Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/06/08

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Subject: Re: Leica R 90mm: Elmarit or Summicron?
From: Mark McCormick <>
Date: Sat, 8 Jun 1996 09:40:19 -0700 (PDT)

I agree Eric,
Now that I don't have to sell my potraits to eat, I find myself shooting
very tight and sharp (almost always in B&W). I don't own any leica stuff
that can do this (no $$$s) but my nikon micros I love. Veiwers seem to
find the results very revealing, but my father hated his portrait, said it
was the first time he thought he looked old.
By the way I've been lurking for a while, just bought my first leica (a
lowley CL) and am looking for a very inexpensive 90 for it, anyone?
Mark McCormick

On Fri, 7 Jun 1996, Eric Welch wrote:

> At 11:50 AM 6/7/96 -0800, you wrote:
> >the newest 90mm Elmarit-R lens is sharper than the 90mm Summicron, in fact
> >too sharp if used for portraits because it would be unflattering.  The 90mm
> >Summicron would be better for portraits if that's what you want it for.
> >Otherwise go with the latest 90mm Elmarit.
> This is a chance to talk about photography and not hardware. :-)
> If you want salon portraits that will win PPofA awards, then take this
> philosophy to heart. As far as I'm concerned, tack sharp portraits can be
> very nice, and a whole lot more interesting. When I photographed my old
> violin teacher (about 80 at the time) I purposely used side-light with my 90
> Summicron and Kodachrome 25. Why? Because his wrinkles are a part of his
> character. In 20 years as his student, I couldn't think of him in any other
> way, he's always been wrinkled!
> It's like the old saw that 50mm lenses are "boring." As far as I'm
> concerned, there are no boring lenses, only boring photographers. Rules can
> restrict photography rather than liberate you when they are repeated over
> and over and over like this portrait lenses shouldn't be sharp.
> Like who said a 90mm lens is a portrait lens anyway? I used my for
> basketball (the sport and bouncing off the floor too many times), macro work
> of tiny mushrooms, copy slides for my portfolio, landscapes, sunrises,
> aerial photography, pet of the month, football at night, etc. etc. etc.
> I don't mean this as a flame of the person who made the comment above, just
> pointing out there's a lot more to portraits than the "salon style." We do
> sometimes want to have a soft image in a romatic type portrait. But let's
> not choose our lenses thinking this way. And besides, if you think the 90
> Summicron is going to give you soft photos for that style of portraiture,
> that will only happen if you smear the filter with vaseline, or throw the
> focus out of whack. They are way too sharp for the fuzzy wuzzys.
> ==========================
> Eric Welch
> Grants Pass Daily Courier

In reply to: Message from Eric Welch <> (Re: Leica R 90mm: Elmarit or Summicron?)