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Thread: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

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    Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Looks like a fabulous lens. Not sure how this one compares to the S 30mm / S 45mm / S 70mm prime lenses?

    Anybody out there who compared them?

    Obviously very few tests to find on other forums.

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by hasselbladfan View Post
    Looks like a fabulous lens. Not sure how this one compares to the S 30mm / S 45mm / S 70mm prime lenses?

    Anybody out there who compared them?

    Obviously very few tests to find on other forums.
    Just traded in my 30 and 70 towards the zoom. My impressions, little more distortion at 30, more convenient than going out the door with three lenses in the bag. Overall I am pleased with the zoom, it has proved it's usefulness by minimizing my choices of what lens to attach when leaving the house.

    Is it sharper? No, I kept my 45 CS as that is the sharpest wide for the S and it has a leaf shutter for high speed sync. I deliberated for a long time before making the switch and am glad with my final choice.
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Slower and not quite so good as the primes, but useful

    john
    used to be chiaroscuro_NZ
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I like the 30-90. My early impressions about it and a few sample images taken with it can be found here (along with other general impressions):

    http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/...topic=102849.0


    Quote Originally Posted by hasselbladfan View Post
    Looks like a fabulous lens. Not sure how this one compares to the S 30mm / S 45mm / S 70mm prime lenses?

    Anybody out there who compared them?

    Obviously very few tests to find on other forums.
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by John_McMaster View Post
    Slower and not quite so good as the primes, but useful

    john
    Yes, the primes are sharper and faster, 1/2 stop on the wide end and two on the long. But you do not have to change lenses in fast moving situations. Changing lenses quickly on the S is a challenge, with the weight and bulk of body and lens, it is not as graceful as changing on the M.

    As I said, the 45 is without peer, I can see the difference in image quality with this lens compared to the 30 prime. Both my 30 and 70 did not have CS which I like to have for flash work so they were sacrificed in favor of the 30-90. If I find a 70 CS in the future I may pick it up, as far as the 30, I may instead get the 24. Looking at some same subject matter shot on the 30 prime and 30-90 zoom, I do not see that much of a difference. Corners on the 30-90 are softer than the 30 prime, overall sharpness is like splitting hairs.

    In the end it is a matter of matching the lens to the subject matter. Casual shooting lends itself to the zoom purely for convenience. If I had a specific subject that I wanted to capture, primes are my first choice. Most of my subjects in that case would be shot with the 45 or 120. I really resisted getting the zoom for two years and in the end, the zoom won out for convenience.
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    Most of my subjects in that case would be shot with the 45 or 120. I really resisted getting the zoom for two years and in the end, the zoom won out for convenience.
    This is exactly my dilemma. I am tired of running around with 4 primes. And if I leave with my H 50mm, you can bet that 5 min later I need a portrait lens.

    Up to now, nearly all comments I ever got were positive. That is a good start.

    Leica promised me in the coming weeks a demo, so then is the moment of truth.

    Thanks for all comments.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I thought this through up and down, and from left to right, but for my photography I stay with the primes so far.
    Even though I now own the S007 with good high ISO capability, I do use wide f-stops quite often and it is also one of the things I love on the S system.
    I could eventually see to own the 30-90 instead of 30/35/45 and 70, but one still would want to also bring also a faster lens when the sun hides or the evening comes or for inside, and I doubt I would get the creamy shallow DOF and bokeh like I get with the 70/2.5 or the 100/2.0.
    So nowadays I often carry often 45+100 or 30+70+ 120 or 180.
    I can see the temtation of the zoom though, specially for people who mostly use a tripod and for landscape work.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I exchanged my 30 and 70 for this, not as perfect optically as the primes, but stopping down one or 2 stops improves it.

    Definitely a daylight lens (although higher ISO on the 007 helps), but greatly extends the versatility of the camera to a general walk-around. I spent a week in the old town of Havana with it, and find that I take the camera out more with this lens.
    - ErlingMM
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    do you use the zoom preselecting a focal length and then shoot or do you use it more to zoom in and out?

    My fault is I too often use zooms instead of moving with my feet and then forget the focal length and its effect.
    I think it would be better to use a zoom in a way like switching lenses.
    In this regard the Tri-Elmars for the M were a good idea IMO.
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    That is a very good point.

    I have unfortunately very limited experience (I have to admit I only bought 1 zoom lens in my 40 years of photography, a R 80-200/4.0 which I sold for a R 180/2.8 a couple of years later and never regretted). So you can say, I am more a prime user.

    But when I test a zoom, I am always at the end of the range (and only when I want more width, I zoom out).

    I could easily live with a 45mm and a 100mm, but I will miss shots when changing lenses.

    I like that philosophy of using a zoom as a Tri-Elmar. Interesting idea.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by erlingmm View Post
    ... and find that I take the camera out more with this lens.
    This is true.

    Body with zoom or body with 1 lens have a greater chance to get into the car than the full bag with all my primes.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I like the lens and it is my most used for travel or day trips. Picture quality is very good and I don't use my primes as much anymore. If I am not using this, I use the 45/100 combination. Haven't used my 35 since I bought this. Have used the 70 because it was smaller and a CS version. I do wish the filter size was 82 vs. 95 and then most of the lenses would have matched in filter size.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    It's a workhorse for me. Has been for some 3 plus years now. That and the 24mm fill all my needs. With a 15" MBP and a small Thinktank case, I'm set for anything, and anywhere. The way I shoot, at ƒ8 and 11 almost exclusively, and on a tripod, it provides a high level of convenience with excellent "near prime" quality.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Went through my files to see if I could find examples from both lenses with a similar light and subject. Found this from three years ago, hot air balloons in crisp clear morning light shot with the 30, handheld ISO 320 1/1000 @f3.4.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And 1:1 crop

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    Shot last week with the 30-90 Vario similar light and subject handheld ISO 320 1/350 @f8

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And 1:1 crop from that image

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    For me it is the convenience of this lens when out and about, yes the aperture and sharpness factor aside, I will at least get the shot. No doubt that the primes are superior but by what margin?
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Here is one from the 30-90 @ 90mm ISO 640 1/2000 @f8 shooting into the sun challenges lens performance, the more elements, the greater the reflective surface and degradation of image due to those reflections.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Another example of shooting into the light but with a different subject ISO 320 1/500 @f8 handheld

    Click image for larger version. 

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    BTW all shot with the S2
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    The 45 CS is by far the sharpest wide of the bunch and one that I would reluctantly give up. These images are not meant to be a direct comparison, but give you an idea of what the difference between the top performer in the wide range and the Vario.

    First the 30-90 @ 52mm ISO 320 1/500 @f8

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And a similar subject, but front instead of back lit with the 45 CS ISO 160 1/250 @5.6

    Click image for larger version. 

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    All shot handheld, S2
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I sold the 30-90 when I still had the S2. Now with the 007, it would be more useful, perhaps. What I didn't like about it: very large front element/filter size (different than the primes), large hood that was not effective other than at the widest setting (usual with zooms, of course), slow at the longer end. For travel, I usually use the 45/120 or 45/100 combinations. Or just the 70 alone and a RX1r2 as the 35mm as a back-up/wide solution.
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    rsmphoto and I agree, the zoom plus 24 is what I carry the most.

    I highly recommend it as someone said switching lenses is not quick, and dust can be a factor.

    No the 30mm is not as good for architecture as the 24, but I haven't used my 35 in a year. My 120 still gets use.

    I previously chose to avoid zooms. But with digital they make more sense, as changing lenses in a dusty or wet environment is challenging for the sensor regardless of weatherproof cameras and lenses. Believe me, I didn't want to spend $10,000 on a zoom when I already had the range in primes, but it is now my most used lens.

    Different story if I needed CS lenses.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I have never really been happy with mine. I am most often doing landscapes where edge to edge sharpness is important. The two samples I have tried cannot achieve adequate edge sharpness at any aperture when the lens is used at longer than about 60mm. It is all the more obvious because it is so sharp on center...the visible transition from very sharp to soft is a problem in large prints. At first I thought it was a problem with my particular lens, but I brought it in person to the factory and they checked it over and readjusted it, saying it was in spec. Since then it has behaved similarly.
    Now I only use it when I need the convenience of a zoom. It is great in applications where absolute edge performance is not important, and I think it must be amazing for video. I suppose I would have sold it, but I bought it new and I did not relish taking the loss! So I keep it and use it for the applications that suit it. But in general, the 35mm and 45mm are significantly better. The 70mm has some field curvature that leads it to have similar issues at certain apertures, but it is mostly tamed at f8 or f11.
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Thanks, guys.

    Can't wait till Leica brings me a demo for the weekend. Keep you posted.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    I traded my 30mm, 70mm and 120mm and got the 30-90mm about 18 months ago. The very best decision for me.

    As far as sharpness, my impressions are: 1) as sharp as the 30mm prime, 2) 97% as sharp as the 70mm prime and 3) 95% as sharp from 70-90mm. Definitely a daytime or tripod lens.

    The cost is less than owning 3-4 primes and it is soooooooooooooooo much easier to carry for landscape work.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    For my photography (landscape, travel etc.), the zoom is a great. But I would not give up the 70 (may give up the 35). I think you have to print really big to see the difference ins sharpness between the zoom and the primes, and you will see it mostly at the edges. And for travel / landscape, it eliminates the hassle of changing lenses and the risk of getting dirt on the sensor. For me, the 24 + zoom + 100 is a great 3 lens set up for travel. One could add the 120 (for macro), the 180 (if something longer is needed), or the 70 (standard and fast).
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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by timwier View Post

    The cost is less than owning 3-4 primes and it is soooooooooooooooo much easier to carry for landscape work.
    True, but from experience I know I end up (after some years) with 3-4 primes anyway.

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    Re: Any experiences with the Leica S 30-90mm?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    The two samples I have tried cannot achieve adequate edge sharpness at any aperture when the lens is used at longer than about 60mm.

    It is all the more obvious because it is so sharp on center...the visible transition from very sharp to soft is a problem in large prints.
    That can be annoying. I will watch it when I try the lens next week. Thanks for your heads-up.

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