of stolen gear floating around the black market — including a $200K set of Summilux-C lenses — that was taken off the set of a Los Angeles film shoot..

The theft happened this last Sunday, December 1st, when a total of eight extremely expensive lenses belonging to CPT Rental of Long Island City, NY disappeared from the shoot, along with some Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses and a digital cinema camera.


The Summilux-C, introduced in 2011, is Leica’s premiere line of prime lenses for video/movie cameras, favored by cinematographers for their minimal distortion, wide apertures and yummy bokeh. Those lenses alone made up $200K of the stolen goods.

They’re available in focal lengths of 16, 18, 21, 25, 29, 35, 40, 50, 65, 75 and 100mm and have been produced in limited — and very expensive — quantities. Which is why most are used via rental services, at rates of around $300 a day.

Both the LAPD and the FBI have been contacted and are investigating, while CPT is doing its part to recover the stolen glass by distributing fliers among film industry contacts describing the theft and listing the serial numbers of the hot lenses.

(via La Vida Leica!)

Correction: This post originally stated that the lenses in question cost $500K. That was incorrect. The Cine lens set was valued at $200K. The $500K total in stolen goods also included a set of Zeiss Ultra Prime lenses and a digital cinema camera. Thank you to CW Sonderoptic for getting in touch with us to clarify!

  • mike

    Wow, FBI! We talking about lenses?

  • Brian

    I just got a new lens yesterday and I thought it was pricey but 60k+ makes my thing look like a bargain basement job. Seriously though good to see police taking this kind of thing seriously

  • Dikaiosune01

    My eyes widden, “Half a million Dollars.” I think it is the value of the items not just the ‘type’ of item that was stolen.

  • harumph

    I don’t know what movie they were shooting, but since Doug Emmett usually shoots smallish indie movies, having a case of lenses worth half a million dollars on the set seems kind of crazy. I assume it’s a situation where he wanted to be prepared with every single lens in the kit, just in case, but still…that kit probably represents a huge chunk of the entire film’s budget.

  • Guilherme Costa

    500k is a very suspicius number…. they should investigate that.

  • visualbassist

    that camera crew must have been executed on the spot…
    by the way, 500k really is the price for that set. cine-gear is crazy expensive, simply because they need to be designed and manufactured to the highest possible standards, and have a “niche” market share. most of this hardwere is owned by rental houses, not individuals.
    the full value of a camera package that can serve a feature film, even low budget, can easily be in the millions.

  • Guest

    The article very clearly states that the lenses were rented. They didn’t spend half a million on them.

  • Sterling

    Obviously just a stunt by Leica to get a mention on photography blogs. Those sly devils trying to use the internets to trick us.

  • harumph

    Yes, I know. I didn’t say they spent a half a million on the lenses.

  • falevian

    So, they stole two lenses :-D

  • joe gillis

    I’ve actually worked with Doug and yes, he does do smallish indie films but he also does biggish indie films and Hollywood films. He also is a real pro and the rental house calling him out by name here seems like a real dick move. As for the price of the lenses, this is not considerably more expensive glass than you would see on your typical $1M feature. They also would not leave the rental house without insurance so its not like the production has to pay $500K to replace them.

  • Slaven Smolčić

    Well,sure is that rental house this days hate song “Anybody seen my baby?” ;-)

  • harumph

    Right, that wasn’t a criticism of Emmett. And of course I know what insurance is. I was just marveling at the idea that a $1M production could have a case sitting in a truck that was worth the equivalent of half the entire budget of the film. It’s just a potentially nerve-wracking aspect of film production that I hadn’t really thought about before. That’s all.

  • Mike

    inside job

  • iphoto27

    Was it valued in dealer costs or prosumer costs?

    Dealers, camera stores /or companies for that matter like to inflated a lot to try to collect insurance claims.

  • Newton

    Those ultra primes are no slouch either. Most of those go for almost 15k a pop.

  • Ricardo

    Any news with this investigation? Another set was just stolen from a camera repair service in Burbank. 05-06-14. Same set, different serial #