The Leica SL and Canon Dream Lens Combo. Wow. By Cris Rose

The Leica SL and Canon Dream Lens Combo. Wow.

By Cris Rose

With the move from Leica M to Leica SL, focusing at the widest apertures became less hit and miss and more “click and zoom”, so what better partner than an f0.95 lens? 

No, not the Leica one. The first 50mm f0.95 lens. The Dreamlens.

Made in the 70s, originally for the Canon 7 Rangefinder and now on a solid M mount, the Canon 50mm f0.95 is as classic as high speed lenses come. Soft corners, low contrast and wild lens flares are what this chunk of metal and glass brings. But boy, is that colour and bokeh unique. Like a Dream.
Bought to compliment my spectacularly sharp, but somewhat “sterile” Zeiss 50mm f2 Planar, the Dreamlens is all about mood and character. Oh, and did I mention? This is a low light monster – especially when paired with the SL’s more than useable 12500 ISO. Then, when the SL’s electronic shutter hits 1/16000, it’s easy to shoot wide open into the summer sun without even thinking about needing an ND filter.
The handling is nicely balanced on the SL, the aperture clicks solid and the focus firm. When you see how much glass it’s moving, it’s not surprising that shifting it requires a little heft. While my copy is hardly mint, as a professional events photographer, it did everything right that I need it to. Take spectacular photos.
I found myself putting together this little “best of” because, sadly, I’m having to let it go. It’s making way for a second body in the form of a Leica Q. The sensible choice when running a business, tho not the one my heart would make.

I can’t say I’ve seen or used anything quite like the Canon Dreamlens, and I’d put money on my future-self acquiring another, but for now… at least we have photos huh?”

Cris Rose
Paper Hills Photography
facebook: @paperhillsphoto
Instagram: @paperhillsphoto

See more on the dream lens: On the Leica MM and Sony A7rII, on the Leica M 240


  1. Cris nice work and thank you for the inspiration. I had a shoot this weekend and decided to try my converted 0.95 on my SL at the shoot as a test. I threw it on after I finished some scenes with the SL 50mm F1.4 and oh god I didn’t take it off till the end of the rest of the scenes. It was an art erotic shoot with a Mongolian mode and the dream effect that this lens produces made some really moody images. Read some of the comments about images looking horrid and people not liking the result, but then again we all forget sometimes that photography is not about the tool you use and how technically superior it is but the image itself and if process of creating.

  2. Nice pictures. Wierd that people are looking for sharpness when what matters is the emotions that the picture gives. I myself is wierd as I really like grain and lens not being too sharp. Although I do wonder how come my pictures are not sharp on the M9 when the lenses should be. Anyway I like the pictures. It is very interesting.

  3. This is genuinely awful. Are people sarcastic? Is this a parody? Is my screen so uncalibrated?
    Don’t get me wrong, I have many vintage lenses that gives me more interesting pictures that my modern -and sterile looking- lenses would. But here the combination of vivid colors of the Leica sensor with the soft rendering of the Canon is horrid, to the least. Especially that first portrait which is a nightmare-fuel.
    Is it straight out of camera, or how much post-processing has been done?

  4. Nice article. I prefer the motive of the chef. They may be sharp focussed etc and I find the background or the out of focus areas are very unpleasant. Looks like someone has just kind of shaken it. Nothing dreamy to me. Only technically interesting, not from the look at them.
    Always good light!

  5. Really interesting it’s a look I like very much , I have a dream lens and a Canon 7 which is how I shoot it, I’m considering getting it converted to M mount so I can use it on my M3 & M9 , any thoughts about that and suggestions of who to send it to for the work would be greatly appreciated, I’m in the U.K. in Yorkshire

    • Try contacting Les Bosher in South Wales (, he converted and calibrated two of these lenses for a friend and myself, milling a custom stainless steel mount for us, top-notch work, a real gent and artisan.

  6. I’m so sorry that you have to let it go, Cris. Indeed, this dreamlens is everything the Planar isn’t and vice versa, so I agree they complement perfectly. The portraits you show here have such great mood. And… you succeed to show pretty natural expressions as well. I love them!
    One small regret: I would have loved to see how this lens shows on the SL. 🙂

  7. Truthfully, I can get close to that look with my Mitikon and the subject will be sharper.

  8. nice! And good luck with the Q, rented one for a few days and though I am not a 28mm guy(shoot 35 & 50mm), I did start to like the 28mm FOV and loved the Q!

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