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Thread: M9 Portrait lenses

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    M9 Portrait lenses

    OK, I'd like some recommendations for a good portrait lens for the M9.

    I have a set of the "modern" Leica lenses (28 cron, 50 lux asph, 75 cron APO, 90 cron APO, 135 telyt). I'll probably sell the 75 cron and keep the 90 cron, but haven't decided for sure.

    Those are all razor sharp, and have the newer (some call "clinical") look.

    What I want to add is a portrait lens that has the character of older Leica glass, such as the 50 pre-asph lux.

    I'll be using it on the M9, so something in the 75-90mm range is ideal. The 75 lux is an obvious choice, but is a bit too bulky and expensive. I'd like to look at other options.

    So please post your recommendations for portrait lenses with nice character, and also post a sample image or two if you can.

    Thanks,
    Mike
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    How about the Zeiss 85/2? I'd imagine if you sold the 75 and 90 it would finance it. I don't have it myself but I've seen pictures taken with it on the M8 on the net and they looked pretty sharp to me.
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    Senior Member Ario Arioldi's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I would suggest the Tele Elmarit M 90/2.8(1st version, 5 lens).
    It is small, light and, on my M8, a really stellar performer as a portrait lens.
    Cheers,
    Ario

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I like the 75 Summarit, maybe it doesnt show the classic look like the 50/1.4 pre asph but still it is sharp and contrasty and not clinical.
    The other lens I really like is the 90 Elmarit.
    Here is an image with the 90 Elmarit on the M9:


    Personally I dont find the "razor sharp" look of some Leica lenses not really that disturbing. Several times I have compared older and newer Leica lenses directly and most of the times I prefered the newer ones since images seemed clearer , less mushy etc etc.

    I believe that both , the 75 Summarit and the 90 Elmarit could be lenses which are in the midddle between the new asph lenses and the older lenses.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I am not sure that you will find a portrait lens with the classic look in a form-factor much smaller than the 75 Lux, other than if a 50 Lux satisfies you (it wouldn't do for me, by itself). The obvious candidates are the 75 Lux, 90 Cron pre-Asph, and Noctilux. Another interesting lens is the 85 Summarex, another non-tiny lens:

    http://www.camera-werks.com/Leica-85...ept04_Pic6.jpg

    Some people even prefer a 35mm for environmental portraits... Not I, the 50 fits my style better for that.

    If you do get rid of the 75 Cron, then replacing it with the 75 Lux would fit well. The 75 Lux is about the same size as the 90AA. I also own both of these, and neither is a replacement of the other. I also do about half my candids with the 50 Lux ASPH.

    Ironically, the 50 Noctilux is an awesome portrait lens on the M8, but a bit short on the M9
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Mike

    Excellent question . First I would work with your 90 asph....while it is very sharp..I have found the renderings to be less clinical than say the 75 cron . A really nice balance overall.
    The changes from 1.3 to FF is going to mess with my standard set of lenses...again.

    Time to dust off the 75lux .

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    If I find the time I will shoot 2 comparison images with the 75lux and the 75 Summarit at f2.8 and let you guys find out which image is shiot with which lens. I bet you wont find out

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I've never used a 75mm lens on an 'M' but have just (2 hours ago) taken delivery of a used, mint, CV 75mm Color-Heliar f2.5 as a 'cheap and cheerful' ($390) way of checking out this focal length. I note that this lens gave both the Summarit and Summicron 75s some serious competition in Sean Reid's tests on an M8, so I'm looking forward to seeing what it can do on the M9. I'll be using it with a Milich adapter.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Tom, you could be right, but the point of the 75 Lux is not to shoot at f/2.8... If what you say is really true, then that is more an endorsement of the 75 Lux than the Summarit, IMO. The 75 Lux is a very flexible lens.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    How about the Zeiss 85/2? I'd imagine if you sold the 75 and 90 it would finance it. I don't have it myself but I've seen pictures taken with it on the M8 on the net and they looked pretty sharp to me.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but that thing is big, heavy, and expensive. I'm not selling the 90, so it's also too redundant. I'd go for a 75 lux over the Zeiss 85/2.
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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    OK, some good suggestions here.

    The 90 Elmarit sounds interesting. I'll need to come up to speed on the various versions of this lens.

    The 75 Summarit would be an economical choice, but I had that lens before, and didn't find it to have the character I am looking for.

    The 50 pre-asph lux was my favorite portrait lens on the M8, but just too short for portraits on the M9 (and now I have the asph version this time around).

    CV Color Heliar f2.5 is an interesting option - I'll look more into that one.

    I owned and loved the 75 lux, but I'm trying to avoid that bulk and cost this time around. Here's one of the shots I took on the M8 with the 75 lux:

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Mike

    Excellent question . First I would work with your 90 asph....while it is very sharp..I have found the renderings to be less clinical than say the 75 cron . A really nice balance overall.
    The changes from 1.3 to FF is going to mess with my standard set of lenses...again.

    Time to dust off the 75lux .
    Roger - this is a good point. I haven't really had a chance to work the 90 APO with the M9 much yet. I'll try it out as a portrait lens. If it has enough "character", this would certainly simplify my choice
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    The 90AA is a really great lens, and I find myself carrying the 75 Lux rarely, but still, look at that shot above, and the results just speak for themselves. The 75 Lux isn't just randomly expensive, it is expensive for a very good reason: its ability to deliver gorgeous results. As such, I don't think that trying to avoid the cost is necessarily the right approach. Waiting a little longer while saving would seem more appropriate.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Mike:

    I would just use your 90mm APO ASPH. Wide open it can have a quite pleasing background.

    Robert

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    HI There
    I'm not very partial to using very big lenses on the M for portraits, it seems to rather negate the point of having something less than intimidating.

    My least used lens on the M8 was the 90 elmarit (last version). I guess it was about the same vintage as the pre-asph 50 lux?

    Anyway, I'm loving it on the M9 - it's not clinically sharp like the modern lenses, and it's small with the built in hood (mind you, from what I've seen the summarit looks very similar:




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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    My feeling is that the 75lux suffers slightly from focus shift and therefore is critical to focus at f1.4.
    The other thing is -for my taste - f2.5 in a 75mm lens is wide enough to produce a nice shallow DOF if wanted. Also I find the 75 Summarit easier (faster) to focus because of its mechanics and shorter focus thread.

    Anyways- I dont want to convince anybody one lens is better than the other, maybe i have an exceptional good Summarit with very reliable focus- In my case I just use the Summarit much more often than the SUmmilux.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    My feeling is that the 75lux suffers slightly from focus shift and therefore is critical to focus at f1.4.
    The other thing is -for my taste - f2.5 in a 75mm lens is wide enough to produce a nice shallow DOF if wanted. Also I find the 75 Summarit easier (faster) to focus because of its mechanics and shorter focus thread.

    Anyways- I dont want to convince anybody one lens is better than the other, maybe i have an exceptional good Summarit with very reliable focus- In my case I just use the Summarit much more often than the SUmmilux.
    I worked on this quite a bit last year and I am convinced that the pre six bit summiluxes back focus on most M8s. The tolerances were set for film and are too loose for digital . The mount tolerance is very small and each mount was adjusted to the specific lens...which is why they do these in Solms. They are quite difficult to calibrate...took 3 trips to Solms and a $700 CLA to get my 75 lux right and this was after my 2 M8s were flogged twice. You can t be off at all with the 75 and I was told its harder to calibrate than the Noctilux . We calibrated the body and the 75 to be spot on at 1.4 . If you start on at 1.4 you have a lot less problems with focus shift. We calibrated the 35 lux to be inside 2cm forward at about 2M (how many 2M portraits do you shoot with the 35 at 1.4 ? ) . My point being that even lenses within tolerances can backfocus enough to mess up a 2-3M portrait at 1.4. Leica has completely changed their focus calibration testing for the M9 ..did you see the video with targets at different distances. With that said ...if you buy one used ..send your lens and the body to DAG ....painful but necessary.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Mike,

    Your portrait above would look good with ANY lens you choose ;>)

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    90 Elmarit Mike . Nice delicate look to the images
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I worked on this quite a bit last year and I am convinced that the pre six bit summiluxes back focus on most M8s. The tolerances were set for film and are too loose for digital . The mount tolerance is very small and each mount was adjusted to the specific lens...which is why they do these in Solms. They are quite difficult to calibrate...took 3 trips to Solms and a $700 CLA to get my 75 lux right and this was after my 2 M8s were flogged twice. You can t be off at all with the 75 and I was told its harder to calibrate than the Noctilux . We calibrated the body and the 75 to be spot on at 1.4 . If you start on at 1.4 you have a lot less problems with focus shift. We calibrated the 35 lux to be inside 2cm forward at about 2M (how many 2M portraits do you shoot with the 35 at 1.4 ? ) . My point being that even lenses within tolerances can backfocus enough to mess up a 2-3M portrait at 1.4. Leica has completely changed their focus calibration testing for the M9 ..did you see the video with targets at different distances. With that said ...if you buy one used ..send your lens and the body to DAG ....painful but necessary.
    Roger I agree and I sent my M8 together with my fast lenses (35/1,4, 50asph, 75/1.4 and Noctilux) to Solms for calibration.
    Specially for portrait and people I find the 1-3m distance quite important.
    1 or 2 cm can make the nose sharp and the eyes slightly fuzzy.
    In the end I now just prefer lenses which do not suffer from focus shift.
    The 50/1.4asph for example is a lens I can focus very precisly. In the beginning it had some back focus, but after being calibrated it is just dead on at every f-stop.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Mike, I've had a boatload of lenses, 75 Cron/Lux, etc. I'll throw in a vote for that stellar little CV 75 Heliar. Small, lightweight, and a really wonderful portrait lens.

    Some examples:







    Of course, there's also the CV 90/3.5 APO Lanthar, which I actually prefer to the 90 pre lux:




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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Wow that CV 75/2.5 has really good color and the 90/3.5 seems very sharp Lloyd.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Wow that CV 75/2.5 has really good color and the 90/3.5 seems very sharp Lloyd.
    Like I've said, I have the Leica glass, but really believe these two CV lenses are very much under appreciated. Real solid performers, and cheap enough to essentially be disposable by comparison.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Great images Lloyd - thanks for your recommmendation.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    90 pre-ASPH or the 85 Summarex... I believe David Farkas has a Summarex in excellent condition for sale... You should give him a call to see if it's still available.

    Cheers,

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    Like I've said, I have the Leica glass, but really believe these two CV lenses are very much under appreciated. Real solid performers, and cheap enough to essentially be disposable by comparison.
    Lloyd

    What a great set of images...perfect application of the CV lenses . Sharpness isn t an issue ..its how the lens handles contrast and creates tone separation. This is what is giving the skin tone life.

    Plus ..I must claim that you have an unfair advantage with such great looking subjects.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Lloyd


    Plus ..I must claim that you have an unfair advantage with such great looking subjects.
    LOL. Ok, guilty. (Your comments will score some points at dinner this evening. Thank you!)

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Riccis View Post
    90 pre-ASPH or the 85 Summarex... I believe David Farkas has a Summarex in excellent condition for sale... You should give him a call to see if it's still available.
    800g! And the shade is huge (see my linked image earlier in this thread). I tried one in my Leica store, next to my 75 Lux, and found the Summarex a bit too soft wide open, and prone to flare, but I have also seen very nice results from it.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    Mike, I've had a boatload of lenses, 75 Cron/Lux, etc. I'll throw in a vote for that stellar little CV 75 Heliar. Small, lightweight, and a really wonderful portrait lens.
    Lloyd,

    Simply lovely pictures (as usual, your portraits are immaculate). Just curious, is this with the M8? Also, would they have been shot wide open in these pictures?

    I've just ordered the CV 50mm f1.5 for the GF1 I've got on order but I'm considering either the CV 75 or 90 for the long end. I've had both lenses (75 and 90) before and you're right on, they're just spectacular for their cost. I'll probably lean toward the 75 to gain the faster speed.

    Cheers,

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Those CV90 images are....... stellar......

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Lloyd,

    Simply lovely pictures (as usual, your portraits are immaculate). Just curious, is this with the M8? Also, would they have been shot wide open in these pictures?

    I've just ordered the CV 50mm f1.5 for the GF1 I've got on order but I'm considering either the CV 75 or 90 for the long end. I've had both lenses (75 and 90) before and you're right on, they're just spectacular for their cost. I'll probably lean toward the 75 to gain the faster speed.

    Cheers,
    Yes, those are all on the M8, and mostly wide open. I really like the 90 wide open as a portrait lens, the DOF is not too shallow, but shallow enough to give nice OOF areas.

    As I said above, I have, or have had most of the Leica glass in the equivalent focal lengths, and there are some superb optics, but for size, convenience, and price, tough to beat the CVs. Plus, when it comes to portraiture, which was the question of this thread, I actually prefer the CVs over the Leica glass, with the 90 pre ASPH running a close second.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Mike:

    I did a quick search in Lightroom to see if I have any 90mm APO Asph portraits. This was probably at the close focus limit on the M8. Straight out of Capture One and resized in Photoshop.

    There is a smoothness to the 90mm APO asph that is lacking on some of the more modern APO ASPH, such as the 75mm Summicon. Sort of like the transition out of the Mandler age.

    Last edited by robsteve; 29th September 2009 at 16:30.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Whatever 90 mm you get I can guarantee after using the M9 for 5 days it was maybe the most used lens after the 35 cron. So buy accordingly.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Guy:

    What is the magnification of the M9? A .85 or HM would be sweet.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    Guy:

    What is the magnification of the M9? A .85 or HM would be sweet.
    It's .68 on the M9

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I used a 1.25 mag on it the whole time and I liked using it.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I used a 1.25 mag on it the whole time and I liked using it.
    That makes the viewfinder a .85. I used one as well, but found that the longer glass focused really well even without it.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I never tried just put it on the second the M9 showed up. Miss that little thing. LOL
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I like using the 1.25x magnifier, but it makes the 28 cron tough to use on the M9, and the 28 cron is my favorite wide lens. But I'm not usually too critical on my framing anyway, so it might still work.

    Robert - that's a nice shot. I'm currently leaning toward just using the 90 APO as my portrait lens, as you suggested.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    73 Hecktor!!!

    Second choice, 80 Summarex.

    Third choice, 105 Mountain Elmar

    Fourth choice, and easiest of the above to find and use until you get one of the above, a pre-APO 90 Cron.
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Hey,

    How about a Konica 90/2.8 M-Hexanon? A Sonnar-type lens and quite a good performer. Ah, and one more little thing: it is cheap!
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    The cheapest lens is the one Mike already has, the 90mm APO ASPH.

    Robert

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I would buy the 90 apo for the speed more than anything else. But that lens for me would be used for mainly podium stuff, so i would need it. I agree with Robert just use that for now and see how you like it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    I like using the 1.25x magnifier, but it makes the 28 cron tough to use on the M9, and the 28 cron is my favorite wide lens. But I'm not usually too critical on my framing anyway, so it might still work..
    Can you still see the 35mm frame with the 1.25 magnifier?
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by jlancasterd View Post
    Can you still see the 35mm frame with the 1.25 magnifier?
    I guess so! 1.25 is mathematically the equivalent of the 28mm without the magnifier.
    From what I remembered when I tried one in the past, it is harder to see the information at the bottom, outside of the viewfinder glass part. You need to move your eye balls purposely to be able to see the data.
    Last edited by Mozbee; 30th September 2009 at 11:14.
    Francois B.

  46. #46
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Megaperls makes a 1.15x magnifier, which I have considered getting more than once:

    http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...magnifier.html
    Carsten - Website

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    I used the Megaperls 1.15X on one of my M8s and it was excellent.

    Cheers,

  48. #48
    Member markowich's Avatar
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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    90mm cron asph.
    peter

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Beautiful, Peter.
    Osman

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    Re: M9 Portrait lenses

    Very nice portrait, Peter!
    Carsten - Website

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