When Leica released the Tri-Elmar M 28-35-50 mm f/4 Asph in 1998, it represented a milestone in the development of the M system. For the first time, Leica's rangefinder cameras could be used with a Leica zoom lens, allowing M photographers to choose between the focal lengths of 28, 35 and 50 mm.
The focal lengths were fixed – as this was the only way to ensure correct viewfinder frame display – and had been chosen based on the most popular focal lengths amongst M photographers.
Alongside the standard FL of 50 mm, the 35 mm option was used very frequently particularly for reportage photography. The wide-angle FL of 28 mm has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The Tri-Elmar M 28-35-50 mm f/4 Asph was produced from 1998 to the end of 2006, selling over 10,000 models.