Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/11/16

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: Retrofocus Whimsey
From: Marc James Small <>
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 18:26:44 -0500

At 05:29 PM 11/16/97 -0400, Paul Schliesser wrote:
>This wasn't unusual with extreme wide angles in the early days of SLRs. A 
>number of camera brands (including the Leicaflex and the Zeiss Contarex) 
>had a 21mm non-retrofocus lens which required the mirror to be locked up, 
>and used scale focusing and a separate viewfinder.

Well, much as it pains me to admit EVERYTHING invented by Zeiss isn't
perfect, any retrofocus lens will simply NOT perform to the same standard
as a REALLY GREAT non-retrofocus lens.  The difference will be minute, but
it will be there. 

The Zeiss 38mm Biogon used on the Hassie SWC will outperform the 40mm
Distagon.  Period.  The difference is minor, but it is there, or else, why
would Hassie continue to manufacture a non-interchangeable lens camera like

The 4.5/21 Biogon on the Contax RF and Contarex Bullseye has never been
equalled.  For its focal length, it remains unparalleled today, almost a
half-century since Bertele produced it.  As Ludwig said, 'as the jet engine
is to aviation and penicillin is to medicine, thus this lens will be to
photography'.  There's some chutzpah there, guys, but he was pretty damned
close to the mark.

The 3.5/15 Distagon/Super-Elmar is a stunning lens.  But the Hologon,
again, outperforms it by most optical parameters.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.  But, all in all, if you
want the best, the very, very best, by all optical parameters, you go with
a non-retrofocus lens.

Marc  FAX:  +540/343-7315
Cha robh bas fir gun ghras fir!