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90 macro elmar M more difficult on M8 ?


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I'm considering the 90 Macro Elmar M lens for my new M8.

 

Because the depth of field is less at longer focal lengths for a given aperture, and the 90 MEM is effectively a wider angle lens on a film body, it seems to me that it will be harder to handhold on the M8 than, say, my M6.

 

The exact equivalent on the M8 would be a 68mm f4 lens, to give the " same " depth of field. Closeup work is is the most demanding for handheld photography and I suspect this lens will be more forgiving on a film body.

 

I tried the lens and was impressed with everything except the results handheld when working real close. I did not get the sharpness I had hoped at maximum closeup on the M8. Otherwise it was very fine.

 

Can anyone please help with this, especially if you have used the lens on the M8 as well as film cameras ?

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The 90/4 on the M8 is the equivalent of about a 120mm lens. Although steadiness when hand holding shots varies with individual the old rule of thumb would be 1/125 or faster shutter speed for this lens. By 1/250 you should get very sharp results. This is for closest focusing in normal mode, not in macro mode with goggles.

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I'm considering the 90 Macro Elmar M lens for my new M8.

 

Because the depth of field is less at longer focal lengths for a given aperture, and the 90 MEM is effectively a wider angle lens on a film body, it seems to me that it will be harder to handhold on the M8 than, say, my M6.

 

The exact equivalent on the M8 would be a 68mm f4 lens, to give the " same " depth of field. Closeup work is is the most demanding for handheld photography and I suspect this lens will be more forgiving on a film body.

 

I tried the lens and was impressed with everything except the results handheld when working real close. I did not get the sharpness I had hoped at maximum closeup on the M8. Otherwise it was very fine.

 

Can anyone please help with this, especially if you have used the lens on the M8 as well as film cameras ?

 

I went through the same questioning and ended up with a 65mm Macro Elmar f/4 and a Visoflex III (and a Bellows II for good measure). I have not ruled out the 90mm but with the macro attachment for it is around $2500, whereas the kit just described was $1000 all inclusive of adapters, extension rings, etc. So far I've used it sparaingly -- waiting for some hibiscus to bloom, but it looks like its fills the bill for closeups. What I don't have is a 90mm walk around lens, but I am generally shooting wider with the M8 and the 75mm Nokton seems just fine for the times I want a little length. So, to me, it depends on what use you plan to make of the lens --- for primarily closeups, I think the Visoflex is the way to go, but the Visoflex is not something I would want to carry around all day. If your primary use is for everyday noncloseup work, there are lots of 90mm's to choose from and others may have a more informed opinion.

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The big strength of this lens, it seems to me, is the ability to have a useful focal length for general photography in a lens which also allows the occasional closeup handheld with good results. Something which no other lens in the M lineup does. I think the design was brilliant for film cameras, and after all this lens was designed and built for film cameras.

 

The two big problems in closeup work are always depth of field and getting enough light through the lens. Beyond the limits of this lens, at greater magnifications, all these other factors add up to having to use a tripod, no choice, even with film. The whole point is to be able to shoot reasonably closeup without a tripod. I think leica got it right with this lens, and it allows that when it is used with film. It goes as close as possible in reasonable light to allow handheld closeups. I do not like to carry a tripod as a general rule when i'm out walking with a Leica.

 

I just think the user is a bit more behind the 8 ball when trying to do the same thing with the M8.

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I justgot the 90macro for the M8 and like it a lot.

 

Many people like 150 or 200mm lenses for SLR-35mm-macro work (for my Nikon I got a 150mm Sigma) because you have a little more distance to the subject, so for me 90 x 1,3 is perfect.

 

In addition its a great , light tele-lens for travel and portrait.

 

The smaller a sensor the more DOF you usually get, if you shoot the same subject from the same distance in the same size.

 

Of course you dont have DOF control as with a SLR or with a Visoflex, but therefore you have a very flexible package with high optical quality.

 

Cheers, Tom

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Hi Guy's

 

I also make use of this lens quite extensively. The one thing that I did find with this lens is that the focus has to be absolute exact. I did the test with the focus test charts to check for backfocus on my M8. At f4.0 the depth of field at minimum focus distance for this lens is only a few millimeters - so focus is critical. I've actually found that it's easier to focus the 135mm Tele-Elmar-M on the M8 than the 90mm.

 

Until I got the hang of this lens, I ended up doing focus bracketing to get sharp results. Hang in there, this lens is extremely sharp. Keep testing, you'll find that sweet spot in no time at all.

 

Hope this helps a bit.

 

Andreas

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On reviewing my test shots with the lens, it looks like the lack of sharpness is probably more due to focus issues rather than camera movement.

 

I have good sharpness on shots without the goggles. but all shots wih the goggles seem to lack crispness. Now the goggles incorporate an extension tube, so focus will be even more critical, I suppose, when using them.

 

Is it the general feeling that this lens should be as sharp with the goggles as without ? Assuming good focus of course.

 

The bokeh is outstanding and this is one of the big attractions for me with this lens. Creamy, nothing harsh, even with light areas is the background. Like an older Leica lens. I think this is very important for closeup work.

 

Thanks, Carsten for the 1.25 magnifier suggestion. I'm sure it will help. I have one but stupidly did not think to try it at the time.

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Guest guy_mancuso

It's a great lens . has many ways to shoot also , you can go for sharpness throughout or pinpoint the sharpness and focus. Love this lens. product shoot i did last week you can see the different ways to shoot with it, watch the bokeh it is very pleasant

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Guest guy_mancuso

One more shot pretty wide open

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On reviewing my test shots with the lens, it looks like the lack of sharpness is probably more due to focus issues rather than camera movement.

 

I have good sharpness on shots without the goggles. but all shots wih the goggles seem to lack crispness. Now the goggles incorporate an extension tube, so focus will be even more critical, I suppose, when using them.

 

Is it the general feeling that this lens should be as sharp with the goggles as without ? Assuming good focus of course.

 

It should be as sharp, or nearly so. Here is a 100% crop of a tea sieve taken with the adapter yesterday as a test. You really need a tripod though. The movements are magnified when so close.

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Just been again to see my local dealer and together we checked the lens for focus accuracy on two different M8s. Using an angled shot of a rule with camera on a tripod. It appears that the lens is backfocussing. This seems to be the case both with and without the eyes. His Leica technician will probably be able to repeat this test a bit more accurately tomorrow to confirm.

 

Have to say, wherever the lens does focus is rendered very sharp. It's just not where the rangefinder is showing as the focus point. My M8 seems pretty good with my other lenses, so the 90MEM seems to be the odd one out. At least that's how it looks at this stage.

 

More testing to follow .... if I can get this one to focus, or another 90MEM which focusses well, I think I will buy it. I really think this lens would add a lot to my Leica system if I can find one that focusses properly.

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It is now confirmed that this lens has a focus problem, and it seems to be intermittant. As the optical elements appear to be very sharp and are remote from the focus mechanism on this lens it seems likely the problem is only with the focus mechanicals.

 

The lens is a demo model but looks like new. I have two options, either buy this one, sent back to Germany immediately for repair at no cost to me, wait probably 8 - 10 weeks and get functioning lens at a very good price. Or buy a brand new one for $200 extra, wait probably 4 weeks.

 

The wait is immaterial to me. Main thing is to end up with a perfect lens to photograph with.

 

Does anyone have an opinion on which option is best please ?

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  • 2 months later...

With how difficult Macro shooting is even with a SLR, do people find the 90 macro practical with googles? I'm certainly OK with using a tripod for macro. It's the focusing I'm worried about.

 

I'm quite happy with my 90/2.8, but with Macro and a 135mm, I'd have just about everything covered, but long tele. But, I really wonder if focusing Macro consistently on an M8 is possible.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Best,

 

Mitchell

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The 90 Macro with goggles only goes to 1:3, or a bit more on the M8, which is not really true macro yet (>1:1). As such, I think that the 90 does a nice job. I would like to test the framing accuracy, but given that good results at macro distances require a tripod anyway, this is not a big deal. Chimp and fix. For insect photography and similar work, this lens is probably a bit limited, and so is the Visoflex, due to the speed of operation. I would keep an SLR if you want to work seriously in this field.

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I like to be able to focus anywhere on the finder for macro. With only the center focusing spot an RF finder is really limited. Also macro along with long lenses wide open are the 2 occasions when the limited DOF SLR view is accurate.

 

When I need to do product shots on a tripod I use the bellows with an enlarging lens. You can get excellent Rodenstock Rodagons for ridiculously low prices. For hand held macro I'd go with an SLR or as a distant second choice the Viso with a 65/3.5 and the chimney finder. The 90 Macro can deliver the quality but an RF just is a pain to use at those distances even compared to the primitive Viso. I use the 90 Macro for close range shots like tight portraits or 'still life' details, at this it really excels.

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With how difficult Macro shooting is even with a SLR, do people find the 90 macro practical with googles? I'm certainly OK with using a tripod for macro. It's the focusing I'm worried about.

 

I'm quite happy with my 90/2.8, but with Macro and a 135mm, I'd have just about everything covered, but long tele. But, I really wonder if focusing Macro consistently on an M8 is possible.

 

Thanks for your thoughts. Best, Mitchell

 

Mitchell,

I went from using the 2.8/90 not too often to using the 90/4M for a great part.

It outperforms all other macro's I have used.

No, you don't need a tripod, just adapt the speed a bit.

This foto just jumped in the picture frame: through googles and all.

I use the googles on some photo's (flowers) and this makes life easier a lot. Just move in or out to focus. You cant do it with a tripod!. Yes, it moves, but reshoot. For me the quality is consistent, more so than with the 2.8 that often had me guessing. That of course was due to the long minimum focus of 1,0 m. The 2.8/90 I also used on an SLR (made an adapter), that gave excellent results natuarlly.

Hope you like the pictures. Low res, I should find a better way to post.

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