Sony NEX 5N with Leica Elmar 135mm f4


It’s been a busy weekend, I trip at Meteora (Greece), a place of unique beauty and also my scanner has been busy scanning the slides I received earlier this week from the lab. At this trip I had the chance to try the Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens on the Sony NEX 5N. It’s a 50 years old piece which easily earns the nomination for my strangest looking lens !!

On the NEX 5N it’s a 200mm prime telephoto lens and although I rarely shoot at this focal length, it came in handy since at Meteora there are not really many locations to shoot from, so it’s either serious climbing and trekking or the safety of the telephoto.


As you can see from the picture above the 200mm focal length was exactly what I needed to fill the frame with my subject.

Now, my copy of Elmar made on 1960, so it’s quite an old lens. As expected, it’s a low contrast lens and the sun can create haze since this is not a multi coated lens. So, there are some limitations but generally its a wonderful lens. Contrast can be easily adjusted on the computer and at f8 it’s sharp. Despite its length (which makes it look bizarre on the NEX), it’s a thin and light lens and it takes the standard 39mm filters (standard for Leica).

I use a lot filters so it’s very important for me to have a small set of 39mm size which can be fitted on most of my lenses.

The two images below we’re shot wide open at f4. At this aperture it gets a little soft but still the quality is there.



Shooting a telephoto at large aperture creates many opportunities for interesting images, the limited depth of field can be used to make some good compositions.

The minimum focus distance is 1.5 meter, combine that with the fact that the crop sensor of the NEX makes it a 200mm and you immediately know that you need some space between you and your subject. I managed to make some excellent portraits with the Elmar and I was very happy with the final result. At f4 it really flatters a person since its not bitting sharp like modern lenses and that’s the way I prefer it.

At the same time, the images from the 16mp sensor of the NEX can withstand a post process boost in sharpness as you can see at the picture below (great color rendition and all the sharpness I need).


Overall, I consider the Elmar to be one of my best purchases. Spending 170€ for a genuine vintage Leica lens at excellent condition, I consider it a bargain and i am very satisfied from the first samples.

When I find the time, I will sure make a side to side comparison of the NEX – Elmar 135 combo with the Nikon D300 – Nikkor 135 DC. That should be a very interesting experiment !!

Enough with words, here are the rest of the images.



(c)2012 Konstantinos Besios. All rights reserved.

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