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Elmar 90mm f4 anomaly help


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I am new here but now I have found this site I will be a regular. I have a M5 and the standard lenses. However one lens is causing me some curiosity and I hope someone can help.

 

My curious lens is a Elmar 90mm f4. It is the serial number that is confusing me.

 

Serial number = 1080960.

 

According to other sites this number relates to a lens built in 1953, it doesn't look anywhere near that old. The same site does not list any of this lens with the number above. It is of chrome construction, ribbed focussing and aperture ring and a leather sleeve at the mount end and is bayonet mount.

 

Can anyone help with identifying this lens, its history, construction, pros and cons?

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Here are two photos of the lens, the serial number and the skinnier collar can be seen clearly.

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Are you sure that your lens is originally bayonet-mounted? On your photo it looks as if it had an adapter for screw-mount to M-bayonet.

 

 

 

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On closer inspection you are correct, there is an adaptor screwed onto the base plate.

 

Where is this lens placed compared to the other models for build and image quality, no of elements, good points and bad points. I can't find any reference to this one on the net.

 

Thanks for your help.

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The 4/90 Elmar has the classical "Elmar" - lens design by Max Berek, i.e a triplet with four lenses, the last two elements cemented. As it was unchanged since 1931, you should not exspect utmost sharpness and contrast. From 1964 - 1968 Leitz made a new version with only 3 elements, which is said to be considerably better, though it is rather rare and therefore you should be prepared to pay four or five times more than for the precedessor.

 

To give you an example - a corner crop of the 4/90 from 1951 and from the 90-Summicron Apo.Asph - both at f/5.6 with the M8:

 

Elmar:

 

 

Summicron:

Edited by UliWer
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...Where is this lens placed compared to the other models for build and image quality, no of elements, good points and bad points...

I have no experience of pre-1954 lenses. Mine is a collapsible M from 1957. It is less contrasty than modern lenses, which ist easy to adjust in PP and proves great to avoid blown highlights if you shoot digital. Sharpness is good at f/5.6 and on. A bit soft at f/4 but not ridiculous at all given the vintage of the lens. Bokeh is generally smooth. Flare is significant, better use a good hood like the 12575. Nothing horrible though, the later 'thin' Tele-Elmarit 90/2.8 is even worst from this viewpoint.

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Look inside the the focus mount after you remove the lens head. The last 4 digits of the lens serial are hand engraved on the black ring. They MUST match or the optical cell does not belong with that focus mount and likely will not work properly.

 

The lens is a liffle soft at 4.0, but cleans up nicely at 5.6. Use a lens shade for outside.

 

The 39 mm filter ring is bayonet mount lens and is the only one that will focus to infinity on a viso+ short focus mount. The other limits out at 15 feet.

 

The small end one is only screw mount , takes 36 mm accesories. Optical performance is very similar in the regular RF long mount.

 

Either makes a terrific portrait lens as the micro contrast is lowish giving a soft/sharp appearance. Try against a modern lens and you will see.

 

Either makes a decent close up lens as optical performance is the same close or far, something that is not true of some of the more modern lenses except the current 90 4.0 collapsible,

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The 90mm f4.0 LTM lens was made in very large numbers (by Leica standards). Laney & Grossmark give the number over 70,000 with another 23,000 in LBM. I have used the lens extensively and found it to be a fine performer. It is light and compact. I now use a 90mm f2.0 Summicron more, accepting the substantial weight burden for the two extra stops and resulting depth of field control.

 

You may want to have a camera repairman check it out on his optical bench to make sure it is focusing correctly. It only takes a minute or two and is usually done for free.

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IMO a very underrated lens, little more than the cost of one of their new plastic lens hoods! Makes a fine portrait lens where critical sharpness is often a disadvantage.

 

Some examples with this lens (same type with M bayonet) http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/landscape-travel/51159-paris-pere-lachaise.html

Edited by earleygallery
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Thanks everyone for clearing that up for me. I've checked the serial number against the engraving inside the focussing lens and they match. The mintish condition of it is what threw me, which led me to think it couldn't be a 1953 model, so that's been sorted out.

 

I also have the Tele Emarit 90 f2.8, so I should have good coverage with that focal length. I'll post some shots from Aussie land after I get the camera back and run a film though it.

 

cheers

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