Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/11/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] APO vs Elmarit vs Summicron??
From: "David Burdoin" <>
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 07:07:44 -0600
References: <004201c177cb$c9d795e0$a792b2d1@0017899054>

Hello Larry,

I started out with an R3 a long time ago, so let's see if I can help you a
bit.  So here are some answers to your questions in the same order that you
have asked them.

1.  In the 180mm range, and prior to the new 180 APO-Elmarit which was
recently introduced, the R series had a 180/f4 called an Elmar, a 180/f3.4
called the APO-Telyt, and a 180/f2.8 called an Elmarit.  The Elmarit came in
an early and later version.  The later one is lighter and optically better I
believe.  The Elmar, being a  stop slower, was much lighter and meant as a
travel lens.  Optically it was quite good, roughly on a par with the
Elmarits.  The APO-Telyt was the first of the Leica APO lenses.  It was
designed for the US Navy I think and was available from about 1975.
Although it is a half stop slower than the Elmarits, it is optically
superior.  I have this lens, and the first slides from it I got blew me
away, they are that good.  If you want a top quality 180, I can recommend
the 180/f3.4 enthusiastically.

2.  Originally the Summicron and Elmarit lens labels referred to the lens
type, that is the number and arrangement of the individual peices of glass
within each lens.  For the last many years, however, these labels refer
instead to the maximum lens aperture: Summicron is f/2, Elmarit is f/2.8,
Summilux is f/1.4, Elmar is f/3.5 or f/4.
So the 90mm Summicron is an f/2 and the 90mm Elmarit is f/2.8.  I have the
90 Summicron, and it is an outstanding lens in my opinion.  The Elmarit is
also exceptionnally good, I believe.

3.  When the R8 came out it had a provision for electrical as well as
mechanical linkage with the attached lens.  ROM lenses have a strip of
electrical contacts that mate with the corresponding ones on the R8.

4.  If you are using only an R3, ROM has no effect.  If you think you might
want an R8 sometime, then ROM lenses should be considered.  The R8 can use
lenses without the ROM contacts perfectly well, however, because the R8 has
the necessary mechanical linkage to connect with the earlier non ROM lenses.

5.  The Leica extenders are exceptionally good.  One writer in discussing
extenders stated in his book that the Leica extenders were the only ones
which produced photographs of publishable quality.  This was written before
the 2x APO Extender became available I think.  If you have any APO lenses,
such as the 180 APO Telyt mentioned above then you should have the APO
Extender, because it reportedly will maintain the APO characteristics of the
lens onto the film.  The regular 2x Extender will not.  So the answer is
that only the APO lenses benefit from having an APO Extender.

Good luck with your choices.

David Burdoin
- ----- Original Message -----
From: Larry Fuller <>
To: leica <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 11:16 PM
Subject: [Leica] APO vs Elmarit vs Summicron??

>    Trying to distinguish between different lenses on ebay can be
> confusing. What's the difference between Elmarit and APO in the 180mm
> range?
>    What's the difference between Elmarit and Summicron in the 90mm
> range?
>    What does ROM mean?
>    If I'm using an R3, does ROM mean anything or is it something for
> newer cameras?
>    Does it make a difference whether I get a 2x extender with APO or
> not? Does an APO extender only benefit by using APO lenses?  I would not
> like to pay more for something that won't even benefit me. Thanks for
> any help.
> Bo Fuller
> --
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In reply to: Message from "Larry Fuller" <> ([Leica] APO vs Elmarit vs Summicron??)