Although I mostly shoot a 50mm Summilux on my Leica M2, I do enjoy a different focal length every now and then. What I don’t like is adding lots of weight to my bag. The one lens that tends to surprise people with a proper (heavy!) DSLR-kit the most is my Tele-Elmarit 90mm. It’s tiny and light, and you can keep it inside the pocket of your ripped jeans if you like.
The addition ‘Tele’ means that the lens is shorter than its focal length, in this case it sticks out about 62mm. That is about as tiny as you can get for a relatively long lens. For example Leica’s other 90mm lenses (the Elmarit or Summarit for example) are all larger and heavier.
Although it might be a suitable focal length for portraits I use it mostly for landscapes or nature. If I want to do some kind of close-up (I don’t do macro) I use it at f/2.8 where it has a nice small depth of field. For landscape photography I use it for cherry-picking areas of interest, or when there is too much water between me and the subject to get close 🙂 .
Although very small, the tele-elmarit performs pretty well. It is sharp enough, and has a nice soft, unobtrusive bokeh. It is not perfect, for example the contrast is lower than I am used from my summilux and summicron, and it is slightly more prone to hazing (as you can see in the shot from the Lake District and of the cactus). That means that there are some circumstances where the result lacks a bit of punch, but most of the time it performs good enough for me. And I do shoot it against the sun, where hazing is a potential hazard…
I choose some shots from different locations and different time of the year, just to give you an idea of the versatility of the lens. I developed the film in Tetenal Colortec C-41 chemicals and scanned it on an Epson V800.
Thanks for reading, and Hamish thanks for having me!
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