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Opinions: 90 Elmarit (E46) or Nikon 135 DC


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Oh, that is easy....  the rendering of the 90mm Elmarit-M is far superior, IMHO, as well as color saturation. The 90mm Elmarit-M on the SL is really delightful, and you can focus it precisely @ f/2.8 for a unique look.


The 135mm DC has a very two-dimensional rendering and washed out colors. If you want something with more punch than a 90mm Elmarit-M, then try the APO Summicron-R 90mm ASPH. It is much smaller than the Nikkor 135, btw. 

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The 135 App lacks any pop, it is soft, the DC is so difficult to use, it basically focuses the lens either forward or back. The 105 DC is the better lens. The Zeiss 105 or 135 for Nikon would be the better choice.

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Hi Daniel.


The Nikon 2/135 DC is a VERY sharp lens and rich in contrast and the Defocus Control (DC) makes it quite unique. It means you can influence the amount of "bokeh" you get, which no Leica lens can. DC is easy to use - you simply do nothing if you do not understand it. Then you change it a bit and learn how to control it, but the "control" is always very subtle, no obvious changes.

It is a AF lens, but it is better used manually, because only then can you "steer" the bokeh. How would the AF know what your intention is ? For me it fills a gap in the Leica R sortiment.


I have the M 2/90 and like it, but do not know the 2.8 , I never had the wish to buy the Apo 90 - though it is maybe better, but I have no money to burn. I have the Apo Makro Elmarit-R 100, which is my favourite lens in the Leica arsenal by far.

The 2/90 is ok for the SL (maybe too big for the M, but I do not think so). The 2.8/90 is probably very handy (as small as it is, almost like a 50mm).


Generally I find this three-dimensional and two-dimensional talk quite meaningless. Such as a lot of other stuff said about Leica lenses ...


The Nikon 135 DC is quite cheap used on ebay. Just buy it used, and try it. If you find it bad, simply sell it again. You will not lose much money that way.

But it is terribly big compared to the 2.8/90 . You might not like that at all.

If you do not mind the size, you could also have a look at the Zeiss 2/100 (ZF.2). It is Makro and Apo and high class. And I like the Zeiss colours. But it is much more expensive even though it is only a manual lens.


And keep your old Leica lenses. Wait until you get a better price for them. And enjoy them in the meantime. (Why choose, if there is no need for it).



Edited by steppenw0lf
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What Stephan said applies also to the 105mm DC lens, which is a little smaller than the 135 (but not much).  On film the 105 DC was a superb portrait lens. 


You might also consider a Version III 135mm f2.8 Elmarit.  Wide open it works well for portraits; stopped down it sharpens up nicely and delivers vibrant colors. It's heavy and clunky like the DC lenses, but relatively cheap these days. 

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IMO the 105 and 135 DC are great lenses for portait. very good skin color, nice bokeh and a nice rolloff in regards of sharpness.

I prefer the 105 focal length and therefore sold the 135. The 135 DC can flare if you shoot into the light.

I also own a 90/2.8 M and it is also a very nice lens, right in the middle between the supersharp modern lenses and the older lenses.

I only used the Nikon and Nikon and the Leica on Leica, so I never had the idea to compare them on the SL: Would be interesting.

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Colors and charactor are different with Nikon.   I consider them somewhat equal, but if you compare side by side,  Leica is clearly different.


Nikon lenses are equally sharp usually by F 4.0.  It is the colors and contrast that are different.  I have compared both on a single nikon body, same time, same place. 

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