Leica Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8 is one of four wide angle (non fish-eye) lenses that the company currently offers in its SLR lineup. The first version of he lens was introduced back in 1970 and Leica has gone through three design revisions for this lens - the first two had a Series 7 filter thread (the later of these two models had a built-in lens hood, while the earlier one had a snap-on hood), and the latest model offered in E55 filter thread (also with a built-in lens hood). Like all modern versions, the latest revision of Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8 is offered with ROM contacts, which are going to be completely useless for you if you plan to use this lens on a non Leica camera. The lens reviewed in this test is the first generation Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8 with Series 7 filter thread, manufactured in early 1980s. Serial number of the lens is 3271055. New, ROM versions of the lens is currently priced at ~US$2,500, while good quality used versions of the first generation Elmarit-R 28mm f/2.8 go for ~US$350-400 on second hand markets like eBay.
The build quality of the lens is superb - all metal barrel and metal focus and aperture rings. Focus ring is very smooth and the aperture ring snaps very nicely, moving in half f-stop increments. The optical construction of the lens consists of 8 elements in 8 groups. The lens is pretty compact and light, weighing 275g and measuring 48 x 67mm (1.88 x 2.63in), although the inner cam of the lens extends slightly when focusing towards closeup, thus making the lens a bit longer. Despite its compact size and light weight, the lens looks and feels pretty sturdy. The minimum focusing distance is 30cm and the minimum aperture is f/22. The lens accepts 48mm screw-in type filters and had snap-on metal lens hood.