Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f / 2.8 for leica l39


Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200

The Elegance of Rodenstock

Rodenstock is a well-known German company that makes medium and large format lenses and enlarging lenses. They’re right up there with Zeiss and Schneider in the large format photography space. Rodenstock lenses are known for their clear and delicate depiction of details, bright colors, and excellent texture rendering, making them popular in commercial advertising. From the 1950s to the early 1960s, they also made lenses for 35mm SLR and Leica rangefinder cameras.

From 1954 to 1961, Rodenstock made two million lenses, but most of them were fixed to the camera body, like those for Kodak Retina cameras. There weren’t that many interchangeable lenses around, like those with M42 and Leica L39 mounts. There was only one Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f/2.8 lens for the Leica L39 mount. This lens was an optional extra for Leica Barnack-type IIIf and IIIg cameras. At the time, Germany’s economy was on the up, and Leica cameras were flying off the shelves. During this period, Leica teamed up with some movie lens and large format camera manufacturers to create custom lenses, including ones made by Schneider, Angénieux, and Rodenstock, which they sold with the Leica screw mount. Rodenstock had just finished expanding their production facilities in Munich and Regen, and they were looking pretty strong.

The Black Swan

This 35mm lens uses a popular technology from that time, with a 6-element, 4-group structure, all-copper plated chrome, single-layer coating, and ten aperture blades. The lens’s f/2.8 aperture is smaller than that of the Leica Summaron-M 28mm f/5.6, which makes it much smaller in size.

The Heligon series showed up on 120 and 135 format cameras, including the Heligon 90/3.2 for the Linhof 69, and the Rodenstock Retina Heligon 1.9/50mm for the DKL mount. They’re some of the best lenses in their class. Unfortunately, these camera systems are pretty obscure and their designs are pretty eccentric, which makes their lenses less popular. The only exception is this Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f/2.8 lens, which is really quite elegant and looks even better with the Leica customization.

Rodenstock lenses are great at showing details, and this Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f/2.8 lens is no exception. It’s got the Rodenstock look: clear and delicate, with bright and vibrant colors, stable control of highlights, good performance in low-light situations, slightly warm tones, and a smooth and restrained texture.

The Red “A”

Word is that Rodenstock lenses with a red “A” are top-of-the-line lenses that keep highlights nice and even and give you a nice, smooth overall color tone.


The colors produced by the Rodenstock lens are really tasteful—they’re deep but not overly vibrant. It’s more restrained than Zeiss, heavier than Leica, and lighter than Schneider.


This lens has a very shallow depth of field, so it can be tricky to shoot with a wide-open aperture. However, because of the way the blur is progressive, even if the shot isn’t sharp, it still has a strong sense of depth.

This Rodenstock lens has an f/2.8 aperture, which is just as good as Leica’s f/2 aperture when it comes to bokeh. With ten aperture blades, it even has a feel of the combination of the seventh and eighth sister, rotating smoothly and naturally.

The bokeh effect is the lens’s most notable feature, which also makes it quite expensive.


Below is an unofficial chronological list of all Rodenstock lenses from 1954 to 1961
2,000,000 ——1945
2,500,000 ——1952
3,000,000 ——1954
4,000,000 ——1957
4,500,000 ——1960
5,000,000 ——1961

Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f/2.8  L39 NO:
22981xx, 23274xx, 23275xx, 23276xx, 23277xx, 23695xx, 23696xx, 23698xx, 23699xx, 23710xx, 23711xx, 23712xx, 24596xx, 24597xx, 24598xx, 35253xx
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp + kodak gold 200
Rodenstock-Heligon 35mm f2.8 + leica mp