lördag 27 oktober 2012

Elmar lenses compared

Elmar 1950s test Elmar 1990s test 

Leitz brought out the collapsible Elmar f/3.5 lens in the 1920s. It was then upgraded to an f/2.8 version in the 1950s and made available in both screw-fit and bayonet fit for the Leica M. The top picture is taken with a lens at f/5.6 setting, made in the late 1950s and is the very centre of the image.

The lens was redesigned and  revived for a while in the 1990s and continued in production until 2002. The earlier version is chromed brass with a 15 blade diaphragm giving a perfectly circular aperture. The newer version is black aluminium with a 6 blade diaphragm giving a hexagonal aperture.

The only difference seems to be that the newer lens has better contrast, presumably due to a reduction in stray light inside the lens, which makes the older example seem soft. But as for the definition, there is no perceptible difference. The newer one suits the black M9 better, whereas the old one looks best on its chrome M2. The comparison below is of a shot of part of the test printout from SuSE Linux. The upper one is the older lens. The circles are 50 mm across and the photograph was taken at a distance of 2 metres, again at f/5.6. The newer lens has the edge, but only just.

Elmar 1728645 Elmar 3936394

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