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Pecole

Some curiosities (relative...) in the Fontenelle lenses collection - Part 1

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When putting my collection archives in order, I re-discovered some peculiarities I did not mention 40+ years ago (reference literature was very scarce then), or other curiosities.

Let us start with the first photo : the Angénieux-Zoom 45-90mm f2,8. It was one of the most expensive lens I bought new in its incredibly nice satin-lined red wooden box. Black enameled and serialled 1307601, it had an R cam, was engraved "Lens made in France for Leitz-Leicaflex" and came with a detachable hood engraved "S.VIII" and a cap "P.ANGENIEUX 44352 (diam.) 78". Distance scales yellow feet/white m. The nº 1237933 I acquired later had only one cam and - curiously - a fixed hood, but nº 1257184 already had two cams.

My second photo illustrates a classical red scale 5cm Elmar without any serial. I spent quite a lot of time investigating this curiosity, even at Wetzlar, but never got a satisfactory explanation.

Next comes an Elmar 1:4,5 F=10,5cm mounted in Compur, a rarity that never came permanently in my collection!

Then a very classical Elmar 50mm engraved - carefully and nicely, but clearly not by Leitz - "I.R.S.I.A.". I discovered  it had been the property of a forgotten Belgian "Institute for Scientific Research in Industry and Agriculture". The absence of serial and the fact that it is nickel (but engraved "0") indicates an early manufacture.

Other Elmar 50mm curiosity, this "close-focus" version on a Leica I (A) serial 21063. I had another one on a Leica I with serial 25782.

And to finish (for now...) A soviet-russian copy, desperately bad, of the Summar. Serial engraved was 194837, and it came on a fake Leica II serialled 305072. The comparative photo with a "true" Summar speaks for itself.

 

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1 hour ago, Pecole said:

Next comes an Elmar 1:4,5 F=10,5cm mounted in Compur, a rarity that never came permanently in my collection!

I have one of these which I have mounted on 4x5 large format camera. Using it has been held up by Covid, but I hope to start soon. These 10.5 cm lenses were used by Nagel for some Recomar 18 models. Leicashop in Vienna have an example of that camera with this lens as I write this.

The story of the Compur lenses in F Deckel mounts has never been fully told as far as I can tell. This was an early type of 'L Mount Alliance'. These included not just lenses made by Leitz, but also lenses made by Zeiss, Schneider, Meyer and others, which fitted into what seems to have been the same universal mount . Here is another Leitz Compur Elmar (5cm f3.5 this time) fitted onto a Nagel Vollenda, which is an absolutely gem-like little camera, which folds up and fits in your pocket. I have just shot a roll of 127 film (half frame) on this, but have not processed it yet. There are, of course, similarities between these lenses and those to be found on the the Leica I Model B rim set Compur camera.

This lens was also used on the slightly bulkier Nagel Pupille with a helicoid mount. The little Vollenda won my heart the moment I opened the package containing it. While it is not mint, it is a dream to use.  

There was more to the Leitz lens output than Leica in the 1930s as some of the firm's capacity went towards supplying other manufacturers.

William

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Here are my Angenieux 45-90 lenses, one is a two cam, the other I had the third cam added. As stated by Pecole, the red cases are quite nice. Included is an original brochure and a close up  lens. The earliest serial I have recorded is 1237844 and the highest 1467762. I have not seen total production listed anywhere. The brochure is dated July 1969 and is in 3 languages, French, German and English. An amazing lens with 15 elements

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Both willeica and alan mcfall's comments are much interesting. Thank you. I must confess I desisted to look for a "Compur 10,5cm Elmar" when I discovered there was about no information to find on it. I had both a Nagel Pupille and a Vollenda with the "Compur 50mm Elmar" (photos hereunder), and I decided it was enough.

  

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Pecole said:

Both willeica and alan mcfall's comments are much interesting. Thank you. I must confess I desisted to look for a "Compur 10,5cm Elmar" when I discovered there was about no information to find on it. I had both a Nagel Pupille and a Vollenda with the "Compur 50mm Elmar" (photos hereunder), and I decided it was enough.

  

 

I have discussed the 10.5cm lens with both Lager and van Hasbroeck. Both of them said it was very rare, although Jim Lager has a photo of one on page 128 of his lens book. Jim was amazed when I showed him a photo of the 10.5cm Leitz Elmar in a Kodak mount in this article http://www.wetzlar-historica-italia.it/elmar10,5.html . Luigi would be the best person to translate the piece, but the following is from Google Translate and is issued with sincere apologies to Luigi and his fellow countrymen and women:

"A particular version of the 10.5cm Elmar is the one supplied to the August Nagel company in Stuttgart, in 1932, immediately after the company had been purchased by Kodak, to have cameras built under its name in Germany. This version was conceived for the Kodak Vollenda 620, a 120 roll film camera, 6x9cm format, with a simple optical viewfinder, stylized like the Zeiss Ikon Ikonta of the same format. This normally mounted a 10.5cm or 12 / 6.3 Anastigmat lens, or even lenses from other brands, such as Schneider and Zeiss, but the most prestigious lens was precisely the Leitz Elmar 10.5cm f / 4.5 . According to FB Leitz, 440 lenses were supplied precisely for the Vollenda 620. The collaboration with Nagel included several batches of lenses, including 3000 Elmar 5cm / 3.5 for the Pupille model, another 3000 specimens for Pupille and Vollenda 48, with 3x4cm format on film 127, 300 Elmar 13.5 / 4.5 for Nettel. The perspective in question is therefore the latest supply of a collaboration based on different products, since after the takeover of Kodak no further supplies are known, probably because behind this business relationship there was a personal friendship between August Nagel and Ernst Leitz. During the same period, Leitz also supplied various Elmar lenses for other brands, such as Beira and Welta The lens has a Compur central shutter with a maximum time of 1/250 sec. plus the classic poses B and T. The diaphragm closes up to f / 32. Self-timer is present. The Kodak engraving in plain sight means precisely that the optics were mounted on the machine after the corporate transfer between Nagel and Kodak AG. The reasons why Leitz in the early thirties supplied its optics to economic machines are not known: probably an attempt to expand its market, however not fully successful, as the costs of Leitz optics led to ennoble devices that they catered to an audience of amateurs unwilling to face further price increases. However, this rare and sought-after lens demonstrates once again ELW's capabilities and refutes the usual cliché that Leitz built only small-format lenses."

This is as close to a history of this practice that I have ever seen and, I feel, that this could do with more research not just into the Leitz involvement but also into the involvement of other lens manufacturers such as Zeiss and Schneider. It was an early form of universal mount. What makes the 10.5cm unusual is that it was made by Leitz for medium format cameras rather than 35mm. And, as I have found, it will work also with large format 4x5 cameras. As well as the Nagel Recomar 18 mentioned above, I believe I have seen the lens on some other makes, including possibly a Welta, if my memory is not playing tricks with me. 

The 5cm Compur Elmar was better known to both Lager and van Hasbroeck. As well as the Nagel models, already mentioned, it also appeared on some examples of the Welta Welti and there is an example of that camera with an Elmar on the Leicashop Vienna website (I have no connection with them other than as a customer). This demonstrates that Leitz was producing lenses for more than one other camera maker during the early 1930s. It was a business model which did not last, however, but it is a fascinating little lay-by in the Ernst Leitz story.

William

Edited by willeica

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This is definitely the best story I've read about the Leitz (and lenses) commecial relations in the 30s. Personally, I had never heard before about the Elmar 135 being used by another brand! If I were still active in the collection business, I would certainly devote some time to further investigate...even if your contribution, for which I thank you warmly, William, is invaluable. Every day, I discover the value of contacts with members of "the Forum", and ask myself what I should do if I had not discovered the site (so many thanks, "LUF Administrator"!)

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A wonderful discussion by William. Some additional material was posted by several on September 12, 2019. Here is  a photo of my Nagel large format Librette camera with Leitz 10.5mm f/4.5 lens.

, w

After collecting 150 serials of these external "sales" lenses from 1001xx to 1139xx, I can say there a few discrepancies with the lots shown by Theile. Most listed lots seem to be allocations, that were often seriously under- produced, or in some cases overproduced into the following allocated lot. The Recomar with 10.5/4.5 is for the most part in the early serials but a few scattered later. It could be that the Leica 35mm camera lens 10.5cm but at 6.3 (Mountain Elmar) aperature was a successor to the earlier large format f/4.5 lens.  As a small lot exists at 107891-108097.

My "sample" is dominated by the 50/3.5 Elmar, nearly three-fourths, while the 10.5 and the 13.5 are not so common. Nagel was by far the largest customer, with  Welti, Beier, Dollina, Kaftan, Kodak,being the raraties that seldom surface.

 

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15 hours ago, alan mcfall said:

It could be that the Leica 35mm camera lens 10.5cm but at 6.3 (Mountain Elmar) aperature was a successor to the earlier large format f/4.5 lens

The Elmar has Tessar heritage, although there are always discussions about the improvements to the basic Tessar design introduced by Berek. Zeiss had a 10.5cm f6.3 many years earlier with a similar front diameter to that of the later Mountain Elmar. Here is an example of the Zeiss Tessar 10.5cm f6.3 from 1922 in an F Deckel dial set Compur mount which I have on a Contessa Nettel Luxus (for 120 film). There is no doubt that the Mountain Elmar would have included developments as compared to its Tessar forbears, but the team at Leitz would have been aware of lenses like this one.

Later versions of the same camera had a 10.5 cm f4.5 Tessar Lens in a Dial Set Compur mount. I also have a later version of that camera for 116 film with a 12cm f4.5 lenses. All of these lenses seem to share some common DNA with my 10.5cm f4.5 Rim Set Compur Elmar. During the 1930s, lenses of similar specifications made by various German manufacturers, including Zeiss, Schneider, Meyer as well as Leitz and indeed also with the names of some of the camera manufacturers such as Welta. Common specifications, general designs and mounts abounded in those days and I have yet to see the whole story told in full. If I were asked to describe it, I would say that Zeiss led and that others followed in. Leitz dabbled for a while, but then decided to leave the field to concentrate on lenses for its own 35mm cameras which were having huge success in the market. Some of the Zeiss DNA remained in the Elmar lenses, of course. Leitz also later borrowed some DNA from Schneider with the Xenon and there is a fascinating scenario of a lot of co-operation within the German camera industry during the 1920s and 1930s.

William

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Even if all that incredibly valuable material above does not come directly in "Leitz-Leica" collection, it is a new evidence  -if necessary- of the high historical photographic level of members. And it is always a pleasure to discover and to learn, thanks to them, fascinating details.

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