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Thread: Tele-Elmar 135/4

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    Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Crowdsourcing on this one...

    I've had a late model Tele-Elmar 135/4 for quite a while; I never really used it or even took a good look at it on the M8 since it was a bit on the long side to work with. But now I tried it on the M9 and find it short focuses, has visible chromatic aberrations, and lacks a bit in definition. Otherwise the drawing is lovely and very similar to my gen4 cron 35. I'm wondering if not all three issues are symptoms of a common alignment problem. If so I'd like to get it serviced by SK or DAG. But I don't want to throw money at it if it's not going to improve in wide open definition and will continue to exhibit chromatic aberrations. In that case I'd rather pony up for the telyt. And I definitely don't need both... Any advice on this? What should I expect from it? Would a few images help?

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Jan, the real question I would be asking yourself is "Am I REALLY going to want to shoot a 135mm all that often on my M9?"

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Good question Chuck. The answer is I rely a lot on that focal length for landscape use. In fact, I recently added the APO 200 to my Mamiya 645 kit in addition to the 210AF I already had. Using the M9 for landscapes is a compromise of course, but I'm looking for ways to minimize that compromise.

    It's probably not a 'people' lens for me since I can simply walk up closer with the 75 for not that different compression (pretty marginal difference), while it's not long enough to offer significant reach.

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Fair enough. For landscape use, you mite want to just make the change to the Telyt. I had one of those, and found it way too sharp for portrait use even wide open. Mind you, a 135 @ f/4 isn't exactly what I would call wide or very "open." The stinking thing is a clinical knife, with no "juice" at all. Not my cup of tea, but probably exactly what you are looking for. As one that routinely uses older glass, I can tell you that you do get a great "look" from them on digital but a big part of that look is often the CA and other distortions from the old glass. Something I just love for people, but I don't shoot many landscapes with them.

    My own favorite lens on an M for landscape Jan is the 28 'Cron. That lens has about the best micro-contrast of any M lens ever made, and it is crisp and sharp to boot. You remember our last get together? I was helping Terry decide what the effective focal length was of her lens she was using on the Arca, and shot this that day set right on top of her camera. Maybe she can post the same shot she took of this scene that day so you can see the difference. Terry?

    I own the 75 'Cron as well for a portrait lens, and love it.

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Hi Jan,

    I cannot guarentee it, but it does sound like all three issues you described are possible symptoms of an alignment problem. I twice had the chance to compare the klast version of the 135mm f4 vs the 135mm f3.4 on a calabrated M8.2 and M9. I found small and relatively little difference between the two at most f-stops. Yes, I could decern differences but they were far smaller than say a the 90mm f2 AA and the 90mm f2 Pre asph E55. Most have decribed the 135mm f4 as "near APO quality" and I think thats an apt description. You still might find a bit of CA with the 135mm f4, but it alldepneds on lighting. As for resolution, it can be seen when both shot wide open, but then again I found the differences not all that great. If your prints are going to be blown up to 24x30 or larger, it may matter. I'd personally put the 135mm f4 as approx. 80-85% or greater the performance of the 135mm f3.4. Some might differ with this assessment.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Jan,
    If you suspect that you will use the lens, I'd get it serviced. My copy is quite sharp and very useable on the M9, and I do use it regularly enough to justify keeping it. It has a rich signature, and I find it useful for those times when having extra reach is needed. Plus it pairs quite nicely with a 35/75 combo....

    Here are a couple of examples of images that I have enjoyed via the Tele-elmar (mine's from the early to mid 60's, I believe)












    Overall, I think this lens is a wonderful performer when optimized. THere is a touch of CA in the last image, at the edge of the highlights, and the lens does flare when no hood is employed. Otherwise, I find it to be a real charmer....

    Good luck with your decision....
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Ashwin,

    as I came across a near mint 135/2.8 the other day, would you prefer a 2.8 over a 4.0? Price would be about the same.

    Warmest,

    Ton

    P.S. My old but mint Nikon 600 5.6 (mf) would blush...

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Photon View Post
    Ashwin,

    as I came across a near mint 135/2.8 the other day, would you prefer a 2.8 over a 4.0? Price would be about the same.

    Warmest,

    Ton

    P.S. My old but mint Nikon 600 5.6 (mf) would blush...
    Actually the one I would want (again) would be the 3.4 APO

    Woody

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    The 3.4 is nice, but costs 3-4 times as much as the very capable Tele-elmar. I have thought about moving to the APO-Telyt at times, but would only do so should one come on the market aggressively priced.

    Ton, I would go for the 135/f4 over the f/2.8 elmarit, which is larger, uses eyes, and is reportedly not as stellar a performer....just my $0.02
    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    On closer inspection it actually turns out it's the M9 finder that needs realignment. It short focuses with ALL lenses. It's just not very noticeable with other lenses, but it's there on close inspection. So I've contacted Steve's Camera to see if it they can realign it. Or maybe I could do it myself? I see one flathead screw - does that tweak infinity focus?

    Edit: it's actually a 2mm hex slot in the roller itself...
    Last edited by Jan Brittenson; 20th October 2010 at 17:38.

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Okay, that wasn't so hard. Just adjust the eccentric (?) screw holding the roller in place.

    I started with the opposite hypothesis - that the 135/4 is spot on and the camera is off. BOY that lens exposes even minuscule changes! Just touch the adjustment and close focus shifts by inches. Anyway, after adjusting for this lens I checked 0.7m and 3m on a tripod, then 7m handheld, and some views out the window - and it's all spot on with every lens EXCEPT the CV 40/1.4. This lens back focuses noticeably; maybe it's a focus shift wide open - didn't try it stopped down or examine it closer. I also didn't bother checking anything wider than a 35.

    The T-E actually seemed pretty sharp wide open, at least shooting rulers. May have to experiment with it a bit more now to see how it works out.

  12. #12
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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    The T-E actually seemed pretty sharp wide open, at least shooting rulers. May have to experiment with it a bit more now to see how it works out.
    Anxious to see some shots.

    Warmest,

    Ton

    www.tonvanmourik.com

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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Having shot it a little bit I must say it's an excellent lens. Rendition is best described as "gentle". Here's an example, this is a DNG from LR3 using the default processing for the M9. Auto exposure, f/8, ISO 160. The second one is the same, but a bit touched up in Nik Viveza 2 global controls.





    Here's another shot...


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    Re: Tele-Elmar 135/4

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    Crowdsourcing on this one...

    I've had a late model Tele-Elmar 135/4 for quite a while; I never really used it or even took a good look at it on the M8 since it was a bit on the long side to work with. But now I tried it on the M9 and find it short focuses, has visible chromatic aberrations, and lacks a bit in definition.
    I was going to offer to buy it... even though I have 2. One for the M mount and one special conversion for the Canon 5D.

    Seems as though you've seen the light.

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