The original version of the 40cm f/5 Leitz Telyt (now dubbed the 40cm f/5 Telyt I) was brought forth in 1936; however, only 50 examples were made that year and it didn’t come onto the market until 1938. It has long been rumored that it was created for the Berlin Olympics. Dr. Paul Wolf did write asking for a longer telephoto to cover the event, but it’s unclear if he ever used the lens to shoot the event.
The Telyt I, made in uncoated and coated versions, was a 5-element, 4-group lens closely based on its predecessor the 20cm f/4.5 Telyt, and it had similar imaging characteristics—very good sharpness and correction for a vintage lens, but relatively low contrast compared to modern optics. It mounted on a Visoflex or Leitz PLOOT reflex housing, and its closest focusing distance was an amazingly distant 8 meters or 26.3 feet! If that’s not daunting enough, it weighed in at 5.18 pounds sans reflex housing. On the plus side did stop down to f/32. #tbt#leicasociety
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