This is another Leica jewel I owned for some years now and it was time to put some thoughts in writing. This is one of the most precise lenses that Leica created. This is also one of the two macro lenses it did. The other one is Leica 60 mm R lens. But this is by far more superior to the 60mm because it is APO corrected. On this one one can add ELPRO adapter and make it 1:1 magnification. Leica used this lens to test their film resolution and this by itself testifies for the detail quality you get from this lens.
Mechanically my lens is rather stiff but this is not a problem. Focusing extends the barrel of the lens quite forward and there is a nice scale on the barrel for the magnification. The ELPRO 1:1 adapter is a screw on front type. It actually does not make the lens any longer.
This is not one of the most used lenses I have. It is mainly used for product photography where macro is quite helpful for small items. It used to be that this will be a more portrait use lens but the Leica 90 APO
is much easier to use on Leica M camera
and much smaller. This monster without the M to R adapter is 760g with the adapter it becomes about a kilogram.
Color rendition is as expected on par with any Leica APO lens. It is very natural and accurate. This lens just like my other Leica Vario-Elmar 80-200
produces very much like S quality because of the more light passing through the bigger barrel. You get less vignetting.
Sharpness is amazing. Wide open this lens is already sharp from angle to angle. MFT confirms this. Vignetting is not an issue wide open either.
The hood is retractable which is a big plus. My Leica 50 Summilux ASPH
, 90/2 APO
, Leica Vario-Elmar-R 80-200 lenses all have this type of hoods which is nice that it is there if you need it. I do not like how the 35 and the 18 mm are - they are screw on and this is one of the reasons why on my Leica 35/1.4 FLE
I do not use it. It brings more weight and vignetting which is a bad thing.
To use this the Leica Elmarit 100 mm on your Leica M camera you will have to have EVF2 or use the LCD. Also You will need M to R adapter.
The minimum focusing distance is 45 cm which produces 1:2 magnification. With the ELPRO adapter you can go down to 30 cm and have 1:1 reproduction of the object. This is very very nice for small objects in product photography. On the right you can compare magnification ration of the Leica Elmarit 100 APO and the Leica Summicron 90 APO.
Aperture goes from f2.8 to f22 which is needed for macro. At closest distance and maximum magnification it will be hard to use f2.8.
Overall the lens is one of the few unique Leica R lenses that deserve consideration not only from Leica M users but also from any photographer with high resolution viewfinder like the Leica SL2, Sony and Panasonic. With such a view finder you can focus without magnifying. I have tested my Leica 80-200 mm R lens with Panasonic S1R 47 megapixel and it worked amazing.
I hope you enjoyed the article. Bellow are some sample pictures taken with this lens.