Leica 2.8/90 R

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I am looking for a second hand 90/2.8 for my R7. It is reportedly a very good lens. Do you know if there are significant differences in performance between different vintages. Prices here in France vary quite a lot but I can't tell if the older models are cheaper just because they are older or because they are "less good". Thank you.

-- Miguel Jiménez (miguel.jimenez@oecd.org), February 02, 2001


The second version has E55 filter size and shade that pulls out in only one piece...earlier version had serie VII but *may* have been converted to E55 but the distinguishing feature is the hood telescopes in *two* sections. The second version is a completely new optical design and quite a bit better performance than the 1st version. For the price differential I would still buy only the second version, which is a superb lens. In the 90 Summicrons, the mount changed but optically remained the same, so an early version is a bargain.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), February 02, 2001.

As Jay says, the most common 90 f2.8 available secondhand is the original formaulation dating from 1965. A fine lens by all accounts, but it is supposedly way outclassed by the later 1984 (I think?) 4-element lens. This later lens is much smaller and lighter and is a very fine performer (like the 90mm Elmarit-M). In the US there is usually a price differential of about $400 between the earlier and the later versions. I have a later formulation Elmarit but I preferred the way the 90mm Summicron worked on the camera (which I sold to buy the smaller Elmarit). Everybody tells me the Elmarit is a better performer than the Summicron, but I have not really noticed and I miss the extra stop. Still, I am hanging on to my Elmarit in the hope that I will learn to love it. So, if I were you I would also look out for a Summicron which are about the same price as the later Elmarit if 3-cam, and about the same price as the earlier Elmarit if 2-cam.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), February 02, 2001.

Thank you, that's what I wanted to know. Interesting to see that for you Robin the Summicron is as good performer as the new Elmarit. The 2 cam version is cheaper, more luminous and according to Jay, the same design as the new Summicron. I wonder what sort of DOF you get with a 90 lens at f2... Never tried myself.

-- Miguel Jimenez (miguel.jimenez@oecd.org), February 02, 2001.


Not much, but it can be effective if you catch both eyes (or at least one eye) say on a head shot. F2 for a head and shoulders shot can work nicely too. Part of the reason it is nicer to use is that the DOF is smaller so focussing is easier.

I sold the Summicron because, although a good lens, it was not quite up (comparing wider than F4 performance) to the standard of the 50mm Summicron R, 28 Elmarit (new type) or 180 F3.4 APO, and the Elmarit is smaller and lighter and reputed to be almost up to 100mm APO macro Elmarit standard. Still, the upshot of it is that I do miss my Summicron but cannot bear to buy the same lens again and admit defeat! I have looked at the Summilux 80mm. It is a bit of a beast on the R6.2 body (probably nice on the R8 though). The APO 100mm is too long, heavy and expensive (heavier even than the Summilux) for me.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), February 02, 2001.

Interesting to know that I'm not alone. It's really a major emotional trauma to buy a lens or camera a second time after selling one and eventually convensing oneself that the replacement isn't nearly as satisfactory. Inviarably it always costs twice as much to buy back as you sold it for, too.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), February 02, 2001.

Who among us has not gone through that dilemma?

-- Ken Shipman (kennyshipman@aol.com), February 02, 2001.

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