Toronto. On a sunny April day in 1982, I met Alex Thomas at a restaurant in North York. He had a few things to show me including this example of a 28mm Hektor wide angle lens for screw mount Leicas. At the time the lens was first offered (1935) it was in response to the Zeiss Tessar 2.8cm f/8 lens offered for the competing Contax 35mm camera.
The tiny lens was sold for two decades. My example (I did buy it) was made in 1937. It is still in pristine condition. The lens is almost the same focal length as the screw mount camera’s film to flange distance of 28.8 mm meaning it can focus to infinity on the leica body without resorting to the severely distorting retrofocus design used by companies like Angenieux. According to Dennis Laney, some 9,694 lenses were made in the two decades it was offered. The four best years in term of volume of manufacture were 1936, 7, 8 and 9. 1937 saw 1,720 of them made. The second war interceded and post war demand was decimated.
The lens consists of five elements – a single element surrounded by two cemented pairs. Post war lenses were coated before being sold. This was the very first 28mm lens ever made by Leitz for its Leica camera.