Christopher J Osborne

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5

So this is my first ever Leitz lens! 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.

Compared to a Leitz camera lens, this projector lens is super cheap… but it's still considerably more expensive than I've ever paid for any other 35mm slide projector lens! This lens capable of delivering beautiful results with anything at the point of focus being very sharp, rapidly fading to beautiful focus blur everywhere else.

And the Colorplan is certainly well built… you could even call it over-engineered. A typical 35mm slide projector lens has a barrel made 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? If you can get one for a good price I would definitely say yes (if only for the appeal of having a Leitz lens in my collection!). But you sometimes see this lens with an asking price of ┬úpound;100-200, which I I think is too much, especially given the beautiful results I got from my favourite slide projector lens, the Enna München MC Ennalyt 90mm f/2.5.

One thing to bear in mind with the Colorplan is that is 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 a more common 85mm f/2.8 lens, 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:

And here is my method for adapting this lens:

  1. Prepare the toilet roll inner

    Prepared toilet roll innerThe barrel of the Colorplan lens is wider than a normal 35mm slide projector lens, so it will fit through the outer tube of the M52-M42 focussing helicoid with a lot of space to spare, but not the inner tube. But the lens barrel is also so long that even if it did fit through the inner tube is would poke too far out of the back of the lens we're making, so that is a good thing. What we need to do it place the Colorplan so the back of the lens rests on the inner tube of the focussing helicoid, and pack the spare space in the outer tube so the lens syas in place securely. I found that the cardboard inner from a toilet roll is the perfect kind of cardboard. I cut the toilet roll inner lengthways, and then cut it into strips about 25mm wide. I needed four of these strips.

  2. Fix strips toilet roll inner to the lens

    Strips of toilet roll inner fixed to the lensYou then need to wrap the strips of toilet roll inner to the rear of the lens with some masking tape to hold the cardboard together. I then put a ring of Black Tack (Blue Tack will do just as well) around the rear of the lens so it sticks to the inner tube of the focussing helicoid.

  3. Insert the lens into the focussing helicoid.

    Finished lensFinally 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 wriggling2 , but this is a good thing… after all, you don't wan't it to fall out!

Now all you have to do is mount your lens on your camera and go out and shoot some photographs!

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 lens with a slim M42 to Sony adapter for normal focussing

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 lens with a normal M42 to Sony adapter for close focussing

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.

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 1
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 2
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 3
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 4

These photographs were shot in the streets near my home in Edinburgh and processed using Adobe Lightroom. Edinburgh and processed using Sliver Efex Pro 2.

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 5
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 6
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 7
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 8
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 9
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 10
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 11
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 12

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.

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 13
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 14

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.

Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 15
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 16
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 17
Leitz Colorplan 90mm f/2.5 gallery - Image 18