Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/01/18

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Long Telephoto lenses for M cameras
From: Doug Herr <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002 18:51:21 -0800
References: <>

Frank Filippone wrote:

> I would like to understand the Telyt lenses for the Visoflex.... They were
> made for a long time, and there seem to be many versions....  Which are the
> really great lenses in this mount?
> Frank Filippone

A better question is which ones were NOT really great.  The ones I've used that
were available with Visoflex mount are the late 280 f/4.8, 400 f/6.8, 560 f/6.8
and 400 f/5.6.  These are all excellent lenses.  The 560 f/5.6 and 400mm f/5.0
are also very fine optics, as well as the gigantic and superb 800mm f/6.3,
which was available as a Viso lens.

The 400 f/5.0 is a very old lens made with thread mount in several variations.
Optically it's quite good but I bet you'd get better contrast by stopping it
down some.  It also has a fine-pitch focussing helix that makes quick focus
impossible but fine focus easy.  Minimum focus is rather long.

The 400 and 560 f/5.6 lenses were made for the Televit rapid-focus mount, which
was available either as R or Viso.  My experience with the 400 is that it can
be focussed quickly and accurately but it's unwieldy as a hand-held lens so the
inclusion of a shoulder stock with the Televit is misleading.  I like it better
on a tripod.  I'm working on getting teh Televit set up with shoulder stock and
monopod for a good compromise between mobility and stability.  This combination
works GREAT with the f/6.8 Telyts and the late model 250-R (IMHO).

The f/6.8 lenses are better hand-held or monopodded than on a tripod IMHO
especially the 560 because it's so front-heavy.  Optically they're great, aside
from some field curvature.  I use mine at full aperture (numerous examples at
URL below).

I've only used the late version of the 280 f/4.8, 2 samples.  The detail
rendition is excellent, b*k*h is very smooth and easy on the eyes, but it's
more succeptible to flare than the late 250 R or f/6.8 Telyts.  Keep the front
element shaded from direct sunlight and it's not a problem.  The standard
focussing helix is slow and has a minimum focus distance of 11.5 feet or so
which was a problem for me.  The one I have now is on the Televit, so I get
quick, accurate focus and a minimum focus distance of just over 6'.  Gotta work
out the monopod thang, though.

I know nothing of the Viso lenses shorter than the 280.

Doug Herr
Birdman of Sacramento

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Replies: Reply from Henning Wulff <> (Re: [Leica] Long Telephoto lenses for M cameras)
Reply from Marc James Small <> (Re: [Leica] Long Telephoto lenses for M cameras)
In reply to: Message from "Frank Filippone" <> ([Leica] Long Telephoto lenses for M cameras)