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echorec

Best 90mm for screw mount?

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I had the same question a while back which I posted here. There is a forumist who goes by the name of luigi bertolotti whom apparantly knows a lot about Leica LTM and especially 90mm lenses. He will be able to tell you the main differences.

 

I bought a 3 lens version Elmar, quite slow at 4.0 but a very good lens I must say. But then I haven't tried any other models. I didn't care much about price but wanted a good quality lens (the optics/glass) they are pretty hard to find, I don't think buying off ebay will be a solution, I would try a reputable shop where you can eventually return the lens within 14 days if you're not pleased with it. This will cost more (substantially) but is the best policy to get a good lens. Musn't forget most of these lenses are going to be quite old ....

 

Anyway I hope Luigi turns up, he knows everything there is to know about 90mm lenses, I think he has all of the common available models.

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I have owned the 90 Elmars (collapsible, rigid and 3 element) as well as the Elmarit 90 2.8 and the 90/2 Summicron (version with the strangely formed lens shade) and used them on my IIIg over many years.

On the IIIg I have preferred the Elmarit, also for use with the Visoflex, and the 3 element version, which holds up well even against modern lenses.

If you want the Leica "Schmelz" or fingerprint, I would suggest the 90 2.8 Elmarit.

Do go to a reputable dealer you have confidence in and try out the various types, paying special attention to thye optics and the smoothness of the mechanical functions.

On the M8 (and other M's) the screw versions are well usable with the adapters available from Novoflex and Zoerkendoerfer and give fine results.

Teddy

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The Voigtlander is a better performer being a new lens with modern coatings.

 

I tried Voigtländer 75 and 90mm on my Leica M's. The only reasonable thing about them is that they are relatively cheap. I found the image quality/footstamp very harsh, both lenses produce images without very much character, but this is a matter of taste of course. I found the final image quality very much like Digital images, and the out of focus areas very ugly. But still useable at 5.6/8 up to 11 out of these boundaries the images were not not great.

The build quality is bad, not that one needs to bang about cameras and lenses, but they need to be usable at least, mine showed minimal "movement" of the lens itself on the body, focussing ring and aperture ring movement as well after a couple of months. All in all not comparable with Leica lenses at all.

The elmar 90'ies all have a very distinct image quality, a beautiful OOF and the build quality is great, I actually like the elmars better than my Summicron on my M's..... but as i said it's all a matter of taste.

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Hi,

the Elmarit 2.8 : 90 is my favorite

next comes the 3 Element Elmar 4 : 90

and last but not least the Summicron 2 : 90

Cheers

JC

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Which one is your favourite? I am looking to add a 90mm lens to my Leica screw mount.

 

Thanks.

 

Best choice Elmarit 90 2,8 but... not the best buy: it is quite rare in screw mount (2000 or so produced, collectible and costly if clean); for using, maybe is better to find a really clean Elmar, even in the classic 4 elements version: the 3 elements is also not so easy to find in SM, and so is the Summicron that, in my feelings is also not so better than the Elmarit and a lot heavier and, globally, a lens to carry with attention; LTMs are nice to use for their portability and a classic Elmar set 50+90 is a pleasure to use.

...and thanks to Johannes for the personal appreciation !!!!!

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Gunnar,

 

Another vote for the 2.8/90mm Elmarit. As Luigi pointed out though, can be costly in LTM as it is hunted by collectors. You can also experiment with Canon rangefinder lenses. Their late, all-black version of the 3.5/100 is excellent.

 

All the best,

 

Jan

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...Just another addition to the "which 90 for LTM" question... I used several times numbers of these lenses: my opinion are not scientific-test-based and ceneterd on color and B&W prints, with scarce use at maximum apertures, except for the f4s:

 

- My best LTM 90 is not a 90: Summarex 85 1,5 is accptable wide open or similar, but absolutely fantastic in sharpness and color rendition around f 5,6 - 11: better than old Summicrons (I have it only in screwmount, so an old formula); I have, generally speaking, only "old time" 90s: the only I rate better than Summarex is the Tele Elmarit 90 2,8: but as you know it is a BM only lens.

 

- Apart from the above, the Elmarit 90 2,8 is really a universal lens : in my op., it is superior to the Elmars f4 expecially in rather wide apertures, say to 8; I have it in BM, and sometime use its lens head with Viso2, bellow or rings ecc..: very good macro lens: I prefer it to the Elmar 65, and saw in the forum that others agree.

 

- The difference from 3 elements Elmar to 4 elements (last versions, glasses changed during its long life...) is not so significant and i find it not appreciable at 11-16: that is the reason for I suggested you not to insist in searching a 3 elem. screw mount (uncommon): as Johannes said, is better to "see-touch-try" a lens to use: speaking of the 4 elem. Elmar, You can surely find such possibility... is, I think, maybe the commonest LTM lens after its brother 50: never costly, and a good item surely worths well its price.

 

- Last argument in favour of Elmar : I confess that as for LTM gear I stick for personal esthetic issues, and well I think Elmar 90 4 elem. (chrome+vulkan, A36 front) is the nicest 90 to mount onto a LTM body....

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Thanks for great replies, Luigi and others!

 

I will start with an Elmar and see if I like it.

 

Gunnar

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Thanks for great replies, Luigi and others!

 

I will start with an Elmar and see if I like it.

 

Gunnar

 

Gunnar,

 

The Elmar is an excellent compromise between image quality and cost. Make sure that the Elmar you get is coated (post WWII) and does not have any haze or cleaning marks on the front element. Unfortunately, many lenses from the 1950's suffer from these.

 

All the best,

 

Jan

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...and finally,Gunnar, do not forget that Elmar 90 has a detachable lens head: when you have a possible buy in your hands, unscrew the head so you can inspect well the lens assembly: as Jan said, beware of haze/scratches/coating; s/n in the range of 710.xxx and over (A36 filter, black vulcanite ring, close to f32) are well coated, previous items (all chrome, close to f36) not always, s/n in the range over 1.2xx.xxx are usually with large (E 39 filter) front: less nice than A36, in my op., but probably the best 4 elements items.

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I'll vote for the 90mm Elmarit. The 3 element Elmar is also very good. I use the lens head in my projector, as well as a 135mm Elmar lens head. They both have the merit of no cemented elements, so there's nothing to melt in the heat of the beam. And they make excellent projector lenses. Can't use the Colorplan as there's not enough room for it in my projector.

 

Bryan

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I also recommend the 90 elmar. Incredibly sharp little lens, with a nice quality wide open (and still very sharp). The 90 elmarit is also excellent and will perform better at wider apertures and of course it has an extra stop. There's a lens test on the web somewhere I've seen which clearly shows that the elmar is significantly sharper than the Voigtlander - although it was at f11, I believe. An older professional photographer told me that he and his partner had tested all their Leica lenses once and found that an old screw mount elmarit was actually the sharpest.

 

Of course, if you're shooting color, the older lenses will give an older look. They certainly have less contrast. However, especially if you shoot b&w, I think the older lenses are the reason to own a Leica body.

 

Another plus for the elmar is that you can probably find a mint one for half the price of the voigtlander (new) and certainly less than half the price of a nice screw mount elmarit. Used Leica lenses hold their value well, so you can easily sell it if you don't like it.

 

In praise of elmarit bokeh - I made a print recently from a neg I'd probably shot at f5.6. Upon printing the neg I realized that I'd accidentally focused behind everything which appeared in the picture. However, it was still a beautiful print and I showed it to a coworker (I work with photographers) as an example of what I like about Leica lenses. They were actually impressed with how sharp it was, until I pointed out that everything in the picture was slightly out of focus. The contrast and "thereness" of the image was still convincing. This is a point I don't think a lot of people realize about bokeh: it affects depth of focus. A lens with good bokeh will generally go out of focus in a more gradual manner, yielding more apparent depth of focus as well as a more convincing feeling of space.

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Well, I am a fan of old glass, like from the 50's. That's why I have a very good Jupiter 9 sample (sonnar!) and a Steinheil Culminar 85/2,8. I didn't compare the two yet because I got the Steinheil is only recently.

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I had the same question a while back which I posted here. There is a forumist who goes by the name of luigi bertolotti whom apparantly knows a lot about Leica LTM and especially 90mm lenses. He will be able to tell you the main differences.

 

I bought a 3 lens version Elmar, quite slow at 4.0 but a very good lens I must say. But then I haven't tried any other models. I didn't care much about price but wanted a good quality lens (the optics/glass) they are pretty hard to find, I don't think buying off ebay will be a solution, I would try a reputable shop where you can eventually return the lens within 14 days if you're not pleased with it. This will cost more (substantially) but is the best policy to get a good lens. Musn't forget most of these lenses are going to be quite old ....

 

Anyway I hope Luigi turns up, he knows everything there is to know about 90mm lenses, I think he has all of the common available models.

 

...AND LUIGI IS HERE !!!

Thank you for the quotation, Johannes... true I like 90s...

(14 in my collection counting SM+BM, of course not counting the 85

... )

My impression of 20 years of use of ALL of them :

- Elmars, COATED, are all nice, with the 3 element simply exceptional : for me the 3 elem. is in pair with my TE 90 BM, which is the one I like most in absolut.

- The Summicron BM, frankly, is so-so... has its flavour, anyway.

- The Elmarit is probably the best SM one can have, but is very very rare (I have it in BM, that is at all common)

- CONDITIONS : my impression is that , luckily, Elmar glasses are of the "heavy duty" breed : if unscratched by accident, a coated Elmar lens group of the '50s can be found in real excellent shape, no prone to fungus, and is rather cheap too.

 

... and finally... Thambar... imho, just beacuse a collection cannot have it...

but as a user... uhm... you must really appreciate the taste...

 

AND... with an Elmar 3 elem. or an Elmarit, is a pity not to to use the unscrewed lens unit for some of the macro combinations with Viso/Bellows etc...

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Luigi,

Interesting that you mention the Thambar. I have an excellently preserved one with the close focus ring (used for copying ?) and have tried it out on slide film. On the M8 it yields interesting results as well, although it needs quite a bit of experimentation in my experience. The results are not really predictable, as far as I can determine. I have also have a special Rodenstock Imagon for the Visoflex which I have not yet tried on the M8. Do you have much experience using Thambar or Imagon on the M8?

Teddy

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