Leica 90/2.8 Fat Tele-Elmarit vs Rokkor CLE 90mm

Rich1950

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I have a perfect fat Elmarit with proper hood. It is not a lens I use much due to subject matter but also weight. Its not a heavy lens but when I travel I need the lightest kit possible.

I thought about a thin tele but lean to the Rokkor 90/4. Can anyone comment on the on-film performance between the two lenses at f/5.6 to f/11. The lens will be used mostly for landscape or to fill the frame on 6x8 or smaller analog images.

Concerning the fat tele. Its a beautiful kurled lens with superb damping and aperture clicks. A classic leitz optic. I use the lens (sun behind the shoulder) and don’t experience flair. I once recall a small reduction of contrast on a semi backlit shot. Otherwise flair free.


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In my experience you won't tell much difference between the 90/4 and the 90/2.8 Tele Elmarit at those apertures. The 90/2.8 is actually a bit lighter than the 90/4 Elmar, and probably less than the 90/4 Rokkor too, although close enough to not make a difference.
 
My experience is the same as Split... the fat Tele-elmarit was my favourite, although i don't use a 90mm much. The fat tele-elmarit weight in at circa 340g. and the Elmar C at 265g.
 
I owned the V2 thin Tele Elmarit which was supposed to be better than the fat version. I also owned the late cle Rokkor made 90 f4.

The Trle Elmarit was prone to bad flare when a light source was just outside the frame especially the sun. A good helped but imo it wasn’t a great performer especially wide open or near wide open. I really never warmed up to the TE and really like my non tele long 1969’s Elmarit and V2 Summicron from the 70’s.

The 90 f4 was a stellar performer in both contrast and resolution even wide open. The TE was very old school and the newer Elmar was very modern in rendering.

If I had to describe it in one word I’d say it is crisp.
 
The CLE M-ROKKER 90/4 is a great lens. Sharp, small, and inexpensive.

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The Minolta CLE 90 is the only lens under consideration to replace the fat Tele-Elmarit. The Minolta 90 will have better coatings and its cam is compatible with all M bodies. Plus the Minolta should be a value price.

So X-ray, you give the Minolta 90 a thumbs up?
 
Absolutely a thumbs up on the Minolta 90 f4.

I’ve considered buying another to use on my Fuji X-T3 but it would be a little long on the cropped sensor for my taste. If there was an equivalent 75mm FL I’d be all over it.
 
CLE 90 is 250g. 51 x 60 mm.

Leica’s thin Elmarit is 225g but 69.9 long.

So you don’t save weight over the thin TE but perhaps a bit of volume. I seem to have read there is risk getting a good TE because of a coating issue????
 
I owned the ‘fat’ TE for 7-8 years with my M2. Recently replaced it with the Voigtlander 90/f2.8 APD Skopar and couldn’t be happier. Very similar size, lighter and stunning performance. Highly recommend checking it out.
 
FWIW, I looked at quite a few sample images from the thin Tele-Elmarit 90mm on the web, and I have to say I was not impressed.
The other option for a compact 90mm is to go with the MEM 90.
 
I have an 90mm Tele-Elmarit that I bought in 1974, and I retired it to the closet last year because of flaring. I had it CLA'd by Wetzlar in 2021 thinking that it would clear up the problem. It didn't. In 2022, I picked up a Voigtlander APO Skopar 90mm. It's great. No flaring, and sharp as a tack..
 
CLE 90 is 250g. 51 x 60 mm.

Leica’s thin Elmarit is 225g but 69.9 long.

So you don’t save weight over the thin TE but perhaps a bit of volume. I seem to have read there is risk getting a good TE because of a coating issue????
The thin TE is prone to haze in a rear cell that can not be opened. For some reason Leica sealed it so if there’s haze, it’s there to stay. This is unless some sharp tech has come up with a way to open it.

I know the TE is popular among some users but the example I had wasn’t anything special. Flare and low contrast especially without a deep hood was an issue. Even the Elmarit (not the tele version the long one) was prone to some flare but not like the TE. I’ve used one in my work since 1968 and never had bad flare but I’m a believer in using a good deep hood.

Part of the flare, part not all, is due to older coatings that the Elmarit and TE both had and how many air to glass surfaces in the design to cause light scattering and internal construction plays a big part too.
 
The Minolta CLE 90 is the only lens under consideration to replace the fat Tele-Elmarit. The Minolta 90 will have better coatings and its cam is compatible with all M bodies. Plus the Minolta should be a value price.
If you're already set on the 90/4 Rokkor, you're good to go. :) The other nice thing about the Rokkor is 40.5mm filters, the 90/4 Elmar-C uses the annoying Series 5.5.
 
The newer Leica 90 closeup optic MEM is handsome. I’m in the reduction phase of my serious hobby so that lens would not make sense for me. But, it’s a beauty.

I am partial to a Minolta CLE 40/2 over a my 35/2 Summicron v2. The 40/2 is better at f/2.8 with a stronger OOF blur. In addition is a great handling lens and my 40.5 filter set would cross over.
 
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