Focal Lenght: 50mm
Max Apeture: 3.5
Lens Mount: Leica Thread Mount ( LTM / m39 )
Min. Focus: 1 m
Filter Size: 19mm (inner?) 36mm push-on (?) Do double check this.
Weight: 210g~


The collapsible Elmar 5cm 3.5 lens is one of the first lenses I wanted to have for my film Leica IIf. The idea of having the camera in an oversized coat pocket really appealed to me. My copy came with a slip-on hood and a filter, which was great. Fun fact – I own the version that has red lettering, which wasn’t initially obvious. Old age and dirt had made the engraving appear black, but a quick clean showed the red below.


This lens is one of the classics, among with the ones I always confuse – Summilux,Summicron, Summisomething. It makes your screw mount Leica very slim and feels right at home on the camera.

There’s a lot I like about the lens I like, but most of the handling comes down to working around the lens design itself.

The lens can retract safely into a film camera body (Altho it looked harmless and possible on the Sony a7, but I kept it extended just in case), which makes your camera very small. That does mean you have the extra step of extending the lens each time you want to take a photo. Another small thing to consider is that you need to check if you’ve “locked in” the lens barrel after extending it.

The aperture ring is a small piece near the front element, which might be difficult to use of you have big fingers. If you mount the lens hood it gets even harder to change it. If you mount a lens filter, you’ll need to take it off to set aperture (I personally used a bigger filter that fit the hood). In the end it was easier to remove the whole hood (with filter still one it) when making changes. This makes for a lengthy process each time you take the camera from your bag/pocket.

The 1 meter focusing distance is nothing to write home about, but it does limit you a bit if you’re used to more modern 50’s.

The focus knob is something you get used to fairly quickly and the hard stop at infinity helps a lot.

Keep in mind if you want to use this with an adapter or on a Fed/Zorkii the focus know might extend too far into the camera, making infinity impossible to set at.(Good thing it’s an already slow lens, so you it didn’t affect performance too much)


I like this lens, both of digital and on film. But because of the described quirks with handling above, I’ll stick to using it on film.

It produces lovely colors, has good contrast in the center and some vignetting. It’s a good portrait lens, if you can live with less bokeh.

Lens flare was an issue, although a greatly improved be a lens hood. Still, having a lightsource in frame caused some ghosting and artefacts. 

Stopping down the lens improves performance a lot and gives you nice sharpness across the frame.

Overall I’m very happy with the lens, especially when using it for black & white work. 


This is a good example of a lens that has a lot of unique aspects to it, some inconvenient –  others not so much, that can still be a pleasure to use. 

It’s a Leitz (Leica) lens so a good copy would cost a bit, but it might just be worth. One thing to note is that as time passes, finding a good copy might be harder, with a lot of them having the coating either stripped from clearning or heavily damaged. The coating on mine isn’t ideal either, but I can live with that.