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Chrome Hexanon 35/2L vs 35/2 UC-Hexanon?
Old 02-01-2018   #1
Dante_Stella
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Chrome Hexanon 35/2L vs 35/2 UC-Hexanon?

Ok, so I found a chrome 35 Hexanon screwmount at a price I couldn't refuse, following a 35/2 Canon at a price I couldn't refuse, following a Canon P with a 35/2.8 at a price I couldn't refuse...

So since I will have the chrome one in a few days, and I can borrow my brother's UC, anyone want to lay bets on:

1. Whether they are obviously different optically?

2. Whether the UC is actually smaller?

3. Whether one is sharper than the other?

4. Anything else?

I have my suspicions, but speculation is always fun!

Dante
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Old 02-01-2018   #2
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Is the 35ltm the same optical unit as the Hexar AF or is that the UC Hex (or maybe neither)?
My understanding is that the Hexanon f2/35mm M mount is a different lens from the earlier Konica 35's, it would be cool if you had that one to compare as well.
I'll be curious to discover how the LTM's compare.

I still use film with the Hexar AF. It's my only fast 35mm lens (Oly XA3 is next @f3.5)
The Konica lenses are special.
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Old 02-01-2018   #3
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The UC-Hex is a great performer. I used to have one for my RD1. Gave great results but I preferred a 28mm so sold it. One came into the photo store I work a short while ago and I was tempted but didn’t give in.

Paul
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Old 02-01-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
Is the 35ltm the same optical unit as the Hexar AF or is that the UC Hex (or maybe neither)?
My understanding is that the Hexanon f2/35mm M mount is a different lens from the earlier Konica 35's, it would be cool if you had that one to compare as well.
I'll be curious to discover how the LTM's compare.

I still use film with the Hexar AF. It's my only fast 35mm lens (Oly XA3 is next @f3.5)
The Konica lenses are special.
I believe the chrome 35, the UC, and the Hexar are all the same lens, all modeled on the 35/1.8 Nikkor. The chrome one probably the most so because it even mimics the scalloped focus ring.

The M-Hexanon is a lot different.

I will be curious to measure the size of the UC against the chrome - it looks smaller than the chrome, but look at the positioning of the aperture ring. I think it's an optical illusion. The chrome 35 has the aperture ring set far forward, like an old Zeiss lens.

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Old 02-01-2018   #5
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According to Konica's literature it's a modified Xenotar, intentionally made under-corrected on spherical aberration for better field curvature and to keep the size down. The Hexar body automatically compensates for focus shifts depending on the current aperture setting and the rangefinder's feedback.

On my new digital M I find my trustworthy (on film) UC-Hexanon to shift backward heavily between f/2.8 and f/5.6 - my favorite aperture range, sadly. A Color-Skopar (a Biogon by design) fares much better in this regard.
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Old 02-01-2018   #6
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Actually it’s an old topic in Rangefinder forum.

Konica Chrome Hexanon 35 2 is the lens used on Hexar camera. Its optical design based on the classic lens Nikkor-w 35mm f1.8 made for Nikon SP. The difference between Konica chrome 35 2 and Konica UC-Hexanon 35 2 is that UC coating. The UC-Hexanon version has a lovely focus tab and its painting is gorgeous.
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Old 02-01-2018   #7
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Having a Nikon W-Nikkor 35/1.8 (sadly not mountable on a Leica body even with an Amadeo adapter) and a MS-Optical-converted Konica Hexar AF 35/2 for the M-mount, I'm highly curious if they solved the issues with backfocus under 1m (Miyazaki noted in the conversion to only use F2.8 and larger at 1m or further in his included test chart).

I think both the UC and the non-UC focus down to 0.9m?
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Old 02-01-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
I believe the chrome 35, the UC, and the Hexar are all the same lens, all modeled on the 35/1.8 Nikkor.
Modelled on, but not the same. Compared to the W-Nikkor 35/1.8, the Hexanons have significant barrel distortion.

The Hexanons share the same optical formula. A large camera shop in Tokyo (sorry I forget the shop's name right now) commissioned Konica to make an LTM version of the Hexar AF lens (the chrome 35) which proved so popular that the shop did a second round using the same optics with multi-coating and different barrel (UC).
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Old 02-01-2018   #9
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Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
Modelled on, but not the same. Compared to the W-Nikkor 35/1.8, the Hexanons have significant barrel distortion.

The Hexanons share the same optical formula. A large camera shop in Tokyo (sorry I forget the shop's name right now) commissioned Konica to make an LTM version of the Hexar AF lens (the chrome 35) which proved so popular that the shop did a second round using the same optics with multi-coating and different barrel (UC).
I believe it's Fujisawa Shokai, on whose website the UC-Hexanon hood could still be purchased new until recent years.

They also commissioned the 50/2.4, the 60/1.2 and the Hexar RF 72, maybe more.
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Old 02-01-2018   #10
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Quote:
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I believe it's Fujisawa Shokai
Ahhh yes! That's it.

Their website was http://www.5055.co.jp/ but they closed up shop in April 2014 unfortunately and the website no longer exists.

Here's a waybackmachine snapshot of their website from February 2006, and sure enough the UC Hex is listed.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060202...ww.5055.co.jp/
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Old 02-01-2018   #11
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Very interesting.
Had no idea these lenses are commissioned by one shop.
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Old 02-01-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuvvy View Post
The UC-Hex is a great performer. I used to have one for my RD1. Gave great results but I preferred a 28mm so sold it. One came into the photo store I work a short while ago and I was tempted but didnít give in.

Paul
It is hard to judge any lens with 1.5 crop factor. You have to see what lens does in the corners before assigning it "great performer" mark.
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Old 02-01-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
Ok, so I found a chrome 35 Hexanon screwmount at a price I couldn't refuse, following a 35/2 Canon at a price I couldn't refuse (anyone looking for one?), following a Canon P with a 35/2.8 at a price I couldn't refuse...

So since I will have the chrome one in a few days, and I can borrow my brother's UC, anyone want to lay bets on:

1. Whether they are obviously different optically?

2. Whether the UC is actually smaller?

3. Whether one is sharper than the other?

4. Anything else?

I have my suspicions, but speculation is always fun!

Dante
1. i feel they have different color rendering (in film)

2. chrome is smaller .. but ergonomically worse .. UC is the best to handle

3. nope both are sharp .. very sharp ... for my taste

4. i love the chrome hood... solid black hood.. and now the hood is used on UC and other 46 mm

Sincerely
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Old 02-01-2018   #14
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I had a UC hex once and sold it. Probably the lens I most regret selling.
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Old 02-02-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonmanjiro View Post
...which proved so popular that the shop did a second round using the same optics with multi-coating and different barrel (UC).
The UC designation in the 1980s on Konica lenses was not in derogation of the fact that most of its other lenses were already multicoated. UC stood for "ultra compact," "ultra coating," and "ultra close (focusing)."

I'd really be surprised if the chrome 35 was not multicoated, since it is the same optic as in the Hexar AF, which is definitely MC. Unless they got Konica to commission a completely different run of lens elements that were SC, which seems highly unlikely. My Hexar and 50/2.4 both have a green sheen on the front element (like Nikon multicoating), and both 35/2s look like they do as well, at least in pictures (and also my hazy memory). I'll report on this when I get both lenses together.

When I first bought a black one, the "UC" always struck me as being related to the size. Certainly not the close-focusing. But I suspect that this was mainly about associating it with Konica's prestige UC lenses of old (like the 15mm and 28/1.8), just as the design was changed to make it look more like a Summicron v4. So I'd chalk it up to marketing.

Regret selling my black one? Theoretically, yes, and my renewed interest is in finding a good 35 for a Canon P. But what really happened that with prices where they were back then for Leica, I was able to buy a new 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH for only a couple hundred more bucks. And I can't with a straight face argue that the Leica lens doesn't crush the UC-Hexanon in build or optical quality. Not bokeh, but in practice it has not been a huge issue. Also, I kept my Hexar AF, which had the same lens and auto-compensates for focus shift in stopping down.

And today, it's hard to regard the black one as a "good value" lens, considering that it is now up there in price with the screwmount Summicron ASPH, probably the best 35/2 lens ever made.

Dante
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Old 02-02-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taomei View Post
I'm highly curious if they solved the issues with backfocus under 1m (Miyazaki noted in the conversion to only use F2.8 and larger at 1m or further in his included test chart).
Some of the issue might just be Miyazaki. The MS-Sonnetar only focuses correctly at f/2.8 when the adjuster (which is labeled "coma" but is really focal length) is at "neutral." You can actually set the lens differently to have only the slightest front focus. But maybe the rear element on the Hexar AF lens is too big to allow an adjustment ring.

The Hexar AF sidestepped the focus shift problem by changing the focus with the aperture selected (and in one test I saw, this allowed it to beat the mythic 35 Summicron IV). Compensation allows you to maximize performance at every aperture/distance combination. Unfortunately, LTM lens designs are too simple to make this correction, which is the whole (and novel) point of the Leica 35/1.4 FLE.

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Old 02-02-2018   #17
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I'm a big fan of my UC Hexanon as well. So much so, that I purchased a dead Hexar AF to convert to M-mount when MGR releases a kit (if they ever do). This conversion lens should have a .7m MFD, but likely won't be as gorgeous.

The coating colors do seem different between the Hexar AF and UC Hexanon. The UC coatings have more of a red coloring, where the Hexar has a green tint - the same green tint that my 50mm Hexanon 2.4 LTM has.
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Old 02-02-2018   #18
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Should have never sold my black Hexar AF. Should have never sold my UC Hexanon.
Among the things I have owned then sold, those Konica products are at the top of the list. Above my 3.5E Planar Rolleiflex, above my Leica M2, above my beloved Nikon F4.

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Old 02-02-2018   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KEVIN-XU 愛 forever View Post
Actually itís an old topic in Rangefinder forum.

Konica Chrome Hexanon 35 2 is the lens used on Hexar camera. Its optical design based on the classic lens Nikkor-w 35mm f1.8 made for Nikon SP. The difference between Konica chrome 35 2 and Konica UC-Hexanon 35 2 is that UC coating. The UC-Hexanon version has a lovely focus tab and its painting is gorgeous.
Totally correct. And, the UC is a 43mm filter, while the chrome lens is a 46mm filter.

The UC is sharper. The chrome lens is less coated and identical to the Hexar lens. The Hexar corrects the slight focus drift in its AF, but the chrome lens 'suffered' from it, it's really not all that extensive. The UC coating corrected that.
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Old 02-02-2018   #20
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Totally correct. And, the UC is a 43mm filter, while the chrome lens is a 46mm filter.

The UC is sharper. The chrome lens is less coated and identical to the Hexar lens. The Hexar corrects the slight focus drift in its AF, but the chrome lens 'suffered' from it, it's really not all that extensive. The UC coating corrected that.
I don't think extra coating alone could fix it.

My UC-Hexanon is quite good at the minimal distance, but drifts backward (on digital) between f/2.8 and f/5.6, from like 1.2m to infinity.

A shot of near-infinity subject, f/5.6, focused at infinity and 10m respectively:



Might be sample variation but mine is spot on wide open.

Again, it's on digital, which spoils. On film I never quite noticed it...maybe there were more to fault (like the scanner), maybe I was just being sloppy (especially when shooting film).
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Old 02-02-2018   #21
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Totally correct. And, the UC is a 43mm filter, while the chrome lens is a 46mm filter.

The UC is sharper. The chrome lens is less coated and identical to the Hexar lens. The Hexar corrects the slight focus drift in its AF, but the chrome lens 'suffered' from it, it's really not all that extensive. The UC coating corrected that.
If the UC is "better" with focus shift (as opposed to just shifting the focus to mask the problem as is done on ZM Sonnars), that necessarily means it has less SA (and probably worse bokeh). I haven't seen anyone make the claim that one is sharper than the other. The reality is that a lot of lenses will max out a 24mp sensor, so it may be hard to observe.

If the chrome is 46mm, that would be awesome, since I have pretty much every type of 46mm filter ever made, including redhancers, prisms and nebulas. But I guess I need to send that chrome 43mm B+W filter back to Adorama.

You can actually manipulate the focus on wideangle screwmount lenses by using different M adapters. I measured 30 of them from many sources, and there is a pretty big spread (0.94-1.02). When the silver one gets here (and assuming it arrives safely), I'll shoot them both against my LensAlign on a 240 and 246, and we can see if there is a focus shift difference.

Dante
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Old 02-02-2018   #22
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Archlich, try a thinner LTM adapter. That will fool the camera into thinking that the lens is focused further than it actually is, since the cam moves faster than the optical unit.
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Old 02-02-2018   #23
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Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
The UC designation in the 1980s on Konica lenses was not in derogation of the fact that most of its other lenses were already multicoated. UC stood for "ultra compact," "ultra coating," and "ultra close (focusing)."

I'd really be surprised if the chrome 35 was not multicoated, since it is the same optic as in the Hexar AF, which is definitely MC. Unless they got Konica to commission a completely different run of lens elements that were SC, which seems highly unlikely. My Hexar and 50/2.4 both have a green sheen on the front element (like Nikon multicoating), and both 35/2s look like they do as well, at least in pictures (and also my hazy memory). I'll report on this when I get both lenses together.
For sure the chrome 35 is also multi coated. I should have written "different multi coating and barrel". Since reading in the UC Hexanon literature somewhere that UC stood for Ultra Coating I've always assumed the difference between the chrome 35 and the UC multi coating was something like the difference between Nikon's "Nikon Integrated Coating" (NIC) and Nikon's "Super Integrated Coating" (SIC). NIC has the green sheen, and SIC, which replaced NIC in the early 2000s, has a purplish greenish multicolored sheen that changes by viewing angle.

But maybe there's no difference in the multi coating at all, and its just marketing!? Let us know what you find.
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Old 02-02-2018   #24
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I just read this thread and couldn't follow the nomenclature -- "chrome" = the Hexar AF lens? "Black" = what exactly?

Is there no love for the M-Hex 35/2?
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Old 02-07-2018   #25
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I just read this thread and couldn't follow the nomenclature -- "chrome" = the Hexar AF lens? "Black" = what exactly?

Is there no love for the M-Hex 35/2?
Black is the 35/2 screwmount lens from 2000
Chrome is the 35/2 screwmount lens from 1996
(both are Hexar lenses from 1992 in Leica mount)

Ok. So the 35/2 chrome arrived today.
- Green coatings
- More of a Leica feel to the aperture (no friction like the UC; feels like a ball detent)
- Looks like a 10 or 11-blade aperture
- Half stops
- Filter ring is 46mm wide, but it looks like this is due simply to not tapering the lens past the focusing ring
- Chrome looks like Zeiss chrome. Scallops look like the Canon 35/2 or the Kobalux 21.
- With a Leitz LTM adapter, "up" is slightly to the side of vertical, like older lenses.

As to the focus shift on this one, inside 1.2m, it definitely needs to be hiked slightly past the RF focusing point, as in focusing further until the double image almost "breaks." Otherwise, f/2.8 is dead on. Past 1.2m, focus seems fine.

Bokeh is disc at distance.

The hood for this thing is beautiful (the hood is like the UC, but it has a rebate - a cylinder at its rim).

So I'm not seeing, right off the bat, much of note. I'll borrow my brother's lens and examine things in a little more detail.

Dante
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Old 02-07-2018   #26
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Archlich, try a thinner LTM adapter. That will fool the camera into thinking that the lens is focused further than it actually is, since the cam moves faster than the optical unit.
Hi Dante, do you have recommendations? I have been using a Voigtlander one for years...
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Old 02-07-2018   #27
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Hi Dante, do you have recommendations? I have been using a Voigtlander one for years...
Jiyeng, sold by Fotodiox and on Ebay, has a much better than average chance of being thin. Their adapters typically run from 0.95 to 0.99, at least on the 10 or so I measured. In general, off-brand adapters shoot to be a little thin so that lenses always focus to infinity. Leica ones seem to be 1.00 to 1.01. It helps to use a digital micrometer.

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Old 02-07-2018   #28
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I have very little to add to this discussion from a technical perspective, but I've owned both lenses. From an ergonomic standpoint, the UC-Hexanon is my favorite lens ever. The focus throw and aperture clicks are perfect. Conversely, I found the L-Hexanon almost impossible to use. It was too cramped for me and I'd often accidentally move the aperture ring when moving the (rather stiff) focus ring.
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Old 02-12-2018   #29
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Ok. Here you can see how this does at about a meter and f/2.0. Sharp as hell with commensurate massive falloff.

The arguments I've heard about the black one (which I have used extensively myself) are mainly related to ergonomics. If by that one means the ability to focus quickly and roughly correctly, I'd agree. But when you need to precisely focus, tabs are pretty bad. They are usually associated with very fast focusing rates, usually 1/4 turn, which themselves inhibit accuracy.

It's a matter of mechanics: a 35mm lens has very little focus travel. A big 50mm wide focusing ring gives you a 144mm circumference and a 36mm travel if it's a quarter turn from 0.9 to ∞. Every millimeter of ring travel is 1/40 of the front-back travel of the lens, and you are turning it with your index finger.

Now consider how that works when you are using your thumb (your least coordinated finger) to lever against a 12mm scallop, using less "draggy" lubricants. The big advantage of this system is tactile indication for approximate focus, but once you lift it to your eye to use the rangefinder, the tab doesn't confer any particular advantage. This is a great setup for a reportage lens, but the biomechanic limitations probably explain why tabs are almost completely absent from fast lenses, particularly longer ones. For example, ZM "hump" is for distance orientation and not leverage; every ZM lens is designed to be focused by using the ring.

These are, of course, horses for courses - and I own 35mm lenses with and without tabs. But I think the point is that if your budget is 1200 and not 2000, I would not automatically assume you're coming out worse with chrome.

Dante

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Old 02-14-2018   #30
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Also field curvature, as you will see from the almost impossible DOF for f/2.
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Old 02-14-2018   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dante_Stella View Post
Some of the issue might just be Miyazaki. The MS-Sonnetar only focuses correctly at f/2.8 when the adjuster (which is labeled "coma" but is really focal length) is at "neutral." You can actually set the lens differently to have only the slightest front focus. But maybe the rear element on the Hexar AF lens is too big to allow an adjustment ring.

The Hexar AF sidestepped the focus shift problem by changing the focus with the aperture selected (and in one test I saw, this allowed it to beat the mythic 35 Summicron IV). Compensation allows you to maximize performance at every aperture/distance combination. Unfortunately, LTM lens designs are too simple to make this correction, which is the whole (and novel) point of the Leica 35/1.4 FLE.

Dante
Yes I suspected as such that the AF lens, taken out and directly placed into a helicoid, would have this issue, and likely also with the chrome version if it's the same. Thanks for your additional findings in this thread!
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