After a lot of brain time wondering whether I should actually get this (exchanged it for the 70 CS ), I thought that a few thoughts penned in the interests of helping out those who are considering this lens would go a long way.
I have had the good fortune to use this lens on a recent 2 day trip to Bright, Australia.
- Stunning sharpness at ranges 35-85 or so.
- Versatility of the zoom. Trust me, we all need it !!
- Solid built, as goes with most Leica lenses (M or S)
- Very very well controlled CA for a zoom at all FLs
- Very very good corner sharpness for a zoom at all FLs
- Weather resistant. I used it continuously for 45 mins in mod-heavy rain
(Sometimes, I do these kind of things !! )
- Aperture limitation (can handhold at 1/45 at the 30 end, 1/125 or higher required at the long end ) can mean it is pretty much useless indoors in low light cloudy days or in the evenings. Unless of course you use flash.
- Large and weighty - I got used to it very well, although I struggled when my daughter wanted me to pick her up as well - Not possible to shoot single handed.
- Looks large and impressive. But hey, everyone and his dog carries a DSLR these days.
- Some reduction in edge sharpness is possible - but not noticeable during real world usage - especially at the shorter edges. How much this matters depends on your image content / cropping buffer etc.
- Cost: Duh. Obviously.
One of the maxims of my practice has been: “see it no matter what”.
Given this, most of the times I have realised that what equipment I carry has little bearing on my level of satisfaction with the final image. That is not to say that the image quality does not differ though. In this case however, I have been hard-pressed to find any difference between the 70cs and 30-90 lenses at proof sizes using full res jpegs (I haven’t printed any images yet). Over about 150 images that I shot over 2 days, I found not-a-single-one where I found that the edge / corner IQ was lacking (but perhaps it does on comparative sample). In real world use, I doubt it will. Anything away from the edges / corners and the IQ is superlative. My conclusion was that the Leica MTFs are far too conservative when compared to real-world usage.
(One note: I am not a pro at lens reviews, in fact this is the first one I have EVER done!! I would beg some pardon if you find any points unpalatable and a constructive feedback as well as any counter-arguments would be highly welcome. Any further images from fellow users would be welcome too. I know GMB et al have been helpful and posted a few pics themselves on another thread)
All in all, those considering it, go for it. You WILL NOT regret buying this one.
Some images to sniffle at:
As usual, web compression does not do justice to the IQ.
Thanks for looking.