Over the weekend, Mirrorless Rumors (somewhat cryptically) posted about the 'sexy and expensive' Sonnar 180mm F2.8 lens that you could purchase if you had a lot of extra money, €120,000 of extra money. But what is the expensive lens and why is it so expensive?

Contax Rifle 543/75 outfit / Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

For avid readers, the lens might look familiar. The unique camera and lens combination was recently available in the 39th Leitz Photographica Auction. The lot, number 429, was one we featured in our coverage. Despite an estimated final price between €60,000 and €70,000, which is up to nearly $80,000 USD, the lot's final hammer price including premium was €120,000, which is $135,220 USD at the time of writing.

Contax Rifle 543/75 outfit / Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

That's a lot of money and much higher than the Leitz auction anticipated ahead of the event. Lot number 39 included the Zeiss Ikon Contax rifle 543/75, a very rare direct-mount chrome Sonnar 2.8/18cm lens (no. 1874932) with hood, cable release, Contax II body (no.K.32168) and matching rare finder 436/11. Everything is in excellent condition and taken on whole, and it's a very rare kit. It also has an interesting history. The outfit was developed by sports photographer Lothar Rübelt 80 years ago for the infamous 1936 Olympic games in Nazi Germany.

Contax Rifle 543/75 outfit / Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction

The Zeiss Ikon rifle features a cut-off rifle stock with a camera mounted on top. It is an ergonomic setup designed for fast-paced and comfortable photography. The photographer who created it, Lothar Rübelt (1901-1990) was an Austrian photographer with an extensive portfolio of photography, including many excellent sports photographs. It's easy to take for granted the fast autofocus and shooting speeds of today's digital cameras, but things were very different back in the 1920s and 1930s. If you'd like to see some of Rübelt's images, click here. His work comes up for auction occasionally, including a lot in a Barneby's auction earlier this year.

Leica MP Black Paint No. 55 / Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction.

There were some other very expensive hammer prices in the 39th Leitz Photographica Auction, including lot 79, another one we featured. The Leica MP Black Paint No. 55 was expected to sell for up to €350,000, which is nearly $400,000 USD. However, the exceedingly rare Leica camera, one of the rarest Leica models ever, ended up selling for an eye-watering €1,200,000 ($1.35M USD).

Leica MP Black Paint No. 55 / Credit: Leitz Photographica Auction.

If you'd like to view the full list of results for the 39th Leitz Photographica Auction, click here. We're already looking forward to the next one. The auctions always include some gems from photography's rich history.