After Ricoh's official announcement of the M-mount expansion unit, I decided to buy one, although I had not intended to do so originally. Here are my first personal experiences with the lenses that I bought (or tried to buy). This page is devoted to the Leitz Elmar-C f4/90 mm lens.
New: You can view and download the original files of the samples (for downloading use the browser's context menu).
In preparation of the M-mount expansion unit, I bought one lens and auctioned a second one in August 2011, a Voigtländer Super Wide Heliar f4.5/15 mm, and a Leitz Elmar-C f4/90 mm. Both were meant to extend the range of my two A12 units at the wide and tele ends.
The Elmar-C, which I auctioned at ebay for a little more than 170 EUR (2642706 > built in 1973; source: Olypedia: Leica CL) was originally dedicated to the Leica CL and corresponds to a 135 mm tele lens at the GXR. The Leica CL was manufactured for Leitz by Minolta in the 1980s. Minolta also sold an own version of this camera (Minolta CLE), even after Leitz had discontinued it. I read that the Elmar was the only Japanese lens that was manufactured in Germany...
Figures: Leitz Elmar-C f4/90 mm lens (135mm equiv.)
On the M-mount expansion unit, this lens has an equivalent focal length of 135 mm - the classic tele lens.
Photos: Body with A12 M-mount expansion unit attached and Leitz Elmar-C f4/90 mm lens
|Focal length||90 mm (135 mm equiv.)|
|Angle of view (35mm film)||27° diagonal|
|Number of iris blades||?|
|Number of lenses/groups||4/4|
|Shortest distance||1.0 m|
|Maximum diameter||51 mm|
|Filter thread||5.5 type; do not use 39 mm filters - may cause damage!|
|Lens hood||folding rubber hood; screw mount|
Here are a first few samples taken with the Leitz Elmar-C f4/90mm lens (click the images to view the unprocessed original files in a new window):
Disclaimer: I am not a lens expert who sees marked differences between various Leica and/or other lenses. I can check for soft corners, find differences in color rendition, and, in rare cases, may discover a "3D look", but that's all. Please regard therefore my conclusions as the verdict of a "layman".
Manual focusing is generally difficult, but particularly with this Leica tele lens it really is - my results with it are still inconsistent. The focusing aids that Ricoh provides with the M-mount expansion unit (and the new function enhancing firmware update) are useful but not as useful as I had expected. I looks as if I need a lot of training (and checking after a photo has been taken)...
After a long break in using the M-mount expansion unit and preferring the A16, I used the Leica Elmar-C f4/90 mm lens again and compared it with the Tele-Elmar f4/135 mm during a walk. There I found focusing with the Tele-Elmar easier than with the Elmar-C. But that lens is really heavy thanks to the all-metal construction, and it is also large... Thus, the smaller and lighter Elmar-C has an advantage at least in this respect.
In June 2014, I compared both lenses again and used them particularly for nature shots with sort of a "tele effect." I still have to evaluate the results and plan to publish them on a separate page. Nonetheless, this experience, which my other lenses/cameras that I own cannot offer, made both lenses look interesting to me again...
All in all, the results that my Leica Elmar-C lens produces with the M-mount unit are very pleasing.
gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de