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Thread: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

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    "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Sunny day here yesterday, a 3hr drive, sun roof open, windows down, stereo blasting, cigar in hand (in wife's car ) so as autopilot kicks-in and your mind wanders at 120kph, you start to ponder things:

    1. Why do folks towing travel trailers the size of Monaco insist on taking the hilly/windy 2 lane route vs the 4 line highway?

    2. How come my lottery numbers never came up on Saturday?

    3. Why do M users get all these snazzy SHORT APO & Asph lenses with "a dead-man's EKG" MTFs and we R users (albeit for this one on a 1Ds2) have to wait until 90mm? I know they all think they're special cause HCB used one, but come on.

    Kept having visions of a 35/2 AA on my 1Ds2 (or maybe, ya never know, a FF R10 --- see #2 above).

    Seriously, anyone have any idea why Solms didn't put together a 28 or 35/2 R AA, etc? Money? Time? Treating R like the red-headed 'gift' from the milkman?

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Well, as far as I am aware, there are no M APO lenses shorter than 75mm either. There are ASPH lenses, but APO is extremely difficult to design for shorter focal lengths, so that is probably why you don't see them below 90mm on the R system. Perhaps they will make the 75/2 available for the R system, but I don't think it will happen unless they come out with a bunch of new lenses for the R system. There are already plenty of good telephoto R lenses, so the 75/2 is not as critical as it was in the M system. Most R users would probably go for the 90, 100, or 180mm. Or the 80/1.4.

    I do wish, however, that they would give us the 35/1.4 ASPH. Other than that, I am happy with the R lenses. The 50/1.4 E60 is not as sharp as the 50/1.4 ASPH, but it has a nicer character, and the 28/2.8 is reputed to be superbly sharp. I would love the 24mm elmarit (not the minolta one that we currently have).

    I think that part of the problem with the wide angles is that, while they are all retrofocus, they are not THAT retrofocus. I don't think they could use them more or less unmodified on the R cameras...I believe they would require a significant optical redesign.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    It is really only the 35mm and 24mm in the R that are behind the times. The 19mm is probably better than the 21mm ASPH and the 28mm is probably better than the new 28mm Elmarit ASPH.

    As for why there has not been a new 35mm Summicron, it was probably good enough in the film days. The f2 was used for reportage and was sharp enough in the middle and not bad when stopped down for shooting scenery. It is only on digital sensors and compared to the 28mm Elmarit-r did the 35mm Summicron seem lacking. The 35mm Summilux is supposed to be the better of the 35mm R lenses, though I have never owned one.

    I suspect if there are new lenses for the R at Photokina, they will perform as well as the current M designs.

    Robert

    Robert

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    I just lumped APO & ASP together in my question, but as far as I know the only R lens short of 90 that has an ASPH element is the 35-70/4 - and they barely advertise the fact, yet most current M lenses on the wider end are ASPH.

    As you say, can't see a 75mm being a big hit in R land.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Rob - explanation makes sense re: 35/2. As you say, any update to the R line would all but mandate a re-work of some of the R wides.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    The 21-35mm is also ASPH and a stunning performer in the 24-35mm range.

    BTW, were you off to PEI ?

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Same for the 28-90...also an asph and absolutely superb. I think they decided to focus their attention on the zooms (which was a good idea), so I am not too upset in this front. I would like the 35/1.4 ASPH available though. I have the 35/1.4 R, and while nice, it just does not hold a candle to the 35/1.4 ASPH.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Rob - Nah, one day round trip to the Valley.

    You're right, forgot about the 21-35 and 28-90s Asph. So as Stuart say, the wider zooms are covered, the primes, not so much.

    For some reason, the 21-35 and 28-90 are not lenses you hear mentioned often - same with the (now discontinued) 105-280 and 80-200/4 as compared to the more commonly discussed 35-70/4, (famous) 35-70/2.8 and 70-180 APO.
    Last edited by robmac; 10th June 2008 at 18:38.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    The 21-35mm and 28-90mm do not work on the Canons without modifications to the lenses, so you probably don't hear much about them on the alternative forums. Neither does the 35-70mm f2.8, but with enough shaved off the mirror it will work on a Canon. It got a lot of attention when Guy Mancuso had one on his DMR and later SonC bought one and used it on a modified 5d, as well as a DMR.

    Robert

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    It is really only the 35mm and 24mm in the R that are behind the times. The 19mm is probably better than the 21mm ASPH and the 28mm is probably better than the new 28mm Elmarit ASPH.

    As for why there has not been a new 35mm Summicron, it was probably good enough in the film days. The f2 was used for reportage and was sharp enough in the middle and not bad when stopped down for shooting scenery. It is only on digital sensors and compared to the 28mm Elmarit-r did the 35mm Summicron seem lacking. The 35mm Summilux is supposed to be the better of the 35mm R lenses, though I have never owned one.

    I suspect if there are new lenses for the R at Photokina, they will perform as well as the current M designs.

    Robert

    Robert
    I would love to see a r 24 and or 28mm f2 of 1.8 - my older 28 2.8 is really lacking.. and so are my eyes -- anything smaller than f2 on a wide angle is just a pain to focus. The 35mm lux is a beauty but with the crop not really a true wideangle. R users are the stepchildren of solms.. but maybe that will change with a new digital slr platform. I am holding off and making do with my current 28 until the future becomes more clear.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Actually, I'm a big fan of the 35 f/2 R. Very easy to focus, never miss a shot. Also focuses extremely close. Pretty compact. And can be very sharp when stopped down just a touch, but perfectly usable wide open, too. I look at shots with the 35 on the DMR and they have such great micro contrast and crispness, yet with subtle contrast overall.

    The 28 R is phenomenal, as is the 19 R, the 90 APO, 100 Macro, 180 (both), 105-280, 280 APO. Even the 2x APO is incredible. In my opinion, much like Robert's, the R line is pretty stellar with the exception of the 24 R. What will be introduced at Photokina promises to be pretty exciting. I for one can't wait.

    David
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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    I was more curious as WHY outside the zooms, there wasn't the selection of wider ASPHs like the 28/2, in R etc. My assumption is that Solms has/is putting their efforts into the M line first and foremost. An ASPH zoom is nice, but I think most folks paying for Leica would prefer either a prime - or a fixed aperture zoom.

    As for specific lenses; I do think it's time I picked up a used 35/2 - was quite impressed when I used RobSteve's some time ago.

    If my budget and bloody Canon allowed me to, I'd own the 19 V2 (modified) and 28V2 - no matter how little I used them. The 90AA I've owned and stupidly sold and am now looking to replace - or do so via the 100 APO (clean used 90 AAs (I know Rob, I know...) at decent prices are pretty scarce) .

    Speaking of the 100, I'm now playing with courtesy of RobS and it is stellar. Both 180s I've owned and offer exceptional IQ and ease of quick focusing - again a budget vs. usage-time issue. However, if I down size to the 5D to have a more compact unit, a 180/2.8 APO may make it back in my cabinet.

    The 105-280 I've used at Rob's and it was nice. Bit of an orphan though - not a lens that tends to be in much demand - also a bit slow. That said, an extra stop would have done truly nasty things to the price anyway. The 280 APO and 70-180 APO I've always wanted to try.
    Last edited by robmac; 11th June 2008 at 07:18.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Despite the variable aperture, the 28-90 is an astonishingly good lens. I have no doubt that it is a better performer than the 35/2, because it is better than the 35/1.4 and the 35/1.4 is supposed to be better than the 35/2. Transitive property of equality and all that.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Sadly, while the 21-35 will work on a 1 Series by removing the rear shroud, the 28-90 - not so much.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Sadly, while the 21-35 will work on a 1 Series by removing the rear shroud, the 28-90 - not so much.
    If you remove the shroud from the 28-90 you lose the spring that controls the stop down lever. The only way to use the 28-90 on the Canon bodies is to shave the mirror.

    Woody

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Exactly.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    I've been really pleased with all the R lenses that I have used including the 24mm elmarit. That lens coupled to the DMR was really great for shooting people, particularly figurative work. The 100mm apo, the 60mm macro elmarit and 80 lux are standouts - good for everything. I agree that the newer zooms are fantastic!

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post

    I suspect if there are new lenses for the R at Photokina,

    Robert
    Now that would really be a surprise, there were denials last weekend that that would happen.
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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    Now that would really be a surprise, there were denials last weekend that that would happen.
    "denials last weekend" - Jaap, what are you referring to here, I must have missed this ?
    /Steen

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Over on LUF there are some comments from (IIRC) a Leica Europe exec during a meeting with some users (I assume) saying (re: Photokina):
    ----------
    "Mr. Daniel from Leica told us some interesting things:

    R-System:
    - No new R lens at photocina
    - R9 still in production (on low level)
    - autofocus may come (manual focus is not a dogma for leica)

    We had many questions, but no concrete info about a new digital R Camera.

    This is from a French thread, the German user Forum confirms this information
    after the Meeting last weekend.

    Apparently we will have to wait for a R10 another year, maybe with the help of
    Jenoptik they will make it.

    As it was said in this thread: The challenge to do it right with a DSRL R10 is
    much higher than with DRF M8, R10 will have to face fiercest competition."
    -----------------

    A lot of changes can happen with a CEO change - prior chap may have been making promises or implications Leica wasn't ready/willing to deliver on - at least this year.

    Personally - I think R users should plan as if any R10 as they'd like to see it (*) has a low probability of becoming a market reality (vs. a trade show mockup) any time soon. Plan accordingly and if they pull a rabbit out of a hat in '09 or '10, see what the market alternatives look like at that point.

    With Nikon shaking things up with the D3/x and now (it looks like) D700, plus what Canon will do in response to same, PLUS the NEW added pressure from $10,000 entry MFDB kits - the longer Leica waits the worst the business case becomes - and the less likely the R10 trigger will (or should) be pulled.

    * As a tech head I'm all for an R10. But from a business perspective I fail to see ANY wisdom in getting into the DSLR market (at least on their own) at this juncture. Sony is one thing, but for a firm with Leica's issues (service & support), small size and resources it could cost the company dearly.
    Last edited by robmac; 19th June 2008 at 08:55.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Nice...so it is ok to give us an M8 that fails frequently and requires IR filters, but the R10 has to be good!

    --offered in (half) jest by a weary M8 and DMR owner. Though my DMR will be sold by tomorrow on eBay...

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Here is the link to the full discussion the quote came from for anyone interested. Sounds like the show will have some nice M and Digilux products.

    http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...ng-2008-a.html

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Over on LUF there are some comments from (IIRC) a Leica Europe exec during a meeting with some users (I assume) saying (re: Photokina):
    ----------
    "Mr. Daniel from Leica told us some interesting things:

    R-System:
    - No new R lens at photocina
    - R9 still in production (on low level)
    - autofocus may come (manual focus is not a dogma for leica)

    We had many questions, but no concrete info about a new digital R Camera.

    This is from a French thread, the German user Forum confirms this information
    after the Meeting last weekend.

    Apparently we will have to wait for a R10 another year, maybe with the help of
    Jenoptik they will make it.

    As it was said in this thread: The challenge to do it right with a DSRL R10 is
    much higher than with DRF M8, R10 will have to face fiercest competition."
    -----------------

    A lot of changes can happen with a CEO change - prior chap may have been making promises or implications Leica wasn't ready/willing to deliver on - at least this year.

    Personally - I think R users should plan as if any R10 as they'd like to see it (*) has a low probability of becoming a market reality (vs. a trade show mockup) any time soon. Plan accordingly and if they pull a rabbit out of a hat in '09 or '10, see what the market alternatives look like at that point.

    With Nikon shaking things up with the D3/x and now (it looks like) D700, plus what Canon will do in response to same, PLUS the NEW added pressure from $10,000 entry MFDB kits - the longer Leica waits the worst the business case becomes - and the less likely the R10 trigger will (or should) be pulled.

    * As a tech head I'm all for an R10. But from a business perspective I fail to see ANY wisdom in getting into the DSLR market (at least on their own) at this juncture. Sony is one thing, but for a firm with Leica's issues (service & support), small size and resources it could cost the company dearly.
    Certainly makes my decision to sell my R glass look wise at this point. I love my M8 and the glass to go with it so I continue to hope for the best for Leica Camera. But like the others I have a hard time seeing how they manage the business realities facing them.

    Woody

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Yes Woody, you may be right. However, although I feel a little anxious waiting to see what will develop in the R line I still get immense pleasure using the DMR and the R lenses! I now have the M8 as well and it is a joy to carry around after lugging the R kit but I cannot knock the files from the DMR and I think they may even have an edge on the files from the M8. The DMR really delivers.

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    I now have the M8 as well and it is a joy to carry around after lugging the R kit but I cannot knock the files from the DMR and I think they may even have an edge on the files from the M8. The DMR really delivers.
    I totally agree.

    Robert

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Certainly makes my decision to sell my R glass look wise at this point. I love my M8 and the glass to go with it so I continue to hope for the best for Leica Camera. But like the others I have a hard time seeing how they manage the business realities facing them.

    Woody

    It is going to make it very expensive to get back into the R system if the R10 is the next best thing next to sliced bread

    BTW, I mounted my 180mm APO summicron in front of a view camera and the image circle was 38-40mm. Certainly in MFDB territory and a bigger than 35mm sensor. There are probably other R lenses with large image circles too.

    Robert

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Rob

    I have no doubt that in the 135 realm nothing touches the R glass. My only point is that if Leica is not committed to a new R digital body then my decision to sell the R glass and go with the H3DII-39 looks wise. The corollary of course is that Leica does come out with an R10 and those of us who sold are now stranded. But I also really like the new Nikon Zooms and expect them to introduce new fast primes probably at this year's photokina. They now have the D3 which is a superb instrument and a pending D3X with up to 25 mpx in the offing. The photosites of course will be small so it won't really compete with the D3 in the high ISO world but will in terms of lower ISO resolution.

    Lots of stuff to ponder, that's for sure.

    Best

    Woody

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Well, Woody, last weekend the guys in Solms insisted there will be an R10 in the not too distant future, info at Photokina. Stephan Daniel said litterally: "I'm not selling my R lenses". My guess would be halfway next year..... The reinstatement of the cooperation with Jenoptik/Sinar might well speed things up.
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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    ... There are probably other R lenses with large image circles too...
    Any idea about how large image circles can be with 280/2.8, 280/4 and 250/4 R lenses?

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    [snip] ... BTW, I mounted my 180mm APO summicron in front of a view camera and the image circle was 38-40mm. Certainly in MFDB territory and a bigger than 35mm sensor. There are probably other R lenses with large image circles too.

    Robert
    Robert, I don't quite get what you mean here, because a 24x36mm frame has a diameter of 43.3mm, right ... ?
    /Steen

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Steen:

    I see what you are getting at I must have been measuring the radius. It was on a 4x5 inch ground glass and the image circle took up a pretty big part of it.

    Robert

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    I totally agree.

    Robert
    I agree as well. I should never have sold the DMR and then where would I be now? Well I wouldn't have the H3DII-39 and that would be a shame. In point of fact the H3D kit is not much heavier than the Nikon D3 and of course the files are way way different and most times better. (But never when you need an ISO greater than 800 and 400 may be closer to the real limit.) But the DR is fantastic and the colors and resolution are to die for. For those of us who print large, this is the kit to own. And as I say, carrying it is little different from carrying the D3.

    So I won't continue to lament the loss of the DMR but I certainly won't get rid of my trusty and beautiful M8. Now here is the travel camera that can get 90% of what we need and want from a 35mm camera. Great files with great color and the lightest carry-on on the planet.

    Go Leica

    Woody

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    Well, Woody, last weekend the guys in Solms insisted there will be an R10 in the not too distant future, info at Photokina. Stephan Daniel said litterally: "I'm not selling my R lenses". My guess would be halfway next year..... The reinstatement of the cooperation with Jenoptik/Sinar might well speed things up.
    Jaap

    I certainly hope so because MFDB is just not for everyone. But the main reason why is price! DSLR's have tradionally been much, much less expensive than MFDB and that is changing. If you look at the price of the R/DMR system including the magnificent R lenses you are in the same (stratosphere) as the MFDB. One would only guess at the price of the R10 (and any new AF lenses that would be part of it) and conclude that it will be right in the sweet price spot of the MFDB systems, be they Mamiya, Sinar, or Hasselblad. Difference is the quality and availability of longer and Macro lenses in addition to the usual lenses.

    I am very pleased I went with the Hasselblad H3DII-39. I also wish that Leica would have made clear their plans for the continuation of the R system so I could have made a clearer choice based on data rather than opinion!!!

    I am now getting absolutely wonderful files from my Hasselblad system in addition to being able to effectively use all of my V lenses as well. Would, or will the R system be so good as to make me feel that I jumped too soon and should have kept lenses like the 35-70 Elmarit, 70-210 Elmarit etc and waited for the R10. Perhaps and probably. But life goes on and who knows what the next generation brings.

    I will probably always feel that the Leica R glass stands at the top of the mountain. But we have jobs to do today and the stodgy slow approach of Leica, coupled with the fantastically poor communications about plans to the loyal following of Leica owners makes long term planning difficult at least. Most of the bitching from the Leica community to the head guys at Leica is justifiable and leica could eliminate or at least minimize it in a heartbeat.

    I will always be a Leica "junky" and the M8 will probably be in my bag until I pass on. (Now 71 and counting! LOL) But the R system is now out of my "system" but I hope that it will be all that you younger guys and girls want and will be happy with for years to come.

    This is not a rant..........this is a hope for the future generation of Leica shooters.

    Woody

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    Re: "I Wonder Why" R Lens Ponderings @ 120kph

    Well said.

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