Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/07

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Russar 20/5.6 ??
From: Marc James Small <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jul 1999 10:09:17 -0400


$380 for a Russar MR-2 with caps and finder is about par for the course, so
you seem to have gotten a good deal from E-Bay, one of the very few of
which I've yet heard!

The lens is of a disputed heritage, and I've not disassembled mine to
check.  Most of my sources indicate the lens is a Topogon design (a
wide-angle design originally formulated by Richter at Zeiss in the '30's
for aerial-recon photography and later adapted as a 4.5/2.5cm or 4/2.5cm
for the Contax RF system), though Wright, in his LENS COLLECTORS' VADE
MECUM links it to the LF Russar design, a more complex formulation.

In any event, it does suffer from a falling-off of edge illumination:  the
edge of the frame is about 1 stop slower than the center.  This provides a
nice effect to emphasize the center of the image in some cases -- for
instance, I have a picture hanging in my office I shot of my son at the
beach, with the edges a bit darker than the center, causing him to stand
out a bit.  However, under other circumstances, this edge fall-off can be a
decided minus.

Other than that, it is a fine lens optically.  It doesn't suffer from
noticeable distortion and is of good sharpness, contrast, and resolution.

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