60mm Macro Elmarit or 100mm Macro Elmar

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I own a Leicaflex SL and wish to purchase a macro lens. I have heard that the 60mm Macro Elmarit is a terrific lens. Some use it as a normal lens. How does it compare with the 100 Macro Elmar ? Does the Macro Elmar come in a two cam variety ?


Tony Salce

-- Tony Salce (NadinaTony@bigpond.com), August 30, 2001


In my opinion, if you have a choice between these two lenses, you would be better off with the 60 Macro Elmarit. It's been my *normal* SLR lens for 34 years. Not only is it a great macro lens but it's performance at infinity is outstanding. The 60mm focal length is actually a plus for me because I'm interested in slides so I have to crop when I expose the picture. My wife collects Hummel figurines and the the 60 Macro Elmarit reproduces the hand painted surfaces with amazing detail.

One other interesting thing I've discovered is that using the 60 with a 2X extender results in a 120 macro with surprising performance.

-- Bud (budcook@attglobal.net), August 30, 2001.

You do mean 100 Macro Elmar, as in the discontinued f/4 lens, right? (Not the 100/2.8 APO-Macro-Elmarit.) In that case there's no contest, the 60 Macro-Elmarit is *the* lens.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), August 30, 2001.


I have no idea which is really better, but the 100m Apo-Macro-Elmarit (if you are referring to this lens) was for many years was the "best" short tele in the Leica lineup and may even still be so. It is certainly available with the 2nd cam and was made like that to start with (3 cams). Getting one to fit your SL would be no problem. Which one works better as a macro lens I cannot really say but the 100mm will be further away from the object for the same magnification, which may or may not be better for you. The 60mm is about half the price of the 100mm APO which still commands a premium price s/h. If you are referring to the 100mm bellows lens then clearly you need the bellows to use it. It is probably a good lens too, and would certainly be a lot cheaper than either the 60 or the APO-macro, but of much less general use as it has no focussing sleeve.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), August 30, 2001.

Hi Tony

I have the 100 Apo macro and I still remember when I first got my test photos back - every shot (taken wide open) oozed Leica "oomph" in resolution, colour and bokeh. I have been a Leica-M user for years but this lens is really something special, even for a Leica.

As for macro shots, I find that being slightly further from the object can be an advantage. It allows for a combination of natural lighting and macro lighting whereas with the 60mm, you would have to get pretty close. I have heard great things about both lenses so you can't go wrong with either.

For what's it's worth, Chasseur D'Image rated the 60mm ***** (but only * for value) saying it's the best "standard macro" but it's main fault vis a vis its competition is that it does not cater for 1:1 on its own. The 100mm apo also got ***** (and ** for value) calling it THE reference macro lens in its class with irreproachable build - quite somethig for CDI since they usually moan about Leica along the lines of "...yes yes it's great but look at that ridiculous price!". But then again to get 1:1 with the 100 apo you still need the Elpro lens attachment (which is small and handy). Hope this helps.

-- David (yeo_d@hotmail.com), August 30, 2001.

Robin, I think Tony's refering to the 100mm f/4.0 Elmar in a focusing mount.

-- Bud (budcook@attglobal.net), August 30, 2001.

I prefer "normal" focal length macros. Depth of field is easier to control, and near-far relationsips inside the frame are more intimate, natural. Great for still lifes, so work with the lighting. Nature- What control over lighting? I've got to be how close? Maybe the 100 may be better, but If I'm willing to throw depth of field out of the window, I'll put a 1.4 or/and an ext. tube on the 180 for incredibly good results.

So, if possible, I like to use the "normal" macro whenever possible. If I need more room, i'll resort to other methods.

-- Mike DeVoue (karma77@att.net), August 30, 2001.

>>> Nature- What control over lighting? I've got to be how close? I like to use the "normal" macro whenever possible. If I need more room, i'll resort to other methods <<<

The problem with the shorter focal lengths at close distance is casting a shadow on the subject. Been there, done that, it's not as much of a problem with the 100mm lens.

-- Doug Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), August 30, 2001.


I own both the 60mm/f2.8 macro and the 100mm/f2.8 APO macro lenses. My foray into the Leica SLR system actually started with a Leicaflex SL and the 60mm macro lens! I was so impressed with the slides shot with the 60mm macro lens that I have since then bought several other Leica cameras and lenses. Before I switched to Leica, I shot with Canon and Nikon lenses. The Leica lenses are clearly superior to anything offered by the other companies!

I believe that the 60mm macro lens is superior to the 100mm/f4 macro- elmar lens, based on what I have read online and also from what I have heard from other Leica photographers. The 60mm can also be used as a 'normal' lens on your SLR. The 100mm/f2.8 APO macro lens is in a different league, both optically and pricewise! It is a long and heavy lens that may be better in some macro photography situations because of the greater distance possible between the camera and subject.

By the way, with the Leicaflex SL, you can use both 2-cam and 3-cam lenses. But stay away from 1-cam and 3rd-cam/R-cam only lenses because of the meter coupling problem................................

-- Muhammad Chishty (applemac97@aol.com), August 30, 2001.

Note1: The biggest problem with lighting using the 60 is if you're using flash, such as a double flash bracket. Hard to position the lights to avoid steep shadows, and many times requires ND light reducing filters placed over the flash tubes because even at minimum the flash can be too bright for proper exposure.

Note2: The 60 can often be found in 2-cam for substantially less than a 3- cam version, but it can always be converted if you ever get an R body.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), August 30, 2001.


The 100mm f4 macro-elmar was never considered as a good Leica lens. It does not do well as a general purpose lens (mediocre maximum aperture), and does not do well as a macro lens (not even half life size).

The 60mm macro-elmarit has always been considered as a gem, both as a general purpose lens and as a macro lens. However, if this is to be your only "standard" focal length lens, f2.8 can be frustrating, and a much cheaper 50mm f2 would play that role at least just as well.

So you might consider a 3d option, a sacrilege of sorts, with a 2nd hand Tamron 90mm f2.5 adaptall-2 lens (2nd generation): fantastic portraits, and great macro performances. Unjustifiably low price. Only tricky thing is to trace an adaptall-2 ring suited for the SL2...


-- Alan ball (alan.ball@yucom.be), August 31, 2001.

Thanks for your responses. I was talking about the Macro Elmar F4 focussing mount and not the APO Macro Elmarit 100mm 2.8.

In any event I think your responses convinced me that the 60mm Macro Elmarit is the one to go for. Thanks again for your replies.

Kind Regards,

Tony Salce

-- Tony Salce (NadinaTony@bigpond.com), August 31, 2001.

Macro Elmarit 60 is a general purpose macro lens, it is good for object from insects to books and collector plates.

If you are specialize in insect macro, then 100 macro has the advantage of greater working distance.

However, of you use the 100 macro for book page , then the longer becomes disavantage. For a 8" page, you need a distance of 900 mm, that is about three feet. Unless you have a very long arm otherwise it is hard to turn the page; if you mount your Leica SLR on a copy stand, it out of the range of column height. For 60 mm macro, the working distance is only 54 cm, you can turn a page with one hand, while holding the camera with other, if mount on copy stand, it is within the operating range.

working distance of 100 macro becomes dis

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), September 06, 2001.

I know this is an old thread.. but I couldn't resist. Mainly because everyone offering advice about the 60mm Elmarit vs the 100mm Elmar, have apparently never owned or used the 100mm Elmar. I have owned both the 60mm and the 100mm as well as the Zeiss 100mm f2.8 Macro Planar. All I can say is that the 100mm Elmar is not under par for a leitz lens. So far (I daresay) it has shown more sharpness and detail and saturation than my Zeiss (The second highest rated macro). This bewilders me. I sold the 60mm because it was not my best normal lens and though it was a good macro lens, I prefer the longer focal length. I suggest that anyone really curious.. just do what I did and buy one and try it. If you don't like it, you can easily sell it. I bought 2, one for $400 and one for $435. I sold one for $700 last year.(It was mint)Probably $500 is more realistic.

-- Michael Mermagen (mmermag@earthlink.net), September 07, 2001.

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