dante stella stories photographs technical guestbook

“Too bad she won't live... but then again, who does?”
 
Kobalux lenses for Leica
 

This line is all heavy alloy and real chrome plating — none of that sissy plastic and silver paint stuff for us! Clockwise from top right: lens, chrome lens shade, 35/135 LTM-to-M adapter, viewfinder.

I am not going to waste a lot of time and space reiterating here what is already on the kobalux.com website (which I also put together). This is all I will say about the performance right now. Here is a shot with the 21 at f/2.8 and around 3m:

Left, 4x enlargement; Right, 3600 dpi scan (50x enlargement for about a 50x70 inch size) on Kodak T400CN, with no sharpening. Can you read the London Tube ticket? This is where the film grain is limiting things. Notice that there is no vignetting in the sky. Not too shabby, considering that this is now 3x larger than the 16x20 maximum usable enlargement from 35mm film.

Kobalux 21mm f/2.8 (third generation)

SQF numbers from Popular Photography, 9/2000

SIZE 5x7 8x10 11x14 16x20 20x24
2.8 96.9 94.6 88.5 79.1 68.8
4.0

98.8

97.9 95.4 91.2 85.9
5.6 99.4 98.9 97.5 95.1 92.0
8.0 99.3 98.8 97.4 94.9 91.6
11 99.3 96.8 97.4 94.9 91.7
16 99.1 97.4 96.4 92.9 88.6
22 98.5 96.4 94.1 88.8 82.4

Kobalux 28mm f/3.5 (second generation)

SQF numbers from Popular Photography, 4/1996

SIZE 5x7 8x10 11x14 16x20 20x24
3.5 96.2 93.4 86.2 75.3 64.0
4.0

97.9

96.3 92.0 85.0 76.4
5.6 99.3 98.8 97.3 94.6 91.3
8.0 99.5 99.1 97.9 95.8 93.2
11 99.3 98.8 97.4 94.9 91.6
16 98.9 98.1 95.8 91.9 87.0

And compare these to the 50/3.5 Cosina Heliar (below, tested 5/2002), which is Pop Photo called the greatest prime lens ever. I can't say what SQF is (other than Subjective Quality Factor), but whatever it is, both Kobaluxes hold their own with the best.

SIZE 5x7 8x10 11x14 16x20 20x24
3.5 97.2 96.9 93.7 89.8 85.3
4.0

97.3

97.0 93.9 90.3 86.2
5.6 97.5 97.2 94.4 91.4 87.9
8.0 97.5 97.3 94.5 91.4 88.1
11 97.4 97.1 94.2 90.9 87.1
16 96.9 96.6 93.2 89.0 84.2
22 96.0 95.6 91.1 85.1 77.8
 

Postscript: both Kobalux lenses (and their Avenon bretheren) are now out of production. It was a great 8-year run, but it had to end sometime.

DAST