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I bought a Thambar a few months ago and have been very pleased. It really does produce a soft gentle image for portraits. Although if you stop it down the image becomes quite sharp. I haven't used the spot filter yet. Given the results I've had without it, I wonder if it will soften the image too much.
I bought a LTM to bayonet adapter which allows the Thambar to work perfectly on my M6 and M7 as well as on the LTM cameras. It was expensive but worth it.
I endorse Steve's comments although I do use the spot filter. The irony about this lens is that it cost considerably less that the 9cm Elmar in 1936. If you need a copy of its instruction book I can scan mine for you.
My Thambar cost $1380 US without a spot filter. I managed to find the filter for $95 so $1475 US in total.
I honestly don't think you can have a relevant discussion comparing a modern coated 75mm Summilux and a 1930's uncoated, uncorrected (for spherical aberration) lens created specifically for, as Justin put it, "dreamy portraits".
The Thambar is a piece of history designed to do a specific job probably only of interest to collectors. However I will say that I think the effect it produces is way more subtle than anything a soft filter produces. A poor analogy would be comparing a shot taken through a lace curtain to one taken through a gentle mist. The Thambar appears to me to avoid the artificiality I sometimes see in shots though soft filters.
I could however be trying to justify the money I spent on it!!
The Thambar not better just different.
Must remember to buy food and not old lenses, much healthier!!
> [I shot a role of film using the Thambar and should have transparencies back today. Looking forward to seeing the results. Lens was a gift, but I see that collectors are willing to pay a fair price for the earlier serial numbers. In any case if I like the results, I'll put some mileage on the lens, I suspect it has been parked for quite some time. Certainly would appreciate a scan of the instruction book if it's not too much trouble. Regards, Patrick]
I owned a Thambar 90/2.2 for four years. This a portrait lens and produced very lovely image. I found it is more easy to control than Rodenstock Imagon. In fact, the lens is very expensive and this is one of my best Leica collections.