~90mm Tele lens recommendations?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by rmeskill, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. So I've got a 21, 40, and 50 and am looking for a portrait/tele lens. I stopped by my local camera shop and saw some (very beat up) Elmar 90mm Collapsibles-I like the fairly compact nature of the lenses (and my 50's an Elmar, so they'd match), but am not if that's what I should go for. I'm thinking around 90mm is what I want-I have an 85/90 with all my other systems and like the length as a good all-around tele.
    I am looking for compact, light, and fairly inexpensive. Second to all those comes speed-wider apertures would be nice, but I think I'd be fine with f4-my 40's a 1.4 and 50's 2.8, so I've got speed there if I need it and I'd prefer my first tele to be compact over fast. I would have picked up one of the Elmars from my local shop to at least test out, but they were beat up-tons of cleaning marks and scratches on the front element and still asking $325. Thoughts?
  2. Mine is very cheap and reasonably light. It's the 90/4 rigid elmar, shot at about f/5.6 or f/8. It uses the same filters as my 50/2 and 35/2 as well (39mm). But I don't use the 90mm focal length too often so I don't want to spend $2k for a 90mm lens.
    Even in good condition from KEH, this lens tends to go cheap.
  3. SCL


    I used a 90 collapsible Elmar for about 7-8 years, and it provided good service for portraits of my family as my daughter was growing up. It has long since been gone, but the shots are treasures. I owned an old heavy Summicron 90 during that time as well, but always ended up using the Elmar. Check the glass, if it isn't in pretty good shape, take a pass...there's lots of these out there and most are in the $3-400 price range. Check with KEH and the big auction site...it is a very serviceable lens when it is in good shape.
  4. I use two lenses in that range and am very happy with both. 90mm APO Summicron for super-sharpness. But it is heavy and on the pricy side. For compactness, I am very happy with an old, 1950's version 8.5cm Nikkor f2. I use it with the 90mm frames on my Leicas, no problem.
    I have also seen other forum members post wonderful portraits, with wonderful bokeh, off the modern 90mm f4 Macro-Elmar Collapsible. I haven't used it, but I am impressed with what others have produced. I tend to like speed though, so I haven't picked one up.
  5. Compact, light and inexpensive? f4 acceptable?
    Then the best answer is Elmar C (90/4) or the same lens in Minolta guise (Minolta Rokkor C 90/4).
  6. The Leica Elmar-C 90mm f4 is a very lightweight, compact optic, with outstanding performance. Its small size, and light weight make it a great choice for trekking or traveling. It's rising popularity with digital M users is causing its price to increase rapidly.
  7. The Macro-Elmar is nice. Compact, light, and optically good. Not cheap, but not super expensive (as Leica goes). You can get them for around $1k if you look.
    If you want cheaper than that, one of the older Leica 90/4's might be a good choice. Or a 90/2.8 - one of those is pretty small. Lastly look for maybe a Nikkor or Canon 85. They might be a bit bigger and more than one of the Leica 90/4's, but seem to be nice.
  8. Hi Ryan, I am not sure if you are trying to stick to Leica lenses. If not, you may want to consider Voigtlander 90mm APO Lanthar. It is pretty light and small, very sharp and can be had for less than $300 for a very good used one. Here is more information on it (scroll toward the end of page):
  9. +1 for the Elmar C
    I love mine
  10. Check out the "thin" 90 f2.8 Tele-Elmarit. Very compact, relatively fast, and a nice lens - (uses the same 39mm filters as my 35 Summicron and 135 Tele-Elmar). Nice comprehensive review and background here. And one from KR here. Good luck.
  11. On a small budget I like the 90mm Elmarit 2.8 #11129 produced from 1959 to 1974. It has a very nice Leica signature image quality. I use the current Elmarit-M 90mm 2.8 that is extremely sharp and contrasty but a little more prosaic in image quality but is of course more expensive. If you save some more money and shop diligently you may find a pre aspheric 90mm 2.0 Summicron which is a really great lens. Good luck.
  12. In sequence I bought and sold an old (scallope ring) summiron then a pre asph summicron then the current elmarit. I woudl reccomend the current elmarit which is very very good , celarly better and smaller than the crons especially the old ones ! if money is an issue he old summicrons are not so bad at all!
  13. I've had very good results with the first (fat) Tele-Elmarit. Some say that the later (thin) version is the better of the two lenses but I have many fine portraits on Tri-X with the older version. At f2.8 it's fast enough but the collectors have pushed the price up a bit. It also takes E39 filters.
  14. Another vote for the CV 90 apo lanther, excellent lens.
  15. I just picked up a thin tele-elmarit, Im using it on an M6 and an Olympus Ep1 and I love this lens, its great wide open and on the ep1 I have a great reach with it. Its so light and easy to handle.
    Ive had the Older silver Elmarit 2.8 and loved that too, mine was really beat up but still made wonderful images, I also had the APO Lanthar for years and it too was great lens. Id say if your buget allows get the Leica if not get the APO CV I surmise you will love either one.
  16. Doh, forgot about the CV 90. That's an obvious choice as others have mentioned.
  17. I use the 90/4 rigid Elmar and I love it. Perhaps it's not the "very best", but I like it.
  18. Worth noting: the Minolta 90 f4 and the Elmar/C were both made by Leitz, a rare case of Leica being rebadged as something else. An advantage of the Minolta is a more standard filter thread (40.5) as opposed to the Elmar/C's use of Series 5.5 filters. I have the Elmar/C and finding filters was a pain. The Minolta also may sell for slightly less, because it doesn't have the magic "Leica" name on it.
  19. I had the same line of thought and after reading Erwin Puts' review (imx.nl/photo) purchased the 90mm Voigtlander new for $369.00. I am getting excellent results with my M8.
  20. The best bang for the buck is the 90mm tele-elmarit Thin Version. It the lightest weight though not as sharp as the Elmar or Summicron but sharpness is not always preferable with portraits especially women. Also, why go with an f2 if you are shooting natural light and the best fstop is 4 or 5.6 (IMHO) for portraits.
  21. Hi,
    My vote goes for LEICA 90mm f/2.8 TELE-ELMARIT-M (if you can find one somewhere). Light, small, excellent performance.
    If the money is not issue, and you like to use it with M9 and you are ready to carry heavy but outstanding lens - then I would choose: Apo-Summicron-M 90mm f/2 asph.
    Esa Kivivuori
  22. The best bang for the buck is the 90mm tele-elmarit Thin Version.​
    I agree. It's a remarkable lens and often overlooked. It's pretty small and the lightest 90mm in the lineup. Image rendition is excellent and looks very pleasant wide open. Great performance for minimum cost. I bought one as an experiment since it was inexpensive, and I've now owned it for five years and wouldn't trade it for anything.
  23. I had the collapsible Elmar for about 10 years. It was my favourite lens, more so than the 50/2, because its distortion was less. I eventually sold it to buy a pre-war 90 Elmar, because my wife kept complaining the collapsible was too sharp.
    In general I found the 90mm lenses to be the best overall performers in the Leica lens roundup.
  24. SCL


    I mentioned earlier my comments about the collapsible Elmar which I owned, but now that many are piling on with a switch to discussing the thin Tele-Elmar, I'll add that I had one for about 5 years, and yes it too is a very compact, and good lens. The difficulty, it seems, is in recent years a lot of people have discovered it, and so prices have been driven up disproportionally vis-a-vis the collapsible. In summary, from a performance standpoint, either (in good clean condition) would do a fine job for you.
  25. I was leaning heavily towards the Thin Tele-Elmarit, given everyone's positive reviews, but with size and price as my primary concerns, I was still considering the collapsible Elmar f4. Despite the wretched quality of the collapsibles at my local shop, I actually found a E- copy at Adorama for $230, so I picked it up. Small, collapsible, great build quality, and the remarkable feature that it won't focus until you lock it in the out position-everything I've come to expect from Leica glass. Now I have to make sure the image quality is up to par, but the glass looks great, with no cleaning marks at all. I'm still looking more long-term at the Tele-Elmarit or the Macro Elmar, but for the time being this was an inexpensive way to get some good glass. Thanks everyone for the help!

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