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Leica Showcase Leica 50mm f/2.5 Hektor

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
I've managed to snag a 1933 sample of the 5cm f/2.5 Hektor lens. Unfortunately the center of the front element is badly scuffed, causing all kinds of fuzziness at apertures smaller than f/6.3.

The Hektor is a triplet consisting of 6 elements in 3 groups of 2 cemented elements each. Designed by Max Berek in 1931 and produced mainly in 1932 and 1933 for a total of some 10000 units.

Soft-wide open, reasonably sharp stopped down, flare-prone. Yep, it sounds like a Leitz lens ;)

Some images taken at f/4.5 in/around the fortress town of Heusden.
Camera: Leica IIIc (1942)
Lens: Leitz 5,0cm f/2.5 Hektor (1933)
Film: Fomapan 100 Classic (Ro9, 1+25, 6.5 minutes)

1. Abandon all hope...
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2. ...ye who enter here.
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3.
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4. foundations of one of the old fortress gates
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Not overly happy with the results. I'm thinking about having the front element polished.
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
The glass on some of those early lenses is very soft. It is an uncommon enough lens to have the front element polished, and an valuable enough lens to have a professional shop do it.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
My question concerning re-polishing the front lens has been forwarded to another camera repair service in the UK.
This guy might have a spare front element, that sounds like a better option than having expensive re-polishing done that would still reduce image quality.

Some more from the first roll for Raid ;)
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BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
Spare front element- That must be RARE!

I've replaced the front element of a 1930s 5cm F2.8 Tessar with one 20 years newer, from a broken Contaflex. I needed to adjust the shim ever-so-slightly, worked out very well for me.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
The lens is currently with Malcolm Taylor of "Leica Lore".
He has several Hektor lenses to check the curvature of my sample. Looks like the front element center is out by about 2 microns. But he thinks there were some other issues with the lens as well as someone has been inside it before. Might be poorly aligned elements as the focus was out by a bit too.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
I had a pleasant conversation with Mr Taylor over the phone over the weekend.
The plan is to correct the curve on the front element and re-align the elements.
He will replace the felt light seal in the mount.
He will also attempt to reduce the play in the focusing helical.

The Hektor was maybe 5 minutes of the conversation, the rest was all about the qualities of different Leica lenses, bodies and the current-day viability of some of the different accessories.
As I said, a very pleasant conversation :)
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Was starting to get slightly worried about the Hektor lens, until I received a phonecall yesterday. Mr Taylor said he has finished the lens and the results of the tests so far appear very promising.
The focus is a little stiff towards close-up, but he says that will probably clear up when it has worn in a bit.
He's adjusted the lens for the slight focus shift to account for the re-polished front element.

The lens probably suffered from a fall at some point in its life as the lens tube bayonets were damaged. He has adjusted those as well.

Looking forward to hear from him later this week with the final report. :)
 

BrianS

Super Moderator
Apr 3, 2013
124
I look forward to seeing the results. So many of these lenses get an undeserved reputation due to damage incurred over the years. Use a lens that has been restored, or is the 1 in 10 that is undamaged: get an idea of what it is capable of. I have a Thorium Summicron that is restored: wow.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
So far I've shot half a roll of RPX 400 with it. I'm not liking the film very much because I just can't seem to get it right in Rodinal. But here are some samples anyway, exposed as 320 ASA, developed in Ro9 for 21 minutes in 1+50 at 20C


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Stand by for better results, as I'm currently running a roll of Fomapan 100 through a IIIc with this lens on it.
 

Mr_Flibble

Veteran
Aug 16, 2013
68
The Lowlands
Took the Hektor out for a spin last saturday at the "War from Above" event at Fort Veldhuis

WACs
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Captive Audience
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All clear
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Leica IIIc, 5cm f/2.5 Hektor, Fomapan 100 (HC-110, B, 6m, 20C)
 

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