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steve 1959

90mm tele-elmarit canada 1970's

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Is this lens a decent option for m262?   they come up at reasonable prices for 1970's samples and i feel a bit tempted.

Any views on this lens?

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I bought mine new in 1966 and kept it for over 30 years. I found it excellent for portraiture.  More modern Elmarits reflect progress throgh computer aided design and manufacture,  but the older lens is good value for money. Newer lenses have a slightly closer minimum focusing distance if that is important. The later version, made in Germany,  also appeals to some people; but you pay extra for younger lenses.

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Posted (edited)

Magnificent lens. Sharp as you would ever need. Light as a feather. Absolutely tiny - and I really do mean TINY - for a 90mm.

Down-side? It has a slight tendency to be susceptible to a certain amount of flare if very strong light sources are either inside or just outside image area. Using a lenshood is strongly recommended. Flare-issue apart (and only under pre-noted particular conditions) it's hard to put forward any reason NOT to use one.

The most realistic alternative in terms of IQ and price would be the 90mm f2.5 / f2.4 Summarit which is 25% larger, much heavier and might be slightly sharper but at the same time is considerably more expensive.

Buy one. They are LOVELY lenses.

Philip.

FWIW I have both the Tele-Elmarit and Summarit versions so my comments are made purely from a personal viewpoint.

EDIT : This is possibly of use?

https://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/90mm-f28-tele.htm

Edited by pippy

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Posted (edited)

I bought mine as the first lens for my M4 in 1968, then added 50 & 35 Summicrons. Over the years I noticed I was not using the 90 much, and finally tested enough to see it didn’t have a really sharp plane of focus, and had low contrast. So it sat in a drawer for years. I finally sent it to a good Leica tech to see if it was fixable, and he reported a rear element was out of position, possibly from a drop or impact. Once adjusted I’m amazed how good it is.

I added a 90 2.5 Summarit a few years ago, and really find my old TE is just as good, by my criteria. The handling of the Summarit is very nice, and it may have less flare, but the build and size of the TE is great.

The 90 that surprised me is the Elmar-C for the old CL. It’s sharp with good contrast even wide open, and very cheap on the used market. I’ve used it on my M9 & 10 with no focus issues. So if f4 is acceptable it should be considered.

Edited by TomB_tx

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Posted (edited)

Just to be clear - there were TWO 90mm Tele-Elmarits, one from 1964-73, and one from 1974-1990. The second one is usually designated Tele-Elmarit-M.

They are rather different lenses, both in ergonomics (the first is "fat" and heavier, the second is "thin" and 225g) and in imaging. Both were Canadian designs, however, both were made intemittently in either Canada or Wetzlar (v1) or Canada or Solms (v2).

Thus "canada 1970s" could refer to either.

My experience:

The first time I tried the version one (1983ish - used), it put me off Leica glass for 15 years or more. I felt it was rather soft at f/2.8 compared to, say, a 1970s Nikkor 105 f/2.5. However, I have tried a couple in the digital era and found them not as bad as I remembered (or like Tom, that first copy had a problem). Biggest weakness is that they never get truly sharp in the extreme corners at any aperture, but are very good near the center, improving with each stop down to f/8.

The v.1 does not have the rather strong flare tendency of the v.2, but still has lower contrast than a modern Leica lens. In color and in contrast, it can be quite pretty. The v.1 is not supported for 6-bit coding on digital - simply too old to be upgraded. And "no such lens" in a digital-M menu database. This doesn't cause imaging problems, however.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2.8_Tele-Elmarit

V.1 90mm TE image

The version two is a whole different animal, if one counts ergonomics. The only Leica-M 90mm of aperture f/2.8 or faster that really feels and handles like an "M" lens, to me. Literally the scale of a 50mm f/2, except a bit longer.

I got one of these in my first year of modern Leica photography (2001) and have owned/used them ever since. It is notably sharper and contrastier than the v.1, including the corners, and at all apertures, although still gentler than Leica's post-1990 90mms.

It does have a serious "Achilles Heel" with internal reflections from the lens barrel, if there is something bright just outside the picture area. And I have never found a lens hood that really corrects that. One just really has to think about the lighting conditions, and try to avoid back-lighting with the sun or other bright light source just outside the frame.

But when the lighting is right, it is amazing the pictures that come out such a small, light package (only 4 lens elements, as well).

It is also wise to avoid really early-production copies - they have a long-known issue with hazing of the rear elements, which cannot be serviced (sealed unit) nor replaced (no more parts). If you get one made late enough to have the yellow "90mm" engraved on the barrel (S/N ~290000 or higher), it is probably safe.

It is supported by 6-bit-coding, or camera lens menus, and can be upgraded by Leica or other means. because it has the same 1mm flange found on even today's M lenses.

90mm TEM pictures, with M8/9/10, make up about 40% of my print sales.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2.8_Tele-Elmarit-M

v.2 90mm TEM image, with detail crop overlaid.

Edited by adan

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I bought a used V2 around 1986 and still keep it, it does not show haze or fungus after such a long time. Optically, as written above, it is not a top performer compared with many modern Leica lenses, but it clearly demonstrates the Leica philosophy - small and light! The flare issue is well known, it is as it is, we cannot talk it down. I regret that I use this lens only occasionally with a digital Leica, mainly for portraits, because typically I am wide angle guy. The biggest advantage is the low price for used Tele-Elmarit M lenses, they are really a bargain today, considering the price tags of other Leica lenses.

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For my use this is the best 90mm Leitz/Leica lens ever made. The only one that has ever tempted me since is the Macro-Elmar, but the one stop slower plus high price (relative) has always made me lose interest upon reflection.

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I have a FAT and heavy one... but enough about me, here are some sample taken with the first version of the 90mm Tele-Elmarit.

M9, 90mm Tele-Elmarit FAT

M9, 90mm Tele-Elmarit FAT

 

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Used one for 30+ years (left). Great little lens besides the flare issue that is not slight at all when strong light sources are just outside the frame. Compared to modern lenses like the Summarit 90/2.4 it looks outdated but still remains the smaller 90mm f/2.8 lens. If you're on a budget and don't need f/2.8, the Rokkor 90/4 (right) for Minolta CLE (not CL) is superbly made, slightly shorter, at least as sharp and has no flare problem at all.

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And a couple more in a more challenging situation:

MP, 90mm Tele-Elmarit FAT, Kodak 3200P

 

I really like this lens because it is small and light. Easily pocketable. Paired with the 28mm Summaron it's my favourite "going out without a bag" set.

It may not be in sharp in the corners, but do people really care about what's going on in the corners that much other than for landscapes (for which one would probably not be using a wide aperture anyway)?

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2 hours ago, adan said:

Just to be clear - there were TWO 90mm Tele-Elmarits, one from 1964-73, and one from 1974-1990. The second one is usually designated Tele-Elmarit-M.

They are rather different lenses, both in ergonomics (the first is "fat" and heavier, the second is "thin" and 225g) and in imaging. Both were Canadian designs, however, both were made intemittently in either Canada or Wetzlar (v1) or Canada or Solms (v2).

Thus "canada 1970s" could refer to either.

My experience:

The first time I tried the version one (1983ish - used), it put me off Leica glass for 15 years or more. I felt it was rather soft at f/2.8 compared to, say, a 1970s Nikkor 105 f/2.5. However, I have tried a couple in the digital era and found them not as bad as I remembered (or like Tom, that first copy had a problem). Biggest weakness is that they never get truly sharp in the extreme corners at any aperture, but are very good near the center, improving with each stop down to f/8.

The v.1 does not have the rather strong flare tendency of the v.2, but still has lower contrast than a modern Leica lens. In color and in contrast, it can be quite pretty. The v.1 is not supported for 6-bit coding on digital - simply too old to be upgraded. And "no such lens" in a digital-M menu database. This doesn't cause imaging problems, however.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2.8_Tele-Elmarit

V.1 90mm TE image

The version two is a whole different animal, if one counts ergonomics. The only Leica-M 90mm of aperture f/2.8 or faster that really feels and handles like an "M" lens, to me. Literally the scale of a 50mm f/2, except a bit longer.

I got one of these in my first year of modern Leica photography (2001) and have owned/used them ever since. It is notably sharper and contrastier than the v.1, including the corners, and at all apertures, although still gentler than Leica's post-1990 90mms.

It does have a serious "Achilles Heel" with internal reflections from the lens barrel, if there is something bright just outside the picture area. And I have never found a lens hood that really corrects that. One just really has to think about the lighting conditions, and try to avoid back-lighting with the sun or other bright light source just outside the frame.

But when the lighting is right, it is amazing the pictures that come out such a small, light package (only 4 lens elements, as well).

It is also wise to avoid really early-production copies - they have a long-known issue with hazing of the rear elements, which cannot be serviced (sealed unit) nor replaced (no more parts). If you get one made late enough to have the yellow "90mm" engraved on the barrel (S/N ~290000 or higher), it is probably safe.

It is supported by 6-bit-coding, or camera lens menus, and can be upgraded by Leica or other means. because it has the same 1mm flange found on even today's M lenses.

90mm TEM pictures, with M8/9/10, make up about 40% of my print sales.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/90mm_f/2.8_Tele-Elmarit-M

v.2 90mm TEM image, with detail crop overlaid.

Great information,,,by the pictures and serial number the lens i am looking at is clearly an early 2nd version of the tele-elmarit.

Reputable dealer.

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14 minutes ago, lct said:

Used one for 30+ years (left). Great little lens besides the flare issue that is not slight at all when strong light sources are just outside the frame. Compared to modern lenses like the Summarit 90/2.4 it looks outdated but still remains the smaller 90mm f/2.8 lens. If you're on a budget and don't need f/2.8, the Rokkor 90/4 (right) for Minolta CLE (not CL) is superbly made, slightly shorter, at least as sharp and has no flare problem at all.

That lens is another option i have been looking at ,especially as i was a minolta SLR user from 1980-2014 so have a soft spot for rokkor glass.

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Posted (edited)

Its a great little lens - I have and am currently using one. Adan's post says it all very well. IMO its only real problem (if you get one without rear group hazing) is a tendency to flare - sometimes quite badly if the light strikes in particular ways. Whether this is a problem for you depends on how you shoot. My only other comment applies to all 90mm and longer lenses and is that its worth trying to get one with a warranty as focus can be out (many are far from new!), and if so they need adjusting which can be another cost to add to say nothing of time. So getting one which you can check and return if needed is worthwhile. I've bought 2 or 3 90s including a couple of Summicrons and an Elmarit-M which have not focused correctly - all had to go back. Alternatively they can still be quite cheap so you could budget for a CLA if so. My current TE is battered looking but free from haze and focusses accurately - cost about £200 I think.

Edited by pgk

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I have the “fat” version, which I really ought to use more. It has a nice worn patina on the outside and good glass inside.

i had a “thin” version but sold it as it was too clean and new, in the box. I prefer equipment that looks well used rather than so clean that you don’t like to use it.

 

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When I bought my first Leica (M9-P with a Summicron 50) the 'thin' T-E 90 was virtually thrown in as part of the deal for a song. It's a great travel lens, very sharp, and will either behave impeccably, most of the time, or flare brazenly. It snaps into focus effortlessly. I got Malcolm Taylor to code mine and I can't imagine ever parting with it - one of my favourites.

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Posted (edited)

I ended up with a 1984 tele-elmarit from london camera exchange when they reduced its listed price because i clicked on the link to buy a 1974 model  which had been sold.

Made in canada in decent condition and amazingly small.

Used it today on a waterfall trip with a friend and tried out some portraits and other shots.

First impressions are that the lens is very sharp and the colours  nice so im very pleased with my purchase.

Thanks to posters for the advice on the strengths and shortcomings of  this lens.

Edited by steve 1959

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Great lens! You won't regret it. For a smaller hood, you can use the rubber collapsible hood made by Leica for the 90mm f4 elmar. 

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37 minutes ago, g2van said:

Great lens! You won't regret it. For a smaller hood, you can use the rubber collapsible hood made by Leica for the 90mm f4 elmar. 

Thanks,it actually arrived with a good condition rubber hood,i believe some tele-elmarits had rubber hoods originally or so i have read online.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, steve 1959 said:

I ended up with a 1984 tele-elmarit from london camera exchange......First impressions are that the lens is very sharp and the colours  nice so im very pleased with my purchase......

Glad to hear that things seem to be turning out well for you. And yes; the size of the thing is quite amazing. The rubber hood is a very good thing to have. Mine also had one in the box so that might be quite normal?

Hope you have a lot of fun together!

P.

Edited by pippy

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58 minutes ago, pippy said:

The rubber hood is a very good thing to have. Mine also had one in the box so that might be quite normal?

It is.

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