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Leica R Instruction Manuals

The R-cameras used to be the flagships in Leica's photographic equipment portfolio and a popular choice for professional and enthusiast photographers alike. Almost 500,000 R-mount bodies were produced and sold since the Leicaflex was introduced in 1964. Unfortunately, Leica decided to discontinue its line of reflex cameras in 2009, when the development of the autofocus-enabled R10 was shelved. Since then, Leica has step by step reduced its support for the system.

Leica Manual
Leica R4s user manual

There are still instruction manuals and technical information notes available on Leica's website for the R9 and the Digital-Modul-R, but for user guides and information on older cameras, the R-shooter has to look elsewhere. Some product documentation can be found in good condition on the pre-owned marked, most notably on ebay. Yet, several helpful photo-enthusiasts, notably Mike Buktus, Joe Chan and David Young, have assembled instruction manuals of older R-cameras and made them available on their respective websites. The links below mirror these listings.

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Leica R Instruction Manuals
  Camera model Production
Hard copy
Soft copy
2Leicaflex SL1968-74checkdownload
3Leicaflex SL21974-76checkdownload
4Leica R31976-80checkdownload
5Leica R41980-87checkdownload
6Leica R4s1980-87checkdownload
7Leica R51986-91checkdownload
8Leica R61988-92checkdownload
9Leica R-E1990-94checkdownload
10Leica R6.21992-02checkdownload
11Leica R71992-97checkdownload
12Leica R81996-02checkdownload
13Leica R92002-09checkdownload
14Leica DMR2005-07checkdownload

Moreover, in case you are interested in the history of Leica and evolution of its cameras and lenses, you might want to check out a set of pdf-documents that more or less represent the information that went into Erwin Puts' Leica Compendium. This 2011 publication brings together a wealth of facts and data about Leica cameras and optics on more than 600 pages. It quickly became a reference book and all three print editions have sold out. Fortunately, Mr. Puts has made drafts of the underlying material available on the web in the form of several booklets and excerpts. These pdf-documents are not as nicely formatted as the published Compendium and do not show all the illustrations of the print edition, but they nevertheless contain plenty of useful information for the Leica aficionado. Just move across to the Leica documents page to see the listing of respective downloads.

Further Reading

You can also retrace the evolution of Leica's reflex cameras over time on the R-camera compendium page and see a display of all the models in the Leica family tree. However, while the R-cameras were very nice tools, what really made the system shine were its optics. The R-lenses compendium lists all the Summiluxes, Summicrons, Elmarits, Elmars and Telyts for the system and provides an overview of their specs. Finally, there is the Leica glossary with brief explanations of selected terms and concepts.

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