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Taylor Hobson 50mm f2 Anastigmat

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Anyone know anything about this lens? Just came up for sale on

www.mwclassic.com for the princely sum of 695GBP ($1300).


"Taylor Hobson 50mm f2 Anastigmat coated collapsible Leica L39

rangefinder finder coupled lens (No.329591) complete with makers

caps. Made for the Reid Leica Copy camera. Uncommon, top quality lens"







Funky looking lens in any event.



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Well, Taylor, Taylor & Hobson is a British optical firm that did design and build a Leica lens or two. I used to have a Summarit (or was it a Xenon?) engraved with the T,T&H name in addition to Leitz. I have a book by Arthur Cox, who worked for T,T&H for some years. He does indeed list a 2 inch anastigmat, f/2, under the section on "symmetrical lenses." Cox's diagram shows it to be a six-element nearly symmetrical lens in four groups.
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Interesting. Thanks. I noticed that there are several Cooke Amotal Rigid Anastigmat 2in/2 for sale at www.kevincameras.com. They seem to be going in the $600-$700 range.


The TT&H one is collapsible. Which I have never heard reference to before. I wonder just how rare they are?

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I read somewhere that Zeiss bought the Taylor Hobson patent, and that allowed them to produce lenses that for a time outclass Leica's. Warning: this is half-remembered, needs someone to check it out. But if I had the money, and a screw thread Leica body, I'd snap this up. The Reid camera was regarded as a really honourable Leica copy, of superb quality.
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The Reid camera and Taylor Hobson lens were 'copies' derived from blue prints taken from Leitz in Wetzlar by the British Military after WW2. There was a joint US/UK Military Intelligence report on the Leitz/Leica factory in 1946 which is interesting.....<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/biz/Leica/page26.html">Part 1</a>......<a href="http://www.angelfire.com/biz/Leica/page27.html">Part 2</a>
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According to the Vade Mecum, the TTH for the Reid is not the same design as

the one for the Foton. The one for the Reid is supposed to be a superior

design even though it's a collapsible.


Reid may have copied the design from Leitz but TTH didn't. The Summarit is

supposed to be a Leitz designed descendant of the original TTH lens. This is

my understanding of it, anyway.

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I'm astonished about how many wrong historical details flying in the net around.


the historical fact is:

The Schneider-Kreuznach company in Germany taked a British- and US patent with the Xenon 1,5/50mm lens.

The Xenon lenses are produced 1936-1950, and any or much have engraved the patent US and British for export lenses.

A small volume of Xenon round about 122 are produced post-war


The post-war Summarit 1949-1960 Schneider-Kreuznach patent ended, but don't the Tayler Hobson patent, and so have any earlyer Summarit export lenses the engraving too.

The Tayler Hobson 2/50mm is an british lens for the Reid only.

The Leitz company produced for the screw mount Leica a 3,5/50mm and 90mm Velostigmat lenses only with engraved: "Leitz New York Company and "Made in USA."


a other historical fact is:

In beginning WW II the british goverment distraint all Leica cameras in privat owners hand,and given back in end of war.

But the are don't enough for the british military in war time, and so taked a special corp the Reid camera a Leica copy to used in the army.

The quantity of Reid in war-time are very small, and in the full scale the WW II war was finished 1945, with unconditionel surrender of Germany.

Any Reid cameras produced in post war, but the production stopped

with the foundation of West-Germany 1949 with Leitz patents don't with the Reid camera will Great Britan broken the Leitz patent.


In my opinnion is the Reid camera the best one Leica copy under the over round about 600 Leica copys.



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Well, Xenon is a Schneider trade name, and I think they did have a hand in the Xenon lens at some point. However, the Xenon is marked with both the Leitz and Taylor-Hobson badges, in order to avoid infringing the British patents/trademarks held by T,T&H. They didn't put Schneider on the lens. Leitz weren't worried about Schneider, just T,T&H. Evidently at the point it became a Leica lens, Schneider didn't own the rights anymore. As to the rest of Peter's historical facts, I don't know.
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Sigrist and Reid bought patents off Leitz to enable them make their copy from

1947 until 1965. The reason why the Reid is so similar to the Leica is

because it was taken legally from Leitz designs.


According to the Vade Mecum, TTH and Schneider worked together on the

pre-war Xenon which is why their names appear together on pre-war lenses.

During the war, the TTH name was, not surprisingly, dropped off.


By the way, the lens featured in that MW Classic ad sold immediately. At that

princely price too........

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According to the book "Leica Copies", the British governemnt, amongst

others, declared German held patents to be free and open to all use. Sigrist

and Reid did not have permission from Leitz but neither did they get hold of

design papers appropriated by the military in 1946. It's all rather confusing.

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  • 2 years later...

May I contribute a wee bit to this discussion? I purchased a new Reid 111 in 1954 for 144 Pounds Sterling. It was available in the UK when Leicas were not. It was a delight to use, and performed very well. I sold it 1n 2005 for vastly more than I paid for it. How Reid and Sigrist came to manufacture it may be of interest. During the war years there were no 35mm cameras being made in the UK and so we had to buy them from Leitz outlets in Sweden,Switzerland and Portugal. At the end of hostilities the Ministry of Supply which was the prime provider of equipment to the military, decided that this situation would never be permitted to re-ocurr and so the design of the Leica 111B was "acquired" from Leitz as part of war reparations, and Reid and Sigrist who were manufacturers of precision aircraft instruments were chosen to make in in the UK. ( They also designed and made an aircraft -- The Snargasher ) Initially the contract was for a mere 1000 or so cameras.


When this was completed, Reid and Sigrist obtained permission to continue production and sell the camera to the general public. It was one of these that I purchased. The camera was a virtual screw for screw copy of the Wetzlar product, and it used the 2"TTH Speed Pancro lens, which was superb.


After I came to Canada, I wanted it serviced and took it to the Leitz service centre near Toronto. Leitz declined to service it, being a direct copy, but the foreman of the centre approached me privately and offered to do it for me at home. He was very interested because he had never seen a Reid before. When he returned it to my house, he asked me if I would sell it to him, because it looked like a Leica, sounded like a Leica but was better made than the Leica, and I concurred, because I already had a 111f and the difference quality and feel was obvious, not that the genuine article was poor but the Reid was that much better.


When I sold it in the UK it was because by that time I had gone to a SLR and later digital. A wonderful camera, and both it and the lens were much under-rated. My 135mm lens was also a Brit product, a Dallmeyer Dalrac, also very good. Filters were not a problem since the Leitz 36mm slip-ons fitted as did the lens hoods. I still have the Frame finder and a box full of Leitz cassettes as well as the slide copier. Happy days !! but I parted with an old friend.

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