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  1. #1
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Shooting with an Elmar 50/3.5. Need tips and tricks!

    Hi everybody,

    I have bought from a relative a Leica IIIf from the fifties and had it CLA. The camera comes with a collapsible Elmar 50/3.5 which I also got cleaned.

    I have shot my first roll and noticed that most of the pictures lack contrast, compared with the one I get with my Nikon gear. I used the development time and procedure I am succesfully using with my other camera.

    I understand that the lens is very old and not even coated (as far as I can see), but I am sure one can get better results than mine. So I am asking the following:

    Is there any tip you could give when shooting with an old lens?

    1) Do you usually change the way you develop your film, possibly to get more contrast?
    2) Is a lens hood always requested?
    3) I have also heard about always shooting with a yellow filter to boost contrast a bit. Is it really required?


    Thanks for any suggestion you can give me: I am a newbie at shooting with "vintage" cameras

  2. #2
    ouyang's Avatar
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    a lens hood is always a good idea, especially with uncoated lenses. I've seen the difference myself after I made a make shift hood for my old russian lens.. it also protects your lens against impacts..
    if you think the film is still too soft, change your development or use a filter.. (or print harder..)

  3. #3
    Ole
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    I've never used a collapsible Elmar, just a Russian copy: The collapsible FED 50/3.5. Based on that (which is coated), my answers would be 1:Yes, 2:No, and 3:No.

    An uncoated lens gives slightly more open shadows, so you can even cut exposure a little. Develop a little longer (about 10%) to increase contrast, and an uncoated lens will give results at least as good as a coated one.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #4

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    Using a yellow filter does not guarantee improved contrast. It depends on the subject and the lighting.

  5. #5
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Here is a link to serial numbers and dates for Leica lenses:

    http://www.forloren.dk/lbf/leica_lens_serial.htm

    What year was yours made ? It will give a little insight to what exactly is going on !

    d
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  6. #6

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    Steroma
    1)Finding the correct hood will be a challenge, the hood has a lever that engages the aperture setting lever so you don't have to reach into the hood to change the setting. $$$.
    2) What Ole said
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  7. #7
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Thank you very much for your inputs!

    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    What year was yours made ? It will give a little insight to what exactly is going on !
    It's from 1956.

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    A 1956 Elmar is as good as any lens made today, for practical picture taking. It might have a bit less contrast than a new Nikkor, but it shouldn't be detectable printing. It certainly is coated.

    Does the rangefinder focus to infinity ? Is is accurate up close ?

    Shoot some trees at 30 - 50 meters, and a textured wall at 1 1/2 meters. Shoot a couple frames at f/3.5 at both extremes, and if it isn't dead sharp, it needs to go back to the repair service. Don't expect less than excellent performance.

    You're going to have a LOT of fun with this camera.

    don
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    rbarker's Avatar
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    FWIW, the "proper" hood for the 50mm Elmar, according to the Leica Accessory Guide, 2nd ed. (Hove Collectors Books), is designated as the ITOOY/12580 (1956). Early versions are supposed to be engraved "Elmar 5cm" and later ones "1:2.8/50 1:3.5/50".
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  10. #10
    sterioma's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I am planning to shoot a test Efke 100 roll this weekend. A friend of mine has borrowed me a Jupiter which I can compare it against. Stay tuned for the results

    By the way: is there a way to visually verify that the coating is still present? I have been told that the coating might "fade away" with time (especially if the lens is not cleared carefully).

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