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Thread: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

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    Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Seeing as I have a 35mm FLE on the way, I will at some point need a medium tele, too.

    I was given the chance to purchase an Elmarit-M 90mm a few months back at a nice price, but waited too long. It didn´t help that I didn´t own the M9 yet, either. I regret my silly waiting game a lot, and the Elmarit seems very difficult to find locally.

    It seems I have a couple of alternatives when it´s time to buy a medium tele lens (probably not before well into next year, I have to pay my wife back part of the 35 FLE first!).

    1: Elmarit-M 90mm. My first choice. f/2.8 is plenty fast for me, and from what I´ve seen, it´s a beautiful brush of a lens.

    2: Summarit-M 90mm. My second choice. F/2.5 is almost unnecessarily fast(hah!), but it´s new, has coding from the factory, and is supposed to be a pretty nice performer, even compared to the Elmarit 90.

    3: Summicron pre-Asph 90mm. I know virtually nothing about this lens, except from Puts´ scribblings in the Lens compendium, and that it costs much the same as the two candidates above on the second hand market.

    4: Voigtländer Heliar 75/1.8. It reviews favourably on Reid, anyone else know anything about it? Looks interesting, though a tad short perhaps.

    5: APO-ASPH Summicron 75 and 90mm. Frightening cost, but good performers. Might be a tad big? Same goes with number 4.

    Please help an idiot. It´s the kind thing to do..

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    The best? Summarit, I've tried all of them and it's the most well-balanced in terms of quality and price.
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    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    I like both of your first two choices. I had the opportunity to use both lenses for a trial period (friends are wonderful) and optically I thought they were very similar, but in the end I chose the 90 Elmarit-M for superior build quality and slide out hood.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Tell us a little about what you enjoy shooting and how you would use the short tele. The 75-90 range has always been a strength of Leica M lenses are each lens mentioned is excellent .

    I have the two APO s and the 90 Elmarit-M . If I was primarily concerned about the IQ and character of the lenses ...I would take the 90APO . It is exceptional wide open and renders fine detail without excessive contrast .

    While I find on the M body that I forget about the size of the 90APO ..its a big negative when I am street shooting . I often work without a bag and having a 90APO in a vest or jacket is just no fun .

    The 75 APO has very strong IQ and the stronger contrast of a modern M lens . It is small and fast ..but using a 75 on a M requires using the 50/75 framelines ..which are inaccurate and I find distracting with a 75 . I would much prefer to be using the 50asph .

    The 90EM has a nice balance and the one I use most . Wide open it has a classic character ..the lens signature shows and it renders portraits beautifully . Stopping down a bit and the lens has strong color and micro contrast . It is small and portable and uses 46mm filters like the 35 and 50 asph . Because of the small size I will carry it with me and that becomes the deciding factor .

    If you buy one used I would recommend that you have to calibrated by someone like DAG as focusing a 90 with a RF is much more difficult than a 35 . I factor in about $200 to have it 6 bit coded and calibrated . I also look for the newest and best condition I can find as the cost difference isn t much and a CLA can be expensive .
    Roger Dunham
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    Member StephenPatterson's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    The 90EM has a nice balance and the one I use most . Wide open it has a classic character ..the lens signature shows and it renders portraits beautifully . Stopping down a bit and the lens has strong color and micro contrast . It is small and portable and uses 46mm filters like the 35 and 50 asph . Because of the small size I will carry it with me and that becomes the deciding factor .

    If you buy one used I would recommend that you have to calibrated by someone like DAG as focusing a 90 with a RF is much more difficult than a 35 . I factor in about $200 to have it 6 bit coded and calibrated . I also look for the newest and best condition I can find as the cost difference isn t much and a CLA can be expensive .
    +1

    I love that the 90 Elmarit-M takes the same 46mm filters as the 21SEM, 35LUX and 50LUX, and the size is wonderful so that it seldom gets left behind. After I purchased mine I had it 6 bit coded and calibrated by Leica NJ, and I absolutely agree that having DAG, Leica or someone else perform this step will give peace of mind as well as making sorting files in LR that much easier.

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    I own 75 and 90.
    My 90 of choice is the Elmarit, however I use 75mm much more often.
    So if I had to choose between 75 and 90 it would be the 75 Summicron.
    I like it a lot for taking images of my kids for example. with 90 I find it sometimes a little too compressed, and inside rooms too long. For me 75 is just the right size and speed.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    You might also consider the 'thin' Tele-Elmarit 90/2.8.

    -robert
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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Or the M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8. I compared it to the 90mm Elmarit-C f/4 and the Hexanon won out on sharpness and was a touch warmer (which I preferred) so I kept it. There can be close-focus issues on digital bodies, though, so if that matters think twice.

    I've sold my M bodies -- let me know if you're interested in my Hexanon. No pressure.

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    I have owned and used the following:
    Pre-asph Summicron. Mine was the last one E55 with hood and same size as the aspheric version. Not as light as the Tele-Elmarit but it handles nicely and produces great results even wide open. This is my personal favorite Leica 90 for image quality for warmth and roundness.
    The Emarit-M is functionally the best of the Elmarits for it's flare control alone. I did find the look a bit sterile and sold mine. I would probably give this lens another chance.
    Currently I have the 90mm Tele-Elmarit "thin" tele and like that lens a lot. This lens is significantly easier to pack around than the newer version so it is more likely to find a place in your camera bag than the other lenses. It is small and handles very nicely. While it is prone to flare, at f3.5 on down, it can produce really nice results.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    My vote: the Elmarit-M 90. Great lens. By the way, the two Crons aren't small IMO. I don't know about the Voightlander.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Thank you,everyone, for your replies.

    My gut says something about the elmarit,and still,after all your replies,the summarit in second.
    Sorry about not disclosing my shooting habits. Street photography,family,kids,strangers,candid portraiture,natural and urban abstracts, etcetera. I love a 90 on slrs,used both sigma and tamron macros in that focal length for portraits in the past.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by arild View Post
    Thank you,everyone, for your replies.

    My gut says something about the elmarit,and still,after all your replies,the summarit in second.
    Sorry about not disclosing my shooting habits. Street photography,family,kids,strangers,candid portraiture,natural and urban abstracts, etcetera. I love a 90 on slrs,used both sigma and tamron macros in that focal length for portraits in the past.
    Nothing wrong with the Summarit . You will find that a 90 on a RF is much harder to use than an 85-90 on a SLR . The VF gives you a full 28mm FOV and you are using the inside frame when shooting with a 90 ....this is not good compared to a bright SLR with a 85/90 and a fast lens .

    I have seen many recommendations for the Summarit 75 and despite the framelines being inaccurate ..focusing would be easier . Its also easier to find new or used ..less money and easy to resell .

    Keep in mind that most of the contributors if not all have a 50 so going to a 90 makes more sense . If you plan on getting a 50 then the 90 is a better choice but if not 35 to 75 is a logical gap between focal lengths .

    I have used a travel kit with the 24/35/75 summiluxes in the winter when light is often low .
    Roger Dunham
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Nothing wrong with the Summarit . You will find that a 90 on a RF is much harder to use than an 85-90 on a SLR . The VF gives you a full 28mm FOV and you are using the inside frame when shooting with a 90 ....this is not good compared to a bright SLR with a 85/90 and a fast lens .

    I have seen many recommendations for the Summarit 75 and despite the framelines being inaccurate ..focusing would be easier . Its also easier to find new or used ..less money and easy to resell .

    Keep in mind that most of the contributors if not all have a 50 so going to a 90 makes more sense . If you plan on getting a 50 then the 90 is a better choice but if not 35 to 75 is a logical gap between focal lengths .

    I have used a travel kit with the 24/35/75 summiluxes in the winter when light is often low .
    Thank you again, Roger, for your insight. When I finally landed on the 35lux,I had considered strongly a 28,50 and 90 kit. You gave me some great advice on the cron 28,even,which I ended up not buying at two separate occasions. I've always seemed to do fine with one wide and one tele, and whether a 90 would be difficult to use on an RF hadn't crossed my mind.

    Worst case,though,if I end up with an elmarit or summarit 90,its not like either would be hard resales if not right for my skills? I really appreciate the level of this discussion,and all the participants in it. Really,thanks a bunch!! :-)

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    I prefer the Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8. It's a good compromise on speed and size. As Stephen mentions, it takes the same 46mm filters as many other lenses. Darn good optics - bested only by the 90AA.

    The Summicrons are nice, but a good bit bigger and heavier. As tempting as f/2 is, the larger filter size is a turn-off too.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Another vote for the 90 tele-elmarit-M. Smallest and lightest by far, a very good lens and f4, a great lens by f5.6. It does flare, and at f2.8 the corners are very soft. But cheap, small, light and IMHO indistinguishable from the others at smaller apertures.

    I've had a TE for nearly 20 years. I sold an Elmarit when I got an AA, but kept the TE. Eventually I sold the AA and kept the old TE. It works better for the way I shoot.

    If you want a 90 that's sharp wide open (and quite demanding to focus), save up for the APO-ASPH. If you want a lens that's almost as good as the AA but f2.8 (but sadly not that much smaller or lighter) get the Elmarit-M. If you value small and light, and can stop down when you need best quality, save big bucks and get a TE.

    Until later,

    Clyde
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Not much more that I can add to the excellent opinions and recommendations made for various 75mm and 90mm Leica lenses. Here are my own personal thoughts (condensed), based on actual use:

    1. 90mm Emarit-M. Possibly the best "all around: 90mm M lens with regards to use/speed/size/performance, even at f2.8 . An absolute gem of a lens.

    2. 90mm AA. Acuity very high from the get go but I personally found it a bit too perfect and sterile in its signature for some uses. I did though find it ideal as a landscape lens when edge to edge shapness at any aperture was required

    3. 90mm Pre Asph E55 (version just prior to relaease of the 90mm AA). A wonderful portrait/people lens. Presents a very gentle and well rounded image, especially at f2 thru f4. Still sharp, reproducing detail very well, but with a gentlensss that makes it ideal for certain subjects.

    4. 90mm f4 macro . Very small, very light, terrific performance at any aperture. Focuses close and gets sort of into macro territory, with exceptional performance at min. focusing distance and also at longer distances. Great travel lens.

    5. 75mm Cron asph. No doubt a great performer but like the 90mm AA, the images it produced left me a bit cold, with it's near perfection. Guess in the 75mm range, I'm partial to the 75mm Lux (description below), which is ther antithesis of the 75mm Cron asph.

    6. 75mm Lux. In a number of ways, this lens reminds me a little of the 90mm pre asph (E55). It produces very lovely and well rounded images...from f1.4 to approx f2.8 . At f4 and smaller, the lens sharpens up to compete with most of the best 75's out there. Definitely a dual personality lens, It's bokeh is extremely smooth and lovely and images produced with this lens have character in abundance. One of my all time favorites.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 14th October 2012 at 13:53.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by arild View Post

    1: Elmarit-M 90mm. My first choice. f/2.8 is plenty fast for me, and from what I´ve seen, it´s a beautiful brush of a lens.


    3: Summicron pre-Asph 90mm. I know virtually nothing about this lens, except from Puts´ scribblings in the Lens compendium, and that it costs much the same as the two candidates above on the second hand market.

    4: Voigtländer Heliar 75/1.8. It reviews favourably on Reid, anyone else know anything about it? Looks interesting, though a tad short perhaps.

    I own the Tele-Elmarit-M 90mm and the latest Summicron pre-Asph.. Both are wonderful lenses. The Summicron at 2.0 a bit soft but wonderful for portraits, from 4.0 up to 11.0 very sharp from edge to edge. Disadvantage: very heavy. So I recently bought the Tele-Elmarit-M 2.8 90mm, made in Canada. It's in my opinion the perfect lens for travelling. Lightweight and sharp. Actually my favourite.

    For the Voigtländer Heliar 75/1.8 you can find on my review-collection site

    https://sites.google.com/site/wosimsphotography/

    the following reviews:

    Review: Voigtlander 75mm F/1.8 Heliar | Band Photography > Music Photographer > Tony Ventouris > MD DC VA > Panoramic > Portraits

    Voigtländer 75mm f/1.8 Heliar Classic Review

    Review: Voigtlander 75mm F/1.8 Heliar « Leica Reviews > Voigtlander Reviews > Fine Art Photography > Music > Tony Ventouris

    WOSIMs Photography
    Collection of Links to Leica M and Lens Reviews
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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    What about the Zeiss Tele-Tessar? It is only f/4 but for use with RF it's not really a bad thing. It is small, light and inexpensive, and draws beautifully.

    Quote Originally Posted by arild View Post
    Seeing as I have a 35mm FLE on the way, I will at some point need a medium tele, too.

    I was given the chance to purchase an Elmarit-M 90mm a few months back at a nice price, but waited too long. It didn´t help that I didn´t own the M9 yet, either. I regret my silly waiting game a lot, and the Elmarit seems very difficult to find locally.

    It seems I have a couple of alternatives when it´s time to buy a medium tele lens (probably not before well into next year, I have to pay my wife back part of the 35 FLE first!).

    1: Elmarit-M 90mm. My first choice. f/2.8 is plenty fast for me, and from what I´ve seen, it´s a beautiful brush of a lens.

    2: Summarit-M 90mm. My second choice. F/2.5 is almost unnecessarily fast(hah!), but it´s new, has coding from the factory, and is supposed to be a pretty nice performer, even compared to the Elmarit 90.

    3: Summicron pre-Asph 90mm. I know virtually nothing about this lens, except from Puts´ scribblings in the Lens compendium, and that it costs much the same as the two candidates above on the second hand market.

    4: Voigtländer Heliar 75/1.8. It reviews favourably on Reid, anyone else know anything about it? Looks interesting, though a tad short perhaps.

    5: APO-ASPH Summicron 75 and 90mm. Frightening cost, but good performers. Might be a tad big? Same goes with number 4.

    Please help an idiot. It´s the kind thing to do..
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    ^ The TT really is a nice lens. Exactly all the points you mention.

    I got my 90 around the time juuuuust before the TT came out. A lot of us were hoping it was an f/2.8 - but when it turned out to be an f/4... I know I lost interest. For more or less the same size (albeit a bit heavier) and the same price (at the time; it rapidly changed) - the Elmarit-M won for me. Go figure, it rapidly increased in price from there to more than double!

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Just got a FAT-tele-elmarit for use with the MM, having already owned the 90 AP0. The 90 APO is far improved glass, but the 90 TE is built like a tank and provides a rich rendering, especially when stopped down to f/4 or beyond...Wide open, it's "okay"...As it is very compact (not quite the Macro-elmar, but close), it'll serve as my vintage 90 for the time being. IT's yet another option.

    IMO, the 90 elmarit E46 is the best all arounder of the group, in terms of size and performance. The 90 summarit is not one that i have used, but apparently a fantastic performer as well that can actually be had for cheaper. Main drawback of the summarit is screw on vs telescoping hood...
    Ashwin Rao
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    ditto to #4 and #5.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    I own the Tele-Elmarit-M 2.8 90mm and the Summicron 90mm pre-Asph. The Summicron at 2.0 is a bit soft, but ideal for portraits. From 4.0 to 11.0 it is very sharp from edge to edge. The only disadvantage of this lens is its weight. Therefore I recently bought the Tele-Elmarit-M, made in Canada. It is very light, very sharp and contrasty and one of my favourite travel-lenses.

    For the Voigtländer Heliar 1.8 75mm I know the following reviews:

    Review: Voigtlander 75mm F/1.8 Heliar « Leica Reviews > Voigtlander Reviews > Fine Art Photography > Music > Tony Ventouris

    Review: Voigtlander 75mm F/1.8 Heliar | Band Photography > Music Photographer > Tony Ventouris > MD DC VA > Panoramic > Portraits

    Voigtländer 75mm f/1.8 Heliar Classic Review

    Best regards

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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Negative View Post
    I prefer the Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8. It's a good compromise on speed and size.
    +1 And matches my other M-mount lenses' 46mm filter size
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Count me as another vote for the elmarit-M f2.8 - no compromise in image quality in a very compact and travel friendly package. I've owned the f 4.0 macro but sold it because of its tendency to flair. I've owned the 90mm summicron but sold it because it was just too much to drag around - it just accumulated dust on my shelf. I've actually owned the fat tele-elmarit and sold it because its performance didn't quite live up to expectations - should probably re-examine the issue based on Ashwin's testimony. By the way the great thing about Leica is through all of these transactions I lost very little if any money.
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    Re: Small, semi fast 90mm. Which one?

    Wow, I'm thoroughly impressed by the sheer number of good people decided to weigh in on my conundrum. Thanks again,all of you.

    Never heard about the Zeiss until now,but it would be an interesting lens if it weren't for the fact that I live in one of the darkest regions of the world. For that fact alone,the Luz 75 suddenly becomes interesting,but I fear what those may go for. Honestly,the AA. crons are out of my price range,thus my initial quest for the elmarit.

    E46 thread would be nice for continuity,but honestly,I'm not a filter fanatic. I trust and know modern day coating on front elements to be quite tough,so the only filter likely to come on would be ND ones.

    Again,this is some time in the future,fortunately,so I'm going to get lots of time grumbling over what to do..Financial constraints and all..;-)
    I am going to Paris quite soon,though,and knowing myself rather well,the second hand stores will be visited more than once.. If I ask nicely, the wife may let me buy something!

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