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Leitz Tele Elmarit 90mm f2.8
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:25 pm    Post subject: Leitz Tele Elmarit 90mm f2.8 Reply with quote

The original 90mm Tele Elmarit from the mid-1960s was supposedly designed for the Leica M cameras as an ultra compact 90mm to replace the the collapsible 90mm Elmar. It is indeed very short - not much bigger than a 50mm f1.4 Summilux - but despite what the "literature" claims it won't actually fit into the contemporary ever-ready case.

The closest focus is just under 1 meter which cramps one's ability to do close ups on a Leica M, but it rather makes up for that by having some quite pleasing out-of-focus effects. These were all taken on a Leica M8 and the lens is, as I remember, from 1966 or '67.

Click on images for larger size.

#1 f2.8 - handheld.


#2 f5.6 - with flash and on a tripod.


#3 f2.8 - handheld.


PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy Dog


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1 A very nice little lens.

However, I still prefer the "big brother" as I don't want to miss the feature of the detachable lens head. Actually I'm using my Elmarit mainly on the Visoflex helicoid to add better close focus capabilities. For you with your M8 the priorities certainly look a little bit different as you have to rely on the RF-coupling which isn't of any use for me on my GXR-M.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 small Like 1 small Like 1 small


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice, surprisingly high microcontrast for a 1960s Leica lens, certainly more than the early 70s R 2.8/90 I tried once.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Very nice, surprisingly high microcontrast for a 1960s Leica lens, certainly more than the early 70s R 2.8/90 I tried once.


Mmm, that's interesting - the original Tele Elmarit is often said to lack the contrast of the other "modern" Leitz/Leica Camera 90s both from the M and R families but I've always found it a nice lens to use. I had a first-generation 90/2.8 Elmarit R donkey's years ago when I had a Leicaflex SL and on reversal film i could never see any difference between the two of them. Maybe we were a bit less obsessed with the technicalities back then - if the slides looked good on the 50x50 inch screen that was good enough for me [ Shown with a Pradovit projector of course Smile ]


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomas has a good point about the virtue of versatility with the "long" 90 Elmarit, especially as telephoto designs from the 60s were reputedly never as good for close ups. But the original Tele Elmarit can be pressed into service as a sort-of macro lens on a mirrorless camera - here's a shot of a rather sickly leaf on a rose bush done with a 16mm extension tube using a Fuji XE-1. Although it's not nearly as easy to use as the lens head on a bellows, let alone a "proper" macro lens which would likely give better technical quality as well.

Click on pic for larger image.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice, I have the Fat version too, it is nice and compact, almost as small as the macro.
My copy has sharpness similar to how KR describes his: http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/90mm-f28-fat.htm So it's not the best option for landscape, but otherwise it's a nice walk-around lens.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to find at least one more happy owner, Lightshow !

Mine is the "silver chrome" version - I think, but wouldn't swear in court, that Leitz tweaked something in the later black finish version. Whether it was the coating or the optics themselves, I couldn't say, but I always thought the Kodachromes from the later "fat black" production had a bit more sparkle to them. But not enough to make me want to change mine for the newer one.

I read Ken Rockwell's comments with interest - thanks for the link to them.


PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the German companies like Zeiss, Leitz and Schneider made many small revisions to their products over time that were not announced. At the very least, minor recalculations were made to account for different batches of optical glass over the decades a particular design was in production. Zeiss in Jena and the Russian/Ukrainian makers certainly did this as their glass supplies were less consistent.