The Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R 2.8/70-180 mm was a good example of the advances made by optical engineers in Solms. Just a short time earlier it had been declared that zoom lenses would never get close to the picture quality produced by fixed focal lengths; then, along came the Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R with convincing contrast and sharpness values across the whole image range – and even at maximum aperture.
Thirteen lenses made out of twelve different types of glass and ordered in ten groups, were necessary to produce the outstanding performance. Weighing nearly two kilos, it also proved that quality has a weighty price. While it was possible to photograph by hand with the Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R, a tripod was necessary to produce the best results.
Produced between 1995 and 2008, the Vario-Apo-Elmarit-R was one of the most important and prestigious lenses coming out of the Solms manufacturing plant at the time, and redefined the standards set for zoom lenses.