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Got a suggestion for an 85mm lens (M-mount)?
Old 02-25-2015   #1
jawarden
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Got a suggestion for an 85mm lens (M-mount)?

I'm doing some casual shopping for a lens. I have a Zeiss Ikon with the 28mm Biogon and the 50mm Sonnar. I'd like to add something a bit longer, say 85 or 90mm.

Zeiss makes a ZM 85mm which I'm sure would be fine but at f4 it's probably too slow for me. F2.0 or 2.8 would be better, and comparable quality to the Zeiss lenses I already have would be important. So, can you steer me in the direction of a lens (say around $1K or so)?

Thanks!
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Old 02-25-2015   #2
rolfe
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The thin 90mm Tele-Elmarit is good -- just be sure you use a deep hood with it as it can be prone to flare without one.
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Old 02-25-2015   #3
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Nikon 85mm f2 in ltm.

Also, it's a Sonnar design.
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Old 02-25-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolfe View Post
The thin 90mm Tele-Elmarit is good -- just be sure you use a deep hood with it as it can be prone to flare without one.
I own one of these (as well as the original chrome Elmarit) and I agree with the above comment. My little Tele-Elmarit often goes with me, while the larger Elmarit stays home, owing to the small and handy size of the former. I can't comment on the Nikon 85/2, as I've not used it. But if f/2 is being considered, then the 90mm Summicron is also worth considering.
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Old 02-25-2015   #5
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I've had only the 90mm Elmar in M-mount (too slow for your requirements) but it is very good and tiny! (my was from the CL series)

Faster lens I recommend are the Canon 85mm LTM (both the f1.5 and f1.8)
My 1.5 was much better than most would predict or expect even wide open- mine was the last version. I currently have the newer F1.8 in Black and while mine has focus problems- needs repair- I can see just by the handling and quality why it is a much-desired lens. Both are well under $1000.

I've also shot with the 85mm Nikkor f2.0 - the early 50's chrome version - super heavy but decent performance.

My wildcard is the Steinheil 85mm f2.8- cheap but surprisingly good- cheap enough to try for fun!
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Old 02-25-2015   #6
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The ZM Zeiss 85/2.0 Sonnar would be perfect, but it's NOT around $1k or so.

Longer than 50mm, my two affordable lenses are the CV 90/3.5 APO Lanthar and the Nikon 105/2.5.
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Old 02-25-2015   #7
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Lots of other vintage possibilities, but to match your budget and other lenses, either the thin 90/2.8 Tele Elmarit, or the last pre-asph (v3) 90/2 Summicron (an Ernostar, and quite compact).

Roland.
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Old 02-25-2015   #8
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Thanks a lot for the suggestions so far. Already I have some research to do.
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Old 02-25-2015   #9
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The TE 90 is OK, but does pale to a number of alternatives.

CV 75/2.5 is superb.
75 Summarit is excellent, as is the 90.

If you don't mind the weight, as mentioned the nikkor 85/2 is very good, also the Canon Ltm 85/1.9 or better yet and still in your budget, the stellar Canon LTM 85/1.8, perhaps the best Canon LTM lens ever made.

But older glass always has more risk of calibration issues.

ZM 85/4 and CV 90/3.5 both very very sharp.
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Old 02-25-2015   #10
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The best 85-90 I ever had, and I've had a few, was the 85/1.8 Canon.
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Old 02-25-2015   #11
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If you don't mind spending a good amount, the Summilux 75/1.4 is a superb lens.
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Old 02-25-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post

Zeiss makes a ZM 85mm which I'm sure would be fine but at f4 it's probably too slow for me. F2.0 or 2.8 would be better, and comparable quality to the Zeiss lenses I already have would be important.
There is nothing lacking with the ZM 85/4 when it comes to quality.
Check it's MTF graphs they completely blow away the other lenses you have.
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Old 02-26-2015   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
There is nothing lacking with the ZM 85/4 when it comes to quality.
Check it's MTF graphs they completely blow away the other lenses you have.
It's been while since I thought about MTF charts but don't you have to stick to similar lenses for that type of comparison to make sense? I would expect the 85/4 to have a 'better' MTF than a wide/fast lens because its a slower, longer focal length lens from the same manufacturer. But in reality all three of these lenses are excellent as far as I can tell; it's just the speed of the 85/4 that holds me back.
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Old 02-26-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jenkin View Post
Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 Heliar? Has some great reviews. I looked at one when I had my M6TTL but couldn't afford it at that time.
Hey Paul, thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't thought of Voigtlander but I'll check it out.
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Old 02-26-2015   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
If you don't mind spending a good amount, the Summilux 75/1.4 is a superb lens.
Thanks Raid. And wow - yes that's way beyond the $1K-ish budget

I think I will use this focal length about 10% of the time so I don't want to over spend on a per-image basis. But if I win the lottery . . .
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Old 02-26-2015   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post
Thanks Raid. And wow - yes that's way beyond the $1K-ish budget

I think I will use this focal length about 10% of the time so I don't want to over spend on a per-image basis. But if I win the lottery . . .
Try the last pre-asph version of the Leica 90mm F2. I've been through most of Leica's teles and the 90mm Summicron-M is an excellent lens. Be sure to get the 55mm version since the 49mm old version will drive you nuts with the hood blocking the aperture ring.

Sharpness is only noticeably worse than the ASPH 90mm F2 at F4 and under and close-ups. For practical intents and purposes the lens is plenty sharp, with beautiful Bokeh. Used copies can readily be found at around $1,100 - 1,300, so it also fits the budget.
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Old 02-26-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post
Thanks Raid. And wow - yes that's way beyond the $1K-ish budget

I think I will use this focal length about 10% of the time so I don't want to over spend on a per-image basis. But if I win the lottery . . .
I have used some great tele lenses at low prices.

1. Canon 85/1.9 ltm: $200
pros: superbly built; sharp; cheap.
cons: heavy; long focus throw

2. Steinheil 85/2.8 ltm: $100
pros: super cheap; sharp; light.
cons: none


3. Canon 100/3.5 ltm: $200
pros: tiny; very sharp; light.
cons: tiny


A more costly group of tele lenses:

4. Nikon 85/2.0 ltm $400
pros: very sharp; superbly built; "it is a Nikon!"
cons: heavy;often it is overpriced

5. Nikon 105/2.5 ltm $400
pros: very sharp; superbly built; awesome lens;
cons: heavy

6. Leica Summicron 90/2.0 with built-in hood (first model) $500
pros: inexpensive; very well built; sharp after 2.8; great for portraits at 2.0
cons: heavy

If you will use such a focal length 10% of the time, the above choices will definitely do.
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Old 02-26-2015   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I have used some great tele lenses at low prices.

If you will use such a focal length 10% of the time, the above choices will definitely do.

I appreciate the time you put into your response! Just from this thread so far I'm spending most of my time learning about the Nikon 85/2.0 on the less expensive side, and the v3 90/2 Summicron on the high end. They both look like great choices.

In addition to my 10% use of the lens I'll likely be using film exclusively for indoor portraits with natural light, so high iso and wide apertures. I've never had such a specific use for a lens in my life
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Old 02-26-2015   #19
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Think what you need this lens for.
There are hardly any bad 85/90mm rf lenses around - it is much easier to make a good tele than a good wide angle. In RF shooting, I have found that I use apertures wider than f 4.0 seldom - the reason is, that when you shoot landscape you want sharpness and textures, and when you shoot a portrait, f4.0 gives you enough dof to cover minor focusing errors. Shooting close portraits wide open has the additional benefit of rouund OOF highlights and smoother shape contours, so an f 4.0 lens is more than appropriate. If you like it biting sharp, go with the Tessar, if you like it sharp but normal, there is an Elmar C 90/4 you can get on the cheap.
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Old 02-26-2015   #20
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Which Tessar tele do you have on your mind?
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Old 02-26-2015   #21
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Bump for the Nikon 8.5cm f2.0 in LTM.

One of my all time favorites, great for portraits, it has a very creamy "bokeh".

Go for the big old chrome version, should save you some cash.
I got mine for around 150$ here in the classifieds.
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Old 02-26-2015   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
Think what you need this lens for.
There are hardly any bad 85/90mm rf lenses around - it is much easier to make a good tele than a good wide angle. In RF shooting, I have found that I use apertures wider than f 4.0 seldom - the reason is, that when you shoot landscape you want sharpness and textures, and when you shoot a portrait, f4.0 gives you enough dof to cover minor focusing errors. Shooting close portraits wide open has the additional benefit of rouund OOF highlights and smoother shape contours, so an f 4.0 lens is more than appropriate. If you like it biting sharp, go with the Tessar, if you like it sharp but normal, there is an Elmar C 90/4 you can get on the cheap.
Thanks for the advice, and I'm definitely hearing you about the shallow DoF and focus errors. I used to use a Contax G2 kit with the 90/2.8 (a great lens) but between the autofocus errors and shallow DoF the 90 was hard to control for portrait use unless stopped down.

So I'm familiar with the limitations of wider aperture shooting with a 90 but given the light that I have to work with I'll be pushing my film 3 stops with an F4 lens and I would like to avoid that. F4 just won't work in those situations unless I use a flash of course, but I would also like to avoid that. I'll definitely be stopping the lens down when possible, but I guess sometimes you just have to have the speed.
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Old 02-26-2015   #23
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Here's the nikkor 85/2 WO on A7.mod:

Menus by unoh7, on Flickr


Nikkor S 85/2 by unoh7, on Flickr

this one was less than 100USD
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Old 02-26-2015   #24
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Here the Canon 85/1.8 that you will never find LOL:

Canon ltm by unoh7, on Flickr


L1023432 by unoh7, on Flickr

The 90 crons are great if calibration is good. Be sure to test that ASAP
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Old 02-26-2015   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jawarden View Post
Thanks for the advice, and I'm definitely hearing you about the shallow DoF and focus errors. I used to use a Contax G2 kit with the 90/2.8 (a great lens) but between the autofocus errors and shallow DoF the 90 was hard to control for portrait use unless stopped down.

So I'm familiar with the limitations of wider aperture shooting with a 90 but given the light that I have to work with I'll be pushing my film 3 stops with an F4 lens and I would like to avoid that. F4 just won't work in those situations unless I use a flash of course, but I would also like to avoid that. I'll definitely be stopping the lens down when possible, but I guess sometimes you just have to have the speed.
If you like the Contax G Sonnar 90/2.8, you might consider having one converted to M mount. I did, and I love it.

And I pair it with the black aluminum version of the 85/2 Nikkor (could this be the lightest, most compact legacy 85/90? Not to mention one of the most delicious!), but if I couldn't source one, I'd be perfectly happy with the beautiful chromed brass version.

Your decision might be based on other things, though. Neither of the two lenses I mention above have great ergonomics. One is a conversion, the other has a huge focus throw and a rotating aperture ring. If your need for speed goes beyond aperture to include focusing and ergonomics, I think that you have to look at a Summicron, but others here will know better than I.

The lower contrast of the Nikkor, BTW, works well with the higher contrast normally associated with pushed film. YMMV.
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Old 02-26-2015   #26
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Surprising that no one has mentioned the Konica M-Hexanon 90/2.8 yet.
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