What 90 mm Leica-M lens is good?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by LF2007, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. LF2007

    LF2007 Member

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    For the past few years I have been using a Leica MP with 35 mm Summicron and love the results. The 35 mm is a "difficult" lens as you need to frame carefully not to include too much subject matter but I learned that if I frame well, I can achieve tight compressed photographs which show the characteristics of wide- angle but not too exagerated.

    I am now on the market to add a 90 mm Leica-M lens to my outfit. It could be second hand if in good condition as new lenses are expensive and I have no experience with 90 mm lenses. I think the combination of a 35 mm and 90 mm will do for my type of photography. Sometimes I like "wider" shots and in some shots I prefer to pick out the detail, which could be done with the 90 mm.

    There seem to be many different types and names available from Leica; elmars, summicrons..... . What type/ version would you recommend? Do you have experience with these lenses? It's ok if it's an older model as long as it peforms. Thanks
     
  2. Jimothy

    Jimothy Member

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    I have a 1989 model Summicron 90, built in Canada.
    It's just great!
     
  3. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    I have the same 90mm Summicron made in Canada in chrome. i also have the current 90mm Summicron ASPH. In side by side comparison shots, I can't tell the difference. Frankly just about any 90mm Summicron in Excellent mechanical and optical condition will suffice.-Dick
     
  4. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I would suggest the 90mm Elmarit-M if f/2.8 is fast enough for you. It is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the Summicrons and is a stellar performer.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  5. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    What disfromage said. The Tele-Elmarit may be the economy model, but results don't lie.
     
  6. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I just picked one up. I wanted newer and compact, but from what I saw, they are all pretty good. You can get a new(ish) Summarit for ~$700 if you look around. It's pretty small, a tad faster, and new. I almost went with the one I found, but I ended up buying a used Macro Elmar 90/4 because it is collapsible, focuses closer than any other option, and is also 'optimized' for the close focus range, all things that appealed to me.

    You can find 90/2.8 Elmarit-M (the last model) for not too much, and older models for even cheaper. I think the one known as the thin Tele-Elmarit is supposed to be really small, but flare easily. The only one I'd really stay away from is the 90/4 made for the CL or the Minolta ones, because I think I've read they can get funky bubbles on the glass or something. I've heard the Voigtlander 90 is also good.

    Another thing you could look at is 75 mm lens, which might make a nice match with a 35. The 75 Summarit looks like a winner to me, but was too close to 50mm for me to go for it.
     
  7. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

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    I have three 90's:
    90mm 2.8 Hexanon
    90mm 3.5 APO Lanthar
    90mm 2.8 Elmarit

    Each is excellent. Frankly I use the CV APO Lanthar the most, followed by the Hexanon and then the Elmarit. From my prospective you would do well with any of them.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  8. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the Hexanon, as Bob did. A lot of people seem to like it.
     
  9. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    I have the "lesser" German made 90mm, f/4. Can't think of the designation (mine's back in the states and I'm in Afghanistan), but it's the "cheap" 90mm - I paid about $100 for mine from a friend. I find it to be as good or better than SLR 90mm lenses I have paid twice to three times more for in the past. I use it for portraits, so I never go below f/4 anyway. Great piece of glass - and smaller & lighter (on the camera and the pocketbook) than it's siblings.
     
  10. kavandje

    kavandje Member

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    Jeff, you're referring to the Elmar 90mm f/4, right? I picked one up cheap last time I was in Germany. Nice lens; light, good 'feel', excellent results, albeit not terribly fast. I read somewhere that it's basically a Tele-Tessar type design, which may or may not be true (anyone care to shed some light on that?).

    Mine (which dates from ~1961) doesn't have aperture stop detents, which makes it a little tricky for me, since I don't have a built-in light meter, but if I decide to shoot wide open, it's easy enough. 16 aperture blades make for a nice round opening, for the bokeh goodness.
     
  11. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    Yes, that's the one. You're right about the biggest drawback to the lens is no "clicks" on the aperture setting. I've found I get used to it after only a few shots. I shoot it most often on the M5 or CLE, which of course have very good (albeit very different) light meters.
     
  12. umdah

    umdah Member

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    I have the elmarit-m /2.8 and the newer cron asph. The cron is much heavier
    but excellent if you need the f2.

    if you can live with f2.8, you cannot go wrong with the latest em f2.8
    used ones can be had for about $700. excellent performer.

    Good luck.
     
  13. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Hi there,
    Like other members said previously, the 90 Elmarit 1:2,8 is very attractive. I use one I bought off ebay a while ago. It's a model dating from the 1970s (Canada - red and white cardboard box) and it works fine though the front lens has lost some of its coating, but that's purely cosmetics.
    The only con to me are the telemeter lines in the viewfinder placed at the center of the frame when a 90mm is attached to the camera. They limit the useful part of the finder to a very small area with plenty of the image you see through the finder thus irrelevant. That's all. Otherwise its a good lens although I use it much much less than my 35mm Summicron 1:2 asph.
     
  14. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    I owned and used a tele-elmarit (f 2.8) for years. it was short and light and a very good performer. Probably the best carry around 90mm lens that Leica ever made. I understand that the elmarit (f 2.8), though slightly longer is a slightly better lens. These both should to be stopped down to about f 5.6 for optimum results, but are plenty sharp at f 2.8.

    I don't own, but have borrowed, the 90mm ASPH Summicron (f 2) lens from my dealer on several occasions. This lens is in a class by itself. If you ever wondered if it's possible for a lens to be too sharp, this is the lens to use to find the answer. It is the sharpest lens I have ever used at f 2, and it keeps getting better 'till about f 4, at which point, it can't get any better. It is considerably larger than the others.

    Take care,
    Tom
     
  15. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    The 85mm Nikkor LTM, a Sonnar
    design, is an awfully sweet lens.
     
  16. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I had the Canadian 90 Summicron and it was a good lens though not really better than my Nikkors. The only Leitz lens I ever had that really knocked my socks off and looked like a larger format was the 50mm dual range summicron. I have never owned anything that could touch that lens.
     
  17. Steve Bellayr

    Steve Bellayr Member

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    In terms of quality in descending order:
    3480000- Current Elmarit-M
    1645300-2730000 First Version Elmarit-M
    2585001-3500000 Second Version Tele-Elmarit-M
    2000000-2545000 First Version Tele-Elmarit-M

    The Elmarits are larger and more expensive. The Tele-Elmarits are smaller and softer. These are all good lenses. The Summicron is heavier. For me portraits should be around f4 or f5.6 and their performance is about equal in that range. These are all good lenses.
     
  18. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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  19. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I must second Tom Duffy's above post above regarding the apochromatic/aspherical 90mm Summicon. I have two of them--one for my M6 TTL and another for my R8. Both perform identically, producing jaw-dropping realism and sharpness! My humble opinion is that this is the most outstanding 90mm lens Leica has ever created!
     
  20. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    I will second the comment about the Summicron DR being the best lens I've owned.

    Not sure why it doesn't get the credit other Leicas do (at least when it comes to price on the used market). I believe mine is Canadian (50/2 DR w/ goggles) - perhaps that's the reason rabid fans don't love it. It does give off the most incredible look -both in color and b/w - however. I don't own a "lot" of Leica lenses, but this one shoots better looking pictures than any I've used and most I've seen on forums.

    Highly recommended.
     
  21. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    It does get the credit it deserves among shooters, and is sought after. It's just not so rare that the price gets driven up.

    Lee
     
  22. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    I'd say the Tele-Elmarit is the best all around 90. I had one in the early 80's, sold it and bought it again a few years back. It's just lovely!

    The LTM 90mm Elmar f/4 is not as sharp or as contrasty as the Tele-Elmarit.

    I used an 85mm f/2 Canon LTM and the 85mm f/2 Nikkor LTM. Broke the Canon (dropped), sold the Nikkor, bought the Tele-Elmarit. Never used the 90mm f/2 Leica glass.