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When the Leica Tri-Elmar f/4 arrived in Pop Photo’s lab, it immediately became a magnet for staffers intrigued by its unusual (though not unique) non-zooming zoom design. As we played with the lens, it quickly became apparent that its optical design wasn’t the only thing “different” about Leica’s latest.

There was much discussion, for example, about the snazzy red color of the front-barrel lens hood threading. What’s up with that? Some thought Leica was trying to update its image with brighter colors. Others thought it had a more practical purpose. The truth will be explained in the lens test published in the upcoming August issue. But we’ll give you a hint: it has to do with the Tri-Elmar’s unusual (it’s holy!) lenshood.

Then we looked at the focusing ring and distance scales and noticed a sea of zig-zagging lines. They looked like depth-of-field scales designed by Pablo Picasso in his Cubist years. Our depth-of-field expert, Herbert Keppler, confirmed that the lines were indeed depth-of-field scales, and very complicated ones at that. We will clarify this and the matter of the wild subject-distance scales (some of the distances are grayed out!) in the Hands On section of our lens test. Look for it in the August issue.

—The Editors