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Thread: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

  1. #51
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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    Another vote for the 75 lux. I like the 35/75 pair for a minimal kit. Since you already have a 50, maybe the 90 makes more sense. I really like the last generation pre-ASPH Summicron, but it is quite big. I tried the Tele-Elmarit but found it far too sensitive to flare. The Elmarit-M and Summarit-M I have never tried, but both seem very nice. I would probably go with the Elmarit, mostly because of the built-in extending hood. My current choice for 90mm is the C-Elmar (f/4), or actually the Minolta M-Rokkor (which is supposed to be identical). Haven't used it much on the M9 yet though, but it is small and light weight, and probably a good choice if f/4 is enough and size/weight is an issue. Cheap too.

    Edit: Just a note on the Voigtländer Color Heliar 75/2.5, which I also have. It is a great lens, but the close focus limit of 0.9m makes it less than optimal for portrait use on the M9, imho. The 75mm lux/cron both focus to 0.7m, which is very useful. I believe all the 90mm lenses go to 1m, which is ok.
    Leica Monochrom, Olympus EM-5, Ricoh GR

  2. #52
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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Owl View Post
    Thank you everyone. Very helpful.

    It's quite interesting that no voice has been raised in support of using a soft-focus filter on a more clinical lens. Nor has any voice been raised in support of the current 90mm Summarit ... it's its predecessor, the Elmarit-M, that has captured people's affections.

    What I have discovered in the last day or so is that there is more support for the 75mm Summilux than I previously thought, presented in several different ways. (I thought Charles's photo made the case well.)

    Now, this is not exactly what I wanted to hear! I had hoped to cover the entire rangefinder spectrum with just five lenses: 50mm & 90mm now; then 28mm, 21mm & macro over the next few years. Now I learn that I must plan for a 75mm some day!

    I shall consciously try to avoid being impressed by Noctilux pictures!

    The Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 is famous in Nikon history, and I've used a Nikkor 105mm (not an f/2.5) often on my F3. Is there an adapter that will attach my AI Nikkors to a Leica M ... with rangefinder coupling?

    Later,

    Dr Owl
    I guess focal length depends really on your needs and subjects.
    For some reason the M is a camera which "invites" to shoot from short distances, that might be one reason why some (including me) prefer 75mm over 90mm.
    I even use 50mm more often for "portraits" than 75mm.
    The 90/2.8 would be my choice if you prefer 90mm.

  3. #53
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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    With the soon to be available Leica M with R adapter, the 80 Summilux-R should definitely be considered.

    I find the 80 Lux to be as close to the perfect portrait lens as anything out there.
    It has the same look as the legendary Zeiss 110 2.0 Hasselblad V lens.
    Sharp at the point of focus wide open with a beautiful creamy OOF rendering.
    As the lens is stopped down, the sharpness improves while retaining the OOF transition, all with delicate a colour rendering and terrific tonal gradation for B&W images.

    There are many mint condition 80 Lux's available on the internet.....truly a classic lens.

    I believe it was the very last design of Dr. Walter Mandler.

  4. #54
    New Member Dr Owl's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    Thank you once again, everyone.

    There are lots of recommendations in this thread, all of which would meet my needs perfectly well; and three lenses which have quite a following.

    I have to choose one, and so have reserved a 1998-vintage 90mm Elmarit-M that Red Dot Cameras has on sale in excellent++ condition.

    As evidence of my thoroughness (or of my fragile psychiatric state!) I had a look at the factory allocation records in Erwin Puts's "Leica Chronicle" (an absorbing book, despite its many errata). 80% of 23,000 90mm Elmarits were made in the first half of its availability, between 1990 and 1998; a further 18% were made between 1999 and 2003; just 500 were made between 2004 and the lens's discontinuance in 2008. I wonder whether these last figures were a symptom of the terrible marketplace difficulties Leica was having at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    For some reason the M is a camera which "invites" to shoot from short distances, that might be one reason why some (including me) prefer 75mm over 90mm.

    I even use 50mm more often for "portraits" than 75mm.
    Thank you, Paratom. In my recent feverish study of the Leica marketplace, I thought I had noticed this phenomenon, which I've come to call "Leica Optical Widening".

    I have seen forum posts where people report 35mm being their primary Leica focal length, while their primary SLR focal length is 50mm; and polls on primary focal length which show as many Leica users preferring 28mm as prefer 50mm. In a Nikon poll, I would expect 35mm to be in first place certainly, but 28mm lagging behind 50mm in third place.

    Another facet of LOW is that many, perhaps most, Leica users like to blur their backgrounds. So they demand fast lenses which can be used wide open with confidence ... and they are willing to pay the price that entails.

    LOW may affect me too. Who knows? But I have to start somewhere and the 50mm Summilux, as well as being the same as my walkabout Nikkor, seems to be a lens that no Leica user ever regrets owning.

    If I were good, I would buy just that and use it for at least a six months acclimatization period. My excuse is the need to acclimatize to lens changing the wrong way round ... and that it would be more fun to have a two-lens kit.

    Later,

    Dr Owl
    John Owlett

    Leica M6 & M240; Nikon F3; Rolleiflex 2.8GX.

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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    Do-
    Well you have gotten many voting left, right and center. Portraiture is your only objective?

    Now that you have THE 50/1.4 and you have acquired a Mandler classic in the 90/2.8 Elmarit-M, perhaps think wide. I recommend the 21/3.4 SEM (very sharp) or the Mandler 21/2.8 (very subtle). Just about any lens discussed here I have (and many not discussed), but I use them like an artist uses a brush. I pick from my assortment of brushes for the day while away from home and go out have fun and create images I like because my gallerie is my house.

    Remember also that just a few short steps in either direction can often overcome the short comings of whatever "brush" you are using at that moment.

    P.S.-The 50/1.4, 90/2.8 Elmarit-M and the 21/3.4 have something very much in common. They all take 46mm filters.

  6. #56
    New Member Dr Owl's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Leica lenses for portraits recommendations

    Thank you for the comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    Well you have gotten many voting left, right and center. Portraiture is your only objective?
    Goodness, no ... but it is one of the types of picture-taking I enjoy most, and it is was the reason for wanting a short telephoto as my second Leica lens.

    Now that you have THE 50/1.4 and you have acquired a Mandler classic in the 90/2.8 Elmarit-M, perhaps think wide. I recommend the 21/3.4 SEM (very sharp) or the Mandler 21/2.8 (very subtle).
    Thank you. I shall squirrel that suggestion away for when I have acclimatized to the kit bought so far ... and when the levels in my savings accounts have recovered from buying an M240!

    The 50/1.4, 90/2.8 Elmarit-M and the 21/3.4 have something very much in common. They all take 46mm filters.
    Does one use filters much for digital photography? As a 35mm film user, I have a small battery of coloured filters for black-and-white and colour-temperature filters for Kodachrome (sob ) but I was half expecting to use only a Universal-Polfilter for digital.

    Later,

    Dr Owl
    John Owlett

    Leica M6 & M240; Nikon F3; Rolleiflex 2.8GX.

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