Everyone should be familiar with the price of equipment sporting a small red dot. In this particular case, the red dot is pretty large. A venerable cream of the telephoto crop, this set consists of a Leica APO-Summicron-R 180mm f/2.0, a Leica APO Telyt-R 280mm f/2.8 and finally a massive Leica APO-Telyt-R 400mm f/2.8. The set is currently owned by Samy’s Camera – but not for long as it’s being sold for $100,000.00. This is no ordinary set of rare Leica telephoto primes. Custom modified with PL mounts and integrated focus and iris gears by Duclos Lenses, this is a one-of-a-kind set making the rare even rarer.
About two years ago I was paid a visit by some fellow named Samy who claimed he was from Samy’s Camera. It took me a few seconds to realize he wasn’t just some guy from Samy’s… He was Samy’s. Samy proceeded to explain what he wanted done to these lenses, at which point I gave some examples of what something like this costs and the down-time associated with custom modifications. You see, performing this type of work isn’t something that we here at Duclos Lenses do for just any lens. There are several prerequisites for this type of work that we stick to pretty closely which usually discourage customers from advancing with bespoke engineering. The most important condition is quality. We don’t design or engineer anything that we aren’t confident putting our name on, abel to admire once completed and say “damn… that’s marvelous”. The second most important factor is the cost. I understand that there are some individuals out there that simply don’t care about the cost, and want, need, must have something despite the fee. This entire process requires a balance of these two primary factors (quality/cost) which I felt Samy understood and shared in our enthusiasm. As a result of our unrelenting crusade for precision and quality, custom conversions go through many stages within Duclos Lenses beginning with conception and going on to design, engineering, prototyping, manufacturing, and finishing.
Over the next few months we penned, plotted, rendered, caffeinated, and repeated many times over. The final result was a set of three Leica telephoto primes with stainless steel PL mounts, integrated focus and iris gears, and industry standard supports, ready to deliver to Samy. As far as I know, at the time, Samy had no plans to offer these lenses to anyone because of their rarity but I’m glad to see that they are for sale and possibly going on to shoot stunning images. I hope that whoever ends up purchasing these lenses lets me know so that I can keep an eye on them over time. It’s this desire to follow bespoke projects throughout their life, that I feel makes the work that I’m involved with special. If you’re interested in purchasing this set, check with your accountant/wife and then head on over to the eBay listing.