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Thread: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    90mm f2 VS 2.8

    I've been using the Tele-Elmarit 90mm f2.8 lens with my M8s and have had no issues with focus (greatly helped by the Megaperls 1.35X magnifier). I've always kept an eye out, however, for the 90 F2 Summicron, and see them on KEH every once in a while. My question is are they any more difficult to focus, and will I really see a significant difference from the faster aperture? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Cheers,

  2. #2
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    They're not more difficult to focus but, of course, they're less tolerant of misfocus when wide open. I'm not clear on what you mean by the second question.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Sean Reid did a good review on the 90mm lenses a while back and the f2.8 Elmarit held its own quite well. I highly recommend his site (reidreviews.com) and feel it is well worth the small subscription fee. His review of the 90s should help your decision making. Personally, I own the 90 f2 (it was used in Sean's review), but after spending some time with David Farkus and his smaller lighter 90 f2.8 in Germany last summer I am not sure which I would get. Especially now that the 90 Summarit is available.

    Utlimately only you can decide which is right for you based on your priorities of speed, image quality, size/weight, and cost.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Sean, sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm looking for feedback on how much of an advantage to expect going from f2.8 to f2 with these lenses. I know that it's 1-stop, but DOF-wise and bokeh-wise, is it really worth the move or should I just be content with the Tele-Elmarit? Subjective, I know, but I have a feeling it's more a GAS attack than a real need.

    Cheers,

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Mark,

    Thanks for your reply... I missed it replying to Sean. I've been a subscriber since the beginning BTW.

    I'm always looking for a faster lens, and since I have the 2.8, the Summarit doesn't appeal as much as the Summicron. It's trying to get a bead on the relative difference between the two that I'm requesting feedback on.

    Cheers.

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Simon,

    I understand your desire for the extra stop. However, i find that I only use f2 when I absolutely have to due to low light or desired effect of shallow dof simply because the low hit rate I have getting the focus point at the right spot. At least that is my approach for close focus subjects where the dof is razor thin (e.g. portraits). The dof at f2 for a longer focus distances (e.g., theater) is more forgiving and more useable from a success rate point of view. With all that said, it is nice to be able to go down to f2 when I want so I understand where you are coming from.

    Mark

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Sean, sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm looking for feedback on how much of an advantage to expect going from f2.8 to f2 with these lenses. I know that it's 1-stop, but DOF-wise and bokeh-wise, is it really worth the move or should I just be content with the Tele-Elmarit? Subjective, I know, but I have a feeling it's more a GAS attack than a real need.

    Cheers,
    Simon

    The optical formulas for each lens is quite different with the cron being the more modern. It is without peer IMO with regard to sharpness and has the terrific microcontrast often associated with Leica aspherics. I own one and wouldn't think of trading it but others like Jack Flesher sold theirs and went with the new Summarit.

    Woody

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    For me, it's really a toss-up between the 90 AA and the 90 Elmarit (current version). I haven't used the Summarit much yet, so I can't speak to it.

    The Cron does give a very smooth OOF rendering wide open, if that is what you're looking for. It is sharp and not that tough to focus once you get used to it. I've used this lens quite a bit.

    But, that being said, I decided to stick with the latest version (now discontinued) 90 Elmarit. As Mark said, I used this lens quite a bit in Germany and really fell in love with it. I rarely, if ever, missed focus with it, even wide open and with no magnifier. It is extremely sharp with great contrast. In tough lighting situations it showed zero CA. Next to my 35 Cron ASPH, this is my second most used lens. And with its smaller size compared to the 90 AA, it takes up less space in the bag. My reasoning for giving up the stop is that if I'm shooting in low light I'm not planning on using a 90 anyway.

    Here are two shots from Germany. The first is at Schloss Linderhoff (where we ran into Victor Goglak without realizing it). Notice how the lens retained the texture of the white stone in the 100% crop. The second is a wide-open shot in the market in Munich. The lens handles low contrast, soft subjects just as well as high-crontrast ones.

    David

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    I've been though all the 90's... I really like the 90 AA Cron as well as the 90 Pre Cron, both are supremely sharp at f4 and smaller, and the AA is exceptionally sharp from wide open. However, both are also somewhat large and heavy by Leica M standards and I found that too often I'd leave it out of my bag unless I thought "I'd really need it" ... As a result, it usually wasn't in my bag when I wanted it. Back in the day, I went with a 90 Tele-Elmarit thin for a smaller lens, but this flared like a mother when pointed toward any bright light source. As for the regular Elmarit, it is very sharp, but didn't seem enough smaller than the Cron for giving up the full stop. That is the main reason I went with the Summarit this time around.

    The Summarit is sharp stopped down to f4, yet has some of the pre-Cron smoothness wide open. And it only gives up half a stop to the Cron. It's kind of half-way between the Pre and AA in rendering at f2.5 though about 3.5, then from there up, it's virtually identical to them. And the Summarit is still a tad smaller and lighter than the Elmarit, yet half a stop faster -- and there are times I really appreciate the speed in a 90 and figured I'd press f2.5 into service enough to justify the slight additional cost over a used Elmar.

    In the end, I am very happy with my decision. Wide open it is sharp while retaining a classic smoothness that works wonders in portraiture, and is then cruciallly sharp when stopped down; best of both worlds. And I use it wide open enough to appreciate the added half-stop Most importantly, this 90 is ALWAYS in the bag and gets pressed into use quite often.

    I do have one cautionary nit: sometimes the Summarit shows a very slight amount of CA along very high-contrast edges. It has yet to be visibly problematic in any web or print image for me, but the fact remains it is visible in some images at 100% view, so be advised...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    ...sometimes the Summarit shows a very slight amount of CA along very high-contrast edges. It has yet to be visibly problematic in any web or print image for me, but the fact remains it is visible in some images at 100% view, so be advised...
    Jack,

    This may be the biggest difference between the Summarit and the Elmarit/Cron AA.. The Elmarit shows no CA. In the Linderhoff shot above, there is no fringing on the edge of the white stone against the blue sky.

    I also like the pull-out hood instead of a screw-on hood. Personal tastes, I guess.

    David

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Thanks for all your replies, they were very helpful. In addition, I've carefully re-read Sean's review and I think that I will stay with my Tele-Elmarit (at least for the foreseeable future). I like the slightly better contrast that it yields for my B&W work and I don't feel that the desire for the extra stop would translate to really using it that way enough to justify the expense.

    Another GAS attack foiled!

    Cheers,

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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Simon, I bet there is something else on your want list that just moved up a notch.

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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: 90mm f2 VS 2.8

    Mark, actually, I'm quite content with what I have right now equipment-wise. The 90 Summicron issue had been nagging me for a while as virtually all of my other lenses (that I use regularly) are f2 or faster. Exceptions are the CV 12 and 21mm, the CV 75mm and the Leica 135mm f2.8, all of which I'm more than pleased with.

    I do have an Aperture 2 upgrade on order, but no other GAS candidates!

    Cheers,

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