This is a record of using the LEICA R mount VARIO-APO-ELMARIT-R 70-180 /F2.8 with a digital camera.

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The Vario Elmar 35-70 F3.5 is a 2x zoom lens for the Leica R, and is said to have the same optical system as the Minolta MD 35-70 F3.5 zoom (1978).
Approximately 31,000 lenses are made, so a considerable amount is supplied to the market.

The length of the lens barrel changes depending on the focal length, not the inner zoom.The lens barrel is the shortest at 70mm and the longest at 35mm.
I was a little surprised by the appearance of this lens, as the front part of the lens sticks out along with the lens barrel, and the center part of the lens is constricted.
Modern zoom lenses often have a design in which only the lens barrel protrudes while the focus or zoom ring is fixed in position, or the lens moves only inside the lens barrel, making this lens feel old.
The minimum focusing distance is 1m at all focal lengths, which also makes the lens design feel old.

Looking at the shooting results, the resolution is sufficient for an old zoom lens with around 10 million pixels, and the front and rear blurs are not bad, making it a usable lens.
The R-type zoom lens uses a lot of Japanese technology, and the successor to this lens, the Vario Elmar 35-70/F4, is made by Kyocera.
I also owned this one for a while.I felt that this zoom lens has evolved into a convenient zoom lens that allows you to get closer to the subject in macro photography.

Models manufactured from 1982 to 1985, when the release started, have a filter diameter of 60 mm and are manufactured by Minolta (MADE IN JAPAN), and models manufactured from 1986 to 1997 have a filter diameter of 67 mm and are manufactured by ELW (Ernst Leitz Wetzlar / MADE IN GERMANY).
Even after production moved to Germany, there is no information that any design changes were made, so it is assumed that the optical system was manufactured using Minolta’s original design.


focal length(mm)35-70
Maximum aperture3.5
Minimum aperture22
Lens configuration7groups 8elements
Leaf blade6
Minimum distance(m)1.0
Lens length(mm)64.5Distance form mount frange
Lens max diameter(mm)72
Filter diameter(mm)67(New-ver)60mm(Old-ver)
Release dateYear 1982Product end y1997

Reference links

Update history

  • 2024.02.16:Update article
  • 2022.02.20:First draft

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