Jump to content
tranquilo67

Help in dating an old Elmar 13,5 cm

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Hi,

I saw this Elmar 13,5 cm f4,5 in an amazing condition with its caps and the case and I couldn't resist. In fact, I wasn't aware that I haven't that in my humble collection.

It is a Black-Nickel version with the scale in meters, without serial number, uncoupled (no tab that could interact with the rangefinder), and my understanding is that it's standard/standardized (or at least it has an O on top of the arrow that you can see in the picture).

So, based on the lack of serial number, that would point to pre-1932. I don't know if any of you know about when the rangefinder coupling was introduced or any other factor that could help in dating it.

As always, any comment or suggestion is absolutely welcome.

Thanks in advance

Edited by tranquilo67

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have an identical lens (no case) with a '0' above the arrow. It has no SN nor does it have an extra engraved number (eg for a non standard I Model C). It was sold to me as a standardised uncoupled lens from 1930 or 1931. I think that it is probably the latter. That is as close as you are going to get. The II Model D, the first Leica camera with an integrated rangefinder was introduced in mid 1932. The lowest SN for an LTM Elmar 13.5 cm f 4.5 in Thiele's book is 142001 from 1932 (there are lower SNs for a Nagel mount). Hope this helps.

William

Edited by willeica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

really amazing condition, mine are poor, but I have one coupled (perhaps later) without number outside. But if I unscrew the head I can read a number inside which maybe point either to the camera or lens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, willeica said:

I have an identical lens (no case) with a '0' above the arrow. It has no SN nor does it have an extra engraved number (eg for a non standard I Model C). It was sold to me as a standardised uncoupled lens from 1930 or 1931. I think that it is probably the latter. That is as close as you are going to get. The II Model D, the first Leica camera with an integrated rangefinder was introduced in mid 1932. The lowest SN for an LTM Elmar 13.5 cm f 4.5 in Thiele's book is 142001 from 1932 (there are lower SNs for a Nagel mount). Hope this helps.

William

Hi William,

Yes, that is exactly my thought. 1930-1931 most probably 1931.

Thank you very much as always and best regards

 

20 hours ago, romanus53 said:

really amazing condition, mine are poor, but I have one coupled (perhaps later) without number outside. But if I unscrew the head I can read a number inside which maybe point either to the camera or lens.

Hi,

Yes it's in really unbelievable condition specially considering it's age. Another picture here.

And double checking it I've been completely unable to see any number. The only scratches I can see inside the optical group are this ones but, to my eye, they doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, thank you very much and best regards!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is mine. Not quite as good as yours, but nice nonetheless.

 

It has some scratchings on the edge of the lens mount

There are some other similar marks not visible here. I believe that such marks could be for alignment during assembly. Jerzy may have a view on this.

William

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry about numbers, I have another one without any numbers inside or outside too, still makes fun shooting with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

There are 3 interesting topics in the discussion above, let me address them separately

1.       Dating the lens from tranquilo67
I think you all are right with your assumption that the lens is from 1931. Here some facts supporting this.
Internal Leitz notice published by v. Einem (Die 10 Varianten…, edition 3 from 2008) says that starting from May 9th, 1931 all cameras have been produced as standardized, i.e with “0” on the flange. Internal Leitz information provides SN 60000 or 60500 as the starting SN for all camera being std, with 60500 being more often mentioned.
The first IC std has SN 55404 (Hahne, Band I). Analyzing number of various models produced in 1931, under assumption that number produced was evenly split across all the month (simplification, I know)  I came to approx 1493 cameras produced every month. With high probability we may assume that the first standardized camera (55404) was produced within April 1931. This would be as well the time when standardized lenses started.


Btw. Hahne is listing 12111 IA cameras produced in 1931. V.Einem does not agree with it saying that after May 9th 1931 no more IA were produced.
Leica II was introduced in February 1932, again, with high probability we may assume that this would be about the time when lenses started to be rangefinder coupled. Publication of Leica Historica says that starting from February 3rd 1932 (lens SN 92952) all lenses produced were RF coupled.

So the time span for the tranquilo lens would be between April 1931 and February 1932

 

2.       Lens from romanus. As far as I can see the number is 57214. Could it be camera SN or lens SN? 57214 as camera SN is unassigned according to Hahne (but we know that Hahne list is not 100% accurate). Non- std cameras from this time had lenses with the last 3 digits of camera SN engraved externally. But Richter (Leica Historica) is mentioning non-std Elmar 5cm with SN above 9x xxx engraved on DOF, obviously as result of conversion.
Could it this lens SN? See below for my view

3.       When did Leitz start to assign regular lens SN visible externally? Some time ago I analyzed Elmar 5cm population being most common produced lens. The lowest SN quoted (Richter) was 73171. I have one 73803 (mine lens was converted to 7 oclock).  I have seen one lens with SN from 8xxxx range. Starting from 93xxx the Elmars 5cm may be found more often.
From few sources I’ve heard about earlier lenses having SN scratched inside, like romanus lens could be. Mine uncoupled, std Elmar without SN does not have any number scratched inside. On some early IIs I found unnumbered Elmars 5cm (11 oclock, no infinity lock which most probably were original to the camera. So I believe that for a short period of time after introduction of Leica II RF coupled, (externally) unnumbered lenses were produced.

So these are some facts and speculations. Having insight into Leica archive maybe some of the questions could be answered. But I think it is good as it is, adds some mystery to old Leitz products :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 11:25 AM, jerzy said:

There are 3 interesting topics in the discussion above, let me address them separately

1.       Dating the lens from tranquilo67
I think you all are right with your assumption that the lens is from 1931. Here some facts supporting this.
Internal Leitz notice published by v. Einem (Die 10 Varianten…, edition 3 from 2008) says that starting from May 9th, 1931 all cameras have been produced as standardized, i.e with “0” on the flange. Internal Leitz information provides SN 60000 or 60500 as the starting SN for all camera being std, with 60500 being more often mentioned.
The first IC std has SN 55404 (Hahne, Band I). Analyzing number of various models produced in 1931, under assumption that number produced was evenly split across all the month (simplification, I know)  I came to approx 1493 cameras produced every month. With high probability we may assume that the first standardized camera (55404) was produced within April 1931. This would be as well the time when standardized lenses started.


Btw. Hahne is listing 12111 IA cameras produced in 1931. V.Einem does not agree with it saying that after May 9th 1931 no more IA were produced.
Leica II was introduced in February 1932, again, with high probability we may assume that this would be about the time when lenses started to be rangefinder coupled. Publication of Leica Historica says that starting from February 3rd 1932 (lens SN 92952) all lenses produced were RF coupled.

So the time span for the tranquilo lens would be between April 1931 and February 1932

 

2.       Lens from romanus. As far as I can see the number is 57214. Could it be camera SN or lens SN? 57214 as camera SN is unassigned according to Hahne (but we know that Hahne list is not 100% accurate). Non- std cameras from this time had lenses with the last 3 digits of camera SN engraved externally. But Richter (Leica Historica) is mentioning non-std Elmar 5cm with SN above 9x xxx engraved on DOF, obviously as result of conversion.
Could it this lens SN? See below for my view

3.       When did Leitz start to assign regular lens SN visible externally? Some time ago I analyzed Elmar 5cm population being most common produced lens. The lowest SN quoted (Richter) was 73171. I have one 73803 (mine lens was converted to 7 oclock).  I have seen one lens with SN from 8xxxx range. Starting from 93xxx the Elmars 5cm may be found more often.
From few sources I’ve heard about earlier lenses having SN scratched inside, like romanus lens could be. Mine uncoupled, std Elmar without SN does not have any number scratched inside. On some early IIs I found unnumbered Elmars 5cm (11 oclock, no infinity lock which most probably were original to the camera. So I believe that for a short period of time after introduction of Leica II RF coupled, (externally) unnumbered lenses were produced.

So these are some facts and speculations. Having insight into Leica archive maybe some of the questions could be answered. But I think it is good as it is, adds some mystery to old Leitz products 🙂

Hi Jerzy,

Once more, thank you very much for your very informative post.

And agree, that point of mystery and uncertainty adds very special charm to the old stuff.

Best regards,

Augusto

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/26/2019 at 5:53 PM, willeica said:

Here is mine. Not quite as good as yours, but nice nonetheless.

 

It has some scratchings on the edge of the lens mount

There are some other similar marks not visible here. I believe that such marks could be for alignment during assembly. Jerzy may have a view on this.

William

Hi William,

Yours is also in excellent condition!!

Best regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Danke Jerzy for your excellent analysis based on seeing and knowing of many examples, and to the other contributors who share pictures of interesting old lenses. Indeed the mystery of not knowing all the history of Leica equipment and serial numbers, adds to our interest as enthusiasts.

For most of us, as long as they look appealing (worn and showing much life experience, or minty saved in a drawer), and deliver good pictures/results when performing their function, those are the main attractions. 😎

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

Yesterday I tried to put a filter (a modern Heliopan UV for glass protection purposes) on that Elmar and interestingly enough, it doesn't look to screw in properly. Let's say just a whole turn but no more (I didn't want to force it).

Do you have any similar experience? Is it known if Leica changed in some moment the filters thread pitch?

Thanks in advance and best regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never put filters on any lens. I have a few old ones as collectors’ items, but I find that filters are unlikely to improve performance and may  ,indeed, disimprove it. If I want protection I use a lens hood. I have never got a scratch of any kind in the front element of any of my Leica lenses. As for the filter thread it is unlikely that a pre-war lens would have the same thread pitch as a modern filter. There is a table in Laney’s book about which filter fits which lens. Jerzy may have further details about this specific lens and its construction.

William

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, willeica said:

I never put filters on any lens. I have a few old ones as collectors’ items, but I find that filters are unlikely to improve performance and may  ,indeed, disimprove it. If I want protection I use a lens hood. I have never got a scratch of any kind in the front element of any of my Leica lenses. As for the filter thread it is unlikely that a pre-war lens would have the same thread pitch as a modern filter. There is a table in Laney’s book about which filter fits which lens. Jerzy may have further details about this specific lens and its construction.

William

Hi William,

I know it can sound a bit excessive, but I have filters in most (if not all) my lenses. I'd say it's a matter of not only protecting them when shooting, but also protecting from a fingerprint, for example, them when manipulating. Personally I do prefer to clean or even to throw away a filter than put at risk a front element of a lens specially in some cases like early Summicrons or Summarit.

I use to use Leica ones for my Leica lenses but, in some cases rare filter sizes make me go for an Heliopan.

Best regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, tranquilo67 said:

Hi William,

I know it can sound a bit excessive, but I have filters in most (if not all) my lenses. I'd say it's a matter of not only protecting them when shooting, but also protecting from a fingerprint, for example, them when manipulating. Personally I do prefer to clean or even to throw away a filter than put at risk a front element of a lens specially in some cases like early Summicrons or Summarit.

I use to use Leica ones for my Leica lenses but, in some cases rare filter sizes make me go for an Heliopan.

Best regards

I used to use filters 35 years ago with the cheap lenses I had then but I soon found that the filters were not doing any good and in some cases could produce flare. As for fingerprints these do not affect image quality and are easily wiped off. I have some of the earliest Leica filters, both screw in (including the centre ones for the 50mm Elmar) and slip on, but I never use them. I also have many lens hoods for early lenses including the square front FISON from the 1920s, which has to be adjusted every time you focus, (what were they thinking?) but again I rarely use them. Early Leica lenses rarely flare unless you point them directly at the sun. Going back to the filters, I would not risk damage to a vintage lens by trying to force a modern filter onto it. It would defeat the original purpose of putting on the filter.

William

Edited by willeica

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/27/2019 at 6:25 PM, jerzy said:

There are 3 interesting topics in the discussion above, let me address them separately

1.       Dating the lens from tranquilo67
I think you all are right with your assumption that the lens is from 1931. Here some facts supporting this.
Internal Leitz notice published by v. Einem (Die 10 Varianten…, edition 3 from 2008) says that starting from May 9th, 1931 all cameras have been produced as standardized, i.e with “0” on the flange. Internal Leitz information provides SN 60000 or 60500 as the starting SN for all camera being std, with 60500 being more often mentioned.
The first IC std has SN 55404 (Hahne, Band I). Analyzing number of various models produced in 1931, under assumption that number produced was evenly split across all the month (simplification, I know)  I came to approx 1493 cameras produced every month. With high probability we may assume that the first standardized camera (55404) was produced within April 1931. This would be as well the time when standardized lenses started.


Btw. Hahne is listing 12111 IA cameras produced in 1931. V.Einem does not agree with it saying that after May 9th 1931 no more IA were produced.
Leica II was introduced in February 1932, again, with high probability we may assume that this would be about the time when lenses started to be rangefinder coupled. Publication of Leica Historica says that starting from February 3rd 1932 (lens SN 92952) all lenses produced were RF coupled.

So the time span for the tranquilo lens would be between April 1931 and February 1932

 

2.       Lens from romanus. As far as I can see the number is 57214. Could it be camera SN or lens SN? 57214 as camera SN is unassigned according to Hahne (but we know that Hahne list is not 100% accurate). Non- std cameras from this time had lenses with the last 3 digits of camera SN engraved externally. But Richter (Leica Historica) is mentioning non-std Elmar 5cm with SN above 9x xxx engraved on DOF, obviously as result of conversion.
Could it this lens SN? See below for my view

3.       When did Leitz start to assign regular lens SN visible externally? Some time ago I analyzed Elmar 5cm population being most common produced lens. The lowest SN quoted (Richter) was 73171. I have one 73803 (mine lens was converted to 7 oclock).  I have seen one lens with SN from 8xxxx range. Starting from 93xxx the Elmars 5cm may be found more often.
From few sources I’ve heard about earlier lenses having SN scratched inside, like romanus lens could be. Mine uncoupled, std Elmar without SN does not have any number scratched inside. On some early IIs I found unnumbered Elmars 5cm (11 oclock, no infinity lock which most probably were original to the camera. So I believe that for a short period of time after introduction of Leica II RF coupled, (externally) unnumbered lenses were produced.

So these are some facts and speculations. Having insight into Leica archive maybe some of the questions could be answered. But I think it is good as it is, adds some mystery to old Leitz products 🙂

I have a early Elmar 50mm 11 o’clock lens that has the smaller nickel flange that came with a Leica 1model c early standardized 60601 and it has the number 78653 carved on the inside of the lens barrel and no external serial number. Interesting that the camera has the name Baumann in pencil on the inside. I also have a few uncoupled early 1,35  Elmar telephoto lens that also have Roman numerals like IV carved in the area seen when you remove the lens head. One uncoupled lens has the number 4873 engraved in the inner lip of the lens again only seen when you remove the lens head. Never figured out what all those numbers mean. But then I am always looking for a message from the assembler like I have left when I was restoring an old 1724 Cape Cod style house. I always left messages buried in the walls for the next renovation person to find as others had done before me.

Edited by George Furst
iPad changed my spelling of Elmar to Elmer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with using a slip on filter on old lenses and also only using a filter when there is a photographic need, as in contrast filters for B&W or UV when at high altitude etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am 3.9.2019 um 14:52 schrieb George Furst:

I have a early Elmar 50mm 11 o’clock lens that has the smaller nickel flange that came with a Leica 1model c early standardized 60601 and it has the number 78653 carved on the inside of the lens barrel and no external serial number.

early interchangeable Elmars are 11 o'clock without infinity lock, flange diameter is 45mm. Later lenses were as well 11 o'clock but received infinity lock.  In order not to collide with flange on the camera the  flange on the lens was increased to 47mm diameter. Same diameter was kept then with 7o'clock lenses. Interesting the number inside the barrel, I have one 73xxx and have seen another 77xxx with SN stamped on regular place on the ring. But the number on your lens looks correct for being regular SN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps I can add my view of the 135 Elmar evolution.  It has been well documented that the  optical design originated in the 1920's by Berek, and was first intended for large plate cameras.  Dr. Leitz stated this was the case and that the adaptation to the 35mm format from the 13 x 18 format was done by Barnack. Anyway, the very earliest lenses do not have a tripod mount and have a knurled rear mount flange. An excellent history is in the 25-4 and 26-2 Viewfinder magazines. As far as I know, only one lens without tripod mount has been recorded, so maybe it could be called a prototype. A few have been noted with the knurled rear flange edge; this flange seems to have gone through four changes, knurled, smooth flat black, nickle and finally chrome.

A much more dramatic change was soon made after the very earliest lenses, and that relates to the surface where the depth of field is engraved. Again, the very earliest lenses had this engraving on the top complete barrel of the lens, there was no raised "beaded" edge beween the upper and lower barrels of the mount. Very quickly, this was changed to use a separate inner and outer barrel for the upper section.  This allowed the outer barrel, with the DOF scale to rotate for much easier alignment. The Viewfinder articles discuss this in detail. Nearly all later lenses used this rotating shell approach. In summary, if you have a 135 Elmar with a knurled rear edge flange and a missing "bead" between the upper and lower tube mounts, you have a very early lens.here

The next lenses were those made for the non-standard leica of 1930, and having the three digit compatbility serial number on the optical unit at the outside top of the lens. For reference, I show my three digit Elmars here:    I have tried to orient the serials into view. Photo is at the end, sorry data limitations make the 3 digit serials hard to see when expanded.

 

From the top left:

709---coupled, uncoated, chrome rings, R index......likely updated in late 1930's or even after the war

314----coupled, uncoated, nickle rings, internally engraved 13.6 for 136mm....upgraded

597---uncoupled,uncoated, no "o", internally engraved 1262 meaning unknown, original

104---uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", internally engraver 51104, a listed by Hahne non-standard, original also internally engraved on the optical unit,1409

217---uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", internally engraved 217 matching external serial and also 813 on the optical unit, original

508--uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", internally engraved 51508 for the non-standard camera, and 1416 on the optical unit, original

035----coupled, uncoated, no "o" no engraving inside mount, 1501 on optical unit, an upgraded lens

728--coupled, uncoated, no "o", engraved inside R 55171 (R = Repair??), an upgraded lens with chrome rings

577--uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", engraved internally 577, lens head 1994, original

926--uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", engraved inside 47926. lens head 757, an original non-standard lens

960--coupled, uncoated, no "o", internal engraved R 2563 and lens head is scratch engraved 2563, an upgraded lens with chrome rings

344--uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", internal engraved 344 and lens head is scratch engraved 759

220--uncoupled, uncoated, no "o", internal engraved 53220, an original non-standard matched lens

760--uncoupled, uncoated, no "O", n internal engraving, lens head is scratched with 1990, original non-standard lens

Notes:

All distance rings are nickle unless stated as upgraded chrome above.

Eight lenses have a black painted rear flange edge. They are on the original, non-updated lenses All updated lenses have a plated rear flange.. Likely, all 3 digit lenses originally had black painted rear mount edges, and the nickle and chrome ones are all on upgraded lenses. Nickle rear rings for conversions before chrome (1933) was popular. Chrome rear rings would be on conversions later on.  This can help date the conversion, not the lens. By rings, I mean the distance scale and rear flange rings.

There are no lenses that have the "o" mark.  It seems when lenses were upgraded to RF coupled, after Feb, 1932, leitz felt the existance of the rangefinder cam implied standardization. More about this in a later discussion of 135 Elmar lenses without any serial numbers.

The 3 and 4 digit numbers scratched on the rear flange of the lens units, are likely related to batch or production numbers.

Several of these lenses have the full 5 digit non=standard camera serial scratch engraved on the inside of the upper lens barrel. So, we know exactly which camera they are matched to. With only the last 3 digits, we can only narrow down the specific camera to one of 3 or 4 that would be a match in the list of non-standard cameras(Hahne).

Only one camera had the R (infared)mark added, likely a part of a late upgrade.Sorry for all the detail, hope it is useful. If anyone has a non-standard camera that matches one of these lenses, PM me to reunite them.

Here is a photo of a neatly scratch marked serial inside the upper mount.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by alan mcfall
remove second photograph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Alan,

This is very nice. Thank you.

Wasn't the 135mm, F4.5 Hektor that replaced this lens also designed to cover a large format negative like these 135mm, F4.5 Elmars do?

Best Regards,

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy