Elmarit 135/2.8 difference in the 2 versions ?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by adrian bastin, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. I would not have bought one of these had I not found one with some small (I
    hope) issues and priced accordingly. It's a 1st version, so is it's performance
    much inferior to the 2nd ? Not a lot in the archive except that it will have
    lower contrast - due to single coatings. A lot lower ?
  2. It's M mount. I understand there's just one R version and that's identical to the 2nd M version.
  3. I own a second version but have never had the opportunity to compare its performance with the first version. However, in addition to the difference in optical formula and perhaps coatings, I believe the "eyes" on the first version are detachable and thus can go out of alignment, whereas the second version is an integral unit and thus doesn't have that problem.

    As far as lower contrast, I have shot my Elmarit side-by-side with my 90AA and, though the difference in contrast is noticeable, it's debatable which is preferable for portraiture, especially of women.

    Good luck with the lens. Whatever differences might be apparent in A/B testing, I'm sure that owning any version of the lens, especially if acquired at the right price, is better than not having the lens at all.
  4. Some small difference at full open. The eyes are less prone to getting out of adjustment on the second.

    Buy on price and the best condition you can find. Forget which version.
  5. Jonathan, ah, that explains why the attention of it's eyes seems to have wandered a bit.

    Yes - I thought I'd grab the opportunity of being able to have one of these. It goes right against my usual intentions to keep things light and simple - but it's a magnificent chunk of optics. It is heavy but balances nicely and isn't at all awkward.

    I read that the formula was changed between types but maybe that had more to do with continuity with the R.

    Ronald, - absolutely ! Generally you get what you pay for, but some things I payed top whack for ("200 % perfect") have turned out a bit questionable and some bought as defective have proved to be wondereful. All good fun, though.
  6. According to Sartorius, the lens underwent some design transformations but kept its original catalogue number. The external differences can be noticed in that the aperture and focusing rings in the second are both evenly grooved, whereas in the the first one the aperture was evenly knurled, and the focusing ring was alternatively knurled. Besides, the first version had a two-part built-in hood, whereas the second one had a single-piece hood. Finally, the first version takes Series VII filters, and the second can take the E55mm kind.

    And one final thing: the eyes aren't detachable. Not, at least, in the first, which I have. And if they get out of alignment Don Goldberg can fix them. I have never worried about sharpness or contrast of this lens because I like it as a moderately long piece of glass that's also nicely fast.
  7. While visiting in my hometown this holiday season I noted a mint late model Elmarit for sale at Camera Craft, Rockford Il. The lens is priced at about $430.00 and one may beable to get a 10% discount.
  8. <And one final thing: the eyes aren't detachable. Not, at least, in the first, which I have. And if they get out of alignment Don Goldberg can fix them. >

    The eyes might not be detachable in the same sense that the eyes of the DR Summicron are, but, according to Steve Gandy at cameraquest.com, the eyes of the first version are attached with screws (and thus susceptible to going out of alignment) while the eyes of the second version are cast as a single unit with the lens housing and therefore remain true.

    "Detachable" might not be exactly the right word, but the fact is that the eyes of the first version are not so securely attached as the second's. In my opinion, that's a reason to prefer the second version.
  9. I've owned both and version 2 has a slight but noticable improvement in resolution, contrast and color saturation as if a trace veiling haze has been removed, mostly at f/2.8 and f/4. By f/5.6 the diference is nil. Version 2 compares favorably with the 135/4 TE showing slightly better resolution and a trace more chromatic abberation than the 135/4 that's visible only with very high magnification.
  10. Thanks everyone. It will be a couple of weeks before I can see some results and it would help if the English winter weather cleared a bit. But with the 2.8 more possibilities are openned in these murky days. First, it and camera are off to Black on White in Bristol for RF adjustment.

    Thanks again. Adrian.
  11. Adrian is correct. The first version of the 135 Elmarit was designed specifically for Leica M. The second version was optically the same as the 135/2.8 Elmarit-R. It is probably a slight improvement over the original, which was still pretty good. You would probably not find very much difference, as the 2nd formula was not a quantum leap ahead of the first.
  12. I'm echoing Elliot Rosen's comments. I've shot all three and the later R version and M version are slightly, at least to me, preferable. Stopped down almost no difference, wide open is when I think I see the difference. I prefer the R version as balance-framing is easier and brighter than with the eyes/M version. I use it primarily for auto racing shots where the lens speed means I can use the upper R shutter speeds.

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