Leica 90mm f4 Elmar Review (Macro-Elmar-M) + Leica Portraits

Leica 90mm f4 photos collapsed macro elmar picture and extended lens review

Leica 90mm f4 Elmar Review (Macro-Elmar-M Lens) + Leica Portraits + YouTube

Ever wanted a Leica telephoto lens which is as compact as a 50mm but offers that added reach / compression, perhaps for portraits?

This Leica 90mm f4 Elmar review covers why every Leica photographer should try the Macro Elmar 90mm f4 lens, showing it’s small size and excellent optical performance via Leica portraits images.  A fantastic lens!

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4

“LEICA’s biggest secret – It’s LEICA’s smallest and lightest 90mm bayonet-mount lens ever made, and it also is among LEICA’s very highest-performance 90mm lenses of all time….”

(Ken Rockwell)(Link below)

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm

Leica 90mm f4 Macro-Elmar-M – why I wanted this lens

After my first cycling-photography adventure to Fuertventura I wished I had owned a compact telephoto lens.  My existing Leica telephoto lenses are not compact and are on the whole quite heavy.  I have a Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens and a Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH lens. Both Summicron lenses are fast (f2) so are relatively big and heavy (in Leica lens terms) due to all the glass elements inside.  I also own a chrome 1960’s Leica Elmar 135mm f4 lens.  The 135f4 is lightweight but I use it less than the Summicron lenses as I find it a bit soft shot at f4-f5.6.

This is potentially due to misfocus issues if my Leica M240 is not exactly calibrated with the  135mm lens.  For my next cycling adventure I thought I for landscape photography (and general snaps of things I saw on my travels) I didn’t need a fast lens such as a Leica Summicron lens with an f2 maximum aperture, nor even a Summarit with an f2.5 maximum aperture so I did a web search for Leica Elmar lenses.  Leica Elmar lenses have a f4 maximum aperture and as such tend to be lighter and more compact in size.  I found myself back on Ken Rockwell’s website and decided the lens that I wanted was the super compact Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 telephoto lens.  With a 39mm filter thread and it only being only slightly longer than my 28mm Leica Elmarit-M lens the 90mm Macro-Elmar seemed the perfect travel companion.  As you may have guessed I bought a Macro-Elmar 90f4 after finding a nice deal on a used lens.

Photographing Men

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 – size comparison

Leica lens trio 90mm macroelmar 50mm summarit 28mm elmarit lenses review

Leica 90mm f4 photos collapsed macro elmar picture and extended lens review

Leica 90mm f4 – Sample photos

When the Leica 90mm f4 macro elmar lens arrived I did a few rough and ready test shots in the garden and around the house:

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4

Leica Macro Elmar-M 90mm

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 – Wedding Photography

I then had the opportunity to test the Leica 90mm f4 in a real situation (for my usual style of photography (portraiture – models and weddings) prior to taking it on my second cycling / photography adventure.  I packed the Leica 90mm f4 Elmar for a bridal shoot / mock Leica wedding photography photoshoot and the results were fantastic even with the lens wide open at f4 and a 1/60 shutter speed.  It gave really nice subject background separation for portraiture despite being a slow f4 maximum aperture lens.  I will blog the wedding photography look images separately but here are a few 90mm examples from the day at Weston Hall Hotel:

Leica Wedding - Leica M3!

Leica Wedding Photos

Macro Elmar 90mm f4 – Leica Portraits

I took the Macro-Elmar  90f4 on my repeat cycling trip to Fuertventura as planned and used the lens as originally intended, for Leica landscape photography. Again, I will blog my thoughts once the accompanying photos are ready to share.  The photos were all shot on film and I still need to develop the film.  Since Fuertventura I have used the 90mm lens on most of my photoshoots including when I was in Budapest over the Christmas break.  Yes, blog to follow (links below) but here are some Leica portraits  using the Macro-Elmar 90mm f4 from Hungary:

Leica Headshot

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm Headshot

After Budapest and starting 2018, the Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm lens continues to be my new favourite lens which I seem to keep gravitating to.  Here are some recent photos shot in the studio with the 90mm:

Leica Studio Shoot

Leica Photoshoot

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4

Leica Fashion

Leica 90mm f4 Elmar review  – Thoughts so far?

As you may have sensed from this Leica 90mm f4 elmar review, I have been extremely impressed with the Leica 90mm f4 macro lens.  The small size is perfect for my overseas trips yet I still reach for it in the studio too.   It focuses closer than I think any of my other Leica M lenses in terms of magnification so I love it for tight headshots where I normally find I cannot get close enough.  My next best lens for close up headshot photos is equally impressive but larger  and heavier Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO lens.

To conclude, the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 is small, lightweight, close focusing (even without the Leica Macro adapter)(I don’t have) and super sharp wide open.  If you don’t need a fast lens such as f1.4-f2 the Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm f4 lens is a real winner.. and seemingly hidden gem amongst the Leica lens line up.  I have not noticed many other Leica photographers using this lens online or seen any rave reviews about it (other than Ken’s review linked below).

Photographing Men

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 – Specifications

Rather than repeat the information readily available online please find a link to the Ken Rockwell’s Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f/4 review below including full lens specs.

YouTube: Leica 90mm Macro Elmar M

Voigtlander APO-Skopar 90mm f2.8

Best Leica 90mm lens?

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Related Posts

You may also like… What Gear I Use for Portraits!
  • See full details of my portrait photography lighting kit – HERE
  • See full details of my portrait photography equipment kit – HERE
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Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

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