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How do I detach the 1354 Elmar lens head

G

Guest

I recently bought a Leica 135mm f/4 Elmar lens, serial no. 1770xxx, ~1960 vintage. This lens came after the 135mm Hektor but preceded the 135mm Tele-Elmar. I paid $297 for it and it seems to be in excellent condition.

The rear element is a bit dusty and I would like to clean it (carefully!) This is not a telephoto design, consequently the barrel is very long and I can't get at the rear element. I understand, however, that it should be possible to separate the lens-head from the barrel (for attachment to a Visoflex). I don't know how to do this so, please, can anyone tell me how to detach the lens-head?
 
G

Guest

Dear Ray,

A terrific lens; I have two, one permanently mounted on a Visoflex I, the other in the range-finder mount.

To answer your question, hold the lenshead in your left-hand around the rim which retains the lens-hood. Hold the vulcanite in your right-hand and twist in opposite directions.

If, due to the passage of time, you are unable to do the foregoing, take it to a reputable mechanic such as DAG, do not try anything else.

Kind regards,

Justin
 
G

Guest

Thanks, Justin. I'm in the office right now but I'll try it when I get home.

I'm glad to hear you like this lens; I've heard from several other people that they like it too. I wasn't really sure whether I would like 135mm on an RF camera, so I went for an inexpensive one. Actually, the price I paid was less than I quoted in my first post: it was only $275, which also included both caps, a leather case and a lens hood.
 
G

Guest

Update: I tried, and succeeded in separating th ehead from the barrel. It wasn't too stiff and I was able to do it without using any tools. I was pleased to find that the rear element dust was easy to clean off and the glass is now perfectly clean. Thanks again, Justin.
 
G

Guest

A pleasure Ray,

I assume you have read relevant literature on the lens. Worth noting is Leica contemporary comment that the lens was already at its optimum at f/4, and Erwin Puts adds "Stopping down hardly improves the performance and from f/8 we find excellent image quality".

Go forth at f/8.

All the best.

Justin
 
G

Guest

Justin,

No, I've seen very little mention of this lens in literature but, there again, I have no books on Leica M. There's nothing on Leica's web site, since they concentrate only on current products. I've only seen Erwin's lens evaluations online and in his downloadable "brochure". I haven't seen any evaluation by him of the 135/4 Elmar, only the latest 135 APO-Telyt, the 135 Tele-Elmar and the 135 Elmarit with goggles.
 
G

Guest

Ray,

The 1:4/135 Elmar I have always considered a bit of a sleeper.

Before I bought my first ex&le, my 135 was the later Tele-Elmar. Another Leica photographer for whom I had a lot of respect said to me one day "the earlier lens is actually better as it is not of tele construction". Being young at the time I was cynical, but accepted his kind offer to borrow his and make a comparison.

With Panatomic-X in Rodinal and the camera on a tripod the difference was immediately apparent enlarged critically through a Focomat Ic and Summicron. The added advantage of the earlier lens is that it can also be used on the Visoflex I, another of my favourite sleepers.

Hence I sold the Tele-Elmar and bought my first Elmar 135. I have since acquired another.

Leica never waxed lyrical about the lens other than to say it's optimum aperture was f/4 and stopping down was only necessary for depth of field.

I will post and extract from Erwin's book soon.

Cheers,

Justin
 
G

Guest

4.0/135 Elmar 1960

We often assume that lenses with modest specifications evolve slowly. In this case the almost thirty years that lay between both versions brought significant advantages. The new Elmar at full aperture is better than the Hektor at aperture f/11. Wide open, the lens has medium overall contrast. Vignetting is low with 0.7 stops and distortion is barely visible overall.

At full aperture we have a medium contrast image that brings in the crisp definition of coarse detail and lifts the definition of fine detail above the threshold of good visibility. This lens hardly improves on stopping down. Of course there is some enhancement of overall contrast and better visibility of finer detail, but basically this lens at full aperture already is at its optimum. At f/11 overall contrast drops. Close-up performance of the Elmar is not as good as that of the Hektor.

© Erwin Puts: LEICA LENS COMPENDIUM Hove Books 2001
 
G

Guest

Thanks, Justin, that's interesting. I don't expect to use my 135mm Elmar very often but I'm very glad I have it. Now I just need to get an M3 to make the most of it!
 
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