In Praise of The Old-Timers: 1962 Leitz Elmarit 90mm

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In Praise of The Old-Timers: 1962 Leitz Elmarit 90mm

Every morning I look at a photograph taken with my 1962 Elmarit 90mm ƒ/2.8; I shot the Jungfrau from Wengen and a print of it hangs on the bedroom wall. However the lens doesn’t get as much use as it warrants, generally getting eschewed by the more modern 50 Lux or even more frequently the 28 Cron (both Asph lenses) however on this occasion I decided to give it a go.

Now the Leica M9 is never going to be an ideal motor-sport camera and I’m not going to pretend I find the 90mm easy to focus, but, if these people can get the cars started and into gear it would be poor form of me to complain too much. The lens looks OK on the camera (sorry about the scabby HTC shot) and feels comfortable. Also, when one tips up to the hill-climb with one’s partner on the R1200GS, the Leica kit fits nicely on the bike.

My German made Elmarit was an eBay accident, I saw it and lost the auction to one much higher bid than mine. The winning bid fell-through so the seller offered the lens to me at my last recorded bid which was less than I had been willing to pay. This meant that in Leica terms it was a reasonably priced lens, to the rest of the world ‘HOW MUCH? 1962? REALLY!?!’ Last year I did have a half-arsed attempt to move the lens on last year, it really doesn’t get used that much. I’ve just seen one on eBay for twice what I paid for mine so I guess it’s not doing too much harm sitting in the little Billingham.

Vintage Racing Cars at Wiscombe Park

Let’s get some non 90mm shots out of the way first, Wiscombe and either the 28mm ‘cron or the 50 ‘lux, much as one would expect, the M9 shines in these conditions really.

Gallery of Wiscombe Photos With The 28mm ‘cron or the 50 ‘lux

Gallery of Wiscombe Photos With The 1962 Leitz Elmarit 90mm ƒ/2.8

The Elmarit is never going to compete fully with a modern lens with aspheric elements but I think it has performed rather well, in truth probably better than I did. These shots are pretty much all from in-camera mono JPEGSs too, apart from the very green Talbot; yes, it really was that colour. Set the M9 to do mono previews and allow Lightroom to treat JPEGs as separate files. I’m not a fan of JPEGs but these seem to do the job for not a lot of input, plus if one really does need the quality (or quality) the RAW files are still available. Beware the buffer though.

The Leica M9 has an appeal that is difficult to define, I don’t think it is an easy camera to use or live with. However I am constantly reminded that prior to buying it I read the words “your images will be different with this camera.”

By and large this has been my experience.

By | 2017-07-06T15:52:56+00:00 May 9th, 2016|Cars, Leica|0 Comments

About the Author:

Andrew Butler is a professional photographer and designer based in the South West of England. He has had a long career photographing for clients as diverse as Arts Council England and Motor Cycle News.