Vario-Elmar 4/35-70 : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

Does anyone own the Vario-Elmar 4/35-70 and can comment on how severe distortion is?


-- Alexander Meyer (, November 20, 2001


I own the lens, and have never encountered noticeable distortion. Of course, I don't use the lens for serious architectural studies (IF I did that kind of work which I don't, I would use LF or at the very least something a PC lens)or flat copy work. For a general-use travel photography lens it's a gem. I wish Leica made a 28-90 of equal performance. The 28-70--now *there's* a lens with notable distortion.

-- Jay (, November 20, 2001.


How does she look wide open? I'm very interested in this lens, but I'm going to shoot her at 4 or 5.6 most of the time.


-- Jeff Rivera (, November 20, 2001.

The 35-70/4-R is similar to the Tri-Elmar in that it is already contrasty and sharp out to the corners even wide open (f/4 max. apertures are evidently a lot easier to correct than faster ones), and actually reaches its peak only one stop down, at f/5.6, but f/4 is already so good that there isn't a startling improvement, just a little snappier in the really fine details toward the corners. Happily, the lens keeps that performance to about f/16, and beyond that is no worse than wide open. I've got a 28-105/3.5-4.5 Nikkor AF- D which is a very good lens--by f/11! The 35-70/4-R's biggest advantage IMO is that you don't need to stop it way down to get decent performance out of it, and that makes it a really ideal travel lens, paired with the equally amazing 80-200/4. I usually carry a 21/4 or 28/2.8 and a 50/2 to round out the kit, but otherwise I only use my R primes for specific purposes any more.

-- Jay (, November 20, 2001.

PS: the Achilles Heel of the 35-70/4 is that using a polarizer is very difficult. An E60 polarizer vignettes at 35mm at close distances, and no one currently makes a "thin" E60 circular pola. It's impossible to use a larger (even 62mm) one with a step-up ring because the front lens retracts into the barrel and there is no clearance. My solution has been to buy a B+W E60 polarizer and grind off the front threads. Even then, at 35mm beyond a certain point in close focusing, you get vignetting. But it mostly works.

-- Jay (, November 20, 2001.

Jay is too hard on the 28-70. I have not used the new 35-70 so can't speak to a comparison, but I do own the 28-70 and use it a lot. Resolution and contrast are excellent and transparencies show identical color rendition with my other Leica lenses.

I have not used it for critical work, but I can say that in all normal circumstances there is no "notable distortion". The extra reach of the 28 end makes this an ideal travel lens IMO.

-- Ivor Quaggin (, November 21, 2001.

Hallo Alexander,

I ordered mine the day after I read about it in LFI. I tried the 28- 70 out before I received the lens but I knew I would stick to the one I had in mind. And I was not disappointed. Since I have the zoom I hardly use my prime lenses at all.

One very useful advantage is the close up ability of the lens! I took wonderful flowerpics and enlarged them to 50/ 70 cm. Just fine!

Best wishes

-- K. G. Wolf (, November 21, 2001.

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