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A portrait lens for my M240 ... suggestions?
Old 07-16-2015   #1
Keith
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A portrait lens for my M240 ... suggestions?

I've been using my battered old 85mm f2 Zuiko via an adapter and while I really like the output the lens is pretty knackered .... everything is sloppy and the front element has a myriad of cleaning marks that cause significant flare under testing conditions. Also I would prefer something M mount so I can RF focus where appropriate.

My other M mount lenses are Zeiss ZM .... Distagon 25mm, 35mm Biogon and C Sonnar 50mm. I quite like the slight lack of sharpness of the old Zuiko at f2 and would also prefer something that has some of the character of the C Sonnar which produces wonderful OOF areas when you get it right.

Years ago I had an early 90mm Summicron which I quite liked but I had to sell it to survive financially due to lack of employment at the time. I'm open to suggestions and would quite like to see some examples taken with M digitals if possible. Price, within reason, is not a deciding factor.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-16-2015   #2
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Dear Keith,

Thambar. Seriously!

Failing that (and at the other end of the price scale) 85/2 Jupiter.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-16-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Dear Keith,

Thambar. Seriously!

Failing that (and at the other end of the price scale) 85/2 Jupiter.

Cheers,

R.

Hi Roger,

I was aware of your liking of the Thambar and I remember seeing some images somewhere taken with one that impressed me.

Out of curiosity do you know what would one expect to pay for a decent example?

Cheers ..... Keith
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Old 07-16-2015   #4
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There's always the Zuiko 100 f2.8. The earliest iteration was not as coated as the later and gives a 'James Ravillious' look into the sun etc.
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Old 07-16-2015   #5
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The 85/2 OM is so small it's hard to think of a similar fast alternative.
Picked up a 100/2 canon ltm the other day that is mighty impressive, probably slightly more ££ than a good 85 OM, but it's a beast of a thing.
Can PM a pic link if you want... my work colleague doesn't want it to be public
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Old 07-16-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Hi Roger,

I was aware of your liking of the Thambar and I remember seeing some images somewhere taken with one that impressed me.

Out of curiosity do you know what would one expect to pay for a decent example?

Cheers ..... Keith
Dear Keith,

A mint one in a box can fetch $10,000 US. Subtract the box and $1000+ disappears. Take out the centre spot filter (which I find all but useless) and the original cap (pretty but unnecessary); use a cut-down 200/4 shade instead (I knew someone who was fooled when he bought his "complete" Thambar -- "complete" with non-cut-down hood, otherwise identical to the Thambar item) and buy it in worn condition (but still with perfect glass) and you could probably find one for under $2000 US.

I paid $3000 US for mine (complete, good condition but not mint) maybe six or eight years ago. Anything this rare is going to vary a lot: only 3000 or so were made, as far as I recall. I use it mostly at f/6.3 or f/9, where the softness is detectable but not over-the-top.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-16-2015   #7
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On my M240 - 75mm f2.5 VC colour Heliar and 90mm F2.8 Hexanon. The Heliar is just so easy to nail focus using the RF patch with stellar sharpness, OOF and colour. The Hexanon needs the EVF to nail it.
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Old 07-16-2015   #8
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I've seen portraits made with the 90mm pre-ASPH Summicron-from the 1960's--that I have really liked. Soft-sharp wide open, sharp when stopped down. It's what I would use.
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Old 07-16-2015   #9
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Try a 90 Rokkor (Elmar-C) Keith. It surprisingly reminds me of my 50 C-Sonnar, and focusses well on my M bodies (M2 and M3) Sample below from A7S Sony with Rokkor at f4.
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Old 07-16-2015   #10
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Compare with Sonnar-C 50 at f1.5
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Old 07-16-2015   #11
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And not surprisingly looks nice on an M body and is very compact
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Old 07-16-2015   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I've seen portraits made with the 90mm pre-ASPH Summicron-from the 1960's--that I have really liked. Soft-sharp wide open, sharp when stopped down. It's what I would use.
Agree with Rob. You can get one of these relatively inexpensively these days, the only down side is that this is a pretty big and heavy lens.

Also consider the Nikkor 105/2.5 in LTM.
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Old 07-16-2015   #13
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I've owned and used an M-Rokkor 90mm f/4 for some years and love it: a wonderfully tiny 90 that's a great performer from wide open on. I sometimes find its FoV a little tight, so I recently acquired the Summarit-M 75/2.4 mostly to use with the M-P typ 240. It is a superb performer, wonderful for a wide of range of photography, and great with people/faces.


Leica M-P + Summarit-M 75mm f/2.4
ISO 800 @ f/4 @ 1/60

I went for the new model (currently at B&H Photo for under $1900), but you can get the f/2.5 version second-hand for as little as $1100 in perfect condition. It's a lens that shoot well beyond its price point.

Both these lenses are wonderful, but the 75mm may well become my second-most-used-lens.

G
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Old 07-16-2015   #14
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Nikkor 105/2.5 and a ltm-M adaptor ... my work here is done, although if I found one of those Thambars in good nick I'd probably buy it just to see ...
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Old 07-16-2015   #15
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Keith, something tells me that you would be happiest with a sonnar.

You could try a 90/2.8 Elmarit, I like mine. But, in saying that, my most used portrait lens is a 21/3.4.

If I remember correctly, you had the Summicron and sold it here.
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Old 07-16-2015   #16
TennesseJones
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90mm Hexanon is good.
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Old 07-16-2015   #17
ferider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
My other M mount lenses are Zeiss ZM .... Distagon 25mm, 35mm Biogon and C Sonnar 50mm. I quite like the slight lack of sharpness of the old Zuiko at f2 and would also prefer something that has some of the character of the C Sonnar which produces wonderful OOF areas when you get it right.
f = 85 ... 105mm:

The most similar M/LTM-mount Tele to your 85/2 Zuiko is the pre-asph Summicron v3, Keith. Almost the same design (an Ernostar; in contrast, older and much larger Summicrons (v1, v2) are double Gauss designs). Beautiful wide open, sharp as a tack for landscapes f2.8 and up. Around US 900 if you look carefully (E49 or E55).

Next are the Nikkor 8.5cm or 10.5cm Sonnars. Since undercorrected, the 10.5cm has beautiful bokeh for portraits, but only gets sharp at infinity f5.6 and up. The 8.5cm is over-corrected, center-sharp at all apertures and distances, but bokeh is a bit more busy wide open. They both run around US 300, more for the black 8.5cm (instead of heavy chrome) version. If you don't mind using LV for critical portraits, the Jupiter-9 is a cheaper alternative. The 8.5cm has Series VII or 48mm filters, the 10.5cm has 52mm filters.

At f2.8, the classic Elmarit v1 (E39) goes for US 300 or so, the Tele Elmarit (E39) or M-Hexanon 90/2.8 (E46) for around US 500. All are great general purpose lenses with beautiful rendering. But: you will have a hard time finding an M-Hexanon that will be matched to your 240 (you might have to use LV, or copper tape on the RF cam).

And then there are the f4 lenses: best bang for the buck is the CLE M-Rokkor (40.5mm filter), very, very sharp and tiny, less than US 300.

f < 85mm:

If you don't mind it a little wider, the 75/2.5 Heliar (43mm filter) is a superb lens, around US 300, usable at all apertures for all purposes and small. Plus, I really like the 240 75mm framelines.

Roland.
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My Choice
Old 07-16-2015   #18
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My Choice

135mm Elmar, cheap and flattering for the ladies, and image looks nicer than the old 90, and not as clinical as the tele elmarit.
Step back one pace and you're there!

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Old 07-16-2015   #19
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Sonnar 85/2 ZM? See below on M9:




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Old 07-16-2015   #20
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75/2.5 Summarit is great value, and it's also 6-bit coded.

Shot wide open with my 246:


Eric246-3
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Old 07-16-2015   #21
Tom A
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I would also consider the Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 - it has a nice smooth look at f1.8/f2 and sharpens up quite a bit when stopped down.
The Nikkor 195mm f2.5 is another good choice - it still can hold its own as portrait lens. Also look at the Nikkor 85mm f2.0 - again even though it is an old design - it works well.
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Old 07-16-2015   #22
MCTuomey
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I hit focus more reliably with 75s, so they are my preference for portraits. Many good ones noted already: CV 75/2.5, Summarit 75, and the expensive but very good Summicron 75 AA. +1 on the 240's 75 framelines, quite comfortable in use, quick/short throw focus rings.
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Old 07-16-2015   #23
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I'm with TOm here, though the 75mm f1.8 is kind of long and big lens as a whole.

Another one you might try is the Nikkor 85mm f2 (sonnar). It's fairly compact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
I would also consider the Voigtlander 75mm f1.8 - it has a nice smooth look at f1.8/f2 and sharpens up quite a bit when stopped down.
The Nikkor 195mm f2.5 is another good choice - it still can hold its own as portrait lens. Also look at the Nikkor 85mm f2.0 - again even though it is an old design - it works well.
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Old 07-16-2015   #24
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Keith, another Zuiko you may want to consider.


Zuiko 135mm 1:2.8

This is mounted on my E-P2 which makes it a 270mm (ish) focal length. But look at the creamy tones. Portraits would look good with this lens.
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Old 07-16-2015   #25
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Quote:
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Sonnar 85/2 ZM? See below on M9:

Gorgeous photo!
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Old 07-16-2015   #26
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Zeiss does have a 85/2 Sonnar and it's made in German. It runs more expensive than a 90 summicron APO
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Old 07-16-2015   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by judsonzhao View Post
Zeiss does have a 85/2 Sonnar and it's made in German. It runs more expensive than a 90 summicron APO
Had, I think, rather than has. As far as I know the last batch was made 4 years ago.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-16-2015   #28
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A friend has lent me her M-240 for awhile and I used it to photograph a model friend of mine this past weekend. I used a 50mm Summicron, a 50/1.2 Canon LTM, and 75 Summilux and a 90/2.8 Elmar-M. While I just started to process the DNG files, my favorite pics, so far, are those taken with the old Canon. Here’s one taken at F1.4.



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Old 07-16-2015   #29
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One of the Photo annuals I liked, circa 1961 or so, had a portrait taken with a 90mm Summicron, of a young girl named "Birgitta." I never forgot that photo. Anyone else remember it?
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Old 07-17-2015   #30
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Thanks for the advice and pics everyone. I'm thinking early 90mm Summicron .... I don't mind the size and the one I had a few years back was a gem.
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Old 07-17-2015   #31
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Quote:
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Thanks for the advice and pics everyone. I'm thinking early 90mm Summicron .... I don't mind the size and the one I had a few years back was a gem.
The Summicron 90/2 was the sharpest thing around in the 50's and 60's. Not ridiculously sharp like the current lenses, but still sharp. I think the 90 Summicron is just right for you.

Leica M3, 1959 Summicron 90 f2, wide open, (Midland Canada), Edu Ultra 100
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Old 07-17-2015   #32
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The Summicron 90/2 was the sharpest thing around in the 50's and 60's. Not ridiculously sharp like the current lenses, but still sharp. I think the 90 Summicron is just right for you.

Leica M3, 1959 Summicron 90 f2, wide open, (Midland Canada), Edu Ultra 100


Lovely ......
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Old 07-17-2015   #33
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If you want a softer modern lens not super sharp like the 90 F2.0 super Cron I would recommend the Voigtlander Heliar 75mm f1.8.

My great Nephew Gavin at his preschool graduation. M-240 M-P

Gavin Crutcher Graduation.jpg by Jim Crutcher, on Flickr
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Old 07-22-2015   #34
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What can anyone tell me about the 90mm f2.5 Summarit .... Mainline here in Oz has a used one in stock at the moment.
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Old 07-22-2015   #35
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The CV 75/2.5 Heliar is so good and so cheap that you can't afford not to pick one up, even if you also go for a 90mm of some sort.
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Old 07-22-2015   #36
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What can anyone tell me about the 90mm f2.5 Summarit .... Mainline here in Oz has a used one in stock at the moment.
That's my main 90, wicked sharp, even infinity WO, great with color, but a very edgy modern look.

A fantastic, and unique lens.

For portraits I usually go the 75 Lux, which will go to .7, as will the new 90/2.4

here the 90/2.5 on A7.mod:


DSC09074 by Charlie Webster, on Flickr

below I'm front focused a bit and you can see the OOF rendering a bit:

DSC08792 by Charlie Webster, on Flickr

Very good form factor on the lens also, and you probably won't have the calibration risks that come with older lenses.

As we all know there are a ton of great old portrait lenses, I have 3 Canon 85s, 1.9 though 1.5 and the 105/2.5 nikkor. All great if you have a good copy but all big and heavy, though the Canon 85/1.8 is pretty good size.

The summarit is a much nicer form factor than the elmarit-M and just as sharp with maybe better color.

As mentioned above the 90 Hex is really nice, but calibration must be carefully checked, and the CV 75/1.8 is the poor man's Lux.

The Lux is in a class by itself, but it's big. I had to pay over 3k for mine, but it is a perfect copy; most are not.

here is the 90/2.5 on M9:

Storm Clouds by unoh7, on Flickr

I don't use it for portraits much, but maybe I should
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Old 07-22-2015   #37
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Quote:
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The CV 75/2.5 Heliar is so good and so cheap that you can't afford not to pick one up, even if you also go for a 90mm of some sort.
+1 and it handles very well too
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Old 07-22-2015   #38
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+1 and it handles very well too
yes these are a steal at 300USD, so small and light. Very high performance too.

lips by unoh7, 75/2.5 M9

I also have the 90/3.5 as a small travel 90, and it is very good to, APO:

DSC08579 by unoh7, A7

one last a portrait with 90/2.5 on stock A7:
DSC08456 by unoh7, on Flickr
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Old 07-23-2015   #39
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M240 + 10.5cm Nikkor f2.5
(with some back lighting)

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Old 07-23-2015   #40
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How about a 90mm Elmarit -M?
Small, light, sharp.


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