35 mm 3.5 Elmar 11 O-Clock

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by adrian bastin, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. Have just bought this lens and have not seen another quite like it. Has any one
    else seen one ?

    It has 11 o-clock infinity but with the later type of lock. All others I've
    seen have hockey-stick, no lock or bell-push. it focuses down to 1 mtr and
    serial No is 1434** It looks not to have been cobbled together from parts.
  2. I had one and it was not like that. But there is all kinds of one-off Leica stuff.

    My guess is was taken apart and reassembled incorrectly. That makes the whole thing suspect.

    Expect field curvature, soft corners to F11, and low contrast. If there are other defects, it was a bad repair.
  3. I've been using a single-coated one of these for a few years and love it. But always stopped down.

    Looks all of a piece and undisturbed, to me.
  4. Oh, I see what you mean. But if it were reassembled incorrectly the infinity lock wouldn't engage at all.

  5. The lettering on the lens being upside down, and the position of the infinity mark on the base being at the bottom, make me think that this was not how the lens started out. It could have been accidently reassembled this way, or more probably intentionally changed for someone who preferred (or needed) the focusing knob for the right hand (amputee or stroke, etc).
  6. It's not possible to move the infinity lock on the mounting flange or to turn the flange - unless metal were removed from its working face, which it hasn't because the nickel plating is still present.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
  7. The focus mark on the barrel seems to be always opposite the focus arm on these early lenses, which puts infinity near the bottom.
  8. I wonder where collectors hang out these days ?
  9. Adrian, Thank you for showing us your most unusual 3.5cm Elmar. It is, without doubt, an authentic full-round (11 o'clock) 3,5 cm with a round cap focus tab (and infinity lock, though I could not actually see the lock). Very rare configuration, but not totally unexpected in a lens with near mid-year (1932) serial (1434**). That was a year of explosive inovation for the Leica and its accessories, ranging from objectives to finders and other bits and bobs. Bearing in mind also, this was no cookie cutter operation at that time (that came much later). All metal parts were forged, made of "drawn ductile material," as Leitz said, adding, "casting methods, which are never entirely reliable, being strictly avoided." Barnack demanded and got top-notch craftsmanship. He was not yet cold in the grave before Leitz turned to fast moving castings and assembly, partly in the IIIb, and fully in in the IIIc and all after. Amoung the many change introduced in 1932, the introduction of the button focus tab and infinity loch, and the move of such from the 11 o'clock to thw 7 o'clock position. This came to pass shortly after mid-year, at the time your 3.5cm Elmar was made. Surely the the clever machinists whipped yours out using the latest gizmo in place of the old 11 o'clock tab. We must remember that these are hand-crafted pieces of the machinists art. You have a rare transition objective.

    Many odd things from 1932 pop up in the Leica world. Quite often a 9cm or 5cm Elmar without serial # will appear (particularly true for the 9cm "Fat Elmar"). I have a 3.5cm from the period with no serial (an export, focus scale in ft, duly engraved "Germany") Also a 5cm Elmar with serial# 1436** (compare you serial) having a front 35mm in diameter, not 36mm as standard (will not hold a lens cap) and bayonet flanges on the colapsable barrel machined and finishes so finely they will not engage a Nooky close focus devise (the barrel just spins). It is another export type. No, you have the real thing, a rarity.

    The 3.5cm Elmar seems regularly maligned in this forum, with contributors pointing to its tendency for vignetting at full or near full aperature, a charcteristic always admitted by Leitz. The old 1932 model I have must be a fluke. No discernable vignetting whatsoever. But it seems every lens, even of the same type and even Leitz, is different--has its own feel, touch and character. Very entertaining.

    For an intersting look at some good work with a 3.5cm Elmar posted here in this forum, see Terry M's entry on some 60-year-old things done in WWII in the History of Leica section.

    Thanks again for showing your unusual Elmar.
  10. TO one and all: pardon my misspellings, et.al. Failed read what I poked in.
  11. Bennet. Thanks so much for that and for your interest. This lens has some abrasions near the centre and because of these I was on the point of sending it back to the seller, but when I popped it onto a camera I found it was this odd thing. It will be interesting to see how this one performs with wider apertures because stopped down a smaller percentage of perfect glass, in relation to the marred, is transmitting light.

    I once rebuilt a badly smashed IIIA body and I swear that camera just wanted to be straightenned out; no parts were unusable except a screw or two and the VF eyepiece. It now works perfectly. What you say about the metal, perhaps, explanes its readiness to assume its original shape and get on with doing what it was so beautifully made for doing.

    I expect you are familiar with the work of James Ravilious, who used this and other uncoated Leitz lenses, to wonderful effect.

  12. Adrian

    It will be interesting to see what results you obtain with that Elmar. True, a cleaning mark must seem to be a great canyon to a ray of light.

    Your expeerience with that IIIa is facinating. Good work! My very first camera was a IIIa with a Dallmeyer F1.9 "Super Six." Both gave new meaning to "brassing." The vulcanite on the camera was worn totally smooth. Naturally, all functioned flawlessly, and probably still does. Often tried to imagine the countless scenes it had witnessed.

    Yes, I am familiar with Ravilious and view his work with great admiration, even envy. His work, along with some in a similar style done by some of the old FSA photographers, is, for me, enough to inspire holding fast to the great old Leitz items. All a joy to use and producing images all their own. Now, if I could just create a decent photo myself.

    Looking forward to the outcome of your Elmar check out.


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