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Zeiss 85/2 or one of Leica's 90's
Old 01-22-2012   #1
slungu
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Zeiss 85/2 or one of Leica's 90's

Hello everybody,

I am searching for a nice portrait lens for my NEX actually, maybe to be used with a M-mount GXR. So things like rangefinder focusing are not an immediate issue. I was contemplating either the Zeiss 85/2 Sonnar with adapter or the thin Leica Tele-Elmarit 90/2.8. Any opinions ?

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Old 01-22-2012   #2
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Summarit 90/2.5 is also excellent option. becomes quite long on NEX though, so perhaps 75 instead.
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Old 01-22-2012   #3
slungu
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I like the 85/90 lenses on crop cameras since I like tighter portraits. I am looking at something within a reasonable price range, that's the reason why I did not consider the Summarit.
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Old 01-22-2012   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slungu View Post
... within a reasonable price range, that's the reason why I did not consider the Summarit.
Have you checked the price of the Sonnar??
It's the most expensive lens after the Summicron.
If speed is not an issue and price is, I would go for the VC 90mm, the summicron-c f/4, or even the great 100mm f/3.5 canon.
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Old 01-22-2012   #5
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Most recent version Elmarit 90. Why Leica ever discontinued it, I will never understand.
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Old 01-22-2012   #6
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By your signature, you already have a 90/4, so I guess you want a fast lens rather than another small one. Going straight to f/2 makes quite a bit of sense then. There are various LTM lenses to choose from: Canon 85/1.9 and 100/2, Nikon 85/2 and 105/2.5, Komura 105/2 (not so easy to find). Also, the older Summicron 90 lenses in short (Visoflex) focus mount sell for less than a Tele-Elmarit in nice condition. The trick is to find the right adapters.

Regarding the thin Tele-Elmarit, be careful. Apparently they suffer from etching in the rear cemented element which manifests it as a haze (but you can't clean it off). I've seen quite a few "hazy" TE-s on offer on the web.
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Old 01-22-2012   #7
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I would take the 85/2 Zeiss in a heartbeat if I had the money to spare. My 90 is the E46 recent Elmarit - very nice. Prior to the Elmarit I used the M-Hexanon 90 which I really liked too. Would like an extra stop, sure, who doesn't?
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Old 01-22-2012   #8
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My experience: The following lenses deliver excellent quality with affordable prices: Elmarit 90/2.8 V1, Elmarit-R 90 V1, G-Sonnar 90 and Nikkor 105/2.5. As you are going to use rather the mid-portion of their illumination circles on a NEX, I believe they will perform to satisfy your expectations.
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Old 01-22-2012   #9
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If you have a snug budget but still want the speed i would suggest a ltm Nikkor Sonnar f2/85. Great sonnar rendering and well priced giving a nice value.
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Old 01-22-2012   #10
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Yeah, I would choose a Sonnar/Ernostar f2 variant too, because they tend to be smaller, and you already have a 90/4.

The two that come immediately to mind are Nikkor 85/2 LTM and Summicron 90/2 v3. The Nikkor is quite heavy, the Summicron will be easier to handle. The Nikkor 105/2.5 is quite big.

Not a Sonnar/Ernostar, but very compact with great rendering is the Heliar 75/2.5, still available new.

There are a bunch of 85/2 Ernostars in SLR mount, good quality and compact. My OM Zuiko comes to mind.

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Old 01-22-2012   #11
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FYI -

There are two Nikkor 85/2 LTMs on KEH right now - a bargain one for $325 and an excellent condition one for $525.

Since you don't need accurate rangefinder coupling, the Jupiter 9 may also be an option though those are pricey enough now that jumping to something higher end may make sense.

Edit: Actually the J9 may be more available there or with cheaper shipping than to the US. They can be excellent lenses if you can find a known good one. I think the focusing issues on a Leica are the main reason they aren't more popular.
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Old 01-22-2012   #12
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Adorama has an "E" Nikkor 85/2 as well, for US 399.
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Old 01-22-2012   #13
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I already had some lenses in this range : Planar 85/1.4, Planar 100/2, Summicron-R 90/2 pre-ASPH and the CV90/3.5. So yes, I am looking at something faster than my Elmar-C, but I could live with something like a 2.8. Problem is my budget does not allow for something spectacular and expensive. This is the reason I was looking at these two alternatives. The Canon and Nikkor LTM lenses are hard to find around here and getting them from overseas costs a lot. I found some information about the Tele-Elmarit, but rather scarce info about the Sonnar.

Regards, Stefan
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Old 01-22-2012   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slungu View Post
I already had some lenses in this range : Planar 85/1.4, Planar 100/2, Summicron-R 90/2 pre-ASPH and the CV90/3.5. So yes, I am looking at something faster than my Elmar-C, but I could live with something like a 2.8. Problem is my budget does not allow for something spectacular and expensive. This is the reason I was looking at these two alternatives. The Canon and Nikkor LTM lenses are hard to find around here and getting them from overseas costs a lot. I found some information about the Tele-Elmarit, but rather scarce info about the Sonnar.

Regards, Stefan
It's a funny discussion, since as noted, the GXR has a 1.5x crop an hence 85s and esp 90s are well beyond a portrait FOV.

For APS-C the best portrait FLs are 50-60.

Do you want a lens for portraits, or an 85-90?

With the GXR it won't be both.


Since we are in the zeiss/contax forum, I'd say the sonnar 50/1.5 from the 50s or earlier will be a better portrait lens than any 85-90 you can think of, and better yet the nikkor 5cm f/1.4 which I think is the best lens for protraits you can put on an aps-c sensor

the amedeo adpater will get all the contax and nikon RFs to M mount, if the LTM prices are scary.
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Old 01-22-2012   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
Do you want a lens for portraits, or an 85-90?
Both, as under portrait I understand a tight head portrait. I have shot all SLR lenses I mentioned before ( except the CV90 ) o FF and was always at MFD and wanting to get in closer, so know I want a portrait lens in this range for my crop camera . It's a simple matter of preference
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Old 01-22-2012   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slungu View Post
I already had some lenses in this range : Planar 85/1.4, Planar 100/2, Summicron-R 90/2 pre-ASPH and the CV90/3.5. So yes, I am looking at something faster than my Elmar-C, but I could live with something like a 2.8. Problem is my budget does not allow for something spectacular and expensive. This is the reason I was looking at these two alternatives. The Canon and Nikkor LTM lenses are hard to find around here and getting them from overseas costs a lot. I found some information about the Tele-Elmarit, but rather scarce info about the Sonnar.

Regards, Stefan
In this case you will be choosing a lens for smaller size. I also own the Contax 1.4/85 and 2/100. You won't do better IMO but, you may get a smaller lens. The Konica M hexagon f2.8/90mm is an Ernostar and a fabulous lens. Much more compact than any of your current reflex lenses. It's modern in rendering and has a fantastic build quality. Finding one in Germny should not be the problem finding a Nikkor may be. Also since you use a mirror less the J9 would be a very inexpensive solution. It does not focus correctly for RF coupling but you won't have a problem on NEX or GXR. That lens goes usually under 100EUR.
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Old 01-22-2012   #17
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How about the Contax G 90/2.8 Sonnar? It is an awesome lens and it is light and small.
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Old 01-22-2012   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slungu View Post
I already had some lenses in this range : Planar 85/1.4, Planar 100/2, Summicron-R 90/2 pre-ASPH and the CV90/3.5. So yes, I am looking at something faster than my Elmar-C, but I could live with something like a 2.8. Problem is my budget does not allow for something spectacular and expensive. This is the reason I was looking at these two alternatives. The Canon and Nikkor LTM lenses are hard to find around here and getting them from overseas costs a lot. I found some information about the Tele-Elmarit, but rather scarce info about the Sonnar.

Regards, Stefan

The modern ZM Sonnar 85/2 is spectacularly expensive. 2000+, maybe a lot more since it's discontinued and not many were made I guess.
You might want to trawl around leicashop.com. A little while ago they had a couple of Canon 85/1.9s, a bunch of the original, non-tele Elmarit 90/2.8-s and a Komura 105/2, all for under 400. And a dizzying amount of other stuff. They are based in Vienna and shipping within EU is reasonable. (no affiliation; bought from them, fast service, item as described)
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Old 01-22-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slungu View Post
Both, as under portrait I understand a tight head portrait. I have shot all SLR lenses I mentioned before ( except the CV90 ) o FF and was always at MFD and wanting to get in closer, so know I want a portrait lens in this range for my crop camera . It's a simple matter of preference
ah.. you like a 135 for your portraits


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How about the Contax G 90/2.8 Sonnar? It is an awesome lens and it is light and small.
a bit over sharp wide open maybe? How is the bokeh on that one, hopefully better than the very harsh 45 and 28. Very good value at around 175-225USD, that's for sure--but how does he use it on his GXR? Is there a contax G to M adapter?

how about this:



or perhaps:





the portrait lens that made nikon's reputation.

or if you are feeling lucky, you might find a mechanically solid:

or just save time and get a canon 85/2

this all assuming you want things a bit forgiving wide open--as classic portrait lenses are...but since you like an EFL of 135--maybe you want to see those tiny pores too?

OK my final and best suggestion: nikkor 8.5cm 85/2

Rock hard glass, zeiss performance, at a price between the canon and the real contax zeiss.
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Old 01-22-2012   #20
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It's a funny discussion, since as noted, the GXR has a 1.5x crop an hence 85s and esp 90s are well beyond a portrait FOV.

For APS-C the best portrait FLs are 50-60.

Do you want a lens for portraits, or an 85-90?
Not true at all - not even nearly. This is personal opinion being stated as fact. For a long-time the classic "portrait lens" range (and lenses to suit) have been considered to be the 90mm-135mm range in 35mm field of view terms. There are innumerable 135mm lenses considered to be "portrait" lenses and the OP has already stated they prefer a tighter crop, so why make our own limitations theirs ?

This is therefore NOT a "funny discussion" at all. It is a reasonable discussion based upon the OP's requirements and the history of photography rather than your own beliefs.

Indeed, some "fashion" photography shoots (many of which are a less-tight crop than a head-shoulders portrait) are conducted with a large aperture 200-300mm lens (obviously at a longer distance than normal). This is also to be "allowed" !
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Old 01-22-2012   #21
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Not true at all - not even nearly. This is personal opinion being stated as fact. For a long-time the classic "portrait lens" range (and lenses to suit) have been considered to be the 90mm-135mm range in 35mm field of view terms. There are innumerable 135mm lenses considered to be "portrait" lenses and the OP has already stated they prefer a tighter crop, so why make our own limitations theirs ?
90-135? are you high? just kidding.

give me a break, the classic portrait lenses are 75 to 105--is that controversial now?

Of course you can shoot a portrait with anything from 12 to 400mm or more.

The most coveted portrait lens on earth today?

The helios 40--one stop at fred miranda will tell you that. The most most poplular? the roki 1.4, both 85 of course.

sheesh.

PS 135 is longest lens that will even couple on an RF----what is the latest zeiss or leica 135 portrait lens?

in fact let's just quote leica:
"The new 75 mm Summarit-M replaces the portrait focal lengths of 90 -100 mm for digital use"
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Old 01-22-2012   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
9
The most coveted portrait lens on earth today?

The helios 40--one stop at fred miranda will tell you that. The most most poplular? the roki 1.4, both 85 of course.

sheesh.
And for good reason, it's a magic lens. For the OP, you can have it in M39 (the Helios 40) or M42 (the 40-2).



A bit front heavy on a u4/3 or APS-C camera though

For the OP, if the Nikkor is hard to find, I repeat, try the Summicron v3, should be available somewhere used in Germany. And much smaller than earlier versions, since Leitz moved from double Gauss to Ernostar from v2 to v3.



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Old 01-22-2012   #23
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The v3 summicron is phenomenal. Prices are creeping up into the 1200+ range. The 90/2.8 Hexanon is great, expect to spend 500-600 for a clean copy.

As a heads up, If you're running into the MFD of your lenses at 1 meter or .9m, the only 90 that focuses to .7m is the newer 90 Macro Elmar-M.

If you're using the lens on a GXR, consider the OUFRO. Basically an M extension tube. Will let your 50mm lenses focus as close as 1 ft, if I recall. Could be fun with the 90 mm as well.
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Old 01-22-2012   #24
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90/2.8 Sonnar (in Contax G mount)
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Old 01-22-2012   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
90-135? are you high? just kidding.

give me a break, the classic portrait lenses are 75 to 105--is that controversial now?

Of course you can shoot a portrait with anything from 12 to 400mm or more.

The most coveted portrait lens on earth today?

The helios 40--one stop at fred miranda will tell you that. The most most poplular? the roki 1.4, both 85 of course.

sheesh.

PS 135 is longest lens that will even couple on an RF----what is the latest zeiss or leica 135 portrait lens?

in fact let's just quote leica:
"The new 75 mm Summarit-M replaces the portrait focal lengths of 90 -100 mm for digital use"
Controversial ? Yes - that's what I was saying. If you are going to include a 75mm lens as a portrait and exclude a 135mm as a "classic portrait lens" that would certainly be a controversial viewpoint. The 3 most common portrait focal lengths (the "classics") are the high speed 85mm (often a 90mm on Rangefinders, sometimes - though far less often - an 80mm or a 90mm on an SLR), 105 and 135 lenses (Nikon's Defocus Control Lenses are available as a 105mm or a 135mm).

I don't know why we are bringing up 135mm lenses being hard to focus (or "couple" ) on a rangefinder when - to the best of my knowledge - none of the Sony Nex series or the Ricoh GXR are rangefinders, so it is an entirely irrelevant point . Your belief that a 90mm is not a portrait lens when it is on a crop camera is what we are discussing.

Maybe you are saying few people use 135mm lenses on a rangefinder due to this difficulty and that this somehow proves it is an inappropriate focal length for portraiture ? In which case, the SLR world say "Hello" to you.

I'm not sure if you even read the quote by Leica that you posted, but what they are saying is that on a Leica M8 (1.3x crop factor), the 75mm lens becomes equivalent to (replaces) the 90mm focal length which is often used as a portrait lens. This has not been in dispute by either of us ... 90mm is an appropriate focal length for portraiture (along with the other "classic portrait focal lengths" of 75mm,85mm,105mm and 135mm). This is simple history, though it may be of greater familiarity to somebody who knows something of SLR's rather than just Rangefinders.

At least you now acknowledge that ANY lens can be used as portraiture, which is radically different from your prior (erroneous assertion) that a 135mm equivalent is "well beyond a portrait FOV" ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
It's a funny discussion, since as noted, the GXR has a 1.5x crop an hence 85s and esp 90s are well beyond a portrait FOV.
... which is simply what I corrected you on. So, it appears we are now in agreement.

PS - Leica has their Apo 135mm lens, so that would be the latest "Leica 135mm portrait lens" - not that that is of any relevance to this discussion, but you asked the question, so ...
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