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Thread: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

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    R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    How does the R-90/2 made in Canada perform as a portrait lens? Would it work on a Canon DSLR? Thanks

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    It should mount with a good adapter, but whether or not you want to use it for a portrait lens is purely a matter of ascetic taste. It is WAY too sharp for me... Just my opinion, others may vary.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    It's supposed to be a great portrait lens. Prior to buying mine I did a Google search and found plenty of opinions. It's 'smooth yet sharp' at wide open. One stop down and it's already very crisp.

    The 3rd version Elmarit-R 90/2.8 has a rep as well but this is the 90mm R lens that is said to be too sharp for portraits. I think it's all subjective and also dependent on whether you need the extra stop. I haven't used my 'Cron 90 extensively, but have one example here with the lens used on a 1Ds Classic:



    This was shot at wide open in [obviously] mixed lighting. Didn't use the flash because I didn't want to kill the ambience. The riot of colors has turned out to be quite attractive.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Thanks. Very nice shot. I do love the colors too.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    The 90 pre-AA is very nice. Softish WO but gets very sharp as you stop down. Famous for it's bokeh - smooth and buttery.

    There are typically two Leica R camps re: the 90 Pre-AA. Some prefer the 80 Lux, some the 90. The 80 and 90 pre-AA share the same reputation for bokeh and 'glow'.

    The 80 is typically harder to find at a decent price vs. the 90 pre-AA hence some of the debate as to whether the extra stop is worth the price premium (unless you find a real bargain). Think of the 80 as a 1 stop-faster 90 pre-AA and if you want that extra speed. Focus rings on both can be a little stiffer than say the 90AA or F2.8 last, but not a real issue.

    The 80 gets sharper faster as you stop down then the 90, but it also has a 1 stop advantage over the 90. By F2.8-4 the 80 is a razor in center. The 90 pre-AA by F4-5.6.

    The late 90/2.8 is VERY, VERY sharp, beaten at that FL only by the 90AA. Some argue the 90/2.8 and AA are too sharp, even WO (or close to it) for people portraits, but for animals I prefer the extra res those lenses offer, so as to get lots of detail in the eyes, fur/hair, whiskers, etc.

    I prefer the 80, and have it and the 90AA but have used the 90 pre-AA and quite liked it. Any of the Leica 80-90mm lenses will mount on a Canon body with no issues. All of them a re excellent lenses - really just comes down to IQ preference and budget.

    Shot below from 1Ds2, 90 pre-AA at 5.6. Shrunk and jpeg compressed all to hell, but...it's a sample none the less.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    BTW, which adaptor should I get for Leica to Canon? And where? Thanks

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Awwwww....great shot!

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Thanks. The 14"x22" Tiff is amazing in detail and the jpeg compression tends to block-up the shadows, but...

    80 Lux sample: below is another one of my models doing what they do best (and often): 80 Lux WO, 1Ds2, focus on eyelid. The blue/red fringes on the silver object on the table to Ozzie's right are the blue & red buttons on a TV remote, not CA.

    As an aside, the 80 (and IIRC) the 90 pre-AA are also VERY flare resistant.

    I tend to prefer happypagehk custom-chipped adapters off ebay (~US$75). If you mention the FL and aperture you want, say "90mm F2.0" when you order, Rudolph (the owner) will encode the ship accordingly. US$5.00 1 week shipping to Nova Scotia Canada.

    Custom chipping helps with EXIF later ("....what lens did I take that shot with..?") as well as metering and some of us seem to find it makes a difference in accurate focus confirmation when WO.

    CameraQuest/Kindai adapters are considered the gold standard ($175ish) for accurate infinity focus, but they are not chipped and mucho expensive. Fotodiox Pro units are also ok.

    Note the 90 pre-AA comes in two versions. The older, larger version and a new slightly smaller copy that uses E60 (?) filters and looks almost identical to the 90AA R. They are the SAME optically.
    Last edited by robmac; 24th November 2008 at 06:36.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    GREAT DOG and thanks for the info. I have decided to try one. I have a 5D II coming this week!

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    If you go for the 90mm Summicron-R, try to get a lens with the 55mm filters. The earlier lenses took series filters, with a 54mm retaining ring. Optically, they are all the same. The first two versions had a stacking hood that reminds you of a stacking tin cup. The latest version goes to a more standard one piece hood. On the older hoods, the felt for friction could wear or get jammed and make the hood either too loose or impossible to collapse.

    According to a list on Erwin Puts' site, the 55mm filter threads started after lens serial number 2770951.
    Robert

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Hey Rob - good info

    Edit in my above post - the last version, as Rob states, is E55 not E60 and has the more modern single-stage pull out hood (vs the telescoping unit Rob refers to). It looks identical to the 90AA R. There is usually a small price premium for the E55 version vs. older - I guess due to fewer of them floating around, more convenient filter attachment and the easier hood mechanics.

    If you do a WTB here and on FM you should find one pretty quickly.

    Yeah, the dogs make handy lens resolution/color testers - and they work cheap.
    Last edited by robmac; 24th November 2008 at 08:27.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Thanks guys. What price range for a Ex+ later model? Thanks

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Bought privately, I've typically seen them in US$600-700 range. Older units, if you're patient/lucky can be acquired for $450-550, but these prices are rough ranges as prices on both vary a lot on various B&S forums.

    The lens is a popular entry lens (e.g. gateway drug) into Leica R medium telephotos for a lot of alternative users due to it's price/performance ratio so they are seen frequently as people sell them move to the 90AA, 80 lux or say the 100 APO (to name only Leicas) as they start stepping up in $$$ with the same rough FL.

    Street price is typically whatever KEH is asking minus 10-15% or so, some dealers are ok on pricing, some are on drugs and I gave up on finding deals on eBay some time ago.
    Last edited by robmac; 24th November 2008 at 08:38.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Hey Rob - good info

    Edit in my above post - the last version, as Rob states, is E55 not E60 and has the more modern single-stage pull out hood (vs the telescoping unit Rob refers to). It looks identical to the 90AA R. There is usually a small price premium for the E55 version vs. older - I guess due to fewer of them floating around, more convenient filter attachment and the easier hood mechanics.

    If you do a WTB here and on FM you should find one pretty quickly.

    Yeah, the dogs make handy lens resolution/color testers - and they work cheap.
    Rob:

    Just to save some confusion, the second version of the stacking hood lens was E55.

    I have seen the stacking hood versions in the $350 price range. Just make sure it has the E55 filter threads, by checking the serial number.

    Robert

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Ok, so:

    1st version - stacking hood, series 7 w/filter retaining ring
    2nd (or modified 1st) version - stacking hood, E55
    3rd and last version - straight hood as in 90AA and E55 ?

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Ok, so:

    1st version - stacking hood, series 7 w/filter retaining ring
    2nd (or modified 1st) version - stacking hood, E55
    3rd and last version - straight hood as in 90AA and E55 ?
    Correct.

    Also, a first version could be adapted by Leica to a second version. This was the case with some other Leica lenses that had series filters and then later the more standard filter sizes.

    Robert

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    To add to the advice from the good folks here, unless you're a collector, troll around for a well-used specimen, as long as the optics are reasonably sound. The copy I have is one that a collector would shun. Slightly worn exterior, mild optical flaws and came with oily aperture blades.

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    I've had my R 90 'cron for close to 30 years and will not ever give it up. A 54mm-to-55mm step-up ring on the first version makes it much easier to fit filters to it.

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    Re: R-90 Summicron Canada, any good?

    Second the suggestion to search for 'users'. I actually tend to like lenses that are 'seasoned' - means the photog(s) used them a lot becasue they delivered the goods vs. letting them sit in a cabinet/bag drying out.

    Well-built older manual 35mm focus lenses (most Nikons, Leica, Contax-Zeiss, etc) can take a hell of a beating and keep on ticking (showing my age here).

    My $100 Leica 60/2.8 Macro looks like it toured Iraq the hard way (what little black paint there is left on the barrel is almost translucent - looks more medium gray than black), but is optically and mechanically pristine with just a touch of slop in the aperture ring (former copy stand lens and used A LOT).

    My $700 80 Lux 3Cam is far from cosmetically pretty - all sorts of paint chips on barrel but glass is flawless, no discernable dust and oil-free blades.

    My other Leica and Mamiya lenses are cleaner but certainly not collector units by any means.

    Let us know your thoughts after bagging the 90/2.

    A quick WTB here, on FM and maybe on the rangefinderforum.com (folks always selling gear to buy their next M fix....;>) should net you a clean one quickly.

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