Leitz Leica Elmar 35mm (3,5cm) f3.5
The Leitz 35mm (3,5cm) f3.5 Elmar lens was the first wide-angle 35mm interchangeable lens introduced by Leica. It was presented in 1930 and produced until 1949 with a total production of 40 000 lenses. For decades, the Leitz 3,5cm lens has been an essential part of street photography. Until the introduction of the 35mm Summaron lens, the Leitz 35mm (3,5cm) f3.5 Elmar lens was the sole 35mm prime lens available for the Leica screwmount system. This lens is responsable for a whole range of iconic images and helped cementing the stature of 35mm photography and the Leica brand. A true icon!
- very slim and compact
- good bookeh
- sharp in the center
- very light
- works great on micro 4/3
- great for street photography
Like most M39 Leica lenses, the Leitz Elmar 35mm f3.5 lens is extremely compact and lightweight. There is no need to unscrew the lens barrel when you prepare to shoot (unlike the 50mm Elmar lens). Combine this beautiful vintage lens with a screwmount Leica or a digital micro 4/3 camera and you have a superb shooter that fits into any pocket. The result is a extremely compact, non-intrusive camera-lens combination. Street photographers will love (and always have loved) the 35mm Elmar lens.
You can also use it on digital cameras using an adapter. The wider angle of the 35mm Elmar lens will work great on cropped cameras such as micro 4/3 systems.
From an image quality point of view, the Elmar 35mm lens is outstanding when you bare in mind that the lens design is over 70 years old. While using the Leitz Elmar 35mm f3.5 lens both with analog and digital cameras, I was amazed that such a small lens can produce such amazing image quality. Although the corners can be a bit soft when shot wide open, the center of the image is always extremely sharp.
- soft in the corners
- like all collectible Leica lenses it is expensive
In my opinion, a certain drawback is the relative softness in the corners when shot wide open. In certain situations this can be extremely appealing – it depends what you are after. Obviously, another point to consider is the price of the lens. As all other Leica gear, the Leitz Elmar 35mm f3.5 lens is expensive. You can find cheaper alternatives out there, including the russian copies that also use M39 Leica screwmounts.
Leitz 35mm (3,5cm) f3.5 Elmar Versions
The Leitz 35mm (3,5cm) f3.5 Elmar lens is available both with a nickel and chrome finish. Early models are marked 35mm (and not 3,5cm) and are not standardized.
- Lens elements: 4
- Minimum Focusing Distance: 125cm
- Leica Code: EKURZ