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I have often received FILCA brass cassettes along with older LTM Leicas in my collection. I had noticed that one of them had a roll of black and white film in it when I got it about 5 years ago, but I only got around to processing the film about a month ago. I had no idea what film was in the cassette, what 'ISO' it was and also what age it was. Taking the advice of a friend, I gave the roll 1 hour stand development in diluted D 76 and was pleasantly surprised to find that the roll contained abo

There is some dispute about whether the photos on the roll of film were pre-war or post-war. I am posting here the damaged photo from the same roll of film which clearly shows post-war American cars being used as taxis on Banhofstrasse in Zurich along with the BMW 315, the young woman and the dachshund. Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!   William

My article appeared in the New York Times today. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/world/europe/ireland-lost-film-developed.html William  

Posted Images

Dear William

Thanks for that interesting article and the fascinating pictures. Zurich is my hometown, and I spent many year on vacation at Lake Como, so that is just extra fascinating to me. I think I have news for you and all the other contributors about the date of their voyage.

I found a couple of pictures from that time and that location in the historical archive of the City of Zurich. It is clearly the Bahnhofplatz, facing direction of the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. But that was clear before. Most pictures are not dated, except of this one with tagline "Rush hour on December 31, 1950":

*image licensed under Creative Commons

There are a couple more pictures from that area and time period, but none of them has a timestamp as good as this one. The above picture has also most matches of advertisings to the original, so I would guess the voyage was taking place in spring of 1951, as the later pictures of Lake Como clearly shown spring time.

 

Here are the links to other pictures of the Bahnhofplatz if you are interested.

https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:69847


https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:59298
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:51868
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:68070
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:61609
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:14289

Best regards and continue the good work!

Thomas
--

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20 hours ago, tomtschi said:

Dear William

Thanks for that interesting article and the fascinating pictures. Zurich is my hometown, and I spent many year on vacation at Lake Como, so that is just extra fascinating to me. I think I have news for you and all the other contributors about the date of their voyage.

I found a couple of pictures from that time and that location in the historical archive of the City of Zurich. It is clearly the Bahnhofplatz, facing direction of the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. But that was clear before. Most pictures are not dated, except of this one with tagline "Rush hour on December 31, 1950":

*image licensed under Creative Commons

There are a couple more pictures from that area and time period, but none of them has a timestamp as good as this one. The above picture has also most matches of advertisings to the original, so I would guess the voyage was taking place in spring of 1951, as the later pictures of Lake Como clearly shown spring time.

 

Here are the links to other pictures of the Bahnhofplatz if you are interested.

https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:69847


https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:59298
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:51868
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:68070
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:61609
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:14289

Best regards and continue the good work!

Thomas
--

Thanks Thomas, I really appreciate this.

This is wonderful. Sorry for the delay in getting back. I was involved in a board meeting here in Dublin yesterday and had a lot of follow up to do today. The police booth was almost like a barrel in earlier photos and the 31.12.1950 photo has the fancy one with a roof which also appears in the photo in my story. I had always thought that the photos were from 1952, but some of the material coming in during the past few days has pointed more towards 1951 as you suggest. The signs and advertising on the Zigarren Durr building and the Cunard White Star Building opposite are pretty much the same in both photographs. 

There is another unpublished photo showing the young woman with the dog outside the station in the company of an older woman (her mother?). It would seem that they may have arrived on a train and the man in the sports car pulled in to pick up the young woman and the dog. The BBC version of the story, which has had 1.9 million hits,  has been covered in a lot of places including Watson in Switzerland https://www.watson.ch/schweiz/leben/715761165-fotograf-findet-alte-fotos-aus-den-30er-jahren-in-der-schweiz and there is a piece tomorrow on https://www.sueddeutsche.de . The latter is important as the car was registered in Munich, but the data on it is no longer available there. We have supplied material to the New York Times and they may yet carry a piece. The most fun is this lovely little piece for Swiss Italian TV which features myself doing some words on Skype via a very shaky link. It was the craziest TV interview I have ever done, but it works extremely well https://www.rsi.ch/news/ticino-e-grigioni-e-insubria/Scatti-con-enigma-13649890.html?fbclid=IwAR3I8kYrOsLEvSd0LOnIWBtGKywRfklEqgFb5Kc3gveFVg9v1FY3R_yn4HA 

Please feel free to come back to me by posting here or by PM if anything else occurs to you and thanks once again.

William

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Well done gentlemen, thank you for sharing interesting pieces of history, and your good research to establish a close date and places.  A little bit of Leica lore for us to enjoy.

Here is a similar story, but not as interesting or old: in late 2014 I visited Rome for the first time since 1962, when as a young teenager I had taken a picture of the Pantheon with my first camera, an inexpensive Adox Polo. In 2014 (52 years later) I tried to duplicate the 1962 picture, using my Leica IIIg and a collapsible Summicron. Both images are shown here. I still have my 1962 negatives (pack rat), and had them scanned, realising the basic Adox took decent pictures with its 45mm lens. There were too many tourists in 2014 so I couldn't compare cars; back in 1962 there were fewer tourists, and I was able to wander around the Coliseum without any guards keeping me out of the dark corners 😀.

 

Edited by ironringer
added collapsible Summicron
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Am 3.12.2020 um 23:24 schrieb tomtschi:

Dear William

Thanks for that interesting article and the fascinating pictures. Zurich is my hometown, and I spent many year on vacation at Lake Como, so that is just extra fascinating to me. I think I have news for you and all the other contributors about the date of their voyage.

I found a couple of pictures from that time and that location in the historical archive of the City of Zurich. It is clearly the Bahnhofplatz, facing direction of the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. But that was clear before. Most pictures are not dated, except of this one with tagline "Rush hour on December 31, 1950":

*image licensed under Creative Commons

There are a couple more pictures from that area and time period, but none of them has a timestamp as good as this one. The above picture has also most matches of advertisings to the original, so I would guess the voyage was taking place in spring of 1951, as the later pictures of Lake Como clearly shown spring time.

 

Here are the links to other pictures of the Bahnhofplatz if you are interested.

https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:69847


https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:59298
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:51868
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:68070
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:61609
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:14289

Best regards and continue the good work!

Thomas
--

Thanks for this investigation. Great work.

This pretty much looks the same. But in the original picture it seems that there is the writing "HOTEL" is missing on the building at the right.
If so maybe this can help to date the picture. All pictures I found from this building has a writing there, but it changes over the years. In or short after 1947 parts of the front where changed (https://www.hotelschweizerhof.com/das-hotel/geschichte-1). Maybe there was a short gap, without the writing "HOTEL".

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Am 6.12.2020 um 00:17 schrieb fotomas:

Thanks for this investigation. Great work.

This pretty much looks the same. But in the original picture it seems that there is the writing "HOTEL" is missing on the building at the right.
If so maybe this can help to date the picture. All pictures I found from this building has a writing there, but it changes over the years. In or short after 1947 parts of the front where changed (https://www.hotelschweizerhof.com/das-hotel/geschichte-1). Maybe there was a short gap, without the writing "HOTEL".

Am 3.12.2020 um 23:24 schrieb tomtschi:

Dear William

Thanks for that interesting article and the fascinating pictures. Zurich is my hometown, and I spent many year on vacation at Lake Como, so that is just extra fascinating to me. I think I have news for you and all the other contributors about the date of their voyage.

I found a couple of pictures from that time and that location in the historical archive of the City of Zurich. It is clearly the Bahnhofplatz, facing direction of the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich. But that was clear before. Most pictures are not dated, except of this one with tagline "Rush hour on December 31, 1950":

 

There are a couple more pictures from that area and time period, but none of them has a timestamp as good as this one. The above picture has also most matches of advertisings to the original, so I would guess the voyage was taking place in spring of 1951, as the later pictures of Lake Como clearly shown spring time.

 

Here are the links to other pictures of the Bahnhofplatz if you are interested.

https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:69847


https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:59298
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:51868
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:68070
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:61609
https://baz.e-pics.ethz.ch/latelogin.jspx?recordsWithCatalogName=BAZ:14289

Best regards and continue the good work!

Thomas
--

Thanks Fotomas,

I have overlooked that completely! As most other pictures I found in the online databases are undated it is not easy to know which one of the pictures is older or younger. I try to narrow the date with meteorological data from 1951. That Photo must have been taken between 14:00 and 15:30 as the shadows of the sun reveal. The picture from Bad Ragaz was taken early in the morning, most likely the next day. Julierpass then had a little snow left on the streets, so that cannot be in the summer and St. Moritz had no leftovers of snow, so that cannot be early spring. Could be they left Bad Ragaz early, crossed Julier and arrived in the evening at St. Moritz, so that would all be on one day...

If anyone has more hints or can correct my wrong thinking, I am glad to hear from you!

Thomas
--

 

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On 12/5/2020 at 11:17 PM, fotomas said:

Thanks for this investigation. Great work.

This pretty much looks the same. But in the original picture it seems that there is the writing "HOTEL" is missing on the building at the right.
If so maybe this can help to date the picture. All pictures I found from this building has a writing there, but it changes over the years. In or short after 1947 parts of the front where changed (https://www.hotelschweizerhof.com/das-hotel/geschichte-1). Maybe there was a short gap, without the writing "HOTEL".

 

On 12/7/2020 at 12:59 AM, tomtschi said:

Thanks Fotomas,

I have overlooked that completely! As most other pictures I found in the online databases are undated it is not easy to know which one of the pictures is older or younger. I try to narrow the date with meteorological data from 1951. That Photo must have been taken between 14:00 and 15:30 as the shadows of the sun reveal. The picture from Bad Ragaz was taken early in the morning, most likely the next day. Julierpass then had a little snow left on the streets, so that cannot be in the summer and St. Moritz had no leftovers of snow, so that cannot be early spring. Could be they left Bad Ragaz early, crossed Julier and arrived in the evening at St. Moritz, so that would all be on one day...

If anyone has more hints or can correct my wrong thinking, I am glad to hear from you!

Thomas
--

 

I have just looked again at the scanned original negative which I have here. The 1947 photo on the hotel site has the policeman conducting traffic in the striped barrel, whereas the negative shows a policeman conducting traffic from the fancy new booth with the wooden slats. The '31.12.1950' photo also shows the policeman in the fancy new booth, but it also shows 'Hotel' on the White Star building, which is absent on the original negative. I was wondering whether this was an 'angle effect' but I have concluded that it is not.  If the 31.12. 1950 date for the photo, shown by Thomas above, is correct this might push the date of the trip back into 1950. There are a series of photos of this location some of which say 1950 or 1950s, but which were obviously taken at dates unknown either before or after 1950. Some of them are here https://www.vintag.es/2018/09/zurich-1950s.html  and here https://www.bygonely.com/zurich-1950s/ . Only some of these relate to that corner and I cannot separate them out, so apologies for the ones which are not relevant.

I have been up and down these photos for months and it is very difficult to reach exact conclusions about dates, when the dating of the original published photos is only approximate. I could suggest tongue in cheek that the 'Hotel' sign was taken down for an annual clean!

My estimate for the trip date has always been 1950 to 1953, with my own guess being 1952. Without the ability to see hotel registers the date really does not help us much unless, of course,  we get a visual identification to the effect that says the photos represent Mr and MRs/Ms so and so and they went on a trip in Switzerland in 195x.

The search goes on.

William 

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Hello William,

thank you for these interesting links. One picture I find helpful is No. 38

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/reception-of-the-swiss-cyclists-from-the-giro-ditalia-zurich-1950/

It show's the return from the swiss cyclist from the Giro d'Italia 1950. It is taken from the hotel and shows also the barrel without stripes, like on the photo on the film. The Giro d'Italia took place from 24th of May to 13th of June and was won by the swiss Hugo Koblet.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giro_d%E2%80%99Italia_1950

So the return to Zurich might have been in the time from 14.6.1950 Wednesday to 18.6.1950 Sunday. Now we know that this barrel was already in place in June 1950, maybe earlier.

Problem with most pictures is that you can't tell when they where taken. Circa 1950 could also be 1949 or maybe even 1948.

Interesting I found also this:

https://oldthing.de/Strassenbahn-Zuerich-Bahnhofplatz-Kat-Strassenbahn-0024010983

Here the barrel also looks like on the photo. Unfortunately there is no year given, but in the text on the back seemed to be a year. I think it looked like 1949, but the quality is quite low.

Regards

Frank

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1 hour ago, fotomas said:

Hello William,

thank you for these interesting links. One picture I find helpful is No. 38

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/reception-of-the-swiss-cyclists-from-the-giro-ditalia-zurich-1950/

It show's the return from the swiss cyclist from the Giro d'Italia 1950. It is taken from the hotel and shows also the barrel without stripes, like on the photo on the film. The Giro d'Italia took place from 24th of May to 13th of June and was won by the swiss Hugo Koblet.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giro_d%E2%80%99Italia_1950

So the return to Zurich might have been in the time from 14.6.1950 Wednesday to 18.6.1950 Sunday. Now we know that this barrel was already in place in June 1950, maybe earlier.

Problem with most pictures is that you can't tell when they where taken. Circa 1950 could also be 1949 or maybe even 1948.

Interesting I found also this:

https://oldthing.de/Strassenbahn-Zuerich-Bahnhofplatz-Kat-Strassenbahn-0024010983

Here the barrel also looks like on the photo. Unfortunately there is no year given, but in the text on the back seemed to be a year. I think it looked like 1949, but the quality is quite low.

Regards

Frank

Thanks Frank. That photo of the cyclists might have been taken from the balcony with the 'Hotel' sign. 

I went through this series last September and I have gone through them again now and here are some more points that emerge:

Station Square in 1950 (allegedly) with the barrel for the policeman, but the sign beneath 'Hotel' does not seem to read Cunard White Star but rather something starting with 'Reise' to indicate a travel agent. My eyes may be playing tricks with me, though

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-station-square-circa-1950/

This seems to have a word ending in 'au' (probably in German) over the door beneath 'Hotel' and the barrel is still there. I believe this may be before 1950

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-station-square-bahnhofstrasse-circa-1950/

Said to be 1952 with a Morris Minor convertible, but it could be later.

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-main-station-1952/

Station Square in the snow in 1952 with the fancy police box visible, but no indication of which end of 1952 it shows.

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/hauptbahnhof-covered-in-snow-1952/

The main things here are the change of the name beneath the 'Hotel' sign and the fancy new police box. I believe that the dates on this series, eg 1950 or 1952, are only approximate.

The photo said to be from 31.12.1950 and shown by Thomas above has 'Hotel ' and 'Cunard White Star' and the fancy police box. The photo of Bahnhofplatz which I have has all of those other than the 'Hotel ' sign. I still believe that the photos in the series I have were taken between 1950 and 1953, with 1951 or 1952 being the most likely years. My original guess was 1952, but that was more of a hunch than anything else. By 1954/55 European post-war cars had started to appear in greater abundance on the streets of Zurich.

William

 

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vor 3 Stunden schrieb fotomas:

Hello William,

thank you for these interesting links. One picture I find helpful is No. 38

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/reception-of-the-swiss-cyclists-from-the-giro-ditalia-zurich-1950/

It show's the return from the swiss cyclist from the Giro d'Italia 1950. It is taken from the hotel and shows also the barrel without stripes, like on the photo on the film. The Giro d'Italia took place from 24th of May to 13th of June and was won by the swiss Hugo Koblet.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giro_d%E2%80%99Italia_1950

So the return to Zurich might have been in the time from 14.6.1950 Wednesday to 18.6.1950 Sunday. Now we know that this barrel was already in place in June 1950, maybe earlier.

Problem with most pictures is that you can't tell when they where taken. Circa 1950 could also be 1949 or maybe even 1948.

Interesting I found also this:

https://oldthing.de/Strassenbahn-Zuerich-Bahnhofplatz-Kat-Strassenbahn-0024010983

Here the barrel also looks like on the photo. Unfortunately there is no year given, but in the text on the back seemed to be a year. I think it looked like 1949, but the quality is quite low.

Regards

Frank

Good finds Frank, thanks!

The reception of Hugo Koblet took place on June 20, 1950. The date on the picture postcard is 11/12 October of .... my guess would be 1955. I have enhanced it in Photoshop and could read almost all. Except the year! Its mostly a description of what is on the picture to explain it to someone not familiar with it. Its a printed postcard that could have been on sale in stores for couple of years.

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vor 2 Stunden schrieb willeica:

Thanks Frank. That photo of the cyclists might have been taken from the balcony with the 'Hotel' sign. 

I went through this series last September and I have gone through them again now and here are some more points that emerge:

Station Square in 1950 (allegedly) with the barrel for the policeman, but the sign beneath 'Hotel' does not seem to read Cunard White Star but rather something starting with 'Reise' to indicate a travel agent. My eyes may be playing tricks with me, though

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-station-square-circa-1950/

This seems to have a word ending in 'au' (probably in German) over the door beneath 'Hotel' and the barrel is still there. I believe this may be before 1950

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-station-square-bahnhofstrasse-circa-1950/

Said to be 1952 with a Morris Minor convertible, but it could be later.

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/zurich-main-station-1952/

Station Square in the snow in 1952 with the fancy police box visible, but no indication of which end of 1952 it shows.

https://www.bygonely.com/bg_item/hauptbahnhof-covered-in-snow-1952/

The main things here are the change of the name beneath the 'Hotel' sign and the fancy new police box. I believe that the dates on this series, eg 1950 or 1952, are only approximate.

The photo said to be from 31.12.1950 and shown by Thomas above has 'Hotel ' and 'Cunard White Star' and the fancy police box. The photo of Bahnhofplatz which I have has all of those other than the 'Hotel ' sign. I still believe that the photos in the series I have were taken between 1950 and 1953, with 1951 or 1952 being the most likely years. My original guess was 1952, but that was more of a hunch than anything else. By 1954/55 European post-war cars had started to appear in greater abundance on the streets of Zurich.

William

 

Thanks Frank, thanks William

Good new inputs to the search of the date. The word Reisebüro (Travel agency) was spelled Reisebureau in older german, so thats the word you couldnt read. Up until the end of 2017 it was the flagship store of Reisebüro Kuoni at the same location since 1912. Ancient phone books will not help as Kuoni has replaced those signs like "Cunard" over the years with whatever was of most commercial interest to them. Above the travel agency was Robert Gubler, a typewriter distributor (another job that disappeared for good) for "Royal Typewriters", and he too has changed the ads in his windows. But Cunard was surely on the wall from 1950 up to 1956, most likely appeared straight after Reisebureau.

I have not had the time the past few days to check the other resources, but you guys always give me fresh ideas on where to continue with the search...

Thomas
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Edited by tomtschi
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6 hours ago, tomtschi said:

Good finds Frank, thanks!

The reception of Hugo Koblet took place on June 20, 1950. The date on the picture postcard is 11/12 October of .... my guess would be 1955. I have enhanced it in Photoshop and could read almost all. Except the year! Its mostly a description of what is on the picture to explain it to someone not familiar with it. Its a printed postcard that could have been on sale in stores for couple of years.

The cars in the postcard look earlier than 1955. I have seen other photos from that time which feature Mercedes and VW cars from the postwar period. The date might indicate publication rather than taking.
 

I have had a lot of material coming back to me since my article got wider publication and I am working my way slowly through that. The insights here as regards Zurich are , however, some of the best responses I have received. I really appreciate what you are doing.

William

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10 hours ago, tomtschi said:

Good finds Frank, thanks!

The reception of Hugo Koblet took place on June 20, 1950. The date on the picture postcard is 11/12 October of .... my guess would be 1955. I have enhanced it in Photoshop and could read almost all. Except the year! Its mostly a description of what is on the picture to explain it to someone not familiar with it. Its a printed postcard that could have been on sale in stores for couple of years.

Try Focus Magic. It uses forensic methods to reconstruct things like unreadable texts. 

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12 hours ago, tomtschi said:

Reisebureau

I think that this is correct. It was changed to Cunard White Star and the police stand changed at around the same time. The photos of the Swiss winner of the Giro d'Italia taken in July 1950 seem to have been taken from the balcony above that sign, which balcony also carried the word 'Hotel ' at one stage.

William

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Am 5.12.2020 um 08:53 schrieb ironringer:

I tried to duplicate the 1962 picture, using my Leica IIIg and a collapsible Summicron.

I find it interesting that in order to duplicate your 1962 picture you have used a camera and lens that could have been used to take the original picture back in 1962 🙂. Of course I know that most of us could not afford a Leica IIIg and Summicron collapsible back then, and I for one would have only barely been able to hold a camera anyway. However, my father at that time DID use a Leica IIIf and collapsible Elmar lens.

Cheers, Andy

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