$500,000 In Leica Lenses Stolen From A Los Angeles Film Set

$500,000 In Leica Lenses Stolen From A Los Angeles Film Set

The LAPD and the FBI are currently on the case of half a million dollars worth of stolen Leica Summilux-C (cine) lenses. This occurred on Sunday, December 1st, when a shoot was being held by Doug Emmet in Los Angeles. It's being reported by CPT Rental Inc. and with any luck we can only hope that they will be recovered as news spreads. 

So be very cautious if you do happen to come across any great deals for these lenses. In particular, here are the ones in question along with their serial numbers.

18mm CW-0001347

21mm CW-0001538

25mm CW-0001552

35mm CW-0001657

40mm CW-0001645

50mm CW-0001435

75mm CW-0001487

100mm CW-0001506


Accordingly, here is a flyer put out by the company with contact information as well:



[Via Petapixel]

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Jason Vinson's picture

$500K = 8 lenses.... wow...

i think the real crime is that its nearly $63k for each lens....

Specialty product for a specialist task; each one probably handmade out of only the top of the line materials custom produced for that manufacturer; each being paired up with a camera manufactured with the same care and precision, and worth probably $200k itself; the fate of an entire multimillion dollar budget riding on its ability to perform perfectly every time....

$63k sounds about right to me.

It would be interesting to see what the actual cost to make one is. (though we will never know) I find it pretty hard to believe Leica invests anywhere near 63k in construction. Though I imagine cost of RnD is pretty high which works into the price but then again it would seem that a lower price for higher volume would be a better way to recover RnD investments.

I would be interested in that as well. Although, like you, I'll bet the physical cost doesn't actually reflect the overall costs. Not only do you have RnD, but precision engineering and incredibly skilled craftsmen (I would guess on the level of watch makers) assembling the thing. All of who must be compensated not just for the hours they put in, but the skill it takes.

Cost is irrelevant. Value isn't. If these lenses provide the best possible quality for the cinematographers shooting a $MM film, then the price is justified because of the value. The only reason these cost so much is because the market can bear it... If they didn't sell, they'd be cheaper.

Oh, I completely agree. When they have to literally be perfect or risk multimillion dollar budgets (probably billions over their lifetime), that is the value. Delivering on a promise of (near) perfection is a unique selling point.

The cost thing is more of a curiosity than anything else.

Well. So leica is not supose to make benefit ?
And aswell, thoses lenses are not like "iphones", they don't sell millions of lenses like those. the building price should be arround 1/4 of the selling price.

What the hell do the thieves plan to do with them? They can't sell them because they are too easily found. They can't use them (unless they stole the appropriate high end camera). They can't rent them out for film shoots (again, too easily discovered).

I guess they could sell them overseas somewhere, but jeez, over time there are too many people who would handle them on a film set to think it would remain a secret.

Doesn't really matter if they thought it through. Most likely a crime of opportunity (could be wrong), someone saw they and took them. Might have thought they could pawn them or sell them on ebay. There was a major network van robbed in Milwaukee not long ago (i forget when) and they stole a bunch of broadcast stuff, cameras included. Not the type of thing that could really be sold, but they stole it anyway.

Probably stolen for the same reason that an innumerate classmate stole my scientific calculator at school ... because they could.

And unless they knew what they had, they probably figured the lenses were only worth a couple of grand.

I am imagining the look on the thieves' faces when the FBI tells them the size of the theft they will be prosecuted for. It makes me laugh.

Oh, they would be royally screwed if they ever got caught. A decade wouldn't even be enough.

Stephen Melling's picture


Aren't they c-mount?

Technically, couldn't I get a c-mount to NEX adapter for 3 bucks on ebay and have a 64k cine lens on my 600 dollar NEX?


That is a truly awesome thought. A $64k lens attached to a $600 camera with a $3 Chinese knock off adapter.

I know there are probably some cinematographers out there who just threw up a little.

We shot a major commercial on a $600 NEX for a network for various reasons. The network execs were stunned by the look and insisted to know what we shot on. As they say, a good workman never blames his tools...

I just found a bunch of lenses in my dad's loft. They're pretty big, black, and have 'leica' written on the side, not too sure what camera they fit.
Anyone want to buy them? There's 8 in total, say £100 each?

Let me call a buddy of mine and he will have a look at them and tell us what we actually have in there. Before that, I don't really want to make any offers yet.

This is ridiculous....they say the lenses are 8 different focal lengths, but you can CLEARLY tell they're all the same lens....just look, they're all the exact same length and size!!!


dylan reid's picture

Your right, not only same length and size, but same weight. This is so steadicam operators don't have to keep rebalancing between lenses. This is also a huge factor in why these lenses are so expensive.

and jib ops

Those lenses are already across the mexican border, and chances they will be on cameras that will film "telenovelas" on tv and helped the thief make an easy 50k. Pretty much undetectable crossing the border.

I really hate these types of comments. Why say they're in Mexico as if its fact? They could have been sent to Canada, UK, etc. In fact, there is just as much chance that the lenses may still be in LA since many would not the value of these lenses.

Respectfully, highlighting one possibility as fact is insulting.

Obviously, it could be anywhere. I was stating something hypothetically. If you took my comment to heart, then sorry if it got you mad. I just thought it could have been an easy strategy to get it quickly off ones hands since the border is not too far off and plus to get on a plane to Canada or UK (from L.A.) with those lenses in one's possession is too risky especially since they'll be on the lookout for it.

Nevertheless, I hope the lenses go back to their respected owners and the thief is brought to justice. Can't believe this kind of thing could have happened on a film set, when usually there's plenty of security when filming something.

México? Really?! BRB!
(Goes to the mexican black market of photography...)

Ariel Martini's picture

they charge only $2400/day to use it. that's almost my whole gear price, in one day. http://cptrental.com/?post_type=portfolio&p=1106

Ya, even at their obscene price tag that is a pretty good margin for the rental house. All the need to do is rent them out 240 times and they are paid for. (which I imagine happens within a year of purchase). And I'd hope with the construction quality like this they would last for many.

This is why you have insurance. The rental house should have insurance and also the productions company that was renting the gear. Cine lens are so much more expensive than photography lens. Those Leica lens are the latest and greatest and worth every penny.

I see my tax dollars are paying the FBI because someone doesn't know how to manage their own gear.