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  1. #1
    LF2007's Avatar
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    What 90 mm Leica-M lens is good?

    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. #2

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

  3. #3

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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. #4

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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. #5

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

  6. #6

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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. #7

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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
    Best regards,

    Bob
    CEO-CFO-EIEIO, Ret.

  8. #8

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

  9. #9
    Chaplain Jeff's Avatar
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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.
    Jeff M


    M3, M5, CLE, Minolta XE7, Minolta Maxxum 9, Minolta Maxxum 9000, Nikon F3HP, etc., etc.

  10. #10

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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.

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