Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Chrome Tele-Elmarit 90/2,8 (fat), and SOOZI
From: "Gary Todoroff" <>
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 21:55:54 -0700

OK, I'll jump in again, since I own a chrome Tele-Elmarit (2070028, which
is a 1964 date according to Laney). I also saw that same KEH listing
several months ago. Then Dave's post continued my interest. Now Lucien has
done some research, but I'm still confused (nothing new).

I have heard of the "fat" 90/4 Elmar, but have never heard that term
applied to the Tele-Elmarit. Laney, Lager and van Haesbroeck all agree that
the chrome version was only made from 1965 thru 1966. Two years production
would have normally been a few thousand copies, not a lot, but not rare
either. My notes also show that KEH's original Shutterbug (9/97) price was
$6199!!. I'll bet they didn't sell it at $2700 either. 

To put rarity in perspective, I paid $190 for a used 90mm Summicron in 1969
from Roger Pelham (a Leica grandfather if there ever was one, and I hope he
comes to Denver LHSA) at Malone's camera in Dayton, OH. It took me over 25
years of use to find out that the bayonet mount was actually an adapter. I
was using a screw mount lens version called the SOOZI model, with a serial
number indicating that it was made in 1957, the first year it was made.
Total production was only about 500.  That lens deserves to be called rare,
yet on the few occasions that one is for sale, the price has averaged
around $2500. It is hard to imagine the chrome Tele-Elmarit being worth as
much or even more. However, Lucien, I won't mind being proven wrong and
stumbling into yet another Leica "find". And yes, it does look gorgeous on
my chrome M3 and is my favorite portrait lens (especially on Fuji Astia!).

I still use the f/2 SOOZI occasionally - who can resist such a cute name -
and have some wonderful, sharp prints taken at theater rehearsals, wide
open, using a shoulder stock at 1/15th, back when I was a really good rifle
target shooter. But mostly my old Summicron is mounted proudly on a IIIg,
displaying together the pinnacle of the Leica thread-mount era.

Gary Todoroff, Leica user and accidental collector

> -Dave wrote (long time ago):
> >I noticed that KEH currently lists a 90mm chrome Tele-Elmarit
> >(Canadian) as being "rare" and has a price around $2700 for it.  
> >Now I'm wondering if I passed up a "bargain", since just
> >last Saturday I passed up one of these at a local swap meet;
> >it was offered for $595.
> snip
> >I came to the Tele-Elmarit.  Up until then, I'd been thinking
> >about getting a nice new chrome 90mm Summicron.  The Tele-Elmarit
> >looked nice: very compact, clean, sharp lettering.  The aperture
> >ring was rough to turn, however (not bad, just not up to the usual
> >Leica feel).  Looking at the blades when closed down to f/16, I
> >could see bright areas.  I don't know if aperture blades are
> >lubricated or not, but it's apparent that they'd been used quite
> >a bit.  Anyway, I had no idea how much a chrome Canadian Tele-Elmarit
> >>was worth or whether it was rare or not.  I passed on it because of
> the feel and look of the aperture blades.  Since I saw the KEH ad,
> >I've been wondering a bit more about these lenses.
> Dave,
> After some rersearch, I found the Chrome Tele-Elmarit 90/2,8 (fat)
> to be really rare. Around 1.700 ex.manufactured.
> The last I came across, sold for 2.000 $ (Ex ++)
> I've seen only 2 for sale in Belgium during the last 14 years.
> In the Leica collector list, I think it's rated R7.
> In Germany and in UK, there are even more expensive.
> Together with a chrome M3, like on the dust cover of the
> van Haesbroeck Leica book, it look gorgeous.
> But as a user, the last (slim) Tele-Elmarit is better.
> Lucien