Loving life with a 90mm

For all the other gear I have that’s probably more suited to woodland and landscape photography I love to get out into the woods with my Leica M10-P and a couple of lenses. It feels a much more cathartic experience shooting with a Leica M over the Nikon Z6 I have.

It’s a slower process, manually focussing – peering through the EVF that’s atop the body almost feels like days of old looking down, being careful with the rudimentary metering options the M10-P has over the Nikon system.

However, I’ve always felt like a longer focal length that the 50mm Summicron I normally use, would allow me a little more composition options. It’s taken me a while to finally come to the decision, but I’ve finally topped out my Leica M10-P gear with a 90mm focal length lens. 

I’ve been intrigued to try a longer lens for a while now. I feel that in woodland and forest areas, it’s a good focal length for picking out details or getting closer to the subject and being able to isolate them from unwanted skies in the background.

A mate of mine lent me his Voigtlander 75mm 1.8 a little while ago but it didn’t quite work as I wanted it to on the M10-P.  What it did do was show me 75mm wasn’t different enough for me to the 50mm I have.  I’ve had it in mind since then that a 90mm focal length would be an ideal fit for me.

Enter the 90mm
Having searched around for a while, I came across a Minolta Rokkor 90mm f4. A lens from the past that first saw its introduction on the Minolta CL, a Leica lens mount film camera made by Minolta. 

A bit of research showed me it was a good fit for the M, so I bit the bullet and bought it. In fairness it was a really well priced option, so I wasn’t spending a huge amount on a lens that a) may not be the quality I wanted or b) not work that well on the digital Leica M10-P

Initial Impressions
Having owned it for a little while now I’ve used it quite extensively. Now in the interests of clarity, I shoot mainly on a tripod with a Typ020 Electronic Viewfinder on top of the M10 which gives me focus peaking for focussing. This does help to really nail the focus on the Leica M and although some people think it’s sacrilege, I quite like the process. 

First impressions are positive, I’m very happy with the lens.  The focal length is almost perfect for what I want. Wide open at f4 is good enough to isolate and blur the background slightly if required and the small size of the lens makes it easy for carrying around when not in use.

Now I’m not expecting perfection from a lens that cost c.<£300 but I have been quite surprised at how good the 90mm Rokkor is. It may not be quite tack sharp or have the micro contrast the Summicron 50mm I have, that’s used quite a bit in woodland, but as you can see it’s good enough for my needs.

I actually feel that I now have the right mix of lenses I want for my Leica M10-P. A 28mm, 35mm, 50mm & 90mm offer a really rounded out mix and are easy enough to carry around due to their diminutive size. Maybe in time I’ll swap the 28mm out for something a little wider, but I’m really pleased with the collection I have managed to pull together.

Here’s a few woodland images shot on the Leica M10-P & Minolta Rokkor 90mm f4.


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