1970s Leica Leitz Canada 90mm Tele-Elmarit-M f/2.8 Review – Part Two

This Presidents Day weekend, our family headed down to Long Beach, WA. Time to bring along the 90mm Tele-Elmarit-M f/2.8, and test out this lens some more. Previously, I wasn’t too impressed with the sharpness of this less wide open, nor it’s contrast. Granted, I’ve been spoiled with modern Summicrons like the 28mm, 50mm, and 75mm, as well as the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 ZM. Of course those lenses cost four or more times as much as I paid for this lens. Still the 90mm bares the Leica name. Yes, I know it was a budget lens back in the day. Yes, I know it’s Canadian and not a “true” Leica, but I was expecting a “wow” factor. After all, Leica does have a certain mystique.

This time, in order to improve sharpness, I really closed down the aperture. Most of the shots this weekend were taken around f/5.6 or f/8. Here’s what I observed – stopped down, the lens is quite lovely. It’s sharp-ish, but not like the modern lenses. It’s also, not too contrasty. It’s nice for portraits if the goal isn’t to be too crisp. It’s good for moody landscapes where fine detail isn’t the most important thing.

It’s worth the $500 I paid for it. I’ll keep it and use it for a softer and more relaxed effect. However, the 75mm APO smokes this lens in every way. If I were to ever sell this lens, then change my mind and repurchase it (something I’ve done a few times before), I would not be able to find a copy in this good of shape too easily. Especially for the price! What owning and using this lens has done though, is piqued my desire to get a modern 90mm f/2 APO lens, but also to get some more older glass like a 135mm lens. There were a few times this weekend where I could have used some extra reach.

These images were processed using two pieces of software. On1 Photo Raw 2018 was used for the first few images, and then Capture One for the rest. I’ve been testing out On1 Photo (see my review) with mixed results, but Capture One Pro is my favorite for editing (right now). On to the photos!

2018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 10-30-112018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 11-33-152018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 11-34-572018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 11-36-582018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 12-50-212018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 13-00-232018-02-18 Astoria and Long Beach 13-08-522018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 11-02-282018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 11-11-552018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 11-27-022018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 11-34-412018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 15-04-432018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 15-13-222018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 15-14-372018-02-19 Astoria and Long Beach 15-35-19

Thoughts? Please leave a comment below.

  • I got mine for about $300 2 years ago. It really needs a good long metal lens hood as the front element coatings were not very good. Avoid getting direct sunshine on the glass and it’s a lovely performer. Nice shots.

  • Nice shots. I sold my more or less new Nikon FX gear with all the 1.4 and 2.8 optics as well as my FujiX lenses except the 35 1.4, kept the Xpro1 and use an adapter from Metabones for old Canon lenses. And analog I use medium format and Leica, if necessary I can scan their results. Right now I am on the search for a Tele-Elmarit 90 2.8 especially because of the great looking results and the non-septic look one can get with those glasses. Just not the sterile super sharp septic tank look of modern lenses.
    Your review underlined that. Thank you!

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