Recently, I went to the camera store because they had a Summicron-R 50mm f/2 listed, and at a great price. I already decided that I would buy it, provided it was a second generation lens (those with the built-in hood and improved optical formula).
How did I end up with a tele lens instead, you might ask yourself? Well, it was quite simple, because the Summicron had been claimed mere minutes before I arrived at the store.
As a consequence, I asked to have a look at the Elmarit-R they had in store and realized that it was in formidable shape. The glass is pristine, the aperture and focusing ring work like new and the lens feels amazing in your hand. Additionally, the outer cosmetic appearance is excellent and the lens hood still works perfectly well.
Last, but most certainly not least, the Elmarit-R 135mm f/2.8 was designed by Walter Mandler too (see this Wikipedia link for more info on this guy).
The lens in detail
I brought the lens home and took some quick snaps at it with window light using the Fuji X-T10 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/2R WR.
Looking up the lens in this incredibly comprehensive database, I learned that my specimen was built in 1978 and is in fact a second generation lens. Mine wasn’t built in Wetzlar, but I wouldn’t dare to criticise the Canadians for their work. It’s by far the best built lens in my entire collection, including the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.4 C/Y.
The lens is of a supreme build quality and the built-in hood is made out of metal like all the rest that isn’t glass. Extending the hood will increase the size noticeably. When you focus to the minimum focus distance (a very long 1,5m, unfortunately), the barrel extends even further, although without the filter rotating.
The red dot protrudes far out, so you should be able to mount the lens even in the dark.
I thought that the coatings matched nicely with my curtains, but I’m looking forward to do my “signature” setup with the umbrella.
Edit: Here you go, the coatings are really beautiful.
The lens design of Leica lenses is my favourite for many reasons. The built-in hoods are genius, the lenses are very compact (even the SLR lenses) and the satin black finish with white engravings looks just beautiful. The yellow numbers for me put the cherry on top of an already gorgeous design.
It’s a rather compact lens, slim and not that long (67 x 93mm), but it’s incredibly dense at more than 700 grams.
Now, let’s have a look at the only cosmetic blemish this lens has.
The previous owner must’ve bumped it against a rock or something similar, because the metal grooves on the barrel show several nicks in that small area.
EDIT – 01.06.2016
It’s been a long time and I took quite a few images using this lens. I got a relatively cheap chinese adapter which fits perfectly well.
Here’s an image showing the lens adapted to my Fuji X-Pro1 (via the K&F concept EOS-FX adapter)
They do make a beautiful pair, but the handling isn’t much fun if you’re used to an ergonomically perfect camera for heavy lenses. So I exclusively shot this lens on my DSLR instead.
Here are a few samples (all at f/2.8) I shot during my first little walk out with this lens
The bokeh, contrast and sharpness of this lens are simply amazing and it’s a lot of fun to work with.
Some more samples that I took more recently: