Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Elmarit 90mm

I recently purchased a used 90 mm Leica Elmarit-M 1:2.8, after reading an article by Steve Huff detailing his experience with this lens. I was so impressed with his positive experience with this lens  that I decided to get one for myself. I contacted Ken Hansen who seems to be able to get his hands on outstanding used Leica lenses and equipment. In short order Ken found me a mint lens with the retractable lens shade but no 6 bit coding.
I thought about the purchase for about 5 seconds before I decided that I could live without the 6 bit coding. Without the coding you just have to go into the M-9's menu and choose the lens manually. It only takes a couple of seconds and the lens works just like one that has the 6 bit coding. Ken shipped it to me on Friday and I got it Monday night. The lens was just as he described it to me or maybe even better, it looks brand new and the glass is perfect. It came with its original documentation, box, caps and leather pouch.
As you may have guessed I immediately put in on my M-9 and took a few shots. The first thing I noticed was that the focus ring has a long but very smooth stroke that helps get the focus right. I always set the focus to infinity and then work my way back which helps me to get the focus right with out having to go back and forth as when you start from the closest focal setting.
The aperture runs from f2.8 to f22 and has a positive click as you move the aperture ring to chose your setting. At f2.8 you have a narrow but very usable depth of field with excellent contrast and smooth bokeh. At f5.6 to f22 you get more depth of field and still excellent edge to edge contrast.
You might ask why I chose this lens over the newer Summicon or Summarit models. The Elmarit is the most compact and what I thought the most bang for my money. Here are some test shots using this lens.
In the shade f2.8.
Note the focus point f2.8 and smooth bokeh.
Even at f16 the smooth bokeh helps frame the subject.
Minimum focal distance and f2.8 gives excellent sharpness.
Clarity and sharpness at f5.6
More of the same at f2.8
This one is just for fun these boys were having a great time jumping their scooters. I took it from a good 30 feet away and this is a crop with Topaz Filter applied for the colorful effect.
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