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R vs. M system for 90mm lenses?


andyedward

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Can anyone please advise me on which is the easiest system to use when composing with 90mm lenses, R or M? I was wondering if the small area covered by the 90mm framelines on my MP's .72 viewfinder would make composition more difficult than with my R9? The only lens I have used so far on my MP is a 35mm (for which the framelines are ideal), and a 100/2,8 on my R9.

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Easiest for what, exactly? Obviously the R system, because it's a TTL optical system will give you the most accurate framing and more precise focus, particularly for close-up work (speaking without using a Visoflex on the M, of course). I've never had an issue with M bodies framing with the 90 myself though. In many ways, I prefer the bright-line finder, even with the 90 Summicron or Elmarit 135.

 

It's really a personal choice.

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Forgive me- I don't really like 'replying' on forum posts.

I've been thinking about this since you posted; I have and use both. Neither is "better" - depends on the situation and the photographer's frame of mind (I think there is a different mindset when one uses an M or an R). This is probably of no use whatsoever!

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Hello alanw,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

I would say your Post is quite useful. I actually do the same.

 

This is one of the reasons Leitz/Leica have a number of divisible lenses beginning at 50mm. All of the lenses from 15mm on up can be used on some sort of closeup mount, bellows, tube, etc in some form or other. Not all at infinity.

 

Best Regards,

 

Michael

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As with many posts of this nature, there is more to it than meets the eye.

 

To answer the question directly and simply, the R is easier to compose!

 

However, hidden in reality is the 'can 'o worms' surrounding actually doing it. To compose the picture one must first confront the subject. If it is 'live' then the M is going to be less intimidating to the subject. If the subject is 'yet to be discovered' and you are hunting for something to shoot, then the M is easier and less conspicuous to tote. If your subject needs to be impressed with gear then the R will generally do that better, but not guaranteed. (Yesterday I got spotted carrying a 111f, and I thought I would be overlooked!). Just some ideas to begin with.

 

Now the intangibles. Holding an M or holding an R will definitely flick different switches in your brain. This will control your attitude towards shooting and you will generally get a different feel to your images, at least I do. There are many other intangibles, but once you consider those above you will easily recognize the others for yourself.

 

The bottom line is getting the picture that you want. Framing it alone is one of the last steps to achievement. So much must go before that and needs to be considered in real terms.

 

The real answer to the OP's question lies within 'self', but should be more easily found by a serious consideration of this discussion. Incidentally, I find even the weather influences my choice on occasions. That's how intangible some answers can be. ;)

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Erl, Thank You for sharing your insights and experiences. You have given me much food for thought.

 

I knew the R9 would garner different reactions to my MP, and it's obviously more visible in comparison, regardless of how discreet I try to remain.

 

The difference in approach and mindset between the two systems became apparent to me today. It had been seven months since I had used an SLR, but after only two hours of using the R9, I was momentarily confused as to how to operate my MP!

Today also reminded me of how switching to a rangefinder had changed my shooting style and results dramatically, and I'm wondering how this change will be reflected in how I use my R9 in future.

 

I have grown to appreciate the rangefinder considerably. My MP is a joy to use. The ease of focussing, the need to recompose, and being able to see outside the frame are advantages an SLR obviously doesn't have, though I certainly enjoyed revisiting the SLR. My R9 was a pleasure to use, and I appreciated the ability to focus without the need to recompose. The shutter sounded and felt like cannon fire in comparison to the sweet, subtle MP! Vive la difference!

 

With a 90mm lens, the R9 will get me the shot I need, simply because 90mm framelines do not cover enough if the viewfinder for me. Perhaps I will use my MP for wide and standard lenses, and the R9 for telescopics.

 

A more accurate comparison would come from using the same focal lengths for both systems. Being able to hire a 90mm M lens would be a great help, but I cannot find a UK company which does so.

Edited by andyedward
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Andy, if I didn't have some gigs soon I would have let you borrow mine (R and M Summicron).

I use the M for rock band gigs finding it faster and easier in the lighting conditions.

I almost sold my M 90 a few years ago as I couldn't see me using it as often as the R - so glad I kept it!!

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Depends a bit on which M too, its easier to use my Elmarit 90 on my M3 (a joy in fact) than on my M6ttl with 0.72 finder, where its possible but not done by choice.

If I only had a camera with a 0.72 finder I would rather use a reflex.

 

Gerry

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Does anyone know if the optical formula changed between different production runs of the 90/2 apo cron-r? Total production was divided into separate batches which included 2002, 2003, and then from 2006-09, but was there a difference in the optics between batches?

 

My copy of the "Leica Pocket Book: 8th Edition" mentions nothing about this, and neither does Erwin Puts review of this lens. The only information I have found on the separate production runs has come from LeicaWiki: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2_APO-Summicron-R_ASPH

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  • 3 weeks later...

It depends. Generally speaking, R is better for 80 or longers lenses. However, if you are a big M fan, you might like it on M also depending on the viewfinder magnification.

 

Personally, I enjoy using a 90/2 or 105/2.5 on the M3. On the M9, I use a 1.4x viewfinder magnifier. I shoot M for the 28-105 mm range.

 

I use R with lenses from 50 to 280mm with or without a APO 1.4x or APO 2x depending on lens type or/and body type.

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  • 2 months later...

My experience with both R and M -- an R system with a microprism focusing screen is far easier to focus with a 90mm lens, even compared to a rangefinder with a magnifier. The books will tell you the 90mm focal length is the area is crossover, but in the field, in practical terms, an R with a microprism screen, like the Leicaflex SL, will just blow away any rangefinder, even the grandaddy with its' increased magnification. It's not saying that it can't be done with a rangefinder, it obviously can, but for ease of use the R wins.

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Definitely easier to compose/focus/follow using a 90 on the R IMHO but I cope ok on the M too.

 

If I was only using the 90, for a specific purpose, I'd pick up the R.

 

If you want to try a 90 on your M just buy an f4 9cm Elmar - they're the bargain of Leica lenses, probably cost less than hiring any lens and they have a lovely quality to them. You can 'upgrade' if you take to it.

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I'm not an M user FWIW, but I like the ability to focus as-composed with the R using a plain matte view screen instead of focus-recompose using a central focussing aid.

 

... in practical terms, an R with a microprism screen, like the Leicaflex SL, will just blow away any rangefinder...

 

... or just about anything else. The Leicaflex SL with its microprism screen and the 90mm Summicron-R is a match made in Wetzlar.

Edited by wildlightphoto
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