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Reviewed: Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M

Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M

See my Leica M wish list and Leica SL wish list.

My review of the Leica 90mm f/4 Macro-Elmar-M is now published in Guide to Leica.

I have more material coming, but here is a good look at things:

The aperture series were shot on the Leica SL and include full-res images of 24 megapixels.

In general I was not at all happy with the Leica SL with M lenses: the color is challenging to work (oddly, worst outdoors) with in spite of careful evaluation with a color checker card, and sometimes with a nasty green tint even in sunlight that I found very hard to deal with. In spite of the far superior EVF of the Leica SL, I greatly prefer the M240 color and image rendering style with M lenses. [I hope for a “Leica M360” with high-res EVF optimized for M lenses].

My shooting was in my usual outdoor situations and whatever is going on might vary by conditions—I am making no general claim here, at least not yet: going out on a limb, I am suspicious of an SL bug that makes fugly color with Leica M coded lenses*. Or maybe it is some interaction with the sensor, which is not optimized for M lenses as is the M240—I just don’t know. And whether viewed with the EVF or the optimized processed image, the M240 delivers more pleasing images in every case I tried (and I shot 6 or 7 M lenses in the field including the 50/2 APO). To that point, my very best results came from (only) the Zeiss ZM 35mm f/1.4 Distagon, which might make sense: the SL does no correction of any kind for it.

Users of the Leica M9 and then the M240 might recall that special look the M9 had. The M9 was terrible with noise and had certain other issues, but I always liked its look. I feel that way about the SL vs the M240: the M240 I greatly prefer. Too bad Leica does not see fit to offer a high-res EVF for it.

* There were also daily issues with the Leica M-Adapter-T failing to communicate with the camera, but I exclude those cases those from my statement.

Underwood Typewriter
f5.6 @ 1.6 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-10 07:22:50
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + Leica Macro-Elmar-M 4/90

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Lincoln Electric Clock Lamp
f5.6 @ 0.3 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-10 07:19:59
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + Leica Macro-Elmar-M 4/90

[low-res image for bot]
Telephone Poles in Wyman Canyon
f8 @ 1/100 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-06 15:46:43
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + Leica Macro-Elmar-M 4/90

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Derelict Cabin in Wyman Canyon, White Mountains
f4 @ 1/640 sec, ISO 100; 2016-06-06 15:57:56
LEICA SL (Typ 601) + Leica Macro-Elmar-M 4/90

[low-res image for bot]

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