Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/29

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Subject: [Leica] How to use screw-in filters with an M camera
From: (Jim Brick)
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 1998 17:56:58 -0700

Let me explain how to use a screw-in polarizer on an M camera. I used a
polarizer a lot during my recent European trip and found this method very

Buy two Heliopan polarizing filters for your lens. In your case, E55.
Heliopan filters have numbers around one edge of the filter. Screw one
filter into the lens, put the other in a convenient pocket. Before taking
photographs in a particular direction,  hold the spare filter up (numbers
across the top) and while looking through it, turn it for the maximum
polarizing effect. When the maximum effect is seen, look at the particular
number on top, and turn the filter that is on your lens to this number (on
top). Voila, your polarizer is set without unscrewing it. And a few sets of
filter pairs, is still cheaper than the huge and cumbersome flip polarizer.
The 39mm filter, because of it's size, has a limited set of numbers on its
edge. I have to have two 39's and two 46's. It's possible that 46 and 55mm
filters have the same numbers so only one extra filter may be needed.

The 46mm Heliopan polarizer screws into my 35/1.4 ASPH and the shade
happily slides right over it and locks. The cutout in the corner of the
shade allows me to set the polarizer by number. Instead of using the number
on the top of the viewing filter, I use the number on the 45=B0 corner, whic=
I align on the camera filter in the shade corner cutout. When holding the
camera vertically, you can see the number on top of the filter through the
tab cutouts in the shade. This is dirt simple!

This works, is far less cumbersome than the swing-out filter, which...
requires adapters on each lens, eliminated use of the proper shade for the
lens, and is expensive. And it will work on any size filter thread.

The Woolrich vest has a zipper pocket that is exactly the size of two
Heliopan filter cases. I had a 39 and 46 in here. Above and behind the
zipper pocket is a regular pocket the same size. I put a filter from the
zipper pocket on my lens, and had the second filter in the regular pocket.
Very easy to take out to test the polarization effect.

Before figuring this out, I borrowed Jeff Alfords swing-out filter. Even
though I really never used it in the field, I played with it on my M6 and
determined that it was a heap of trouble to use, carry, and control. So I
devised the two filter solution. It works very well. Easy, quick, and
certainly eliminates a lot of hardware.

This method should work extremely well with the tri-Elmar, as the numbers
on the filter edge are sitting right out there.

Think of it as a swing-out filter without an attitude. A "pull out" filter.
Pull it out of your pocket. And remember, once you have a setting for a
particular direction, you do not have to check and re-check.

Believe me, a few filter pairs is a whole lot simpler than a big honk'n
pouch full of adapters, filter, and hood, and still won't work legally on


At 02:35 PM 9/29/98 -0700, you wrote:
>I've become more interested in the Tri-Elmar lately as a result of my
>mountaineering experience last month.  The 3E would seem to be an ideal=
>for this application.
>Does anyone know if there is a way to mount the flip polarizer on the 3E?
>I've tried using standard screw-in type with my 2.8/21 Elmarit ASPH (which
>is also E55) and found the combination so cumbersome as to be effectively
>unusable, unless you have alot of time spend.
>Jim Laurel
>Business Development Manager
>Microsoft Digital Television
>(425) 703-1143

Jim Brick
(650) 470-1132