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90mm Summarit f2.5 vs 90mm Elmarit-M f2.8


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it seems that a 2nd hand 90mm elmarit-M (last f2.8 90mm made by Leica) is in the same ball park price as a new summarit

 

For anyone who has had both, is the elmarit sharper or is it just better made ?

f2.5 sounds better then f2.8 but perhaps its not even 1/2 a stop !!!!

 

thanks in advance

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it seems that a 2nd hand 90mm elmarit-M (last f2.8 90mm made by Leica) is in the same ball park price as a new summarit

 

For anyone who has had both, is the elmarit sharper or is it just better made ?

f2.5 sounds better then f2.8 but perhaps its not even 1/2 a stop !!!!

 

thanks in advance

 

Can't speak for the Summarit as I got the Elmarit only.

In practical use f2.5 doesn't make any better than f2.8.

I believe that the Elmarit *might* be mechanically better made than the Summarit, but I cannot substantiate that. Comparing both lenses in black version, the Elmarit weights 410g, the Summarit 360.

 

As to optical quality I don't think it's discernible in practical use. When he wrote about the 90 Summicron AASPH Erwin Puts said that at Leitz they made available at f2 the quality of the Elmarit. I have both of them and personally speaking if I didn't need the extra stop I wouldn't wish any other 90mm. I prefer the rendition/signature of the Elmarit over the Summicron.

 

Cheers,

Bruno

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I played around with the Elmarit, bought the Summarit though. Main reason: Weight/dimensions.

 

I didn’t have the Elmarit on-loan long enough to compare optical quality, but for me, the lens I’ll keep in the bag or on the cam always beats the one I leave at home because it’s just that little bit too heavy. But then, I’m a wimp, so your mileage may vary.

 

Cheers,

-Sascha

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The 90mm Summarit is best thought of as a modified 90 Summicron pre-APO (1980-1998) - downrated to f/2.5. It has a very similar design, and shows the same slight tendency to purple/green color abberations. But then - the old-fashioned look is a part of the Summarits' selling appeal.

 

The old 90 Summicron design (5 elements - four in front of the aperture) is shown here at the bottom: Leica 90mm f2.0 Summicron in 35mm Leica RF "M" System Lenses - Used Cameras from Camera Repair dot Com

 

The last 90 Elmarit is a very different design, and performs differently as well - more contrast and micro-contrast, especially wide-open, and a pinker color. Its very different 4-element design is shown here: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2.8_Elmarit-M

 

Attached is the Summarit 90 design (5 elements - four in front of the aperture) from Leica's tech specs:

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Can't speak for 90mm f2.5 Summarit, but 90mm f2.8 Elmarit-M is a very nice lens. Has a weighty, solid feel with a very smooth focus action. MTF values speak for themselves.

Prices are beginning to climb, so get one now. There are plenty around and there's no reason to buy anything less than mint condition. It's a lens that is probably seldom used by most owners, hence many offered for sale show little wear.

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Finding a very good coded 90mm Elmarit is not easy. I waited, found one and have been delighted with it. Can't think of a reason to change it. Why coded? It is so useful when sorting images in LR.

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I don't have an Elmarit-M 90 mm but once I borrowed one for a few test shots, to get an idea how it compares to my Summarit-M 90 mm. The basic difference that I found were the colour fringes from the (minor) lateral chromatic aberrations. In the Summarit images they are purple/green, and in the Elmarit images they are blue/yellow. The magnitudes of the aberrations are roughly the same, only the colours are different. So when comparing the two lenses then beware! Depending on the subject's own colours, the CA fringes of one lens may apparently stand out more than those of the other—for example a yellow fringe on the edge of a yellowish object won't look as objectionable as, say, a green fringe.

 

I did not have the Elmarit for long enough to delve any deeper into the minutiae of its rendition and image quality. But what I found basically is this: The Elmarit-M and the Summarit-M both are excellent 90 mm lenses. Their renditions are not the same; there are several subtle differences—the most obvious being the lateral CA mentioned above. But "different" does not mean "better or worse" ... it just means different (slightly different actually). You may prefer one over the other but if you do then it will be a matter of taste and personal preference, not of technical superiority or inferiority.

 

If you want to see what a Summarit-M 90 mm on an M9 can do in skilled hands then visit Thorsten Overgaard's Leica pages. The lenses he is using the most are an old Summicron 50 mm and a new Summarit-M 90 mm ... obviously he feels these two are going well with each other.

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I have the Summarit 75 - similar to 90 in mechanical construction, I think - bought new in 2007, and an Elmarit M 90 - bought used in 2009, uncoded, and with s/n that dates it to 1997.

The Summarit , after 4 years, shows a certain play in the front, not dangerous, but a bit annoying - the Elmarit M is solid as a rock and smooth in any movement (focus and diap ring) : my conclusion is that THERE IS a difference in build quality - with the Summarit being anyway a lens of superb image quality (and anyway, agree with Puts that is difficult to imagine a 90 better than the Elmarit - M, though I find intriguing the Macro Elmar 90)

Edited by luigi bertolotti
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  • 3 weeks later...

thanks for all you advice

 

after careful consideration I have gone for a second hand 90mm f2 Summicron pre-ASPH (1989 vintage)

 

The reasons were:

1. Ultimately control over DOF is very important to me, so f2 seemed like the way to go

2. I have been very impressed with the pictures I have seen from this lens and thought, based on my anticipated usage of the 90mm, that the new 90mm f2. APO ASPH is overkill and would not be money well spent

3. Price was not a massive issue, but I did get a deal noticeably cheaper then a good example Elmarit-M

 

The downside of course is the weight vs the Elmarit-M, but coming from a DSLR this is no big issue.

 

The lens I purchased has perfect optics and no dents to any surface, with some specks of black paint rubbed off the control dials (I am more interested in the optics then the outward appearance).

 

The slow focus drive is a real contrast to my 50mm f1.4 ASPH

 

Still early days, but so far I am impressed. It produces ethereal and atmospheric pictures, which are sharp and contrasty at f2.

One day I might even try the other apertures

Edited by colonel
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I can only comment on the 2.8.The image quality is first class at infinity to 6 feet after which it

starts getting a bit soft making it nice for portraits of older folks. Many Leica 90`s have the same trait, 90 pre ASPH, 90 2.0 ASPH, version 2 f the 90 2.8 Elmarit,

 

The Elmar 4.0 macro des not and is a perfect lens from 4.0 on. Stopping down only improves debth of field.

 

The construction of the 2.5 is inferior to the 2.8, but still good. Separate lens shade required. They saved weight and robustness by not allowing as close a focus as previous lenses. You should check out the close focus points.

 

Perhaps a Summarit owner can comment on sharpness in near range. I have never used one. I exploit the lack of sharp focus for portrait work which DOES NOT CORRECT WHEN STOPPING DOWN. A lot of people say I am not correct, but Leica used to say this in the literature.

 

Stop for stop, the 2.0 asph, 90 2.8, and 90 4.0 lenses are indistinguishable at infinity.

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thanks for all you advice

 

after careful consideration I have gone for a second hand 90mm f2 Summicron pre-ASPH (1989 vintage)....

And that was not one of your options! Ah well, at least you know how members feel about your first two choices.

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And that was not one of your options! Ah well, at least you know how members feel about your first two choices.

 

yeah! I'm a bit of a wild child

 

I was actually in reddot cameras in London (as well as other places previously) and was handling all these lenses in my hands. The 90mm pre-ASPH just felt nice to handle, and as I would rather have f2 then f2.8, generally trust Leica lenses and it was cheaper then the f2.8 I just went with it

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To the original topic I've been looking for a nice example of the 90/2.8 Elmarit-M and they're not easy to come by (duh, Leica glass never is). Prices for a 90/2.8 Elmarit-M in excellent to mint condition are often more than a new 90/2.5 Summarit.

 

I used the 90/2.5 Summarit for a day at the Leica Akademie, and it just wasn't for me. Nothing really wrong with it, but in the end I just didn't feel it was a lens that I would keep and use for decades (touch wood). Perhaps it was the feel of focusing the lens, or wondering if the rubberized focus ring would hold up over time. I also hated the hood arrangement.

 

I'm sure the 90 Summarit is a fine lens, and optically I agree that it's up to Leica standards, however it just wasn't for me.

 

Now, back to the hunt for an 90/2.8 Elmarit-M

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  • 2 years later...
I don't have an Elmarit-M 90 mm ...

In the meantime, I did acquire an Elmarit-M 90 mm, and compared it to the Summarit more carefully. In addition to what I wrote two years ago (see above), I now found the Summarit the slightly sharper lens ... albeit only by a very small margin.

 

I also like the Summarit's hood better than the Elmarit's.

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