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Thread: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

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    Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I'm seriously contemplating buying an M240 and lenses between 28 and 135. While researching my options, I discovered the R 28-90 which looks as if it would cover most of my requirements. Having watched a friend using an R lense on his M with the adapter, I'm wondering why I shouldn't go the same way and buy a 28-90. The price is eye-popping for a used lense but that seems to be the way of R lenses today.

    Are there any gotchas? I know that I will need to focus with the EVF but for a landscape guy, I can't see any other problems.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    HI Jeff
    Personally, whilst the quality was as good, I found the 28-90 to rather negate the point of the smaller body. So I went back to using M lenses.
    I do, however, use the much cheaper and lighter 35-70 f4, which has a really good macro mode as well.
    I'd say - use both (if you can afford it) but don't just use the 28-90.
    all the best

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Thanks Jono, I was hoping that you might come along, as I have read what you said about the 28-90. My use would be almost exclusively tripod mounted which is why I started thinking that way.

    I want to use the M as a landscape camera only. My eyes aren't good enough to use manual focus on anything else. I would use my OM D when I need AF.

    Owning both is an interesting concept that, I suspect, my wife would not understand.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    For my taste I prefer to use M lenses on the M.
    Why?
    -feels more balanced (weight/size)
    -I want to be able to use the rangefinder
    -I prefer optical viewfinder

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I guess that my problem is that I have almost no experience using a rangefinder, and I'm quite used to an EVF after the OM D. I have become accustomed to the EVF, but not in love with it. After many years using Hasselblad gear weight and size all seem light to me right now.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I am happy using the EVF as it may be needed and consider it a great addition to the M system, but will not normally use it for lenses from 28-90. I do not really see the point of using an R zoom on a Leica M exclusively. Surely it would be better to use it on a Canon 5Dx with adapter or Nikon ffcamera and Leitaxed if that is the route you want to go. The EVF is, after all, a limited substitute for an optical viewfinder.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    The point of using the R zoom is getting one lense to cover a number of primes - no lense changing in hostile environments. I am a landscape photographer. I shoot in snow, sea spray and even out of a helicopter occasionally. My feeling is that the R zoom is as good as any of the primes that it covers, hence the question.

    I may end up with a D800E but a Canon will never happen. I'm actually hoping that Sony will come out with something exciting soon.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    The point of using the R zoom is getting one lense to cover a number of primes - no lense changing in hostile environments. I am a landscape photographer. I shoot in snow, sea spray and even out of a helicopter occasionally. My feeling is that the R zoom is as good as any of the primes that it covers, hence the question.

    I may end up with a D800E but a Canon will never happen. I'm actually hoping that Sony will come out with something exciting soon.
    Or just plan old dust, which will drive you crazy as a regularly stopped down landscape photographer. Not sure how the lens breathes but avoiding dust would be a wonderful thing. I would suggest if you don't mind that size and weight that an A99 might be a better choice. You can remount R lenses to work with it.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    [QUOTE=wentbackward;534452]Or just plan old dust, which will drive you crazy as a regularly stopped down landscape photographer/[QUOTE]

    Good point, thanks. I'd forgotten about the M not having dust removal. The OM D has it and the zoom on the H4D saved me a lot of lense changes.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    The point of using the R zoom is getting one lense to cover a number of primes - no lense changing in hostile environments. I am a landscape photographer. I shoot in snow, sea spray and even out of a helicopter occasionally. My feeling is that the R zoom is as good as any of the primes that it covers, hence the question.

    I may end up with a D800E but a Canon will never happen. I'm actually hoping that Sony will come out with something exciting soon.
    There are the WATE and MATE if you dislike lens changing.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    There are the WATE and MATE if you dislike lens changing.
    Neither of which are exactly stellar performers, as I understand it. The attraction of the 28-90 is that it is stellar.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    The point of using the R zoom is getting one lense to cover a number of primes - no lense changing in hostile environments. I am a landscape photographer. I shoot in snow, sea spray and even out of a helicopter occasionally. My feeling is that the R zoom is as good as any of the primes that it covers, hence the question.

    I may end up with a D800E but a Canon will never happen. I'm actually hoping that Sony will come out with something exciting soon.
    For those environments I would prefer a DSLR with a fast standard zoom any day. Too bad you dont like Canon, because in my experience the new 24-70/2.8II is an exceptional lens.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    Neither of which are exactly stellar performers, as I understand it. The attraction of the 28-90 is that it is stellar.
    I would not underrate the MATE.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I had the 28-90 when I shot my DMR and was a stellar lens the big issue with it was size and weight which is fine on a DSLR type body since you expect that but on a M it may just put too much stress on the R to M adapter. It's also a change in shooting style that is not usually associated with a M breed type cam. Personally I would not go this route and be more adept to have a 28 cron and 90 cron instead . No doubt you would probably already have a 50 around so that covers a good range. The other issue is the 28 cron is and was my favorite M lens and that would have to be in my bag if I went back to a M regardless of which M cam I had. It's just that nice a signature lens. But that's me
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I'm going to go OT here slightly but as much as the R lenses maybe appealing to a 240 shooter one needs to remember there is not in general terms a better R lens than a equivalent M lens so its really not worth this effort unless its a lens that is outside the M line like a 180 or something like that. I have a Leica R 19mm that I use on my Nikon and as sweet as a lens it is there are M lenses in that range that are just as good or better. So as nice as that option is for the 240 shooter in my mind it would have to be a lens that is better or different to a M lens. The 240 brings options for live view which is the main reason to get one but its the extra options of lenses outside the M equivalents that make more shooting sense for its use. At least that's the way I view it macro. Long lenses would be the main attraction to the 240
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Jeff-Understand your frustrations and ideas as I went through many choices similar to yours not long ago.

    I mostly shoot landscape when not shooting street.

    During a 3 week trip a few months back with my new M 240, perhaps too many lenses were packed, but who cares with a backpack (and a wife). In addition, I wanted to be prepared for most situations. This trip consisted of mountain terrain a lot and desert some too. Valley shots worked well with the 28-90 and also shots for future stitching.

    I decided to take the 28-90 R, 15/2.8 R, 21 SEM, APO50 M, APO135M, APO70-180 R plus a 2x R extender which I only used for about 10 minutes in 3 weeks. I was so taken with the 28-90 it was used about 75-80% of the time. Maybe it was a novelty for me, but I found in my situations it was a wonderful choice. I try not to crop at home, so using the 28-90 lens by cropping with the zoom, my images would not have to be cropped in PP, loosing some of pixels we pay so dearly for.

    If you want some of the best glass made, get Leica. You have many choices from M to R lenses with the M 240. Using the EVF is THE way (actually the only way) to shot when using the 28-90. The red in focus area takes some getting used to, but after a while it just works and is intuitive for me now. Also I loved to see where more depth of field occurred when changing F stops in Live View as it helped when framing landscape shots where you have plenty of time to frame and decide on depth of focus options.

    If you have eye sight problems count on using the EVF. I have a 5D3 for wildlife and action use and it is a dream for my needs in these situations. The 70-200 is fantastic even with the 1.4x extender.

    I have only one eye working and find the Leica RF very nice especially with the new LED frame lines, but wider than 28 they will not help and you will need the EVF anyway. Keep in mind R lenses ONLY work with the EVF unless you are winging it or going so wide that DOF concerns are minimal like with the 15/2.8 R which is one of my favorites.

    Sure, R lenses are bigger than M lenses. Just look at the lens mouth and that will become obvious. I find a combination of M and R lenses is a fantastic option for M camera users now and brings in a whole new spectrum of glass available for us now. The beauty is that if you want a small package use M lenses on the M and if that is not important for say landscape/tripod work then you can use all the R glass you can afford. Frankly, I like the tripod mounts built into the larger R glass.

    Hope my experiences help. PM if you need more comments.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    For those environments I would prefer a DSLR with a fast standard zoom any day. Too bad you dont like Canon, because in my experience the new 24-70/2.8II is an exceptional lens.
    I only ever had one Canon lense that I liked and that was the 300 2.8. I just don't like the way that they draw - all primaries, no subtlety, but that's just me.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm going to go OT here slightly but as much as the R lenses maybe appealing to a 240 shooter one needs to remember there is not in general terms a better R lens than a equivalent M lens so its really not worth this effort unless its a lens that is outside the M line like a 180 or something like that. I have a Leica R 19mm that I use on my Nikon and as sweet as a lens it is there are M lenses in that range that are just as good or better. So as nice as that option is for the 240 shooter in my mind it would have to be a lens that is better or different to a M lens. The 240 brings options for live view which is the main reason to get one but its the extra options of lenses outside the M equivalents that make more shooting sense for its use. At least that's the way I view it macro. Long lenses would be the main attraction to the 240
    Thanks Guy. Better or different is exactly how I see the 28-90. On my H4D, the 35-90 zoom was used for 90% of my shots. This let me shoot with a single lense most of the time. The 28-90 looks like it would fit that bill. Again, I have already bought the 100 APO as I it is unique. As to weight on the mount, I believe that the Leica adapter comes with a tripod mount, if it ever ships. I think that the shot of the adaptor on the Leica site is a 240 with a 28-90.
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    Jeff
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    Thanks Guy. Better or different is exactly how I see the 28-90. On my H4D, the 35-90 zoom was used for 90% of my shots. This let me shoot with a single lense most of the time. The 28-90 looks like it would fit that bill. Again, I have already bought the 100 APO as I it is unique. As to weight on the mount, I believe that the Leica adapter comes with a tripod mount, if it ever ships. I think that the shot of the adaptor on the Leica site is a 240 with a 28-90.
    Hi Jeff,

    As a word of introduction I must admit I bought my first MFDB after seeing your wonderful work with the H series...was stunned by your seascapes and the NZ and Australian landscapes.

    Personally moved from a H3D II to a Leica S2-P and now back to a Leica Monochrome and M 8.2

    Guy makes a very significant point that the R lenses do not image as well as the M series...and the advantage of the M lenses is compactness, weight and a minimum of compromise with respect to imaging ... their limitations are known but can be managed without much effort.

    Whilst the 28-90 offers a certain convenience...it seems that other than using it for shots of the grandchildren....its limitations will probably limit your full enjoyment of the optic. The majority of your previous landscape work could be accomplished without a rangefinder and use of zone focusing IMHO. In my opinion that is not a detriment...it allows for much freedom with regards to framing and content selection and presentation.

    The advantage of the M240 is you can have both...convenience of the zoom and the subtle but real optical superiority of the M lenses.

    With your skills either route will provide you with a cogent system that will allow you to express your vision...my vote is to take a small step towards the R system lenses while you leverage the distinct properties of a small number of the M jewels as only you can.

    Regards,

    Bob Moore

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Thanks Bob, that's very kind of you to say that. I must admit that I'm struggling to find something that can get close to the Hasselblad and its lenses, but age is unforgiving. I thought that the zoom and M would give me the most flexible combination without sacrificing image quality.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    I only ever had one Canon lense that I liked and that was the 300 2.8. I just don't like the way that they draw - all primaries, no subtlety, but that's just me.
    Have you tried the 50/1.2 or the 135/2.0?
    In the end I mentioned Canon because IMO the Canon 24-70/2.8II is one of the best if not the best current standard Zoom. IMO it is better than the Nikon counterpart specially at the wide end, and I even go so far that I prefer it over the Sony/Zeis 24-70 because the Canon is sharp as well but has a smoother bokeh. But for sure everybody has his own taste which is good. During the same time when many people switched to Nikon because of the D800 I switched from Nikon to Canon because of the 5dIII (main reasons were speed of the camera and color) and some lenses. (I usually only take the DSLR when I need Zoom, fast AF or Tele)
    Now if EVF and manual focus and going back and forth between magnification and framing and a somewhat front heavy combo dont bother you and if 28mm is wide enough I am sure that the combo of the 28-90 on an M type 240 is able to deliver excellent results. Maybe also the M with the additional grip would make this combo weight balanced. I just remember that I found even the Noctilux to be the limit of lens size/weight I would want on a Leica M.
    I allways liked and like the M primes, I can see however how sometimes the convenience of a zoom is very nice. I experience this with the X-VArio for example. I often use it preselecting a focal length before I bring the camera to my face.
    Last edited by Paratom; 3rd September 2013 at 00:56.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I have owned the 135, same problem for me. I just don't like the colour. When I saw my first shots from Zeiss glass I knew what I had been missing.

    Manual focus is fine, and I don't use magnification so back and forth isn't an issue. The lense would be tripod mounted, unless I was in a helicopter and then it would be at infinity.

    If I give up on the M, I would still be interested in the 28-90 to mount on whatever I did get. So far, I haven't had any 'whoops, there's an insurmountable problem' moments.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    I have owned the 135, same problem for me. I just don't like the colour. When I saw my first shots from Zeiss glass I knew what I had been missing.

    Manual focus is fine, and I don't use magnification so back and forth isn't an issue. The lense would be tripod mounted, unless I was in a helicopter and then it would be at infinity.

    If I give up on the M, I would still be interested in the 28-90 to mount on whatever I did get. So far, I haven't had any 'whoops, there's an insurmountable problem' moments.
    If you don't go for the M and want to use the 28-90 I would probably recommend a Sony A99 with EVF. Why? I have used the 28-90 on a R9 with DMR for some time and didn't find it easy to accurately focus it. A EVF would probably be the "safer" way to get accurate focus.
    On the other side if you work on tripod anyways-you can allways use life view on the display for focusing.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    What was the issue with focus? My understanding is that the Nikon. and probably Sony, have focus confirmation these days. I'm not interested in an A99 but rather its successor. If I don't buy an M, it will be for a larger sensor other camera. Coming from 40MP 3:4 to 24MP 2:3 where I would crop very often makes the M the only acceptable option. That may sound silly but my understanding is that the M is in a class of its own with its sensor.

    I had an A900 with Zeiss glass some years back and couldn't get good looking files from it but I think that C1 can do a lot better job these days.
    Cheers,
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    What was the issue with focus? My understanding is that the Nikon. and probably Sony, have focus confirmation these days. I'm not interested in an A99 but rather its successor. If I don't buy an M, it will be for a larger sensor other camera. Coming from 40MP 3:4 to 24MP 2:3 where I would crop very often makes the M the only acceptable option. That may sound silly but my understanding is that the M is in a class of its own with its sensor.

    I had an A900 with Zeiss glass some years back and couldn't get good looking files from it but I think that C1 can do a lot better job these days.
    Just to be clear: I do not vote against the new M. Indeed it is my favorite camera at the moment.
    The problem I had with the 28-90 (as well as other lenses) on the DMR was that I found it difficult to achieve totally accurate focus. With a fast prime it is a little easier because the shallow DOF you see in the viewfinder (plus the brighter viewfinder) makes focusing easier than a lens at f4.0.
    Specially with digital sensor small focus inaccurancies can destroy the whole advantage of a slightly better lens.
    Even with the big bright viewfinder of the Leica S I find AF in most cases to be more accurate than manuel focus.
    I am not saying that it is not possible, but in my case if I find it difficult to manually focus lenses with todays DSLRS. If you dont like Sonys color its not an option anyways Thats why I thought if I personally was insisting to use a 28-90 I would probably choose a camera which allows to use EVF (like the new M or the A99).
    I think what you really need is a S2 + 30-90

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Thanks. One thing that the H did really well was AF. I'm hoping that my ageing eyes are up to the challenge.

    As for the S2 and 30-90, great idea but even I have my limit and that is not somewhere that I want to go. Besides, if you think the 28-90 is heavy, that combo would be alot more so.
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    Thanks. One thing that the H did really well was AF. I'm hoping that my ageing eyes are up to the challenge.

    As for the S2 and 30-90, great idea but even I have my limit and that is not somewhere that I want to go. Besides, if you think the 28-90 is heavy, that combo would be alot more so.
    I didnt mean to say the 28-90 is too heavy, just that I find it in relation to the camera body/size.

    I am looking forward to the images from whatever you decide (I just browsed your site and enjoyed the great images. I even asked myself why you would step away from your current Hassy gear for that kind of subjects? Have you made a decision already?

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    The decision is made. I am no longer a Hasselblad owner. That's the first time I've been in that position for many years. My only camera is an OM D and load of lenses. That leaves me in a funny position - a clean slate and some serious decisions to be made. The one thing that I am sure of is that Leica lenses are in there.

    I understand what you mean about being front heavy. If I weren't going to be tripod mounted, it would be a serious issue.

    I'm glad that you liked my site, thanks. I'll try to keep the standard up whichever way I go.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    Thanks Guy. Better or different is exactly how I see the 28-90. On my H4D, the 35-90 zoom was used for 90% of my shots. This let me shoot with a single lense most of the time. The 28-90 looks like it would fit that bill. Again, I have already bought the 100 APO as I it is unique. As to weight on the mount, I believe that the Leica adapter comes with a tripod mount, if it ever ships. I think that the shot of the adaptor on the Leica site is a 240 with a 28-90.
    Yes Jeff, the one I used at Photokina had a removable tripod mount.

    Just happen to recall that some guys are using the Contax Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 28-85/3.3-4.0 on the M240 since they really like the contrast it puts out. It entails again another adapter which for me might be one too many. but if it is "better" then its worth a look. I must say Zeiss lenses have always had a soft spot in my heart since my first Hassy 500C. Today I still love how the SWC with 38 fixed Zeiss renders images.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Go back to film? Buy a Linhof 612 or 617 and you will never want anything else for landscape.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    The decision is made. I am no longer a Hasselblad owner. That's the first time I've been in that position for many years. My only camera is an OM D and load of lenses. That leaves me in a funny position - a clean slate and some serious decisions to be made. The one thing that I am sure of is that Leica lenses are in there.

    I understand what you mean about being front heavy. If I weren't going to be tripod mounted, it would be a serious issue.

    I'm glad that you liked my site, thanks. I'll try to keep the standard up whichever way I go.

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    New Member Dr Owl's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Have you considered the possibility of waiting for the rumoured Nikon D4X, Jeff, and using it with Leitaxed lenses?

    Nikon to release new entry level DSLR camera, "revised" compact cameras | Nikon Rumors

    You mentioned the D800 earlier, seemingly without that much enthusiasm, but the D4X (or whatever Nikon calls its next landscape camera) is likely to be more solidly built ... and may well have a significantly enhanced specification.

    It won't compete in any way with a Leica M as a walkabout camera, but used solely on a tripod it might have its place.

    Do single-digit Nikons have the focusing accuracy that you need?
    John Owlett

    Leica M6 & M240; Nikon F3; Rolleiflex 2.8GX.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    Go back to film? Buy a Linhof 612 or 617 and you will never want anything else for landscape.
    I don't miss film at all and I've sold my Imacon scanner and I don't much like panos either. I may be odd but I am very happy with squares and comfortable with 645. In anticipation of a return to 2:3, I have been trying out 4:5 compositions. That's actually one of the attractions of the D800. It can give you a 45 mask in the viewfinder.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by algrove View Post
    Yes Jeff, the one I used at Photokina had a removable tripod mount.

    Just happen to recall that some guys are using the Contax Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 28-85/3.3-4.0 on the M240 since they really like the contrast it puts out. It entails again another adapter which for me might be one too many. but if it is "better" then its worth a look. I must say Zeiss lenses have always had a soft spot in my heart since my first Hassy 500C. Today I still love how the SWC with 38 fixed Zeiss renders images.
    Great, thanks. I'll take a look at the Contax. I'm torn between Zeiss and Leica. They both render beautifully to my eye.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Jeff,
    Understand that you are looking for a 28-90 Vario Elmarit. I might have one for you. Check your PM in box.

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Owl View Post
    Have you considered the possibility of waiting for the rumoured Nikon D4X, Jeff, and using it with Leitaxed lenses?

    Nikon to release new entry level DSLR camera, "revised" compact cameras | Nikon Rumors

    You mentioned the D800 earlier, seemingly without that much enthusiasm, but the D4X (or whatever Nikon calls its next landscape camera) is likely to be more solidly built ... and may well have a significantly enhanced specification.

    It won't compete in any way with a Leica M as a walkabout camera, but used solely on a tripod it might have its place.

    Do single-digit Nikons have the focusing accuracy that you need?
    Actually, I'm more interested in what Sony is supposed to be coming out with soon. My lack of enthusiasm is not towards the D800 but DSLRs in general. Having sold the H I don't want to end up with another heavy system. The interest in the R lenses is driven by Leitax as I can use them whichever way I go.

    The M240 is the most attractive system going at the moment but I just want to wait and see for a while. While I'm doing that, my idle mind has turned to lenses. The 28-90 is very attractive because I shoot long rather than wide and I often find myself wanting a little more with a 24-70.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by SKueh View Post
    Jeff,
    Understand that you are looking for a 28-90 Vario Elmarit. I might have one for you. Check your PM in box.
    Thanks. PM sent.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffg53 View Post
    Neither of which are exactly stellar performers, as I understand it. The attraction of the 28-90 is that it is stellar.
    HI Jeff
    Actually I think the WATE is a fantastic performer . . but I would agree that the MATE is really not so good as the 28-90.

    Hearing what you're saying about landscapes and tripods it sounds like the 28-90 might be exactly what you need.

    All the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Leica R 28-90 or individual M lenses?

    I'm certainly hoping so, Jono. I may not know what my next camera will be but I'm decided on the glass.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com
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