Leica Macro 90 f4: what do you think of it?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by luigi v, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. Dear friends, I am thinking to add to my M system kit a 90mm lens (again...!), and a Macro lens at the
    same time, so the obvious choice seems to be the new Macro Elmar 90 f4 (and its macro adapter).
    I have owned and used in the recent past both the APO 90 f2 (splendid lens but slightly too big to handle
    comfortably for me) and the Elmarit 90 f2 (again, excellent lens), but then I have acquired a 75 f2 APO
    Summicron and I have let the 90mm go.
    What attracts me most to the Macro Elmar 90 is its pretty unique option of close up shots.
    I have read some reviews, including the strangely contradictory one by mr Putts, but I would really like to
    find out something more by someone who owns the lens and actually uses it on a day by day basis.
    Does the lens deliver a quality close to the APO 90 in terms of sharpness when used as a normal 90mm
    And what are the results (and the ease of use) when using the macro adapter?
    Thaks in advance to anybody out there who can share a bit of experience on the matter and any
    suggestions/advice on going ahead with such an expensive purchase...
  2. Same quality lens as the 100 macro R. Starts out at 4.0 with top quality according to todays Leica standards and there is no improvement upon stopping down. Yes it is the same as the 90 2.0 at infinity.

    It is designed not to go soft under 6 feet as the 90 2.0 and 2.8 do.

    Collapsed it is the same size as a 50 Summicron. Extended it is 18mm longer. Shade reverses for storage over the collapsed lens. It is the same shade as what was made for the 90 2.8 Elmarit (not tele-elmarit) or the 39mm bayonet 90 4.0. That makes it deeper and more effective than the slide out shades. Use the 50 2.8 screw in shade if you want to keep things small.

    My current kit is 35 `cron, 50 2.8 current, 90 4.0 current. Makes a nice set for 99% of the photography I do.

    Focus is close up to 23 cm long subject at .7 meter w/o adapter which takes up focus from 22.9 cm down.

    Focus is fast like the new 50 2.8. just a small twist to go from infinity to 6 feet. It is about 1/2 the rotation of older lenses to get to the same close distance.

    Send me a PM and I will tell you where I got mine at a good price.
  3. "And what are the results (and the ease of use) when using the macro adapter? "

    According to Herr Puts, there is somewhat dubious framing and parallax correction with the attachment. Bears checking out for yourself if that's a primary reason you're considering the lens.
  4. Jaime Drouin also uses the M-90f4 macro...

  5. I'd go a little further than Mr Puts and say that I was extremely underwhelmed by the abilities of the macro-attachment, although this is very much subject to MY abilities and relatively low mileage with it. The lens itself I regard as an absolute treasure, and I can't imagine anything else of that focal length being so useful for travel photography. There happens to be one on the UK auction site at the moment (ends four hours from this post), it has yet to attract an opening bid of 500UKP!
  6. My macro with adaptor combo makes good closeup shots and it is a snap to use. I don't see any parallax problems as some suggest, but then I am not hypercritical of my results. That said, closeup photography is not the forte of a rangefinder camera. For the price of the 90mm macro and its adaptor, one could buy an SLR with a nice macro lens to boot. As an accessory to my Leica kit, I consider the 90mm macro with adaptor well worth having. Best regards, Bill
  7. I owned one and eventually sold it along with my 90/2 (E55) when I purchased a 90/2 AA. At f/4, the 90/4 MEM is near peak performance but is slightly less sharp than either of the 90/2s at f/4 with the 90/2 AA being the best of the three 90's. The biggest advantage of the MEM is it's compactness and ability to focus down to just under 0.8 m alone giving 1:6.7 repro vs 1:9 with a standard 90. Of course if you do a lot of closeup work, the macro adaptor makes for a great close focus package down to 1:3 repro in keeping with the compactness of the M system over a much larger (but better suited for macro work) SLR. I mainly sold it because I aquired a 90/2.8 Elmarit head, universal focusing bellows and Visoflex III for a small fraction of what the macro adaptor costs.
  8. i love mine. the 21/35/90MEM is my standard leica rig. to me the 90MEM represents the best of what leica has to offer: extreme quality, compactness, and excellent ergonomics. the 90AA, as sharp as it is, is just so big and heavy that it defies what leica RF photography is all about, at least *for me*.

    i can't recommend it highly enough. did not buy the close-focus attachment. don't plan to buy it.
  9. It looks like a really sweet travel lens. Really nice and compact. I was tempted by a silver chrome one, but couldn't afford it at the time.
  10. I just traded for one of these about a month ago and its a great little lens. (thank you for a
    great transaction James Mitchell) If f4 is fast enough for you (it certainly is for my outdoor
    shooting and lots of indoor as well) then you'll like the 90 MEM.

    That it focuses closer than the other 90s is a big plus to me. I think its sharper than the 90
    APO at portrait distances and closer. At a distance it seems every bit as good as the APO.
    Its very small so I'm likely to carry it along when I would not carry the 90APO.

    As much as I like the small size when collapsed I think I'd actually prefer a "rigid" version if
    Leica ever made one. While I'm wishing I'd like it with a very nice sliding and locking hood
    like the 75 Summicron and still taking 39mm filters.
  11. Outstanding optical and mechanical quality, dear Luigi, according with Erwin Puts MTF test, Popular Photography test and "Fotografia reflex" field test.

    Vincenzo Maielli
  12. Great lens but ultimately I sold it due to its f/4 limitation. I then got the 75m f/2.
  13. Raymond's choice of the 75/2 brings up an interesting point regarding close focus capability. The 75/2 has virtually the same repro ratio at it's minimum focus (1:7) as the 90/4 MEM (1:6.7). If one doesn't plan to get the macro adaptor for the MEM, the 75/2 will provide greater versitility and optical performance but at a higher price and greater bulk.

Share This Page