Leica Lenses (Long)

Tomei Collection

I refer to this section as "Long Lenses" because a distinction needs to be made between real telephoto lenses and normal lenses.  For instance, the Leitz 13.5cm Hektor is sometimes erroneously called a telephoto lens when it is actually a normal lens.  Leitz's first true telephoto was the 20cm Telyt.  The true telephoto lens very often provided reduced resolution and more distortion than a normal configuration.  The difference lies in the spacing of the positive and negative lens elements that produce a magnified image.  In the normal lens, these are closely spaced, whereas, the early telephoto lenses consisted of widely spaced elements.  In the 1920's, H.W. Lee at Taylor, Taylor & Hobson produced one of the earliest true telephoto lenses without the usual distortion.  There are no telephoto lenses among those in the collection shown on these pages.


Here are some of the Leica lenses in the collection.  I have also included some non-Leitz  lenses produced with the Leica Thread Mount.  Many of these lenses have been tested and the results are contained in another page.

I very much like this lens because it is in mint condition with crystal clear glass after 75 years.  This Elmar 13.5 cm f/4.5 serial #142148 was built in 1932 with nickel scale. This is the first long focus lens for Leicas and was based upon an existing design for large format cameras. It was produced through 1936 with only 5259 lenses having been built.

Shown mounted on a 1932 Leica II(D).


This 90mm f/4.0 Elmar was produced in 1931 and 1932. This is an early example without rangefinder coupling and carries no external serial number. It was called the "Fat Elmar" and only approximately 2400 were built.

This early "Fat Elmar" model was soon replaced by the "Thin Elmar" in late 1932. This was at least in part due to the need to redesign the mount and reduce the 42mm diameter of the lens head to 33mm to permit use on accessories that had been introduced in the interim.  The example shown here is chrome, built in 1936 and is no.296278.  This popular lens was produced through 1951 when the lens mount and focusing assembly were redesigned.   


The Elmar 9cm f/4 lens was introduced in 1951, the first year for the so-called New-Style mount that was produced through 1963.  The vulcanite covering and satin chrome finish represented a departure from the older designs. Unlike the earlier 9cm Thin Elmar that stopped down to f/36, this lens stopped down to f/32 and the direction of the ring adjustment was reversed.  The f-stops were also changed to the newly adopted international standards of 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, and 32. However, it still used the A36 front bezel.




Clearly the f/1.9 7.3cm Hektor represented a technological achievement for Leitz in 1931. This six element Hektor 7.3cm f/1.9 was built in 1937.  It had been available from 1931 through 1946. It had a unique lens shade which reversed and slipped over the front of the lens mount, the lens cap fitting over the rear of the shade. Dedicated filters were available that also fit only this lens. This example is a non-rotating mount which was available for a brief time beginning in 1934/35 to accommodate the Agfa tricolor filter (an early and ill-fated color photography system). There were at least four variations for this lens and the later wartime versions had reverted to a rotating mount.

This particular example is in mint condition and includes the original hood, cap and box as well as the rare FISAP panchromatic green filter made specifically for this lens.  Relatively few of these lenses were produced.  This is one of only 687 built in 1937. During the entire period of production from 1931 through 1946, only 7225 were built.  This was the most expensive lens available from Leitz at the time being priced at about £30 in the 1936 catalog (the equivalent of almost $2000 today).


The 13.5cm f/4.5 Hektor was offered from 1933 through 1960. It was more expensive than the 13.5cm f/4.5 Elmar that it was intended to replace by 1936. This example was produced in 1951, a year after the new chrome mount was introduced. This had a minimum aperture of f/36 and a rotating mount.

This example is a rather uncommon 13.5cm f/4.5 Hektor built in 1956. Number 1440700 has a non-rotating mount with an E36 filter thread similar to the lens produced in 1951. Non-rotating (i.e. parallel rangefinder focusing) mounts were introduced in 1954 for the new M3 camera. This lens with its click-stopped diaphragm settings and E36 filter mount was produced later than number 1416000 which was believed to be the last one built according to Lager...  perhaps he meant 1446000?


Non-Leitz Lenses



In 1953, Sir Kenneth Corfield had a small but successful company producing various photographic accessories such as light meters and rangefinders. In that year Corfield launched the production of a camera intended to be a reasonably priced second body for Leica photographers. This was followed by introduction of improved versions of the body as well as a line of excellent quality lenses with the Leica screw mount. This 3 element 90mm f/2.8 Tele-Lumax lens was produced in 1961 and is one of the rarest of the Periflex lenses according to Lewis. With optics produced by Enna in Germany, it has a 26 degree acceptance angle and focuses down to 2.5 ft.  More common were the 3 element 95mm f/2.8 Lumar with 25 degree angle and 6 ft minimum focusing, and the four element 95mm f/3.5 Lumax with 43 degree angle and minimum focus of 4 ft.

National Optical Company

This company was based in Leicester, UK. This 105mm f/3.5 Trinol Anastigmat is an example of such a lens in late production with coated optics and black barrel. The company produced lens heads for the Taylor Taylor Hobson factory whereas the chrome base with Leica screw mount was produced by Stewartry in Scotland, a company that produced Leica mounts for other lenses as well such as the well known TTH Amotal Anastigmat (See). The optical glass was presumably made by TTH.


Nippon Kogaku K.K.

Nippon Kogaku also produced lenses to fit the E39 Leica thread mount.  Here is the four element 13.5cm f/3.5 Nikkor-Q (Quatuor) built in 1956.  It is shown mounted on a IIIf RD ST Leica camera with a 13.5cm viewfinder and matching screw-on hood.  This lens was available in both chrome and black enamel in Nikon RF bayonet mount but only chrome in LTM, to my knowledge.