90mm Elmarit
Old 05-31-2005   #1
Justin Low
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90mm Elmarit

Is the 90mm Elmarit any good? I'm looking at the first version in chrome, which I understand is quite affordable. I intend to use it for still lifes and studies, not so much portraiture.

I have a 40 Rokkor at the moment, and it's not as long as I'd like at times.

What should one pay for such a lens in user condition? Or is the CV 90/3.5 a better bet?

Thanks!
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Old 05-31-2005   #2
Doug
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They're both fine lenses. If the Elmarit is an older lens, then condition (and refurbishing) becomes more an issue. And lens coatings, particularly Leica's, were softer many years ago. The Elmarit is likely to have some quality advantages both mechanically and optically. Given your proposed use, if one lens can stop down to f/32 and the other cannot, then that might be important. And is the Elmarit's half-stop advantage in maximum aperture a factor? You might compare specifications of the two.

I have a Tele-Elmarit that I've never used much, but when I have it's been excellent. Some say it's not quite up to the Elmarit optically, a trade-off for its smaller size. And I'm not sure about this, but the Elmarit's lens-head may be removable from the focusing helix for use on the Visoflex housing or an SLR bellows.
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Old 05-31-2005   #3
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Ah. Thanks Doug!

I've been looking for a 90mm for a while and I was looking at an auction for the Elmarit, and it looked like a pretty good price for a 'user' lens, so I bid on it; won at a touch under $160. I guess if it doesn't work out I can sell this and get a CV instead.

If anyone else has experience with the Elmarit, first version, please feel free to chime in. I should be getting mine in a week or two, and I'll give it a spin then.
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Old 05-31-2005   #4
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Sounds pretty good, and at that price it's worth taking a bit of risk! That Elmarit has had lots of years to affect its condition and wear. I expect you'll now be wondering just what it will be like when it arrives! And I hope it exceeds your expectations.
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Old 06-17-2005   #5
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Ah. The courier just dropped off the lens. Seems like the exterior is pretty clean. The glass itself isn't too bad; front element has a small scratch, rear is fine.. There's a slight hazing on an internal element, and what looks like really fine bubbles in the glass (?).

I'll go shoot with it when the sun comes up tomorrow and see how it fares.
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Old 06-17-2005   #6
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Bubbles in the glass are OK...

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Old 06-17-2005   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter_n
Bubbles in the glass are OK...
That's good. Also a few specks of dust that's trapped in the element just ahead of the aperture leaves. I don't think that'll affect performance much. We'll see.
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Old 06-17-2005   #8
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Hi Justin, congratulations. I think - but I have no hands-on experience with this lens - the main difference due to age is a major difference in contrast. The first generation Elmarit just may produce an old soft contrast like my older lenses. That is one of the main reasons for me to go for the older ones.

Only there is no 50's 15mm Heliar...

Rob.
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Old 06-17-2005   #9
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The build quality of the lens is amazing. No surprise that Leica is pretty broke now—the lens feels like it could last a hundred years or more.
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Old 06-17-2005   #10
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Justin, I have two 1st version Elmarit 90's - chrome and black. I am not a collector; had the chrome, always wanted a black, and got a good buy on one and since the resale on these lenses is so low, I have decided to keep them both. I also have a 90 Apo-Summicron ASPH lens that I use frequently; it is amazing wide open. I find myself using the Elmarits when on walkabout with maybe just the 50 or 35 Summicron in a 2 lens outfit. The 1st version Elmarit 90 is a very good lens that was in production for many years. I'll wager that you will like this lens a lot. Probably the only 90 that I really need, but I AM spoiled by the incredible F2 results of the Apo ASPH.
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90 elmarit A++
Old 06-17-2005   #11
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90 elmarit A++

I've used the elmarit 90 since 1968 and have owned and used the elmar, tele elamrit 2nd version and summicron 90's aswell. I have not owned or used the current versions though. If I could only own two lenses they would be the 35 summicron and 90 elamrit. I've shot some of my best assignments with these lenses. From a critical professional pouint of view I like the 90 elmarit better than any of the others including the summicropn 90. I'm currently using a late black version but have owned two early chrome ones. Enjoy it and make great pictures.


If I ever figure out why my images won't upload to my gallery I'll post some very dramatic images of which some were taken with the early 90 elmarit.

My kit has always included 2 or more M bodies, currently M2 and M6, 21, 28, 35, 50, 90 and 135. In the early days I used a visoflex 2 with a 200mm f4 and 65mm. Great system. I've shot with this kit for Esquire, Newsweek and many other magazines.
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Old 06-17-2005   #12
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Mmm. I just finished my first roll with the Elmarit. Going to develop now and see how it turns out.

UPDATE: The film is dry and I've scanned the roll. The results are amazing, especially considering the age of the lens. It's definately sharp enough for me, and the out-of-focus areas are nicely rendered. The lens tends to flare quite a bit though (probably because of the haze).

I'll see if I can get the lens cleaned.

I've also written some first impressions of the lens here and have a photo here
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Last edited by Justin Low : 06-18-2005 at 07:36.
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Old 06-18-2005   #13
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Do you have the correct hood? That will help with flare. They're not cheap, but very effective (because they're also incredibly long!). The Leica # was 12575 or IUFOO (earlier). They clamp on to the front ring and can be reversed; there's a cap with fits over the reversed cap, # 14033.
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Old 06-18-2005   #14
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No, I don't have the hood. Would you know exactly how long it is? I could make my own. Haha.
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Old 06-18-2005   #15
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Hey Justin, if you ever want to give the CV 90/3.5 a spin, lemme know. I'm putting my mint one up for sale.
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Old 06-18-2005   #16
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Sure thing! Thanks Terence!
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Old 06-19-2005   #17
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Justin, I'd reccommend sending it to anyone on this list to get it cleaned, etc:

http://www.lhsa.org/repair.html

Specifically, I'd reccommend either DAG Camera Repair, or Golden Touch. Sherry and Don are both very well qualified to work on your Elmarit when you are ready to send the lens in.
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Old 06-19-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eloquentlight
Justin, I'd reccommend sending it to anyone on this list to get it cleaned, etc:

http://www.lhsa.org/repair.html

Specifically, I'd reccommend either DAG Camera Repair, or Golden Touch. Sherry and Don are both very well qualified to work on your Elmarit when you are ready to send the lens in.
Thanks, I plan to shop around locally first, as that'd be a faster and more economical option. If there aren't any qualified persons here, I'll follow-up on your recommendation.
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