100 Macro Elmar

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A Happy New Year to all of you. Being in Singapore I think I get to welcome the new year before most of you in Europe and America.

Has anyone used the 100 macro Elmar? Is it any good? I accept that it is not in the same league as the 100 APO Elmarit, but stop down for macro purposes can it hold it's own? How about field flatness? Any info will be appreciated.

Happy shooting for the coming year.

-- Steven Fong (steven@ima.org.sg), December 31, 2001


Hello Steven. I love Singapore and have left a lot of US Dollars there from buying camera equipment from the many great photo shops.

I don't have the lens you are asking about, but I can quote from Dennis Laney's book, "Leica Lens Practice", which has the narrative that comes right from Leica on the spec sheet. These comments are unusually honest, compared to some books, and for some lenses, less than flattering.

For the 100mm f/4 Macro Elmar R, Quote:

"Applications: The application of this lensare similar to the 100mm f/2.8 APO Macro Elmarit R. It is one stop slower and lacks the apochromatic correction. Focuses down to a reproduction ratio of 1:3.

"Characteristics: Corrected to give its optimum performance in the range from 1:5 to 1:10. It yields its highest contrast and definition when the diaphragm is closed by only one stop. At its closest focusing distance it gives a reproduction ratio of 1:3, or 1:1.6 with the Macro Adapter R. Elpro close-up attachments may be used alone or in conjunction with the Macro Adapter R or the Extension Rings."

Some comparisons:

Weight: f/2.8 - 840g, f/4.0 - 540g

Length: f/2.8 - 104.5mm, f/4.0 - 90mm

-- Al Smith (smith58@msn.com), December 31, 2001.

i have this lens and i would never part with it......i also have the 90/2 and 90/2.8.........the 100/4 is an excellent lens that seems to suffer abuse from people who have never used it.....that enabled me to buy this lens with adapter ...both in perfect, boxed shape for 250 dollars................good luck with it !!!!!!

-- mark kaminsky (mrry33@aol.com), December 31, 2001.

Oh, it's a mighty fine lens! Especially with any one of the Elpro adaptors and/or the Leica bellows unit, which I use the lens for because it doesn't have a focus helical. It works as nicely at inifinity as it does at 1:3, or even at 1:1 with the bellows. It is also fairly small and especially light. Wonderful lens.

-- Tony Rowlett (rowlett@mail.com), December 31, 2001.

This is a bit off topic but Don Chatterton has cut the price of his new Elpros in half to $50. The 90 Summicron-R makes a suprisingly good macro lens with an Elpro 3 attached.

-- Bud (budcook@attglobal.net), December 31, 2001.

The 100/4 macro is a very decent lens, slightly lower contrast and not quite as sharp as the 60/2.8 and in absolute terms of course nothing close to the 100/2.8 APO. The bellows-only version has its own specialized use, but the standard-mount version is a useful lens. As a macro lens, it is more difficult to use than the 60 or 100, due to the slower maximum aperture and resultant dimmer focusing screen. Money-wise, its price-to-performance ratio puts it in the "best buys" category even if its ultimate performance doesn't.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), December 31, 2001.

Thank you all for the prompt and valuable response. I should seriously consider getting this lens instead of the far more expensive APO macro, though reputedly phenomenal, just plain out of my reach, wallet wise.

Happy New Year to all. Cheers.

-- Steven Fong (steven@ima.org.sg), December 31, 2001.

Hello Steven.I have used this lens in bellows version for several years and can vouch for it.Characteristics as follows: Remarkably flare free in comparison to earlier 90 Summicron M and 90 Elmarit R. Micro contrast a little low until stopped down to f5.6 to f8.but these stops and lower used for close ups.Distortion not visible in practice.I have copied many artworks for a color catalogue and artist noted distortion free images.Extremely sharp in closer to medium distance applications.This lens in practice sharper than 90 Elmarit R with Elpros and 90 Summicron R closer up and matched by 65 Elmar V and 60 Elmarit R.Color using 100 Apo R is more luminous especially in projected chromes.The working distance of this focal length has proved handy when using auxilliary lighting and in the field. The bellows version has the follwing advantages:Vertical to horizontal format quickly achieved,continuous focusing to 1:1 and when tripod mounted camera and lens is rock steady.Be sure that bellows version is triple cammed for correct metering with Leica R cameras.It is possible to take photos without double cable release albeit in stop down mode.The non bellows version,optically identical,is more handy in the field,has auto aperture but needs elpro or extension tube to go closer. All in all this lens is a low cost, remarkably distortion free and sharp lens for the Leica reflex.Granted the 100 Apo R is brighter in color and has higher contrast opened up but the reputation of the Apo should not fully overshadow this classic four element design.

-- Sheridan Zantis (albada60@hotmail.com), December 31, 2001.

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