Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 lens

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2018

“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 f4

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – 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.

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – size comparison

Leica 90mm, 50mm, 28mm ..jpg

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 ...

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Test photos

When the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm 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 f4 – Wedding Photography

I then had the opportunity to test the Macro-Elmar 90mm 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 90f4 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

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Model Photography

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 but here are a couple of Macro-Elmar 90mm samples 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 – thoughts so far

As you may have sensed I have been extremely impressed with the Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 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 Macro-Elmar-M 90mm 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).

Leica Macro-Elmar-M 90mm f4 – Specifications

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

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

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Leica M Cameras – All I Need

Leica M Cameras  – All I Need…?

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

January 2017

Camera Porn!

Keeping it Interesting

After returning from my Budapest model photography trip earlier this week I have been trying to think what other cameras I can take on my next overseas photo shoot to try to produce more interesting or different looking images to my recent photos.  I often shoot with a 35mm lens on my Leica M cameras whether the digital Leica M 240 or the Leica M film cameras.  (I write ‘Leica M’ camera / lenses as the Leica R camera is an SLR camera system rather than a rangefinder camera so different ‘rules’ apply).

Alternative Film Cameras

I often complain that I can’t focus as close as I would like to for my model portrait photos so I was thinking of cameras that can get nearer than the 0.7m Leica rangefinder standard minimal focal distance.  Other ways to create different photos to my usual view of the world might be to use a very shallow depth of field or perhaps use a longer lenses to get more compression in the photographs.  (I have done all of these things before but less and less over the last 12-18 months).

I still love my Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera and in my mind it has captured some of my high quality film photos but it currently needs a little TLC so I don’t really want to take it overseas until it’s repaired. I then have various other very good cameras in their own right such as the Mamiya RZ67, Mamiya 6, Fuji GF670, Fuji GA645, Hasselblad Xpan, Nikon F4, Mamiya 645 but when doing a quick comparison they all have some drawback vs. the Leica M camera system.  I then tried to think what each of these cameras offer compared to a Leica M camera setup and other than the film format (film size; 35mm vs. 645 vs. 6×6 vs. 6×7) the differences were minimal (in simplified terms*).

Different Lens Characteristics

I made a list of lens characteristics I see as positives from a camera/lens combination for my model photography and taste and then listed some potential Leica M mount lenses I use for each characteristic (non-scientific and my opinion only*)(I just listed the most obvious choice to me but many lenses could fit many lists*).  I use these lenses on any of my Leica M film camera such as a Leica M2, M3, M4-P, M6 etc.  (I state ‘film cameras’ as I want to compare Leica film to non-Leica film.  I am not too interested in digital photography but as I use a Leica M 240 digital camera the same list applies to my digital work).

Leica M Mount Lenses

  • Shallow depth of field

  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2
  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Leica M9 + Noctilux f1

  • Wide angle lens

  • Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm f4.5
  • Zeiss Biogon 21mm f2.8
  • Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8
  • Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica Street Portrait

 

Close focus ability (for tight headshots)(visually not in mm*)

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO
  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8 + SOOKY-M (close focus goggles)
  • Leica Summicron 50mm f2 DR (Dual Range) + close focus goggles
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Summer Love

  • Sharpest image quality

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Portrait Photography Workshop, London

  • Crisp contrasty modern look

  • Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5
  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO

Summilux ASPH 50

  • Soft glow vintage look

  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5

Leica M8 B&W Portrait

  • Small compact lens size

  • Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm f2.5
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Elmar 50mm f2.8
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Leica Summarit-M 50mm f2.5

Leica Fashion

  • Fast lens with wide aperture for low light

  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4
  • Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii
  • Leica Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0

Noctilux - After Dark

  • Unique lens characteristics

  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4
  • Leica Summarit 50mm f1.5
  • Leica Summaron 35mm f3.5
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0

Street Portrait

  • Compressed image style

  • Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO
  • Leica Summicron 90mm f2 Pre-ASPH
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Leica Elmar 135mm f4

  • Low cost lens (In Leica M mount terms)

  • Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f1.4
  • Industar 26M 52mm f2.8
  • Jupiter 3 50mm f1.5
  • Leica Elmar 135mm f4

Leica M9 + Industar 26M 52mm f2.8

  •  Highest resolution images – Fine grain film stock

  • Ilford Pan F5o
  • Ilford Delta 100
  • Kodak Vision3 50D / Cinestill 50D

Leica M6 + Ilford Pan F 50

Image Resolution

For film cameras the equivalent of a high mega pixel digital sensor is fine grain films which play a huge part in the final look of a film photo no matter what lens is used.  As an example here is a half frame film scan from a Olympus Pen-F SLR camera.  Half frame means half the size of a normal 35mm Leica film negative.

Olympus Pen-F Fashion

As these photos are half the resolution of a Leica M camera photo (in terms of film negative size scanned) then with fine grain film and a sharp lens there is great potential to capture very detailed film photos without the need of a medium format camera.

1958 Leica M2!


1958 Leica M2 Film Camera

1958 Leica M2!

My latest purchase! 🙂 I am now a proud owner of a Leica trioM2, M8 and M9!

This was an unplanned buy. I was ready to shoot 35mm film last weekend but found my Voigtlander Bessa R3A shutter completely jammed. I tried the usual tricks to rectify the problem per YouTube but no luck. The Bessa’s are well known to be a poor man’s Leica and although they are great when they work I need a camera body I can rely on. For that reason I turned to Leica.

Leica M2 – Some call it the pinnacle of Leica engineering when it was released in 1958. I have one of the later ones with a self timer and rewind lever. It has a bright viewfinder with 35mm, 50mm and 90mm frame lines. If I want to use a 28mm lens I just use the entire viewfinder area when composing a photo.

Leica M2 vs. Leica M6 Classic
– I toyed with the idea of getting the newer Leica M6. The M6 has a built in light meter but cost more than 1.5x the cost of a used Leica M2. I did not need the meter and wanted an affordable Leica film camera to mount my various Leica M lenses.

Leica M2 vs. Nikon FM – I already own a ‘beater’ or ‘user’ brassed black Nikon FM 35mm SLR camera. It was less than 5x the cost of the Leica M2 and I asked myself can I do without the Leica film camera. I slept on it but it my M2 purchase decision came down to my Leica M mount lenses (a mix of Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses). Their compact size, the focal lengths available and most importantly the fantastic image quality made it a no brainer. For a small film camera setup to thrown in a bag the Leica M2 wins every time. I still have my Nikon FM to use with some of my nice Nikon glass such as the Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s.

I have wanted to get back into shooting film for some time and I have done almost none since I got my Leica M9 last year. Getting a Leica M2 film camera is the quickest and easiest way to get my interest in film photography back very quickly!

Leica M2 sample images will be posted as soon as I get chance to shoot some film and get the negatives developed at home.

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Wedding Photography – Leica digital photography and now Leica film photography also.

Leica Engagement Shoot

Leica Engagement Shoot – Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Here are some of the photos taken this morning with my Leica M9 camera. I wanted to showcase to couples who are looking to have an engagement shoot or book a wedding photographer what is possible for you. I aim to provide wedding couples with a mix of relaxed reportage style candid photos throughout the day plus some posed high fashion wedding portraits as seen here. This is my style of Leica wedding photography.

This morning Harriett and Ashley modelled for me and Donna kindly came along as my lighting assistant. I used the same lighting and equipment that I use on a wedding day and going forward I plan to take an assistant with me for every shoot (feel free to get in touch if you would like to get involved) to help hold my light so I can achieve the look I desire.

Photos were taken with the following lenses, roughly in order, Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5, Leica Summicron 90mm f2, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii and Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4

Lighting was fully portable using speedlights.

Photos shot as Leica M9 black and white JPEGs in camera and finished in Lightroom 3.

Gallery


MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Post

Engagement Shoot – Part 2 (Using Nikon D800 & Nikkor 200mm f2 AI-s)

Leica Summicron 50mm f2

Leica Summicron 50mm f2

Here are some examples images using my Leica M9:

Leica Portraits

Leica Cron 50
Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5
Summicron 50
Leica Summicron 50mm f2
Leica Summicron

Other Example Photos

Merry Christmas!

Leica Summicron 50/2

Leica Summicron 50mm f2

Leica Film

Leica Summicron 50 vs Leica Summilux ASPH 50 vs Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50

Thoughts so far ..

The Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 (“Cron”) is fast becoming my go-to 50mm Leica M mount lens.  It focuses closer than the Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 C (Cron = ~0.68M / ZM 0.9M) and is lighter and smaller than the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (“Lux”) lens.  The Lux can be quite clinical in it’s rendering whereas I think the Cron is closer to the Sonnar with more character.    Plenty more testing to be done with each lens but those are my initial findings.

MatthewOsbornePhotography.co.uk – UK Leica Photographer

Rekated Posts

Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4

Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50/1.5

Leica Wedding Photographer – Kenilworth Castle

Coventry Wedding Photographer
Kenilworth Castle Wedding – August 2013

UK Leica Wedding Photography

Coventry Wedding Photographer – Here are some more images from Lord and Lady Kenilworth’s wedding at Kenilworth Castle using my Leica M9 camera. I used my newly purchased Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 ASPH ii lens on the M9 all day under all conditions. Bright direct contrasty sunlight through to almost no light after the sun set. It was a one camera one lens for most of the day and this was a first to me and a real joy. I felt so mobile and focused without distraction of whether to change lens or not before each photo. I had my Nikon D800 DSLR with the Samyang 85mm f1.4 manual lens on for telephoto low light shots during the speeches and a Samyang 14mm f2.8 manual lens for a few wide angle shots at the end of the day. The D800 didn’t come out until after the evening meal and even then I continued to use the Leica M9 with some off camera flash for the dancing.

Since the wedding I have purchased a Leica M mount wide angle lens – Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Super Wide Heliar. (Instead of the Samyang 14/2.8). I also have the distraction of now owning a Leica Elmar 135mm f4 for Leica telephoto shots (in good light). I then have both the Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 and Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 for quality 50mm focal length shots (AND the Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 and Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 lenses). The ‘Lux’ will be great for low light when I need extra reach and for portraits. I use the ‘Cron’ on my 35mm rangefinder film camera at the moment. I use a Voigtlander Bessa R3A for film photography and that accepts any of my Leica M lenses.

I will decide the Leica lenses for wedding photography for 2014 after using each lens more first for model and fashion photography where I get chance to see how each lens performs in different conditions.

Here are more Leica photos from the wedding day – Leica M9

Coventry Wedding Photographer

Leica M9 Colours

Leica Wedding

Leica Wedding

Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 ASPH Bokeh

Leica Wedding Photography

 

MatthewOsbornePhotography – Leica Wedding Photographer

Related Links

UK Leica M9 Wedding Photographer – Book Here

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Deb & Paul

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Craig & Joise Colour

More Leica M9 Wedding Photography – Craig & Joise B&W