Category Archives: lens

made in the shade

Toronto. Stompin’ Tom wrote a song of the same name in 1986. (And, yes, I have the CD too.) Before the second world war, lenses were uncoated as optical coating was still to be invented. When Leitz made the Leica … Continue reading

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Auto-Quinon f/1.9 55mm

Toronto.  I chose this lens over a Zeiss Biotar for the standard lens of my late 1950s Exakta-VX IIa. The lens was a fast f/1.9, 55mm lens with full stop click-stops and an automatic stop down to the chosen f/stop … Continue reading

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B&L BALTAR f/2.3 50mm

Toronto. The Leica was marketed in 1925, catching Zeiss off guard. It responded in 1932 with the Zeiss-Ikon Contax. It had to better the Leica in every way possible: faster lenses, vertical shutter (faster curtains), metal shutter, longer rangefinder base, … Continue reading

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rapid rectilinear lens redux

Toronto. Turns out the choice of glass plus the lens design makes a rapid rectilinear! Both the two wide angles lenses mentioned the other day predate the release of the Rapid Rectilinear (or Aplanat in Germany). R & J Beck … Continue reading

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rapid rectilinear lens design

Toronto.After the announcement of photography early in 1839, there was a flurry of competing lens designs across Europe, each design trying to better the resolution and error correction qualities of the other. In 1866, two Germans, one an immigrant to … Continue reading

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getting to the end of the day…

Toronto. As a line from the TV series New Tricks says, this is the last of the Leitz enlarging and copying lenses offered as the film era quietly disappeared. This is the famous FOCOTAR series (FOCOTAR, FOCOTAR 1, FOCOTAR 2, … Continue reading

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not your father’s Elmar…

Toronto. Post war, the Elmar went to the DOOGS. The little camera mounted collapsible Elmar was redesigned as a reproduction and enlarging lens in a much more practical lens mount and the elements were coated to reduce the internal reflections. … Continue reading

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give me a ring…

Toronto. I mentioned in the previous post that Leitz made a special ring so the fiddly little aperture adjustment on the 5cm Elmar could be seen and moved by a ring that went around the accessory. This avoided the risk … Continue reading

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Early Leitz enlarging lens VAROB

Toronto. In the fall of 1983 I had a call from Sam Schlifer. Sam wanted to know if I had a spare camera Elmar lens I could swap for an old enlarger lens by Leitz called a VAROB. I did … Continue reading

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Black is Beautiful

Toronto. The early Leicas were mostly black – black enamel – and if well used had “brassing” or edges where the enamel wore through to the brass. Shown is a beautiful  example of a clean 1937 Leica II (no slow … Continue reading

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