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    • By Rick in CO
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    • By onasj
      The Leica 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar (also known as the Medium Angle Tri-Elmar, or MATE) is a lens well-known for its complexity, and for the fact that it hasn't been made in ~14 years.  As one might expect for a lens that offers three of the most popular focal lengths, 28 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm, it's a highly versatile lens, especially for travel and street photography, or whenever carrying multiple lenses is a challenge.  
      The MATE is an engineering marvel— not only does it offer three focal lengths at constant f/4 aperture, but changing the focal length also mechanically changes the frame lines to match, AND if 6-bit encoded on recent (digital M) bodies, will also change the focal length displayed in Live View and the focal length recorded in each image's EXIF data to match, thanks to the body's ability to detect the frame line lever position.
      One of MATE's shortcomings—the maximum f/4 aperture—is mitigated by the high ISO performance of M10-generation bodies, especially the M10 Monochrom.
      I was fortunate to obtain one of these lenses recently (v2, E49), and while putting it through its paces, found that the MATE actually offers a "fourth lens"—a ~40 mm pseudo-macro (close-focus) option that is accessed by setting the focal length to the mid-point between 50 mm (the middle position of the zoom ring) and 28 mm (the clockwise-most position of the zoom ring when looking at the front of the lens).  The precise position is not critical, although a position close to the actual mid-point between 50 and 28 works best.  
      At this setting, you end up with a ~40 mm focal length lens that can close-focus to ~0.4 meters!  While not as macro-capable as a true macro lens such as the 90/4 Macro Elmar, one can capture subjects at a much greater size than otherwise possible with this lens, especially given that its minimum focusing distance is normally a full 1.0 meters.  Of course the rangefinder cannot be used to focus in this mode, but Live View with focus peaking works quite well for focusing in this mode.
      Attached is a matrix showing the same subject photographed with the MATE at all four focal lengths, always at the minimum focusing distance.  The entire frame of each image is shown (no cropping).  You can see that the "40 pseudo-macro" option has a much larger subject reproduction ratio than the three standard focal lengths.
      I've also found the 40 pseudo-macro option quite useful for taking portraits—more so than the canonical option of 50 mm with a 1-meter minimum focusing distance.  This option is optically quite good, approaching the (excellent) 50 mm focal length in terms of overall sharpness.

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    • By mnutzer
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    • By Dao De Leitz
      WATE - Wide Angle Tri Elmar : TRI-ELMAR-M 16-18-21 mm ASPH
      MATE - Medium Angle Tri Elmar :  TRI-ELMAR-M 28-35-50 mm ASPH
      SATE's - Small Angle Tri Elmar's  : ...
       

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!  
        The topic is:  quasi -  SATEs - Small Angle Tri Elmars : 65mm 90mm 135mm & Apo-Extender-M
       
      Some of us would like to see Leica revising and extending the Tri-Elmar concept - ...  very useful for hiking and travelling.  { WATE & MATE }
      Whether the new Vario-Elmar-M will go into series production is not yet clear ( *... ).
      With the introduction of system cameras with 'real-time image display' and electronic viewfinder, the proven Visoflex housing with M bayonet can be omitted if required.
       
       
      The use of E. Leitz Visoflex components is a weight-, volume- and cost-optimized alternative:
      ...
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