135, to goggle or not to goggle?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by michael_dimarzio, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. Hello fellow PNers, soon I'll have this kit complete and will stop asking such
    basic questions.

    My 2 lens kits is expanding to 3, 1.4/35 (when one is affordabley available)
    1.4/75(on the way) and I really would like to add a 135.

    After 30 hours on this forum, I hope I'm not repeating these questions.

    How big of a step up in image quality it the 135 E55 2.8/135 to the Tele-Elmar
    4.0? With both at 4.0, are they comparable?

    Is it worthwhile to goggle with a .72 VF? Is that a significant advantage over
    the 4.0?

    After reading Jays' opinion of the 4.0 compared to the 3.4, I don't think it
    would be worthwhile to spend the extra money for that version. (Where is Jay?)

    Lastly, is the later version of the 4.0 a worthwhile upgrade, E39 to E46?

    Size, weight, compatibility with Motor M, price have been considered, I can't
    find some of these answers.

    Thank you and regards-md
  2. SCL


    I've owned both the 2.8 and 4.0. Both lens heads unscrew from the focus mounts to work with the Visoflex, providing SLR focus and composition. The 2.8 with goggles is big and heavy...easier to focus than the 4.0 in the sense of seeing the viewfinder images overlap...but the viewfinder is darker because of additional optical surfaces. I much prefer the 4.0 because it is relatively light in comparison to the 2.8, and the viewfinder is brighter, but the image one views is smaller. So, there are trade-offs. Additional reasons I prefer the f4.0 include the ability to use E39 filters. In several years of shooting both, I could discern no significant differences between the two lenses in terms of sharpness or contrast. At one time I sold my 4.0 due to little use for a couple of years, bought the 2.8 when I needed a 135 again. But after using it a while, I sold the 2.8 and bought another 4.0, which is what I have and use today. I've used it on both a 0.72 and a 0.85 body, and find it to be an outstanding performer in every sense of the word.
  3. The 4.0 is approaching APO quality. The 2.8 is just a really nice Leica optic, the 55mm one being a slightly improved version over the ser 7. There is a difference, but very very small.

    The goggles give a kind of telephoto vision so you can not see much outside the frame lines for 90 converted to 135.

    Most of the time I carry the 4.0. The 2.8 is double the weight and hard to store.
  4. Though the 4.0 is lighter and optically better, the 2.8 has the advantage of being usable on the M8 without an auxiliary viewfinder, as it calls up the 90mm frame, which is available in the camera's viewfinder. On the other hand, he 2.8 has a very long focus throw, which makes is hard to use with moving subjects except at long distances.
  5. Hi Stephan and Ronald, thanks, these are the exact type of answers I was hoping for. I was leaning towards the 2.8, especially for use with a .72VF. Now I'm leaning to the 4.0, no rush, I can wait until a nice one comes along.

    Stephan, what is teh advantage of using E39 filters? Cost or compatibility with other lenses you have?
  6. SCL


    Hi Michael - The advantage for me is compatibility with other lenses. For instance, occasionally I'll pack 4 lenses (35, 50, 90 & 135mm) which all share the 39mm filters. I first used the 4.0 alongside NG photographers at the Apollo 11 Spacecraft recovery and was delighted with the results. It is a little strong for a primary portrait lens, but it can really pick a face out of a crowd.
  7. I've had both. Sold the f4 and kept the 2.8. It is a superb lens in my opinion on the M8. Files
    are just gorgeous. I was extremely disappointed with the f4. Maybe I had a bad example,
    but it performed terribly on the M8.
  8. I had the f/4 and sold it, because I didn't like the small size of the 135mm frameline. The Elmarit f/2.8 is not a step up optically, but is a step up in terms of the larger finder frame you get to use. Besides, I have the 2.8 Elmarit for my R5, and I feel it has excellent image quality with excellent color saturation. It's essentially the same lens optically as the one in M mount.
  9. Keith and Rob, what VF do you use? As you guys know, putting an M kit together is not inexpensive, and buying then selling is a losing proposition.

    Goggeled on a .72 is definitely the main reason why I like it, the VF magnification.
  10. Another vote for the f/2.8 for the large finder magnification. Consider getting the Rapidwinder with grip or the latest M motor for better balance.
  11. Hi Raymond,

    I missed a Motor M NIB yesterday for 580 or so. But I read that you can't install or remove the 2.8 the Motor M attached as they interfere with each other, is that true?

    Kind regards-md
  12. Michael

    I believe that I have exactly what you are looking for. A 135mm Elmar, like new, with all the goodies for it. (Lens hood, UV filter, Hood cap,
    and viewfinder)

    Contact me for further details.

  13. I've had the 135/4 TE (E39), 135/2.8 Elmarit (SR VII) and 135/2.8 Elmarit-M (E55). I foundly wound up keeping just the 135/4 because it more easily slips into my Leica bag with my camera and other lenses whereas the 135/2.8 had it's own dedicated lens bag due to the bulk of the googles. This extra bag usually meant that it didn't normally go with the rest of my Leica gear unless I made a conscious effort to take it with me. Optically the 135/2.8 (E55) was every bit as good as the 135 TE at f/4 with very little sharpness loss even at f/2.8.
  14. To remove or install the 2.8 135 mm RF the Motor M must be removed, so once installed with film in the camera, it stays until the film can be removed along with the Motot M. That said, it really presents no problem if you have a purpose in mind for the use of the 2.8 135mm RF. I have the later Model and use it in my M6 and M7 when I need the reach. It was originally purchased as part of my M3 kit for which the lens is designed but I just don't use the M3 anymore. -Dick
  15. I want to thank everyone for taking time to write thoughtful answers. I like clunky old things, I was pretty much convinced to go with the 2.8 but after reading reading everyone's opinion, I think I'll be happier with the 4.0 (for now at least, does this ever end?).

    Thanks guys-
  16. I bought the 135F4 eons ago, it is my least used lens, if you are looking at anything above a 90mm I would consider getting a DSLR and either a high quality prime ie a 40D with a 100mmL macro or a 5D with a 135F2.8/F2.0, just my opinion. BTW Jay was banned a long time ago, I still miss him.
  17. Another vote for the f/4, or even the older and MUCH cheaper Elmar for this length. I had both, but didn't like the small framelines, either.
  18. Nothing beats a fast lens. That's why I went for the Elmarit. It makes life easier, unlike its f4 counterpart, because you can focus better thanks to the enlarged image you have in your viewfinder. And the Elmarit f2.8 is old and clunky enough for you to like it too. Go for it instead.
  19. Actually, the photo above was made with the early version (with series VII filter). I got a
    newer one, that takes 55mm filters, relatively untested. Let me add another image with the
    old glass...
  20. I've owned both the series VII and E55 versions. The E55 is better made (one piece goggle) and definitely an improvement for slide photography with better contrast and cleaner imagery. If you like a lens with a little lower contrast for B&W shooting, consider the series VII version if the price is right.
  21. Hi Mohir, Alan and Francisco, thanks you for additional perspectives.

    I think I'm purchasing a decent looking Elmar, not for a not very expensive price. I'll see how I like it, the 135 is seldom used on my Contax IIIa, but probably due as much to the VF as anything else. This is another reason goggles tweak my interest.

    So, I'll keep looking for a clean E55 version. Thanks again guys.

    Thanks Gerry, Jay was pretty funny, never minded sharing his opinion, not all wanted to hear it, but he has a great sense of humor and these threads are missing something without him.

    Jay, if you're reading this, I'm leaving to go wind the film on my MP while my clothes dry, the clothes will be done first. ar ar ara ar :)
  22. hello
    de mon point de vue the 135F2.8 can be very good. I have got one of the first model 1965 that have a good sharpness. I changed it to another one of the second model in order to use IRcut filter with M8. The second lens is not as sharp as the first but good enough too.
    It's not the sharpness of the 75F1.4 but it is very correct result.
    I think that le F2.8 is more inportant than a besser quality with darker lens because image quality is very speed dependent.
    With th M8 the 135 give a "180mm" equivalent focal length that is very more usefull for me, in fact I nearly not use the 135 with my M6 as I hate the field of view of the 135.
    So I have now 12F5.6 +15F4.5 + 35F2.0Asph + lux75F1.4 + 135F2.8 and be very happy with M6 and M8 in my need of field of view.
    Ps: the 135F2.8 is very usable with visoflex......

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