The Walter Leica Contrast Lens, an invaluable addition to your M?

The Walter Leica Contrast Lens, an invaluable addition to your M?


Walter over at sent me an email message about his latest item he has created and made available to all Leica M users, and this one appears to be fantastic. It is a contrast lens that goes over your eyepiece and will give you much more contrast when viewing through the viewfinder. This will make it easier to focus, easier to see and give you a more pleasurable experience when using your Leica M or so says Walter himself.

Here is what Walter says about the contrast lens:

In order to get the best focusing possibilities for our clients, we created the WALTER contrast lense.

This amazing eyepiece has a special golden colour coating, which intensifies the light, resulting in better contrast for easier focusing.

The lense is manufactured by hand, utilizing the best optics available and is mounted in solid ‘Gun Kote’ brass.
Multi coated optics to reduce glare.
Contrast-enhancing tint for improved focusing.
Refined and improved dimensions.
Larger optical curved lense for clearer, wider view.
Simply screws into any Leica M camera.
Coating can be used with prescription lenses (WALTER eyepiece), diopter lenses and plano (normal) lenses.
Special launch price: $180.00 (includes postage by registered airmail)
Please enquire about lead time.


Walter tells me that Leica themselves had a similar golden coating on some early M3 cameras, and that they actually used real gold so it became to expensive to implement.

If you would like  to pre-order the Leica Walter Contrast Lense, you can do so directly at HERE. Walter told me there is a 2 week wait time right now on this piece. Keep in it was not already obvious..that this is NOT a review of the eyepiece. I have not even seen one in person. Just posting about the new product. Walter always creates cool things for Leica and has been around for a while and is well respected by those who buy his products.




  1. I’m waiting for my second “yellow gem”…and a M-Stedy…and herr Walter promised to contemplate designing me a proper soft shutter release (not anything resembling bugs…)

  2. Bought one and loved it. The colour didn’t bother me as I thought it would.
    An absolute pleasure to deal with walter too.

  3. Hey, hey: I’m enjoying my “yellow world” so much that I ordered a second “overpriced yellow piece of glass” from herr Walter.
    Besides, I also ordered a “10 axis stabilizer” called M-steady I think. Now, when I progress from my status of “old, ametropic and nerd” to double old ametropic nerd and suffering from old age tremors I’ll manage to keep on steady shooting!
    Take lots of photos and enjoy…!!!

      • I’m really enjoying my ad-on! Herr Walter is a very nice person and is reputation is well deserved. I often go to his website just to listen to the music he puts in his videos: he is a man of good taste and enjoys classical masterpieces! Thank’s Steve!

  4. Hey, hey: just to let you know my Walter lens has just arrived…!
    And yes, I do like to use the Leica with it on…It makes me see tonality better and reminded me I’ve the MP on B&W (well, DNG but B&W for viewing)…! As soon as I use it a bit more I’ll let my impressions!
    But the best of all is that now I’m enjoying the status of a full time “old”, “ametropic” and “nerd” having bought an “overpriced piece of yellow glass”…being part of a select elite of photographers like Steve and Kalika and Walter…

    • Herr Walter is of german origin…and lives in South Africa…I really don’t know the language tricks overthere… I’ve seen replyes about the “Leica M typ 240” saying there is a missing “e” in the end…well it is spelled like that. (even in English / American: colour / color). Is this really important?

  5. I think I’ll like the thing…I love driving with my yellow ad-on, as, at least subjectively, I feel more clarity and detail…And by the way: was there a gadget for film directors to evaluate textures and contrast in B/W that looked like a small monocule and was deep yellow…? So we are a bunch of nerds, senile and with bad vision, but happylly there is still one smart guy in the world to warn us all of our erratic behavioural consumerism…Well, I think I’ll send Walter a payment for a contrast diopter lens for my M6!

    • Dude – is it really worth 180 Dollar ?
      It´s only a little piece of overprieced yellow glass
      buying this will not make you a Robert Capa !=)

      • …my name isn’t Dude…
        …if I want to discuss the price I’ll do it with mr Walter…
        …I never pretended to be R Capa…
        …Honk’s comments are neither worth reading nor worth replying…!

          • Glad to hear that…I thought I was the only senseless, old ametropic nerd fool enough to buy one…
            And I can’t wait: my new M Typ 240 M-P never took a color shot…
            I put on a Macau neckstrap (a fabulous piece from Sul_bags FG edition) and keep it in one of my 2 Wotan Rykers (thank-you Steve for your advice) together with a Sony Mk III with JB wood grip …that ugliest thing in the world…like a kitchen’s knive…also bought one for my wife) – thank’s Steve for your advice!
            Well, let the dogs howl while we enjoy taking nice pictures…!

  6. To the point about expense, a Lee Filters book of colour swatch samples costs a few $, giving anybody the chance to experiment with cutting or stamping out their own yellow, orange, red, ND, etc. (including some very strange ones) viewfinder filter. Try before you buy.

  7. “…to expensive”? I guess you mean “too expensive”?
    Personally not interested. I find that my glasses are more of limiting factor than my rangefinder these days. Perhaps after I save up for the laser eye surgery thingy I’ll take another look. I think the surgery is much much more expensive than the Walter thingy.

    • I think a target would be different than the rangefinder patch in a Leica. I put a yellow filter over the eyepiece of my M3 and did not notice any difference in the contrast of the rangefinder patch. Well, apart from everything looking yellow.

      Maybe there is some ‘magic’ in the gold tone that is used for this product, but I think Steve should test one before posting an article of what otherwise seems like an ad for the product. One thing that differentiates this site from others is that products are actually tested. The product shot of the elephant is really unrealistic as it is grossly overexposed in an attempt to show a difference. You would never actually view the elephant like that, your eyes would compensate for the brightness.

      I’m surprised that the mfg of the product has not sent one to Steve for evaluation. It is ‘only’ $130, so it is not like sending a $5000 lens. Maybe Steve is going to get one?

      • This is not an ad..if it was I would have received some sort of payment, of which I did not. I do not do “ad posts” and never have, never will. I do posts like this to inform YOU GUYS about new products that I feel are worth mentioning, and I only do it a few times per year. Walter makes cool stuff for Leica, and has for a long time now. When I saw this and spoke with him about it and heard his excitement about it I wanted one for myself. I will order one for me soon, but I decided to let all of you guys know about it. It clearly was NOT a review, so it is up to YOU to read about it and buy at your own risk. I did not say “BUY IT! ITS AWESOME”!! I just wrote about what it was and what it is and provided the link. I will review one eventually, when I buy my own.

        • It clearly says an invaluable addition to your Leica M. So if its not a review and you have not yet tried one…. We are confused. Clearly its an ad paid or otherwise.

          • Lol..sorry, wish I was paid but have never been paid for ANY post in the history of this website. read my response to your silly accusations. It is an INFO post, sharing INFO on a product that I feel will be beneficial to the readers who use Leica. Walter is a well respected guy in the Leica community and has made some great stuff. Never have I seen a bad product from him, and I trust him. If he tells me it is a great product and works well, I believe him. So yes, it would be invaluable. He has told me many orders came in from this post, which is good for him. Me, I get nothing out of it, not even a penny. I am happy to provide a plug for those who think outside the box and offer products that are useful and quality. If you buy one and it sucks, send it back and get a refund. Easy. When I review one, if it sucks, I will tell you that it does and will never plug Walter again. But as I said, I trust him. If you feel this is a dis-service, then do not come here anymore. Same thing have told readers for nearly seven years who have an issue with what I post. Yet they always come back… 🙂 Anyone with any sense to them can read this and see it is in no way a review.

          • Steve is right. There is a difference between a product announcement and an advertisement.

            I can only imagine how Steve says sane given how many idiotic comments he has to deal with.

  8. I’m really skeptical that reducing the overall amount of light coming through the eyepiece (which is all that any filter can do) would increase viewing contrast. I suppose the theory might be that the yellow tint will pass more light from sunlit areas (which are yellowish in color) and less light from shadow areas (which tend to be bluish in color), making the scene appear more contrasty. But that would work only on sunlit scenes.

    It’s true that classic RF manufacturers did use gold optics, but they applied the gold to the RF’s beamsplitter. Light from the main viewfinder window had to pass THROUGH the gold, making it appear greenish, while light from the small secondary rangefinder window was reflected OFF the gold, making it appear yellowish. That made it much easier to distinguish the rangefinder spot from the surrounding viewfinder… but as someone else noted, it also made colors look kind of weird.

    Maybe Walter will explain in more detail how this thing will work…

    • Blue is the most “bent” color and is therefore often convergent in front of your retina, yielding nearsighted blur. A blue filter reduces the blur.

      No magic…

  9. I already have an -3 diopter ring on my M8. Assume that there is no possibility to have 2 such pieces (diopter and this one) on the eyepiece….. Maybe Walter could give an answer on this one?

  10. 1) probably get a similar effect slipping on some light persimmon Oakleys. Just a blue filter.

    2) the glasses wouldn’t be as easy to use though

    3) I’m wondering if it can be stacked with my Leica 1.25 mag eyepiece

    4) as noted above, could ruin the colors of what you meant to capture, but I think too much is made of that. I keep both eyes open once I’ve focused. Always good to see the periphery. Almost a must with truly wide lenses.

  11. It would be fine for B&W photography, where one concentrates on tones, but I would not like it for colour photography. I like to see things in their ‘real colour’ for composition etc, not everything in yellow.

    Steve, have you tried this or is the title “an invaluable addition to your M” from the seller?

    • On old cameras, if done by an experienced tech, yes.
      If the camera is pretty new and clean, the contrast of the focus patch is as good as it gets and a CLA would not help. That’s where this contrast eye piece could help.

      It seems that someone could test the efficacy of getting a yellow colored eye piece by just holding a yellow filter (as used in B&W photography) over the standard eye piece, and seeing if the difference is worth while.

      • Interesting point. I did exactly that on my M3 and didn’t notice any difference when using the yellow filter. I would be hard pressed to view the world in yellow even if the improvement was worth it. For me the one great quality about the M3 is the large viewfinder. It’s the best I have ever experienced on a 35mm. I would hate to lose that in a shade of yellow.

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