For LEICA M cameras - Part IV
Zeiss Ikon/Voigtlander/Contarex Carl Zeiss Hologon (10.0659) Superwide Camera w/ 8/15 (15mm f/8.0)

 


Original version of the Carl Zeiss HOLOGON 1:8/15 lens for LEICA-M with Bubble Optical viewfinder and center graduated filter
Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008.

As I mentioned in the page two, the HOLOGON camera with a fixed lens attached as well as full accessories were being supplied in the set was designed to be system independent; and generally, although as a whole, the ultra-wideangle equipped Hologon camera was considered to be a new innovative camera/lens breed as well as experimenting a new market concept, but it was not entirely a very successful commercial project. No one knows if ever Zeiss Ikon had changed their plan/decision to sell the lens as individual would be achieving a greater level of success or not. Even after the assembling was moved to Oberkochen, they were only being made in smaller scales. According to various reading references, they are some which were sold under the wings of a newco, Carl Zeiss Contarex-Vertrieb. And in the course , they were a batch being designed by Zeiss in uncoupled Leica bayonet mount and let Leitz re-modified & marketed them on behalf. Zeiss Compendium had reported approx. 1,000 units of these were being produced but only the range of 350~500 units of these modified Hologon 15mm 1:8 individual lenses had been sold by Leitz.

Individual means the lens was made available as an interchangeable lens for the LEICA and doesn't have to cough out a larger budget just to own this specific lens type by acquiring the Hologon camera as a set. In bare basic term, Zeiss Ikon was trying to broaden the sales appeal via the established Leica pool of users with a "Well, I am now offering you (leica users) something you don't or wouldn't be able to find within the Leitz RF lens group ..." kind of approach. Anyway, neither Leitz had never rejected the idea and had accepted to modified the offer to fit Leica cameras. In general, one major difference was, the redesigned, individual HOLOGON 8/15mm lens in Leica bayonet mount has capability to perform focus adjustment whereas the original lens used on the HOLOGON ultrawide camera was a fixed focus type. From the number sold presented earlier, the shift of marketing was not entirely striking too well too. Personally, I guess it has a lot to do with finding practical photographic applications for the lens. An ultrawide is not considered to be a general purpose photographic lens. In pratical term, it truly requires creative usage as well combining good skill in handling its extraordinary picture coverage by the phtographer. Although in theory, it may serve certain specific requirements in scientific, architectural, aerial, fashion and/or special effect photography. But overall, the scope of usage/market can be quite restrictive/small. Further, back in the early '70 - not a too many
* rangefinder Leica has built-in meter yet and in comparison, an alternate TTL meter capable-SLRs with equivalent option(s)** of super-wideangle lens(es) had made this slightly less appealing; especially it works via an added on optical finder for estimate photo compostion. Anyway, this particular made-for-Leica batch has " Carl Zeiss Hologon 1:8/15 for Leica-M " encoded on the lens data circularly at the front rim .

*
Leica M5, generally being regarded as the first rangefinder LEICA RF camera that offered TTL metering, it was only being unveiled in 1971 which was approx. around this period; the more successful Leica M6 with similar capability in TTL metering was only first being marketed in 1984. ** Please also take note Carl Zeiss also has a Distogon T* 15mm f/3.5 Super-wideangle lens on their own, it was a lens supposedly designed for the CONTAREX series but was never actually being marketed during its era. The design was eventually materialized only via Kyocera's Contax SLRs series, and even had one for the 35mm format Rollei 3003/6008 series as well as a version made in LEICA R-mount. Relative: Leica-M Series cameras

Close up view of an Original version of the Carl Zeiss HOLOGON 1:8/15 lens for LEICA-M with Bubble Optical viewfinder and center graduated filter
In comparion, the Leica M-bayonet version has some cosmetic differences in its appearance from the original fixed Hologon 8/15 version as used on the HOLOGON ultrawide camera. One of the most noticeable feature is the red-colored coded distance scales (feet). The metric distance scales are provided at the opposite end. However, the aperture is still fixed and rather slow 1:8. Besides, an individual Optical Viewfinder with Bubble level was also supplied as standard accessory. Due to both rarity and heritage element it, the Zeiss made, Leica modified 8/15mm Hologon set can be regarded as one of the most desirable Leica collectible optic today.

Please take note
this version is DIFFERENT from the Contax G-spec T* Hologon 8/16mm model as featured briefly a few paragraphs below. A few simple points for quick and easy visual identifications: i.e. NO "T*" marked on lens data description; 1:8/15 for original version (read as 8/16 for G-spec model); Viewfinder old style and finishes in black.
   
Viisual identification to seperate the G-spec and original Carl Zeiss HOLOGON lens for LEICA-M
Rear section at lens mount: Original version has NO data linkage. G-spec model has a handle for focusing. There are other minor points as indicated below in an illustration.

Showcaed here is how a LEICA-M Carl Zeiss Hologon 8/15 ultra-wideangle lens w/bubble Finder looks like when mounted on a typical modern Leica RF camera.

A superb view of a typical set up with Carl Zeiss original version  HOLOGON 1:8/15 lens for LEICA-M with Bubble Optical viewfinder and center graduated filter mounted on a LEICA M camera
The Graduated Center Filter was made by Leitz though. The internal filter thread has also been eliminated. This alternate option has extended the reach of Leica/Leitz which traditionally limits its ultrawideangle range for their rangefinder bodies at 2.1cm.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of some nice folks from DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

 

Here is a REAL TREAT:- Two separate profiles on Carl Zeiss Hologon for Leica M cameras

Separate LINK to profile of original Carl Zeiss HOLOGON 15mm f8 for Leica-M

The Carl Zeiss Hologon remade for CONTAX G-series cameras was part of a star attraction of the Carl Zess lens group tailored made for the Contax G-series bodies first introduced in 1994 with the G1 by Kyocera (the next upgrade, CONTAX G2 was offered in 1996). The focal length had been marginally increased to 16mm from 15mm original. Aperture remains the same @ f/8.0. Supplied in silverish and black finishes; the bubble optical viewfinder has a modern feel in sleek contour, rounded edges and the center graduated filter supplied as standard accessory has rectangular-shape. One of the major difference of the G-Spec 16mm Hologon for the G was; the optical design of the HOLOGON for Contax G has been modified/revised as 5 elements in 3 groups* internally - which is different from the original tripet - 3 elements composition. As most of the G-spec Carl Zeiss lenses for the G-series actually were produced in Japan, but this particular Hologon 8/16 was indicated still being retained and produced in Germany. * Carl Zeiss stated "...It is constructed quasi-symmetrically. The Carl Zeiss unique (revised 5E/3G) lens design aims to reduce the distance from the rear of the lens to the film plane enhanced the improvement of the contrast of this lens..".
 
The G-spec HOLOGON 16mm f/8.0 with lens cap, Bubble level Optical Viewfinder, rectangular-shape graduated center filter and leatehr case by CONTAX
Here is a series of product photos featuring the G-spec Carl Zeiss T* Hologon 16mm f/8.0 provided by the popular Austrian based online auctioneer, Leicashop®. Despite it has distance/focusing adjustment in this G-spec ultrawide, but please take note the Hologon for Contax G cameras still offered a fixed aperture 1:8. Further, there were some limitations when used on the G1/G2 bodies, such as autofocus mechanism of the CONTAX G-models DOES NOT WORK with this lens, neither the TTL flash nor the metering works**.

Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
** The Contax G-user site explained this:- " ...Hologon does not work with the G's autofocus system; it is focused by scale (hardly a handicap considering the depth of field available with a 16mm f/8 lens!) Also, the lens' deep protrusion into the camera body causes it to block the TTL meter sensor's "view" of the film plane, making TTL metering impossible. To handle this, the G cameras have a separate external meter cell (covering an angle of about 70 degrees) which is automatically engaged when the Hologon is mounted. The Hologon's depth also prevents TTL flash metering from operating; in the unlikely event you want to use flash with it (where would you get a flash unit that covers 106 degrees?) you'll have to set your exposure manually...". Ref: Contax G-User Forum

Side section views of The G-spec HOLOGON 16mm f/8.0
Here is a series of photos of the Carl Zeiss for Leica Hologon 15mm f/8.0 provided by the popular Austrian based online auctioneer, Leicashop®.

The modern shape of a The G-spec HOLOGON 16mm f/8.0 with lens cap, Bubble level Optical Viewfinder

The special rectangular-shape graduated center filter for G-spec HOLOGON 16mm f/8.0 ultrawideangle lens by Contax

For more information on the Contax 1994s G1, G2 (1996) and the Carl Zeiss T* range of optic for the autofocus G-spec rangefinder cameras, please refer to the Contax G-users website. It has some related information on the G-spec 16mm f/8.0 HOLOGON lens as well.


Optical design and diaphragm of the G-Spec Carl Zeiss T* Hologon 16mm f/8.0 ultrawideangle lens.
Brief specification for Carl Zeiss Hologon T* 16mm f8 for Contax G-series camera models

Optical Construction:- 5 elements in 3 groups; Focal length:- 16.5 mm
Image Size:- 24 x 36mm; Angular Field:- 106°
Lens Mount:- CONTAX G Mount; Aperture:- f/8 (Fixed); aperture scales:- n/a
Minimum Focus:- 0.3M; Filter connection:- n/a
Dimension:- 57 x 11mm (2-1/4x1-7/16in.); Weight:- 125g (4.4 oz)
Accessories:- Viewfinder GF-16mm, Gradation Filter 4x, Lens cap 57mm GK 54 (Snap-On type), Lens rear cap GK-R2, Hologon case, Cloth case.

NOTE: When hologon lens is mounted, the Autofocusing (AF) & TTL do work with the CONTAX G camera models. Built-in metering doesn't work as well but Contax offers an alternate solution (read)

Contax G Series 16mm f/8.0 Carl Zeiss T* ultrawideangle lens with Dedicated Finder and Gradation Filter 4X for Hologon T* 8/16

Index Page | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

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a Zeiss designed prototype 110mm 1:8 HOLOGON lens for Linhof large format camera

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House as well as some of the primary Images courtesy of camera$@EBAY® who also operates an EBAY STORE. Both online trade centres can find many used RARE pieces of Nikon, Leica and other old classic photo equipment, ALL images appeared herein belongs to the respective contributors and are copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer. The last image at bottom of the page Credit: Image courtesy of Photo_Arsenal-Worldwide® Germany. The Company also maintains an active EBAY Store, trading many used and new photo equipment of various labels. Photo Aersenal can be contacted at Photo Arsenal Boris Jamchtchik, Altenfurter Str.16a 90475 Nuernberg Germany Tel.: +49 (0) 911/ 4008081 E-Mail: ebayshop@arsenal-photo.com. Arsenal has a office in Hong Kong, headed by Evan Wong. Address is: Ting Shan East Selling-Office Unit 210, 2/f., Mirror Tower, 61 Mody Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong Phone: + 852/23126690 , fax. +852/23126691.Image(s) copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.