Camera Reviews

Review: Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-C 1:4/90

The Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-C 1:4/90 was a lens produced by Leitz in Wetzlar. It was made for the Leica CL, Leicas biggest attempt at a consumer-market rangefinder. The camera itself was considerably smaller than the M-series and was made in a cheaper way. The cameras were produced in Portugal by Minolta whilst the lenses were produced in Wetzlar. The Elmar-C 1:4/90 was obviously made for the CL and while some people (and Leica) claims that the lens won´t focus precisely on the M, I have never experienced this. Not on the M8 and not on the M240 and defiantly not on film M´s. The Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-C 1:4/90 is one of the cheapest ways to get a 90mm in M mount, but what a overlooked lens! Yes it has limitations, but i´ve learned to live with them and I have nothing but great this to say about this lenses performance. 

Couple. Shot wide open on the M240.

Couple. Shot wide open on the M240.

So as I said, I have no complaints about this lens optically. I turn the lens profile in M240 to the Macro-Elmar 90/4 and its about there. I do the same in Lightroom, but then I turn the distortion slider a bit back. 

The only real issue I have with this lens is the looks of it. IMO it looks a bit un-complete without the lenshood, and with it the lens still looks weird on an M. The hood is a collapsible and made in rubber. Whilst it is practical to have the possibility to collapse, I never find myself actually doing it. 

Leica M240 with the Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-C 1:4/90, Match Technical thumb grip and a "100 Yahre" soft release.

Leica M240 with the Leitz Wetzlar Elmar-C 1:4/90, Match Technical thumb grip and a "100 Yahre" soft release.

The 90mm focal length is quite a challenge for me. I am really used to shooting a 35, as that is my go-to for street. It takes some time getting used to, but I really like the results I get with such a focal length. Having to precisely focus and frame. Selecting what to actually fill the frame with, and sometimes having to step back.

Most of these shots were taken at the Sanssouci Castle in Potsdam outside Berlin, Germany.

Leica SL - Lowlight and general use

The Leica SL is Leicas second mirrorless, and first full fram mirrorless camera. When saying mirrorless I mean one without a mirror or physical shutter, with a detachable lens. Because if     we´re gonna get geeky, every Barnack and M Leica is mirrorless.

The SL feature a 24mp CMOS censor capable of shooting 11fps and with a 50-50 000 ISO range. This suits me well, as I like to do photography in the dark at times. I had a loaner for about 48 hours, and the first thing I did was to go to my local skatepark after dawn, to test out the AF and higher ISOs. 

Emil staring at his phone (ISO 40 000)

Emil staring at his phone (ISO 40 000)

Skaters (ISO 25 000)

Skaters (ISO 25 000)

These images were all shot on ISO´s between 6400 and 50 000.

Jason (ISO 50 000 pushed)

Jason (ISO 50 000 pushed)

Emil (ISO 25 000 pushed two stops on him)

Emil (ISO 25 000 pushed two stops on him)

The next lot here is shot within the same range, and pushed afterwards. This is because a high shutter speed and small aperture is pretty ideal for sports, and also to help the AF a bit. The autofocus is blazingly quick in “normal” lighting, and I was actually surprised about how accurate and quick it was in almost complete darkness. And the best thing was, it didn't miss focus once! Not even when i tried to shoot it at 2.8. 

Jonathan Krabbe (sequence shot at high-speed burst) 

Jonathan Krabbe (sequence shot at high-speed burst) 

I tested the SL against the Sony A7s a bit and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Even though the A7s goes all the way to ISO 402 000, the SL was cleaner at 50 000. When pushing the SL one stop in post, to 102 400, it was about the same as the A7s. I find that the color noise on the A7s is way worse, but that might just be a preference thing. 

The SL-system with the current 24-90 and 90-280, as well as the yet to be released Summilux 50/1.4

The SL-system with the current 24-90 and 90-280, as well as the yet to be released Summilux 50/1.4

The lens selection at the time of this review consists of a 24-90/2.8-4 and a 90-280/2.8-4. There is a 50/1.4 on it´s way, to be release later this year. As well as there are options for adapters to M, S and everything else you can adapt to those mounts. It does take T lenses natively as well.

Cigarette

Cigarette

So to wrap it all up, if you come from a Leica M and want an Autofocusing camera or a Leica S and want a smaller, faster camera,  this is really the way to go. The camera is simply stunning, with a small yet ultra-high qualityselection of lenses.

Thanks to Bresson AS for lending it to me.