• Thanks for your insights and your skillful exploration of the 135 focal length. I highly recommend the Elmarit-M 135/2.8, the one with the goggles. The magnification of the goggles increases the effective rangefinder base distance, giving you more accurate focusing AND, if you use it on an M8 or M8.2 it becomes a 180/f2.8, but retains the depth of field of a 135mm lens. Higher shutter speeds or tripod a must!

  • Robert: Thanks for the comment. I’m always flattered when someone takes the time to write a response.

    If I may, I’d like to comment on your comment regarding the 15mm lens: Unlike yours, mine actually sees significant action — in spite of the fact I haven’t yet found a satisfying way to correct the corner color aberrations when it’s used on an M9 (even Corner Fix won’t eradicate it). I seem to have a habit of “rebranding” my lenses, so I refer to the 15mm (and other super wides) as “contextual” lenses. If you’re interested, here’s the reason: http://www.ultrasomething.com/photography/2010/03/the-contextual-lens/

  • I actually like the 135mm f/2.8 Elmarit. My only complaint is the goggles require removing the grip to mount and unmount the lens. (Not sure if that happens with the Leica grips though.) As a big fan of the Canon 135mm f/2L, I’d love to see a world class, ultrafast, 135mm from Leica for the M. (E.g. comparable to the Canon or Sony/Zeiss 135mm f/1.8.) I expect that is at the hairy edge of optical and mechanical possibility however. The intended use is concert photography.

    In its digital resurgence, the M-series has every opportunity to once again be the epitome of 35mm format digital photography not only in delivered image quality but in flexibility as well. This will require a number of steps along an evolutionary path, but I have high hopes that the ecosystem is now strong enough to support Leica carrying the line forward many more decades. 135mm lenses are now considered at the edge of the use case for an M, but with innovation, the M’s scope of use will expand.


  • Hey Gregory,

    Very funny article. Equipment does have a way of forcing us to work differently. A cobbler once told me.” In the war between the shoe and the foot, the shoe always wins.”

    Lenses (1) photographers (0).


  • i use the 35mm or 28mm as my “contextual” lens so the 15mm doesn’t get much action….but i will doff my cap off to you and only shoot 15mm/135 images this weekend…and post both ends of the spectrum

    another great article…btw

  • I purchased a 90mm summicron, and had a 135mm f4 elmar thrown in. Like you, my normal use for a 135 is concert photography – relegating this lens to use at outdoors or large concert theatre’s – otherwise it is way too slow. I’ve done a bit of landscape with it, some action. But like you it doesn’t see much use. It does help though that my M bodies are a .85 M6 TTL, and an M3. The 135 lines aren’t that small. Nice article.

  • Gregory, I read both parts of your article and, inspired, even went out to buy one of those Tele-Elmars. Much to my dismay, I found only Elmars and Hectors in our local used Leica shops. Plenty of them. But not a single Tele-Elmar.

    I have two specific needs where I could use such lens very nicely: classical portrait and landscape. If you think you don’t have much use for your lens, I will gladly buy it from you. I live in Russia but that’s no big deal. I can pay you in advance and all you will have to do is pack it nicely and call UPS for a pick up. What do you say?


  • Reply to Greg Shanta: I’m glad you enjoyed the articles, and thanks for your offer to relieve me of my 135mm “burden.” But here’s the thing: Yes, it was a bit silly to purchase a lens for which I had no immediate need. But I’m old enough to know that, the instant I sell the 135, a need will suddenly materialize. So I’ll be hanging onto it.

    I have, by the way, found another nice function for this lens — micro four thirds. Specifically, when mounted on my Panasonic DMC-GH2, the lens is a fairly close replacement for my old Canon 300mm f/4 — a lens that saw a lot of use. Granted, there’s no image stabilization. But if locked to a tripod (or used on a very sunny day) I find the combination quite effective.

    Good luck in your search. It’s a very nice lens and a real “bargain” if one actually has need of a 135. I assume you’ve tried eBay? The prices I’ve seen there are much higher than I paid. Frankly, my article was so tongue-in-cheek, I’m not sure whether it will have had the effect of raising market prices or lowering them. 😉

  • Gregory, thank you for your reply. I am glad that you want to keep your lens: that way I will probably see more great images from it on your blog which I visit regularly (I wish, though, you’d post more often — I like your photography).

    I’ll find me a Tele-Elmar some day. Don’t like eBay prices, will keep looking.

    I intend to use it on my M9 and my future compact camera that I still haven’t got. I am not in favour of micro four thirds standard but I’m thinking about either Sone NEX or Ricoh GXR when they will have that M-module which they recently announced.

    As for 300mm, I have an excellent 50-year-old Kilfitt with Viso I and I just love it. I even manage to shoot it handheld sometimes (in those few sunny days that we get here in Russia, if lucky). Perfect tele, in my view. I even use it for close ups (with some marco rings attached I can focus it at 1.5 metres instead of its usual 3 metres); and for face-portraits, too.

    Good luck! And please post more pictures on your blog…


    P.S. Always feels nice to meet a namesake!

  • I have a tele elmar f4 135mm and can’t get a decent sharp image with this lens on my M9. I’m tempted to buy the latest, current version (f3.4 Apo) to see if I can get sharp shots.

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