What do the current Leica 50mm Summicron, 50mm Noctilux and 75/90mm Apo-Summicrons have in common? They all lack a focus tab, something that I find near essential, especially in a smaller-diameter lens such as the 50 ‘Cron.
In fact, while I can accept the absence of a tab on fatter lenses such as the Noctilux, I find the 50 Summicron frustrating to use. Most Leica lenses I use regularly, from the 28mm Elmarit, through the 35mm Summicron and Summilux, to the 50mm Summilux and the 50mm Apo-Summicron, are equipped with a standard focus tab which improves the ergonomics no end. Even the now-defunct but enticing 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar is equipped with a substantial tab and it definitely improves the handling.
Now, a new and ingenious little accessory could be about to change my view of non-tabbed lenses for good.
The Taab range of black rubberised bands from US company Lenstab.com, comes in three sizes, Mini (for lenses such as the 50mm Summicron), Standard (for lenses similar in diameter to the 75 and 90mm Summicrons) and Hefty to fit big beasts such as the Noctilux.
I had a chance to play with an example on a 50mm Summicron at London stockist, Red Dot Cameras, and came away highly impressed by the quality of materials. The mini Taab was a perfect fit on the tiny black lens and was unobtrusive. It complements the design of the lens and, to my mind, vastly improves the ergonomics. If I owned the 50mm Summicron, which is one of Leica’s most popular standard lenses, I would definitely fit a Taab. I have decided to buy one for the 75mm Apo-Summicron and I will report on my findings in a later article.
My sole reservation would be in using these black rubber Taabs on a silver lens. The band will definitely be more obvious and it will be a matter of taste as to whether or not it is acceptable. For the cost, though, it’s probably worth buying one to check it out for yourself.
You can buy the Taab focus tabs now from Red Dot for £8 (Mini), £9.60 (Standard) or £11.20 (Hefty).