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.
Note: You can view and download the original files of the samples (for downloading use the browser's context menu).
In preparation of the Ricoh GXR M-mount expansion unit, I bought one lens, a Voigtländer Super Wide Heliar f4.5/15 mm, and auctioned a second one in August 2011, a Leitz Elmar-C f4/90 mm. Both lenses were meant to extend the range of my two Ricoh GXR 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 and Leica Wiki) 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 1970s (production era: 1972/3-1977; Version 11540). Minolta also sold its own, improved version of this camera, the Minolta CLE, after Leitz had discontinued the CL. 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," but never really evaluated the results. 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 GXR M-mount expansion unit are very pleasing.