After Ricoh's official announcement of the M-mount expansion unit, I decided to buy one, although I had originally not intended to do so. Here are my first personal experiences with the lenses that I bought (or tried to buy). This page is devoted to the Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 lens, my longest M-mount lens - equivalent to a 200 mm tele lens.
All lens pages: Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 | Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/4.5 | Voigtländer 25mm f/4 (M39) | Minolta M-Rokkor 28mm f/2.8 | Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8 | Zeiss Sonnar 50mm f/1.5 | Voigtländer 75mm f/2.5 (M39) | Leitz Elmar-C 90mm f/4 | Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4
At the beginning of July 2012, I bought a Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 (version 11851; built from 1965 to 1990; serial number 2046827 = 1964) at ebay (from a dealer at fixed price - 449 + 6 EUR) to have a longer tele lens in my M-mount lens collection. This lens was fairly cheap for a Leica lens at that time and it still is.
Figures: Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 lens (200 mm equiv.) - set to infinity (left half) and to 1.5 m (right half)
On the M-mount expansion unit, it has an equivalent focal length of about 200 mm and thus, works like a "real" tele lens.
Photos: Body with A12 M-mount expansion unit attached and Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 lens - set to infinity (left column) and to 1.5 m (right column)
|Focal length||135 mm (200 mm equiv.)|
|Angle of view (35mm film)||18° diagonal|
|Number of iris blades||10|
|Number of lenses/groups||5/3|
|Shortest distance||1.5 m|
|Weight||505 g (510, 550)|
|Maximum diameter||59 mm|
|Filter thread||39 mm|
|Lens hood||does not have one|
|Smallest object field; magnification||220 x 330 mm; 1:9*|
*) From technical data; I calculated a magnification of about 1:10.
Here are a first few samples taken with the Leitz Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 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".
The Leica Tele-Elmar 135mm f/4 has received favorable mentionings on the Internet, which is in contrast to its comparatively low price (around 500 EUR). Manual focusing with this Leica tele lens, which is the longest one that you can get for the Leica M-mount (not true, there seems to be a 180 mm lens...), was difficult for me at the beginning. My results with this lens were inconsistent initially – sometimes the focus was "spot on," sometimes it was not. The focusing aids that Ricoh provides with the unit are useful – but not as useful as I had expected.
Nearly a year later, I gave the lens a second try – after a long break in using the M-mount expansion unit and preferring the A16 – and the results were much more satisfying. Focusing seemed easier and more "spot on" than with the Leica 90mm f/4 lens with which I compared it during a walk. However, it 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...
Overall, I am quite pleased with the results that this lens produces, but I have to admit that it is the one that I use(d) the least...
For more links related to the Ricoh GXR M-mount expansion unit, see page M-Mount Links.