Leica 135mm F/4.5 Hector vs 135mm f/4 Elmar

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by Aoresteen, May 3, 2009.

  1. I'm considering buying the Leica 135mm F/4.5 Hector or the Leica 135mm f/4 Elmar - both post war. The Hector dates to 1952 and the Elmar is a 1961 vintage.
    What I would like to know is how do the two lenses compare wide open, at f/5.6, and at f/8. At F/11 & beyond I think that they would be about the same.
    What size filters do the lenses use?
    I do not want a Tele-Elmar or Tele-Elmarit, this is for a crazy project of mine that needs a long focus lens.
    If you have used either lens I'd like your thoughts on them.
    BTW, I have a black Canon135 f/3.5 LTM but do not want to use it.
  2. Erwin Puts writes something to the effect that the Elmar wide open is better than the Hektor at f/11; this may be correct as far as numbers are concerned, but in my personal experience from looking at pics, the Hektor is not so bad either. If you need the edges of the frame sharp from wide open to f/8, you'll probably be better off with the Elmar; beyond f/8 the difference becomes quite small. If you work close-up, the Hector may be a better choice as the Elmar is a tele construction calculated for best performance at infinity with relatively low performance at short distances. You'll probably have to pay a bit more for the Elmar as it is relatively rare in LTM; for occasional use, the Hector may be better value.
  3. Thanks! I can use either LTM or M mount so I'll start looking for the 135mm f/4 Elmar.
  4. I know by personal experience that the Canon 135/3.5 LTM lens easily bests the Hektor. It's one heavy block of brass and glass, so it's not a lightweight lens by any stretch of the imagination.
  5. I've owned the Hektor in LTM. It's reasonably sharp but has a softer vintage look as opposed to a clincal sharpness. I think it is better for photographing people than landscapes. I always used it stopped down, since it was outdoors.
    I don't know about the Elmar. I hear the Elmar f/4 is much better than the Elmar f/4.5
    I recently picked up the Nikkor 135/3.5, but haven't used it yet, so I can't compare, but it might be worth consideration.
  6. Hektor 135 was my first in LTM, I used it primarily for landscapes and got reasonably sharp results at F/8-11, that was a long time ago when Kodachrome ASA10 was still vailable.
    I now have three 135’s, the sharpest is TE, the next best is Elmar F/4 and lastly Elmarit F/2.8.
    Elmar F/4 is a vast improvement over Hektor, you will see plenty of them on auction site nearly all in M mount, the LTM version is harder to find and more expensive.
  7. Two Hektor photos almost wide open:

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