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Thread: 280/4.0 Apo-Telyt-R ?

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    Deceased, but remembered fondly here... johnastovall's Avatar
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    280/4.0 Apo-Telyt-R ?

    Is it worth it? I have the 180/3.4 and love it, I'll be shooting it on an SL2 or Canon 1DsMkIII for Landscapes and Archtecturals.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: 280/4.0 Apo-Telyt-R ?

    If you like the 180/3.4, I imagine you would love it. A lot of people consider it Leica's best lens. It is extremely sharp, the color correction is perfect, and it has really nice bokeh etc. Doug Herr is the one to ask, but I can't imagine that there is anything about this lens that would disappoint you -- if you can find it for a price you are comfortable paying, then I am sure you will be more than satisfied with the lens.
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    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: 280/4.0 Apo-Telyt-R ?

    Great lenses indeed. First practical difference is weight. Compared to the Nikkor 300/4 for instance the Apo-Telyt 280/4 is heavy (1.8kg). Better go the the gym to use it all day long w/o a tripod IMHO. 2nd difference is the shortest focus distance. 1.7 meter vs 2.5 meters for the 180/3.4. Makes a lot of difference actually. 3rd difference is the long focus throw of the 180/3.4. That of the 280/4 is shorter and less stiff than the former. IQ wise you know everything about those lenses i guess. Subjectively the 180/3.4 gives me the feeling that i can do all i want but close-ups with it where the 280/4 tells me that it is better than both my 5D and me.
    Last edited by LCT; 23rd May 2010 at 10:27.

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: 280/4.0 Apo-Telyt-R ?

    Totally over-priced. An old 300mm Nikkor-P from the 1960s is just as good. At least it will be until the APO-Telyt's price drops low enough for me to buy a backup copy if it.

    Seriously, what I dislike most about it is the cost to repair after I do something stoopid with it. No matter what the cost I'll get the repair done.

    The purchase price of this lens made me procrastinate for many years before buying it. One thing that held me back was the gnawing fear that I'd spend a fortune on a lens that I wouldn't be able to use effectively on my wildlife subjects, so to address this fear I bought and used several older (less expensive) similar lenses: 300mm f/4.5 Nikkor ED AI, AF 300mm f/4 Nikkor ED, 280mm f/4.8 Telyt, 250mm f/4 Telyt for example. I also learned how to get a lot closer to my subjects, not that this skill would be needed for landscapes and architectural photos.

    What I learned: I like good bokeh, good flare resistance, a close minimum focus distance and a good rotating tripod mount. I also learned that I dislike weak color saturation, image quality that deteriorates quickly away from the central part of the picture, and poor ergonomic design. The 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R is as close to Nirvana as I've found. A thoughtful soul loaned his 280mm f/2.8 APO to me when my f/4 lens went to Solms for its first repair and I was VERY glad to get my f/4 lens back! The f/2.8 APO's only advantage is f/2.8. Flare resistance, bokeh, image quality, minimum focus distance and handling are all much better with the f/4 APO.

    The one thing that I think could be improved is the rotating tripod mount's resistance adjustment knob (which I believe was improved on later models). It's also big and heavy for its speed and focal length, but as far as I'm concerned the image quality and handling far outweigh my picky little complaints.

    To use the lens on the SL2 you'll need to get it converted to 3-cam, so don't pay any extra for a ROM version. The view through the SL2's viewfinder with this lens attached is simply stunning.

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