Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4

Started Jan 9, 2012 | Discussions
Paul Richman
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Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4
Jan 9, 2012

I'm thinking about getting this lens for my Nex 7. Can you tell me why this lens was discontinued? I would like to know more about this lens, so please tell me what you know.

A little background. I do mostly landscape, wildlife, and closeup photography. I've been a Nikon shooter for years, lately with the D3x and lots of Zeiss and high-end Nikon glass. But as I approach 70 (soon!), I want a lighter, more compact system. I'm not really a RF shooter, so I don't want an M9. The Sony A77 and Nex 7 suit me well, although there is currently only one good lens for the Nex 7. That's why I'm looking at Leica lenses. They are all so much smaller and lighter than what I'm used to, and I know I'll just love the IQ.

Hence I'm selling most of my Nikon gear and moving to Sony / Zeiss / Leica.

I've now rented a Leica Tri-Elmar 16-18-21mm lens, and love what it does on Nex 7. Hence, as soon as some of my Nikon gear sells (or maybe before!), I'm going to order this lens, new.

What can you tell me about earlier versions of this lens? What are "E39" and "E55" all about? What accessories should I consider (hood, filter holder, etc.)?

I would most appreciate any help.
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Dr. Ulrich  Rohde
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Re: Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

I have this 28/35/50 mm f 4 min for a view years with great sucess. If youu can live with f4 wide open and ISO 640 it will be perfect for you

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l_objectif
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Re: Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

Paul, I suggest that you also take a look at Leica-R zooms and lenses!
Good luck,
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Paul Richman
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Aren't they much larger, with a thicker adapter? (nt)
In reply to l_objectif, Jan 9, 2012

l_objectif wrote:

Paul, I suggest that you also take a look at Leica-R zooms and lenses!
Good luck,
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Paul Richman
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Thanks, Dr. Rohde...
In reply to Dr. Ulrich Rohde, Jan 9, 2012

... I will do much of my photography on tripod, so f4 is not a problem.

Do you know why they discontinued this lens? And what's the difference between the E55 and E39 models?

Best,

Paul

Dr. Ulrich Rohde wrote:

I have this 28/35/50 mm f 4 min for a view years with great sucess. If youu can live with f4 wide open and ISO 640 it will be perfect for you

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photon flux
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Re: Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

Paul -

Just a quick reply re: E39 and E55. These codes indicate the filter thread size of a lens. 'E' stands for German 'Einheitsgroesse' = standard size, and the numbers give the diameter in millimeters.

I am not a Leica expert, but as far as I know the Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f/4 was discontinued several years ago due to European RoHS regulations (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) which banned some materials contained in the glass of the 28-35-50mm, probably lead.

Best regards,

Wolfgang

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l_objectif
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Re: Aren't they much larger, with a thicker adapter? (nt)
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

Take a look at this link. It looks quite small to me!

http://www.overgaard.dk/pdf/Vario-Elmar-R_35-70_mm_Technical_Data_en.pdf

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Paul Richman
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That is very interesting! Thanks...
In reply to photon flux, Jan 9, 2012

... I thought that's what the E designations were. I am also curious about the differences between the two versions of this lens.

I couldn't understand why such a good lens would be discontinued, but now I can see at least a good possible reason.

photon flux wrote:

Paul -

Just a quick reply re: E39 and E55. These codes indicate the filter thread size of a lens. 'E' stands for German 'Einheitsgroesse' = standard size, and the numbers give the diameter in millimeters.

I am not a Leica expert, but as far as I know the Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f/4 was discontinued several years ago due to European RoHS regulations (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) which banned some materials contained in the glass of the 28-35-50mm, probably lead.

Best regards,

Wolfgang

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Paul Richman
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Wow! That looks like a great lens!
In reply to l_objectif, Jan 9, 2012

I will definitely look into it. Glad I have not yet made any Leica purchases. I have been going round and round, as I learn more, thinking I want this, then that....

Thanks Louis!

Paul

l_objectif wrote:

Take a look at this link. It looks quite small to me!

http://www.overgaard.dk/pdf/Vario-Elmar-R_35-70_mm_Technical_Data_en.pdf

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Paul Richman
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LEICA VARIO-ELMAR-R 35-70 mm f/4
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

Ok. This and the 21-35 do look interesting. The adapter is big, 1" long, but workable. How will the IQ compare to say the Tri-Elmars? Pretty much as sharp across the frame?
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Mauro.B
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Re: That is very interesting! Thanks...
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

Paul,

the two versions are optically the same.

First version, E39 I believe, had to be pointed downwards as to change focal length (and there was a sort of "spring" loaded mechanism inside, prone to potential spring failure - so I was told).

Latest version fixed the above and its focal length can be adjusted in any camera position.

At f4 the 28-35-50 is as "slow" lens in Leica terms, and is weak at full aperture. As a comparison, most Leica lenses are "fast" lenses and very strong "from" full aperture.

From my point of view, also in view of the Tri-elmar crazy 2nd hand prices, even a Summarit 35mm coupled with some quick footwork is a much better proposition.

Best regards,

M

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Paul Richman
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Thanks so much for this advice, Louis!
In reply to l_objectif, Jan 9, 2012

I've read reviews, very positive. Found a new one and have ordered it. I can return it if I don't like it, but I suspect I'll love it. Way cool!

l_objectif wrote:

Take a look at this link. It looks quite small to me!

http://www.overgaard.dk/pdf/Vario-Elmar-R_35-70_mm_Technical_Data_en.pdf

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Re: Thanks so much for this advice, Louis!
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 9, 2012

I would be very interested to see what you think about this lens. I was considering it when I got interested in Nex cameras. But I am still waiting a few more months to see more reviews, results and options!

There is anothere zoom that I would also suggest. It is the legendary and rare Angenieux 35-70mm! I have much experience with this unbelievable glass with Nikon AIS mount and can confirm it is absolutely superb. This is the fastest manual zoom that I know with f/2.5. Therefore, it is a little larger than the Leica-R version! In case you are interested, let me know!
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Dr. Ulrich  Rohde
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Re: Thanks, Dr. Rohde...
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 10, 2012

The required tolerances where so tight that the production cost explodet.Many people rather have 1.4 (Leica) or 2.8 Zeiss lenses, prime lenses.

For taking fun pictures the f=4 and ISO 640 are perfect. The lens comes in 2 versions, optically identical, different packaging

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Dr. Ulrich  Rohde
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Re: Wow! That looks like a great lens!
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 10, 2012

you loose 28 mm, I have this lens for the R9, for the M9 I dont recommend it

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Dr. Ulrich  Rohde
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Re: That is very interesting! Thanks...
In reply to Mauro.B, Jan 10, 2012

I did not find it weak, but a detcated 28 or 35 is alsways a good choice if you dont add up buying 28/35 and 50 Leica or Zeiss. Zeiss actually is a goot alternative, the 3 lenses at 2.8 maybe less then 1 TriElmar.

Not easy choices

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Irakly Shanidze
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Re: Leica Tri-Elmar 28-35-50mm f4
In reply to Paul Richman, Jan 10, 2012

Tri-Elmar is certainly expensive, and Zeiss gives you excellent and relatively low cost options. Most things pro and contra were already said.
I just want to add a couple of points

1. Tri-Elmar is a much higher quality optically than the proposed R-zoom. Also it is undeniably smaller than ANY R-zoom. the only driving force for opting for the 35-70 R is the price.

2. The real advantage of Tri-Elmar versus Zeiss is when you have to work in a dusty environment where unmounting a lens is a bad idea.
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Paul Richman
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Thanks, Irakly...
In reply to Irakly Shanidze, Jan 10, 2012

Irakly Shanidze wrote:

Tri-Elmar is certainly expensive, and Zeiss gives you excellent and relatively low cost options. Most things pro and contra were already said.
I just want to add a couple of points

1. Tri-Elmar is a much higher quality optically than the proposed R-zoom. Also it is undeniably smaller than ANY R-zoom. the only driving force for opting for the 35-70 R is the price.

The R zoom gives more range and close-up capability. I have now read some impressive reviews of the Leica 35-70 R. I'll know more once I test the lens that's coming Thursday.

2. The real advantage of Tri-Elmar versus Zeiss is when you have to work in a dusty environment where unmounting a lens is a bad idea.

This can be an issue for me, at times. Also, when I'm traveling, I sometimes don't have time to change lenses, so I must shoot with what's on the camera. Zoom then gives me more options. Getting the picture is more important IQ alone, although I won't settle for soft corners or mediocre IQ traits.

I'm still thinking that the Leica Tri-Elmar 16-21mm will be a good fit for me, for that range.

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Paul Richman
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Thanks again, Dr Rohde...
In reply to Dr. Ulrich Rohde, Jan 10, 2012

Dr. Ulrich Rohde wrote:

I did not find it weak, but a detcated 28 or 35 is alsways a good choice if you dont add up buying 28/35 and 50 Leica or Zeiss. Zeiss actually is a goot alternative, the 3 lenses at 2.8 maybe less then 1 TriElmar.

Yes, I agree. I have 4 Zeiss ZF.2 lenses, and have loved working with them. But now I want smaller, lighter, zoom if possible, but with high IQ, not necessarily the absolute highest IQ, but high.

Not easy choices

True. This shift from Nikon to "smaller, lighter" has been rather mind-boggling, but, also, fun. I leave in a month for a two week photography trip in the western US, and want to get all this ready for that trip, which will involve some strenuous hiking, hopefully with a light, high quality, system.

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Paul Richman
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Re: Wow! That looks like a great lens!
In reply to Dr. Ulrich Rohde, Jan 10, 2012

Dr. Ulrich Rohde wrote:

you loose 28 mm, I have this lens for the R9, for the M9 I dont recommend it

Yes, no 28mm. But zoom from 35 - 70mm, and close-up capability. It's not for an M9. It's for a Sony Nex 7, which has great manual focusing capabilities (live zoom on LCD to 11x).

I'll test the lens Thursday, and send it back if it's not good enough. It's certainly worth a try.
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