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Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0 kit lens [for US Military] Photos

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This is a rare find of the year. Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0. The kit lens Elcan 50mm f2 become one of my favorite 50mm lenses. I was amazed by its performance, as it only uses four elements. Some people even say it is on par with APO lens. 


In 1972, Ernst Leitz Canada produced 460 pieces of KE-7A (M4 Schwz, black chrome) acquired by the US military,  with contract numbers engraved on the back of the top cover. Usually, the KE-7A comes with a kit lens, Elcan 50mm f/2.0 with special C42-LS.39F hood. 

KE-7As were fitted with modified shutters to operate in temperatures to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, were dust sealed for military field conditions and made to withstand explosive concussion (i.e. bomb blast). 

Elcan 50mm f/2.0 lens was made in 1972 to fit the KE-7A. This very special lens uses infrared-absorbing glass made with lanthanum, a radioactive element that helps achieve an exceptionally high refractive index for heat control in making the optics. Elcan 50/2 only uses 4 lenses (called formula, 276), all air-spaced. My all-time favorite lens designer, Walter Mandler was one of the Elcan 50 designers. The production model provides the first lens in lanthanum Crown glass Lak9, the second in Leitz glass, the third in dense Flint glass and the fourth in lanthanum Flint glass. 

Cheers,
Kevin


Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0  [for US Military] by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0  [for US Military] by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0  [for US Military] by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0  [for US Military] by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

Leica KE-7A + Elcan 50mm f/2.0  [for US Military] by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

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All the photos were taken with Leica M10 + Elcan 50mm f/2.0

Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

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Here are the photos taken by the Elcan 50mm f2 at full aperture f/2.0

Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

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Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr


Elcan 50mm f/2.0 (KE-7A Kit Lens) by Kevin-Xu, on Flickr

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I met a guy when I was a senior in college who was a photography mate on an aircraft carrier that was decommissioned. He had a KE-7A with the Elcan, they had just been issued the cameras, then the carrier was docked and they were told to dispose of all the photogear by throwing it over the side. They could keep film or no one objected to them taking it, he had 4 cases of 16mm movie film. He and the senior photographer couldn't throw the KE-7A that they had just been assigned, so they took them with the film. He was leaving the Navy and felt it was a risk he could take. The only time I have seen one.

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Great find, Kevin! And nice pictures too - although to be honest I'm not sure about the processing (especially the oversaturated reds)... But they definitely have a distinctive style.

Keep them coming!

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Interesting thread thank you. According to Marco Cavina (free translation), the Elcan 50/2 « was designed to fit a military Leica rangefinder, ordered by the US Army and named KE-7A ; as told by Mandler himself, the military specifications required a lower image quality than that guaranteed by the Summicron-M 50/2 type 11817, and to obtain a cost saving a project of a few years before that included a 50/2 lens composed of just four elements, without glued surfaces. An easy-to-build lens that is not subject to any separation caused by rough use. This lens did not however waived sophisticated glasses. The front element was made of LaK9, the second element used a glass of exclusive Leitz formulation (672460), the third one was of high refraction and the fourth one used a Lanthanum Flint glass. The copies produced exceeded the specifications and some kits were sold on the civil market ».

 

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