A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

Started Sep 29, 2014 | User reviews
JackyNg
JackyNg Regular Member • Posts: 140
A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)
1

So I was searching for a compact and light-weight 90mm lens to go with the Sony a7 for that telephoto landscape shots and some occasional portraits. After much internet digging from StevHuff and users that adapted Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 to their sony a7, I decided to snag a second-hand copy for about $1k and mounted it through a metabone adapter.

First thought: this lens is indeed SHARP wide-open at f/2.8 and allows you to snap that all vital portrait shot with shallow DOF. It produces a sharp-but-pleasantly-dreamy look that I could not explain as seen in the sample here. Is that what it means by the Leica-look? I never shot one, but now I had, I think I love it!

My friend's portrait.

Bokeh is fantastic as well.

I prefer the Zeiss contrasty rendering but this leica-look is a nice change for me. Also, zeiss does not produce such a compact-sized lens at this focal length and aperture!

I note that there is some tiny amount of purple fringe but that was super easy to correct in Lightroom at the profile correction (about +3 will do) and I do not see how that will adversely affect the image quality.

Overall, a keeper and I am beginning to wonder if I would replace it, even if Zeiss comes out with a Loxia 90mm f2.5 (which I doubt will be more compact than this Elmarit-M 90mm, given that the 35mm and 50mm are quite a bit larger than their Leica counterpart). I will keep this post updated with Landscape shots once I have the chance.

 JackyNg's gear list:JackyNg's gear list
Sony a7 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +2 more
JackyNg's score
5.0
mike_j Regular Member • Posts: 305
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

The Elmarit M 90 lens is one of Leica's nicest 90mm lenses but it's a bit big and heavy by Leica M standards. The smaller and lighter previous version, the tele-elmarit is also highly regarded but slightly prone to flare.

I used one of these in conjunction with a helicoid adaptor very happily on my A7 until I sold it to buy a dedicated macro lens.

JackyNg
OP JackyNg Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

Good to know we have similarly great experience Mike!

Is it the VM-E Voigtlander close focus adapter? Which macro lens did you use though, hard to find a suitably sized ones for a7

 JackyNg's gear list:JackyNg's gear list
Sony a7 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +2 more
JackyNg
OP JackyNg Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

Also, I discovered that the Kenko Leica M to Sony E mount is far superior to metabone's version.

Metabone fits so tight on the lens side of the adapter I fear it might break my lens.

Kenko one provides smooth but firm receiving of the lens once the lock pin is in place. No play on either side of adapter. Vignetting is also absent.

Kenko 1:0 Metabones. Thank the lord my store provides the option to swap an unsatisfactory product.

 JackyNg's gear list:JackyNg's gear list
Sony a7 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +2 more
Mel Snyder
Mel Snyder Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

I have owned the earlier Tele-Elmarit version of this lens, and it performs essentially as you described it. It was the portrait lens of choice for my NEX-6, but hasn't seen as much use on my A7 since I discovered the equally sharp but somewhat less contrasty but longer 135mm f3.5 Canon rangefinder lens on my display shelf.

The Tele-Elmarit has several advantages not mentioned: It is one of 3 lenses of that era that Leitz built in an aluminum barrel, so it is very light by M standards. And it accepts the same 39mm lens hood that accepts Series 7 filters as the 35mm f1.4 Summilux and the 50mm f2 Summicron. This trio of lenses I've owned since the early 1980s make a great small travel package with the A7. The A7 is actually smaller than my Leica M4P that fit in a tiny travel case with the 3 lenses unmounted.

JackyNg wrote:

So I was searching for a compact and light-weight 90mm lens to go with the Sony a7 for that telephoto landscape shots and some occasional portraits. After much internet digging from StevHuff and users that adapted Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 to their sony a7, I decided to snag a second-hand copy for about $1k and mounted it through a metabone adapter.

First thought: this lens is indeed SHARP wide-open at f/2.8 and allows you to snap that all vital portrait shot with shallow DOF. It produces a sharp-but-pleasantly-dreamy look that I could not explain as seen in the sample here. Is that what it means by the Leica-look? I never shot one, but now I had, I think I love it!

My friend's portrait.

Bokeh is fantastic as well.

I prefer the Zeiss contrasty rendering but this leica-look is a nice change for me. Also, zeiss does not produce such a compact-sized lens at this focal length and aperture!

I note that there is some tiny amount of purple fringe but that was super easy to correct in Lightroom at the profile correction (about +3 will do) and I do not see how that will adversely affect the image quality.

Overall, a keeper and I am beginning to wonder if I would replace it, even if Zeiss comes out with a Loxia 90mm f2.5 (which I doubt will be more compact than this Elmarit-M 90mm, given that the 35mm and 50mm are quite a bit larger than their Leica counterpart). I will keep this post updated with Landscape shots once I have the chance.

 Mel Snyder's gear list:Mel Snyder's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a7 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 +12 more
Mateus1 Contributing Member • Posts: 957
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

It would be worth to see comparing of Elmarit-M 90/2.8 vs C/Y Sonnar 90/2.8

azalea Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

Mateus1 wrote:

It would be worth to see comparing of Elmarit-M 90/2.8 vs C/Y Sonnar 90/2.8

The C/Y is a 85 2.8, 90 2.8 is Contax G which is very compact too.

 azalea's gear list:azalea's gear list
Sony RX1 +1 more
Newton Old Junior Member • Posts: 39
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

azalea wrote:

Mateus1 wrote:

It would be worth to see comparing of Elmarit-M 90/2.8 vs C/Y Sonnar 90/2.8

The C/Y is a 85 2.8, 90 2.8 is Contax G which is very compact too.

And the Leica Elmarit-R 90 is cheaper than the M, and focuses down to 0.7m, closer than all the above.

Mount adapter notwithstanding, the Elmarit-R is actually shorter than the Elmarit-M, and it's also a lot cheaper.

If you're considering an Elmarit-M, definitely look at the R too. They are optically indistinguishable and possibly even identical.

JackyNg
OP JackyNg Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

But the R is heavier, thicker and requires a larger adapter though... I suppose if size isn't an issue, it would be great as well

 JackyNg's gear list:JackyNg's gear list
Sony a7 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +2 more
JackyNg
OP JackyNg Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

More sample images for Elmarit-M 90mm f2.8. Full frame sensor of sony a7 allows you to do some serious cropping for the extra "reach" yet maintain quite a healthy dose of details. I suppose a7r will be even better due to its insane amount of pixels but hey, $$$$

Shot at f4. I am absolutely delighted by the amount of detail in the peppermint leaves: tonnes of micro hairs resolved!

Another heavily cropped shot, this time at f2.8. Sharp wide open, yet again

 JackyNg's gear list:JackyNg's gear list
Sony a7 Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Zeiss Batis 85mm F1.8 Sony a9 Zeiss Batis 18mm F2.8 +2 more
Anters New Member • Posts: 2
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

JackyNg wrote:
Overall, a keeper and I am beginning to wonder if I would replace it, even if Zeiss comes out with a Loxia 90mm f2.5 (which I doubt will be more compact than this Elmarit-M 90mm, given that the 35mm and 50mm are quite a bit larger than their Leica counterpart).

Actually, Zeiss already has a more compact lens than the Elmarit-M 90/2.8.  The Carl Zeiss Contax G 90/2.8 is nearly half the weight 240g vs 395g and a bit shorter 63mm vs 76mm.  The IQ of the G90 is also pretty impressive. It also only costs 1/5th  of the price of the Leica.  Mine was just £149...current Leica prices £750ish.

Does anyone know how the IQ of the G90 compares with this Leica?

Scott A Edwards New Member • Posts: 5
Re: A continuous review of Sony a7 and Leica Elmarit-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990 - 2008)

Nice - thanks for sharing!  Your black and white LOOKS like Leica, eh?

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