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Elmarit 2.8/28 versions?


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hi,

 

I'm having a terrible time looking up what different versions have been manufactured by leica, and short (or any) description what is different about them.

 

is there a resource for this easily accessible somewhere? one would think, with a brand like Leica with all its collectors, would generate lots of these pages

 

this time I'm trying to find out what different versions of 2.8/28 (elmar/elmarit) there has been and how they differ

 

any input? 

 

 

 

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To me, photographic "contrast" (with no other qualifier) is contrast. A "high-contrast" lens is like "high-contrast" paper or "high-contrast" film - it turns the world in chalk and charcoal, rather than a continuum of tones. In the small world of lens designers, "contrast" may have a different meaning - but out here in the real world where I take pictures, I'd submit that my definition is more useful.   Let's consider the attached picture, made (on-topic) with the 28 Elmarit v. 3 (M4-P, Pan F

Five:   - (v.1) symmetrical 28 Elmarit 1965-1972 (low distortion). Rear element comes very close to the shutter/film/sensor plane. Will damage the metering arms of M5/CL cameras unless it has a modified mount to keep the metering arm in its well (no metering). Will not damage post-1978 cameras, but will block metering light path in M6/7/digital cameras**, so requires hand-held or estimated light metering on those. 48mm filters. Will produce some color stains around the edges on full-color digi

This has come up before. If a lens could deliver the contrast of the scene being imaged (greyscale or whatever) perfectly, it would deliver 100% contrast. Actual lenses can't - there is always some veiling flare which impinges on the deepest shadows. So a high contrast lens can deliver more of the shadow detail onto the film/sensor than a low contrast one can. Quite simple. High contrast lenses are preferable because they provide more tonal information, however there are innumerable other attrib

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I researched this for film use, specifically looking for a pre-asph version without high contrast (like the latest asph version).  I decided on the fourth version.  Havent tried the other three earlier versions, but i am very happy with the lens.  My flickr page has a lot of photos taken with this lens.  It is my primary lens that i use daily.  Good luck.  Adam

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I had Version 1 for many years and liked it for film. There were limitations when mounted on later M models so I sold it and bought the latest current version about which much has been written in this forum. It is superb, compact, low weight and a wonderful travel lens. I think it is the best so far. Speaking generally, I have always been impressed with the performance of any Elmarit lens. They seem to perform so well within their constraints of speed.

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...

 

 

this time I'm trying to find out what different versions of 2.8/28 (elmar/elmarit) there has been and how they differ

 

any input?

Wiki is basically right about the rather complex history of the Elmarit 28 : basically, FOUR versions in terms of optics, but the second and the third ones were made each into two different barrels, which give a rather different look.

Also first version can be divided in two sub-groups (Wetzlar made and Canada made), practically identical apart minor details (red/yellow feet scale is the most evident, then there are small differences in the focusing lever...)

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I researched this for film use, specifically looking for a pre-asph version without high contrast (like the latest asph version).  I decided on the fourth version.  Havent tried the other three earlier versions, but i am very happy with the lens. 

Unique perception, as the 4th version is in fact equally as contrasty as the ASPH.  The primary difference between them is physical size, and slightly less distortion and flare-proneness (4th vs ASPH). 

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Unique perception, as the 4th version is in fact equally as contrasty as the ASPH.  The primary difference between them is physical size, and slightly less distortion and flare-proneness (4th vs ASPH). 

says who?  not I...

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I researched this for film use, specifically looking for a pre-asph version without high contrast (like the latest asph version).  I decided on the fourth version.  Havent tried the other three earlier versions, but i am very happy with the lens.  My flickr page has a lot of photos taken with this lens.  It is my primary lens that i use daily.  Good luck.  Adam

thank you, and may I say, that are some bloody great photos you've got (I've already had you as a contact on flickr, but thanks for reminding me).

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Five:

 

- (v.1) symmetrical 28 Elmarit 1965-1972 (low distortion). Rear element comes very close to the shutter/film/sensor plane. Will damage the metering arms of M5/CL cameras unless it has a modified mount to keep the metering arm in its well (no metering). Will not damage post-1978 cameras, but will block metering light path in M6/7/digital cameras**, so requires hand-held or estimated light metering on those. 48mm filters. Will produce some color stains around the edges on full-color digital Ms (a la the also-deep 21mm Super-Angulons). Now mostly a minor collectors' item.

 

          ** except M240's "advanced" off-the-sensor metering.

 

- (v.2) first retrofocus 28 Elmarit 1972-1979. Designed to have a long back focus distance and allow safe ttl metering with the M5 and any subsequent cameras - 48mm filters. First Leitz attempt at a retrofocus design for the M cameras - and it shows. Not the sharpest Leica 28, especially in the corners.

 

- (v.3) 1979 redesign to improve optical performance over v.2. Rather large and long (designed when 28s required external viewfinders, and internal viewfinder blockage was irrelevant) - 49mm filters. Canadian design, and most built in Canada. Contemporary with the 21mm Elmarit.

 

- (v.4) 1993 Solms redesign to reduce size once more (46mm filters, and much shorter) and avoid finder blockage with M4-P et seq. cameras containing built-in 28 framelines. Increased contrast and improved corner performance.

 

- (v.5) 2006 ASPH version, much smaller yet (39mm filters). Introduced partly to be a compact "37mm" medium-wideangle on the cropped M8 digital, substituting for the compact 35mm Summicron lenses on film. Solms design.

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To answer your question, there is a concise guide here: Also check out the Leica lens guide on the Camera Quest site.  I am a huge fan of the V4 elmarit.  On the M9, I think it gives far more refined colour rendering than the 28 cron,  and less vignetting.  I have two of them,  one on the M9 and the other on the MM,  and I rarely ever take them off,  which also stops the dust bunnies.  It is truly good lens,  and a terrific bargain everywhere.  Here is a photographI made three weeks ag,  part of a  show at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia,  Walnut and 40th street.

Edited by Geoffrey James
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says who?  not I...

Says Leica and everyone who has ever reviewed the 4th version and compared it to the others including the ASPH.  Even the 3rd version is a modern high-contrast lens.  The 4th merely improves performance in the corners at wider apertures, and is physically smaller than the 3rd version.  If you want a low-to-medium contrast lens then the 2nd version (above the cut-off serial# where it was modified to not block the meter path) would be the one to look for.

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Says Leica and everyone who has ever reviewed the 4th version and compared it to the others including the ASPH.  Even the 3rd version is a modern high-contrast lens.  The 4th merely improves performance in the corners at wider apertures, and is physically smaller than the 3rd version.  If you want a low-to-medium contrast lens then the 2nd version (above the cut-off serial# where it was modified to not block the meter path) would be the one to look for.

Indeed, the old Erwin Puts review of the 28mm lenses does describe the 4th version of the lens as an "extremely high contrast" lens.   However, in the same breathe, he says the lens exhibits "extremely fine details crisply rendered over much of the picture field."  When I think of "extremely high contrast," I think of the loss of "crisp fine details."  So I think that Erwin's characterization has some context to it that is needed to understand the true meaning of the term "high contrast."  He is describing the lens in relation to the older versions and using the term "high contrast" as a positive attribute illustrating the improvements in the 4th version specifically, the ability to capture "fine textural details" relative to the earlier versions.  Erwin also suggests that the first two versions of the 28mm elmarit render similar to many older designs, which include "low to medium overall contrast."  He then cites the old 28mm summaron f5.6 as an example of such as older lens.  I, however, also own and extensively use my 28mm summaron and find it quite contrasty and w/o as crisp of a rendition of fine details as my 4th version elmarit.  So after using both the 4th version elmarit and summaron VERY extensively, my assessment is that the summaron is much more of a high contrast lens in the conventional sense and the 4th version of the elmarit is "high contrast" in the sense of that term being indicative of a superior overall crisply detailed rendition relative to the older elmarits.

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Contrast, as it is defined by lens designers, refers to its ability to differentiate tones along the grayscale.  A high contrast lens tends to see into shadows and highlights with finer detail, whereas a low contrast lens tends to do the reverse.  It is completely the opposite when speaking of high and low contrast film, which is one reason it was totally backwards logic that prompted many people to believe that low contrast lenses somehow added DNR to high-contrast film, when in fact it does just the opposite.

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