Telyt 400 f6.8 : user info required : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I have seen a nice Telyt 400 for sale. This telyt has the Series 7 filter slot, everything works as it should, the sliding motion is very smooth. The asking price is a very reasonable 300 USD. (without the shoulder stock). I shall use the lens occasionally ( 1 or 2 trips a year) on a Leicaflex SL2, for wildlife. I have also read Doug Heer's review of the lens, which is very positive. My questions: is there something I should look for? Who can report of shortcomings?

-- Sebastien Simon (, January 08, 2002


There's very little that can go wrong with this lens. Edge separation can occur in any lens with cemented elements, so watch for that. A small amount is not a big problem.

With the f/6.8 Telyts, there is a ring at the camera end of the lens head that serves as a stop for the 3 parallel guides so that the tube with the optical unit doesn't slide off the end of the lens barrel. It's difficult to check for wear of this part without disassembling the lens, but at least extend the lens to its minimum focus distance and be sure the lens stops properly. Since this lens is focussing smoothly it doesn't need any lubrication.

In some of the oldest samples I've seen some black paint flaking off from the internal flare baffles. Not big problem if there's some flaking paint but for optimum flare control it would have to be fixed.

-- Douglas Herr (, January 08, 2002.

I have a Visoflex-mount model which I use also on the R bodies. Be aware that while this lens is very ergonomic hand-held, on a tripod the slide-lock button is in the wrong position for typical long-lens technique. You can't rest your left hand on top of the lens and work the focus button. I personally find it next to impossible to fine- tune the focus trombone as precisely as I would with a ring-type focus. The threads for the front-element retaining ring just happen to be 72mm x 0.75, however they start just a hair too deep in the mount to attach any 72mm filter I've come across. However, I did find a 72-67 step-down that attaches tightly, and 67mm filters do not seem to vignette. Makes polarization possible. One other irritation with this lens is that on a tripod you can only lock the lens at 90 degree increments, so you have to level the tripod each time either by the legs or ballhead. The older 280/2.8 has the same infuriating setup which is why I don't own one. I think my 400/6.8 is a cool lens and for $300 you can't get near it in performance with anything else, so you'll learn to live with its quirks. Go for it.

-- Jay (, January 08, 2002.

Great lens and a real value in the Leica long lens line up. I only use my reflex every now and then and was grateful when Doug sold me his old lens. My only complaint is that on one occasion a bird I was photographing at a bird feeder ducked his head in and out of the feeder during the exposure! I wondered why the little cheeky devil had such a grin on its face when the mirror flapped back into place. Serves me right for playing at being Doug Herr!

-- John Collier (, January 08, 2002.

Hello Sebastian,I can echo the positive accolades given to this optic.Should you decide not to buy a shoulder stock you should try a good monopod.A B & W s.7 circular polarizer will render nicely saturated 'chromes and is a snack to use.The old "gripe" about the field curvature is knowewhere near a problem in practice.This lens's contrast is wonderful for focussing and you will receive nice "snappy"images.Your SL2 centre spot may black out a little; a minor irritation.The prototype of this lens was an f8 optic trial tested by Volker Rauch,a race car photographer.My, how focussing has become a trivialty with the advent of auto focussing.Regards.

-- Sheridan Zantis (, January 08, 2002.

I was very surprised to see that you can still buy this lens new with the Novoflex setup (squeeze focus and shoulder stock etc)...from Novoflex. I find this encouraging should I ever want to venture into super teleland as I cannot afford $10,000 plus to buy the current APO module set ups.

-- Robin Smith (, January 09, 2002.

These lenses n E++/mint for Visoflex used to sell for about $ 1000- 1200 (USA), only a few years ago. Now there is a 400/6.8 R mount lens (with ser VII filter included but no stock) already at $ 700 on eBay, auction still going. At $ 300 it is an extremely good buy, unless there is something terrible you aren't telling us. Even if the glass needs servicing, you are still ahead of the game. Fortunately, with only two glass elements, there is not that much likely to go wrong with this lens. I say buy it.

-- Eliot (, January 09, 2002.

Thank you all for the positive comments. Yes, I have bought the lens. I shall report on my experiences with it after one or 2 rolls of film. There are some interesting findings, and no, there does not seem to be anything wrong with it.

-- Sebastien Simon (, January 11, 2002.

Old fashion but never had a better lens . To get the best results out of this lens use a good tripod , monopod (MANFROTTO) and a fast fuji slide film . Nobody can beat you with this supurb telephotolens combination.

-- Philip van der Meer (, April 09, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ