Dec 30, 2010

Leica R5 + Leitz Elmarit 135mm - First Photographs, October 2010


Three decades ago, when I started getting involved with photography, the 135mm focal length was very popular among photographers. Following that trend, I also bought one such lens for my Minolta equipment, the fine Minolta Rokkor 2.8/135mm. If you visit this blog every now and then, you most likely saw some images shot with that lens.

As some of you also might recall, I later on traded my Minoltas for Leicas, so the Rokkor made place for the canadian built Leitz Elmarit 2.8/135mm in my bag (the model with view and rangefinder attachment, the so called goggles, that improves focusing and framing. Primarily made for the M Leica, I read that the most "recent" version - mine is from 1979! - serial no. 2 600 000 and up, is optically identical to the Leica R lens. While I can't claim that for sure, you should please take note of the missing M in its nomenclature...).

I already posted some images of that lens with goggles directly mounted on a Leica M, as well as with the lens head removed and attached to the focusing mount 16462, to allow the use with the Visoflex reflex housing. In case that you should be interested on this subject, please check my former post about it.

What I want to show today, are some photographs made with this same lens, but this time still done on a different way: I did them with a Leica Single Lens Reflex camera, and Leitz adapter 14167, to allow the use of Visoflex lenses on the Leica R. The combination keeps on needing, of course, the aforementioned focusing mount 16462 (the goggles can thankfully be left at home!).

Yes I know, lots of (very well made) Leitz adapters and focusing mounts, no automatic aperture, darkening viewfinder...
But believe me, if you already own such a lens, it is well worth the hassle.
I just love the combination!

But please, take a look for yourself...

Above photographs made in Faro, October 2010

Trends come and go, like anything else, and this kind of focal length seems to be out of fashion. The evolution and the public's widespread preference for the Zoom lens, have condemned the 135mm prime lens to a certain obscurity...
Lamentably so, as I believe that most photographic systems have produced outstanding 135mm lenses along the years. Just think about Carl Zeiss Sonnar, Carl Zeiss Tele-Tessar, Schneider Tele-Xenar, Pentax Takumar, Nikkor, Jupiter...
Moreover, the 135mm can be a true bargain these days...

For me, such a lens is a very fine balance between portability (all images were shot handheld) and pronounced telephoto effect. Besides, I don't need to be close to the nose of my model if I wish to do a head and shoulders portrait, as I don't need to go to the other side of the street yelling...

I enjoy the shallow depth of field, without too much loss of plasticity, what enables me to achieve a pleasant perspective without sacrificing the three-dimensional sensation!
I also find the 135mm lens to be a very interesting choice for close up photography, by just adding some extension tubes to it, between the lens and the body of the camera.

I suppose that I can honestly say: the 135mm is a true winner for my taste!

Photographs shot in Montemor-o-Novo, October 2010

This post should have its emphasis on the Leica R5...
I actually made this pictures while testing the camera, principally its exposure meter (fantastic!).

Now it is six in the morning and I am getting very tired, the rain is pouring outside, my legs are cold, my eyes are shutting, my brain is coming to a standstill...

Will you please excuse me, but I must be on my way... to bed...
Don't worry, I will come back to the subject... I promise!

Technical data:

Camera - Leica R5
Lens - Leitz Elmarit 135mm (Leica M/Visoflex type) + Leitz 14167
Film - Agfa APX 100
Developer - Rodinal, diluted 1+50
Location - Faro and Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
Date - October 2010
Scanner - Epson 4990 Photo