Saturday, May 14, 2011

Leitz Varob 5cm f3.5 Enlarging Lens

If you don't look at the name ring of this lens, you might just think that it's just one those old, cheap and probably useless enlarging lenses.  Holding this lens in your hand, you just won't hear it scream "Leica Quality".  In fact, I think the Federal enlarging lenses I have been using are better made than this one.  Definitely unusual with a Leitz name.

This lens is one of the early enlarging lenses and therefore not coated.  Naturally, I didn't expect much from it.  And in reality, it's not a really sharp lens, at least not at infinity.  It performs much better at close range.  Unexpectedly, this is one of the enlarging lenses with nicest bokeh.  Making it worth the time that it took me to make it fit the focusing helicoid.

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Leitz Varob 5cm f3.5 Enlarging Lens. Click to see larger.

Trapped by the water -- NEX-5 & Leitz Varob 5cm f3.5 Enlarging Lens. Click to see larger.

Not Tulip! -- NEX-5 & Leitz Varob 5cm f3.5 Enlarging Lens. Click to see larger.


  1. may i know do you make any post processing on the photo?

  2. @dreamie: I shoot RAW 100% and all my pictures are processed from RAW files.

  3. What kind of focusing helicoid did you use? Would you be able to accomplish the same function with the use of a bellows?

    I have just purchased a Varob and wish to use it in the same manner as you have.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi,

      You can use a bellows, but you won't be able to focus it to infinity. The bellows is too long, but great for macro shots.

      I was using a cheap 17-32mm focusing helicoid but now I use a very good Yeenon 18-33mm which has an M42 mount and 52mm lens opening.

  4. With the Yeenon helicoid, does your Varob actually focus to infinity?

    I find that some adapters seem to do better at this than others on my Lumix GF2.

    Which cheap focusing helicoid were you using before you bought the Yeenon piece,

    Thank you for sharing information with me. Your floral photographs are an inspiration and were the reason that I bought a Varob........although it is on a Leitz Valoy enlarger that I own.....and it looks fabulous there!!

    1. Yes. The Yeenon helicoid and the Varob can focus to infinity on my NEX-6. Do a search for a 17-32mm focu helicoid on eBay, you will see many many sellers are selling the same thing, and that's the one I had. Very very bad quality and I paid twice what they cost now because I bought it when it wasn't very common.

      Thanks for your kind words. I am glad you enjoy some of my pictures.