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Archive 2016 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm
  
 
uhoh7
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


It was the first interchangeable lens for 35mm film photography. HCB shot alot of famous pictures with it. A triplet with only four elements, allows extremely compact design and correction of the basic aberrations, assuming the correct tolerances, which are far more critical to this lens than most of the complex designs which have followed. IOW, the Elmar build is very tight.

It was designed around 1926 and the LTM version was first seen in 1930. I have a 1956 "Red Scale" version of this lens, which is coated, though I guess that did not make a huge difference in this design. The basic specs never changed, but the glass market dictated different choices over time. This accounts for some of the subtle variations in sub-versions.

I put mine on the Kolari A7 and went for a little shoot the other day.



Elmar by unoh7, on Flickr

This is a LN copy. Little signs of use, clear glass, and perfect blades. For part of the time, I shot it "modern", i.e. wide open for effect


Burning Bush by unoh7, WO at F/3.5

and I'll put some more of these up later, but luckily I was practical and stopped it down, as HCB preferred


Hillary by unoh7,
around f/4.5


November by unoh7,f8


Headless under Hil by unoh7, F8 + more likely F11.

Please share your knowledge or questions about this living ancestor of all our favorites, any aspect, and point to, or post samples you find interesting



Nov 07, 2016 at 06:01 AM
Two23
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


I have one that dates between 1930 and 1932. It's not the "hockey stick" version, but the one that came right after it, before they began putting serial numbers on them. I shoot it on a Leica IIIc, serial dated to 1942. It's uncoated, of course. I generally prefer uncoated lenses, but for the sake of period correctness my other Leica lenses from the late 1940s (28/35/90) are single coated.

I will add that these were made in two versions. The one you show above was made for export as it has distance in feet, and the standard f-stops. The other version was made for the German market and it has distance in meters, and the German f-stop scale. I think that scale is the older "Continental" scale. The stops are f3.5, 4.5, 6.3, 9. 12.5, 18. They work the same as the scale we use, which is actually the original "British" scale from ~1900.

Kent in SD



Nov 07, 2016 at 01:30 PM
uhoh7
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


TY so much Kent
I did quite a bit of reading before I tried this:

DSC08945 by unoh7, on Flickr

Yes it does seem to collapse in the M9 with no problem, despite numerous dire warnings. It should be mounted extended, then collapsed. No warranty from me

Other fun facts: lowest distortion of ANY 50mm lens for FF format.
100% brass, very high quality build. I thought they were pretty primitive at first, but in fact as I noted above, tolerances are extremely tight.

11% of all Leica lenses made since the founding, have been this lens. Between 1954 and 1956 alone, 47,000 Elmars made. Smallest 50 ever made by Leitz.

Here Wide Open, with little PP on A7 Kolari:

Open Window by unoh7, on Flickr

Now at f/8 + no PP at all:

DSC09098-5 by unoh7, on Flickr

and WO again with some love:

Baroque by unoh7, on Flickr



Nov 07, 2016 at 06:47 PM
Two23
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


I'll also mention that there was an earlier camera with interchangeable lenses. It's the voigtlander Bergheil, from ~1928. There were at least two formats, but the most popular was 6.5x9cm. It's a folding camera. There were two or three lenses available and each had a sort of bayonet adapter attached to them that would all the lens to be quickly attached to the lens board. Example (scroll down to see bayonet mount):

http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Bergheil

I have a pristine copy of this in 6.5x9cm, dark green finish, 105mm Heliar, in original case with film holders.


Kent in SD



Nov 08, 2016 at 03:18 AM
genji
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


uhoh7 wrote:
It was the first interchangeable lens for 35mm film photography. HCB shot alot of famous pictures with it. A triplet with only four elements, allows extremely compact design and correction of the basic aberrations, assuming the correct tolerances, which are far more critical to this lens than most of the complex designs which have followed. IOW, the Elmar build is very tight.

It was designed around 1926 and the LTM version was first seen in 1930. I have a 1956 "Red Scale" version of this lens, which is coated, though I guess that did not make a huge difference in
...Show more

What a classic, I just love this kind of post. I've been systematically picking up Japanese LTM fifties from the fifties and am amazed at how well they perform on digital. WO bokeh seems pretty nice too, hopefully you'll post some more pictures.



Nov 08, 2016 at 04:11 AM
Sorbet
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


Nice to see such old lenses given new life on a digital camera, and not necessarily an expensive digital camera.


Nov 08, 2016 at 05:18 AM
AbramG
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


I'm looking to snag one eventually for use on my IIIf and M bodies. I love their compact design!


Nov 08, 2016 at 02:28 PM
 

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uhoh7
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


Robert Capa's early Leica:
http://artdaily.com/imagenes/2013/06/06/capa-2.jpg

By Julia Bostock via Artdaily

"The very camera [and LENS] that launched Capa’s career, capturing some of the most momentous reportage photographs of our time, including his first assignment to photograph Leon Trotsky’s ‘In Defence of October’ speech in Denmark in 1932"

Source



Nov 08, 2016 at 04:26 PM
zhangyue
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


Nice thread, Charle.

I have two version of Elmar, one is just like one in above pic Capa using. The other is newer body design before they change to f2.8 aperture.

Only until using these classic M lenses make me really appreciate what is Leica rangefinder all about. start from 35mm Lux pre-ASPH, then 35mm Summaron(another gem, any version), and 50mm Elmar. I also have 50mm summicron Rigid and collapse. They each have different rendering at wide aperture, but all perform wonderfully after f8. For street or my family picture, I don't see anything later bring extra to the table compare these old small classic lenses but landscape I will prefer modern lens for better contrast.

Here are a few with M240 at f3.5

https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5529/30405437330_8b008dec77_b.jpg
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5463/30853938425_8d40898653_b.jpg
https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5642/30737472342_000b14300d_b.jpg
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5817/30853951705_513a73be4d_b.jpg
https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5525/30650952152_13112f1bfa_b.jpg



Nov 08, 2016 at 08:41 PM
zhangyue
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


I didn't try anything to remove the classic rendering of the image in above process as I bought those lens to recreate the look but any bump in contrast and black level will make them quite close to modern lens.

Here are a few at f8~f11ish

https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5325/30737484342_47e4c174d2_b.jpg
https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5667/30221804394_9cbfd85472_b.jpg
https://c7.staticflickr.com/6/5616/30730863726_4556d67251_b.jpg
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5832/30132177353_74aae50bbd_b.jpg



Nov 08, 2016 at 08:49 PM
Two23
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


uhoh7 wrote:

Robert Capa's early Leica:
http://artdaily.com/imagenes/2013/06/06/capa-2.jpg

By Julia Bostock via Artdaily

"The very camera [and LENS] that launched Capa’s career,



Note the aperture scale on that lens. It's the older Continental scale, suggesting the camera was made for the domestic German market.


Kent in SD



Nov 09, 2016 at 12:20 AM
f.hayek
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


Please, someone pull out a Monochrom!
This lens may be a historical milestone but color is not what it was designed for.



Nov 09, 2016 at 01:15 AM
uhoh7
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


Great participation, thanks everyone.
Lovely samples, Michael.

Let's see the Elmar on the FF camera probably nearest to film performance, the M9


Red Scale by unoh7, on Flickr


DSC00073 by unoh7, on Flickr

For f.hayek

L1055947 by unoh7, on Flickr


ZAP by unoh7, on Flickr

And back to blaring color, f/8:

Homestead by unoh7, on Flickr
above: the shot is quite good to the edge, you can check the trees on the right of the far ridge line. More in the center, are some tiny lift towers which are nicely caught.


L1055930 by unoh7, on Flickr

My own WB aside, the lens actually has a good reputation for color rendition

This was likely an Elmar color shot taken during WW2:
http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/fsac/1a34000/1a34200/1a34281v.jpg
John Vachon, from Library of Congress Scan
But maybe it's really from a 90 elmar or 135 Hecktor. DOF may be too thin. Render does remind me of the Elmar.



Nov 09, 2016 at 02:48 AM
zhangyue
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · The First Lens: Elmar 5cm


The last image has the look not seen with modern lens. That is also the reason I like those mid-century lenses.

Those small lenses really show off the beauty of rangefinder,(you don't need fast glass for bright VF) especially more meaningful with modern sensor which can go high ISO way higher than before. pocket a few lens and ready to go, Lots of time, I have focused before I even raise camera to eyes, non is as fast, as smooth as shooting a M lens with tab. Only wish I have more time to hit the street.

Below are a few examples from Elmar, I have tons of samples either in color or BW but most of them are all family pictures which I no longer share as much. I hope this is useful for people know what they are looking for. Compare spec will miss the point. To my eyes, these really should be treated as beauty of art than modern tech 'wonders'. Story telling never need perfection.

Best of all, they are cheap. I patiently wait for decent deals. for 1K, you can't even buy a modern loxia or batis, not to mention modern Leica M glass, but you can get a few Elmar 50, Summaron 35 and maybe one summicron or two all together....

https://c4.staticflickr.com/6/5760/30705469115_f87f95b83d_b.jpg
https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5586/30405428290_b1a5570098_b.jpg
https://c8.staticflickr.com/6/5344/30705378935_7bc3b76e41_b.jpg
https://c3.staticflickr.com/6/5549/30135605154_7767f0740c_b.jpg
https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5332/30679278361_2c87589452_b.jpg
https://c6.staticflickr.com/6/5722/30679301421_b2cfa30038_b.jpg



Nov 09, 2016 at 07:04 AM







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