Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5
If you just want to see some photos, jump to the sample photos!
So this is my first ever Leitz lens! Most Leitz lenses are well out of my price range! But a Leitz projector lens can be surprisingly affordable. My copy is a fairly early example, made in Germany and with a barrel constructed entirely out of metal. More modern examples have barrels made out of a mixture of metal and plastic and are made in Portugal.
But while this lens is super cheap compared to a Leitz camera lens, it's still considerably more expensive than your average 35mm slide projector lens. So what do you get for your money? The Colorplan is certainly very well built… you could even call it over-engineered. A typical 35mm slide projector lens has a barrel made entirely out of plastic and weighs 65-70 grams. But this full-metal bad boy weighs 4 times that at 265 grams!
But is it really worth the premium over a normal 35mm slide projector lens? This lens capable of delivering beautiful results with anything at the point of focus being very sharp, rapidly fading to very beautiful focus blur everywhere else. So, if you can get one for a good price, I would definitely say yes. You sometimes see this lens with an asking price of £100-200, which I think is too much given that you still need to spend some money on adapters. But it isn't a particularly rare lens, so just be patient and you probably won't have to wait long to see one being offered for a more reasonable price. (And if the lens is being offered already adapted for your camera, that sort of price starts to look reasonable!)
One thing to bear in mind with the Colorplan is that it isn't just heavier than a normal 35mm slide projector lens, it's also quite a bit longer, so it requires a slightly different adaptation method than I would use for most 35mm slide projector lenses, but it still works well with my normal M52-M42 36-90mm focusing helicoid. Here is a full list of all the things I used to adapt this lens:
- An M52-M42 36-90mm focusing helicoid available from Amazon or eBay
- A standard M42 to Sony E mount adapter available on Amazon or eBay
- An ultra-slim M42 to Sony E mount adapter available on Amazon or eBay
- Black electrical tape.
And here is my method for adapting this lens:
Apply black electrical tape to the lens barrel.
The barrel of the Colorplan lens is wider than a normal 35mm slide projector lens, but it will still fit through the outer tube of the M52-M42 focussing helicoid with a plenty of space to spare, but it won't fit within the inner tube. But the lens barrel is also so long that even if it did fit through the inner tube is would poke out of the back of the adapted lens. Instead the lens barrel with rest on the inner tube of the focussing helicoid. So what we need to do is wrap black electrical around the lens barel so the tape is about 1cm or so from the bottom of the lens and the diameter of the lens is approximately 50.3-50.4mm wide. (If you don't have a set of digital callipers to measure the diameter just add and remove layers of tape until you get a snug fit.)
I'm using black electrical tape rather than the usual masking tape as the tape will be visible once the lens is finished, and black electrical tape will give a neater and more discrete finished lens.
Insert the lens into the focussing helicoid and then screw on an ultra-slim M42 to Sony E mount adapter.
Finally you just need to insert the Color plan lens into the M52-M42 focussing helicoid as far as it will go so it rests on the inner tube of the helicoid. It will be a tight fit so this may a bit of wriggling, but this is a good thing… after all, you don't wan't it to fall out!
An ultra-slim M42 to Sony E mount adapter will allow the lens to focus to infinity, but you can use a standard M42 to Sony E mount adapter to allow for macro focussing.
Now all you have to do is mount your lens on your camera and go out and shoot some photographs!
Example photographs using a slim M42 to Sony E mount adapter
So let's have a look at some photographs! This first set of 4 photographs were taken at New Calton Burial Ground in Edinburgh and processed using Sliver Efex Pro 2.
These photographs were shot in the streets near my home in Edinburgh and processed using Adobe Lightroom.
Just for fun, these 2 photographs were processed using looks that are a bit different from those I normally use. The black and white one was shot in New Calton Burial Ground and processed using Silver Efex Pro 2 with the "Yellowed 1" preset as a starting point, and the colour one was processed using Analogue Efex Pro 2 using the "Vintage Camera 5" preset as a starting point.
Example photographs using a standard M42 to Sony E mount adapter
Finally, some close up photographs shot using a standard M42 to Sony E mount adapter. These were all processed using plain old Adobe Lightroom. The first one was shot using a long shutter speed combined with some intentional camera movement.