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Thread: The current market for R lenses

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    The current market for R lenses

    Does anyone else feel like this is probably the best time to buy R lenses? It seems like since Leica has announced that they have stopped R production and there is no official announcement of an R10, along with the economy, the price of R lenses has tanked. Though there is certainly a measure of uncertainty as to whether an R10 will arrive, and that it will be compatible with R lenses, it is still reasonably likely. Even if it does not arrive, the R lenses still have a very good outlet on the R9 or on Canon and Nikon (via adapters).

    I was just thinking that assuming the R10 does arrive and there is a whole new lens line, it will still take a awhile for the new lens line to be complete, and it is unlikely that they will be much better optically than the current APO ASPH R lenses -- yes, they will have autofocus, but this does not seem to be a huge barrier for R users, otherwise they would not be shooting R at all. Anyway, it just seems like if you can get current R glass at barn burner prices, that it is probably a good time to buy. I'd rather pay 2900 USD for a brand new 28-90 asph than 5000-6000 for an AF version...luckily I bought mine from Guy 2 years ago for a lot less than that!

    Yes, but those are just my thoughts...perhaps I am crazy.
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    The prices of R glass maybe at there low point if ....

    The R10 is ultimately released, and

    R lens can be used without the expense of modification or individual adapters.

    Its also difficult to get excited about buying R glass that you can t effectively use today. Its easy to buy a 100apo knowing you can adapt it easily to canon or nikon. This isn t the case with say the 15/2.8 or the 35/1.4.

    It is difficult to find a winning strategy for the R glass when all the companies are under financial stress. I will be right there in line to get an R10 but I don t think the line will be long enough.

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Well, for full disclosure, I am not really in the market for R glass -- I pretty much have everything I need since I used to use the DMR. If someone wants to sell me the 280/4 for a song...or the 80/1.4, then perhaps I could be persuaded, but I have most of whatever else I need.

    But the reason I think now is probably a good time is that it is almost inconceivable to me that an R10 would not support existing R glass. It is not in keeping with Leica's past practice, nor with the statements of Maike Heberts, the R line manager. The R mount is very large for 35mm, and there is a large distance between the flange and the film/sensor. There is also already a system for the ROM contacts. These things combined suggest to me that there would be no great design difficulties in making the AF R lenses fit the same mount. All you would really need to do is increase the amount of information passed through the existing ROM contacts. If Leica was going to change the mount, I doubt they would still call it an "R10".
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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I got to meet Maike Heberts two years ago at Photokina. Great gal, full of enthusiasm for the R product line. A real champion of her line, as you should expect from the Product Manager. She told me back then that the R10 will in fact use the present R mount, and that all of the earlier R lenses would work on the new body. They even had very early prototypes of the R10 in the labs, though did not bring any to 'Kina.

    With now two changes in the CEO role, one must wonder what the status of anything still in engineering means. Halting production of the present R lens line could mean two things as well. Could mean they need to changeover the tooling for production of S system products, and could mean they need to change it to start production of a new R-AF line. No news is simply no news, so I wouldn't read anything in to that. I do think if the R line was being halted, they certainly would not be wasting the talent of an employee as good as Maike is still sitting in that job.

    I'm still holding my own R lens collection, and at these prices am even considering adding a couple to it. Just got to get one of my wife's stockings to use as a hood. At these prices, it doesn't take a full on ski mask

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I've been toying with the idea of getting one or two to use with my Canon. I really don't have much knowledge with the R line - which are the stellar performers that would work for that application?

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
    I've been toying with the idea of getting one or two to use with my Canon. I really don't have much knowledge with the R line - which are the stellar performers that would work for that application?
    What focal lengths are you interested in?
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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    James, they are all pretty stellar side by side with the equivalent Canons. My own favorites on my 1Ds II were the 280 f/4, 180 f/2, 80 f/1.4, and the latest version of the 50 f/1.4. No modifications needed with any of those either, just the adapter.

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Question RE: R lenses
    I'm interested in the SA 21mm3.4

    Is there any Difference in the M & R
    RE: The Glass & beautiful vignetting, Fall off this lens helps to create ??

    The R version runs about $600.00 /but I need an adapter for M $175.00

    The M version SA 21/3.4 runs anywhere from $1200.00 to $1995.00

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I am mostly happy with Canon's telephoto offerings, it's the wides that need some help. Doesn't Leica make a 19mm or a 24 that are good on the Canon?

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Oooo Helen, that is a slippery slope. My favorite M lens on my M8 has been the 21 SA. Mine was made 47 years ago. It is a completely different lens mount wise, but I have no idea if it is a different formulation. Just be aware though with that lens, it is full manual all the way. You can't even use the meter, as the rear element goes so deeply it blocks the meter sensor. So you don't even have aperture priority mode. Nothing but full manual. Not a big deal to me, with the only bother being a couple extra "test" frames before the actual shoot.

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    James -- the 15mm, 19mm, the new 28mm and 21-35mm are the best R wide angles (wider than 28...there are some good 35mm lenses as well). The 24mm is older and not a Leica design. I have not used it, but it is generally not as well regarded. I don't know if those lenses adapt easily to Canon -- that would be something to check out elsewhere.
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I also feel the price for R-lenses are great right now.
    However I have to admit the after selling my DMR I also sold all my Leica R lenses, some for low prices.
    I recently bought a Leica 100Macro and use it with Leitax adapter.
    I was looking at some great R lenses like the 180/2.0 or the 400/2.8 etc but in the end I dont think I want to use MF when shooting a DSLR, except maybe for a macro lens or a wideangle.
    I have manual focus in some MF-lenses, and with my M8, so I want AF in my DSLR system. Thats why I have refused (so far) to replace my Nikon 180/2.8 with a Leica 180/2.8asph.
    The other thing is that if the R10 would not take the old Leica-lenses, than the value of the lenses might drop even further.
    SO its kind of gamble to buy those lenses now.

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    In addition to all the 'demo' sales and dealers like SHP selling Leica R inventory I have seen a spike in R glass for sale from non-dealers (especially spendy stuff) over last little while. Think more folks (and many speculators who hoped for a repeat of what happened in M glass) are coming to conclusion that Jan 2010 "...if we're really lucky", etc for an R10 isn't confidence inspiring.

    That said, it will go one of three ways (me thinks):

    1. Leica categorically states (or it becomes obvious to even the die-hards) that R10 is DOA, or WILL NOT take R glass without all sorts of BS. Prices drop like a rock and then steady out as Nikon, EoS and soon Sony shooters keep a decent traffic on B&S forums in the less specialized (ready uber spendy glass). Good R glass will always command a premium, but a premium vs what?

    2. Leica drops the R10 on us in early 2010 AND it takes R glass w/o too much BS. Prices spike then steady-out as R10 sales will slow down after initial spike to Leica fans. That said, market in used glass is pretty efficient among dealers and connected collectors/speculators and if same thought this was likely, I don't think you'd see a lot of the sales you're seeing. Why buy at wholesale and sell just above that if you think there is a decent chance of an R10 that takes them in 12-18 mos? Money left on the table.

    3. The current fugal state (thanks Leica) of "I don't know", "yup, it's coming next week", "no, it's DOA", "but Dr. K said X at dinner last night", "that's #$%, we heard that 18 mos ago.", "...#$%^ I can't @#$%ing take it any more" continues and prices slowly trickle down as people can't take the BS any longer, get fed up (or scared that they're holding $$$$ in glass that will drop) and put gear on market gradually. This could increase in pace as Nikon releases more sweet G zooms, Sony steps up it's premium glass production, if Canon ever gets off it's *** - and as MFDB gear pricing continues to take it in the jewels and thus appeal to more folks.

    In short, it's a crap shoot.

    I wouldn't buy any that I didn't REALLY want (and might be stuck holding) nor would I sell ones I REALLY liked (and might have to replace for more in X years). I'd look over my R glass (as I already have), assume NO R10 and then make my sell/buy decisions with that in mind.

    Reason being that $3500 180/2 APO will prove VERY hard to sell at anywhere close to that price if there is no R10. On the flip side, your sub-$2000 glass that would appeal to the pocket books of the typical Nikon, Canon, Sony shooter would have a much larger market and thus more stable prices.
    Last edited by robmac; 15th March 2009 at 12:46.

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Very interesting reading everyone's opinions. And yes, they are just as valid as my own. With Leica being so closed mouth about the whole R10 project today, one opinion is just as valid as another....

    So I'll put mine on the table as well.

    First, nobody should ever buy a camera piece, part, or system for speculation. That is one very sure way to waste your money, sooner or later. Buy what you need for your own work, not to stash in a closet somewhere in the hopes the price goes up "in the future." If it doesn't work for you in the present, it doesn't likely work for you in the future either.

    Second, look at the value proposition. How good is that particular R lens? How good are the alternatives? The 180 f/2 was used in an example above. Folks, there isn't a better 180mm lens made for 35mm cameras than a Leica 180 f/2. Yea, ok, some may not agree with me, but that's ok too. These are my opinions, but opinions based upon hard knowledge owning and shooting most everything out there in that focal length. The 180 'Cron is to me the one lens that immediately springs to mind when someone asks me that ever stupid question, "What is the best lens made?" Several of the other Leica R lenses would be next up in line also. The best of the Leica are far superior to the Canon, Nikon, Sigma, etc. etc. etc. primes. Some so far superior that there isn't even a comparison to be made....

    Third, ask yourself do I need autofocus? If you do, look elsewhere. Maybe the R10 will support autofocus, maybe it won't. They "say" it is one of the design parameters, but who knows until it is actually shipping? For myself, autofocus is way over used as a crutch anyway. Learning to be a photographer takes work. There isn't a magic pill you can take, or a movie you can watch, despite what that guy trying to sell you something may try to tell you. It takes thousands of hours of old fashion hard work. Including learning how your camera & gear work. I start all of my students out using nothing but manual focus. Not everything you may want to shoot someday is good subject matter for autofocus, especially if you learn to use wide open shooting as an artistic effect. Placing your plain of focus where you want it is critical. You can't do that with any autofocus system. You need the manual control.

    Just yesterday, I was out shooting with my Nikon D3. I use narrow depth of focus almost constantly myself, to isolate my subject in a cluttered background. A technique I use in almost every similar situation. Just for the experience of it, I decided to try moving the autofocus point around in my viewfinder to accommodate my needs. This was a live action shoot, with people moving in and out of my frame. There was no way on the planet that I could keep up with that shooting technique, and ever hope to get the look I was after. Stuff happens pretty quickly when you are viewing the world through a tiny peep hole on the back of a camera. Too quickly to move a focus point around, and ever hope to get anything worth the effort. So I could either live with my focus point set, or do what I did and just change over to manual. A quick flick of my left wrist is all it takes to bring focus in to where it needs to be.

    Gear choices are all "horses for courses" but my own horses choose courses that lead to great images. That is why I shoot a camera in the first place, and when I do I want the best glass I can buy on the front. If it says Leica, great. If it says Sigma, that is fine also. I can't read the damn labels anyway, I am too busy working my subject. If it has autofocus, great, as long as I am not paying a huge price either in cost, weight, or complexity in using it. The best shots I never got were the ones I was trying to use autofocus....

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Nicely put Chuck. Agree on the 180 'cron - bloody sweet and whoever designed the tripod collar/hand rest deserved a BIG bonus. Far too many speculators in lens market. Nature of the beast I guess.

    I shoot almost entirely manual focus glass in stop-down mode (1DS2). Stop-down is a bit of a PITA but it and MF as you say makes one (at least me) stop and think about composition, etc etc. Also results in fewer shots to weed thru.

    Do I want 1-2 more good AF lenses for when MF is ill-suited? Yup. But given a lot of the AF lenses choices out there vs the primo MF glass available from many manufacturers, I'll stay MF.

    That said, to each his own. It's just a tool.
    Last edited by robmac; 16th March 2009 at 07:47.

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    James -- the 15mm, 19mm, the new 28mm and 21-35mm are the best R wide angles (wider than 28...there are some good 35mm lenses as well). The 24mm is older and not a Leica design. I have not used it, but it is generally not as well regarded. I don't know if those lenses adapt easily to Canon -- that would be something to check out elsewhere.
    Thanks Stuart. Question - is the aperture controlled by the camera, or is it a manual only lens? Thanks!

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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    They are all manual only.
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Re: adopting to Canon:

    If a 1.6 crop body, virtually all R lenses will clear the mirror no issue. If a 1.3 crop (1D2/3) - the vast majority will.

    On a FF 1 series, many wides will clear with no mods necessary (15/3.5), some with a mod (e.g. 15/2.8). The latest 19 needs a file job on its rear element shroud to clear the mirror. The 21-35mm will clear with a simple shroud removal.

    On a 5D or 5DII it gets a LOT iffier due to manufacturing variances in the mirror, mirror box and placement of the mirror (doesn't take much) between 5D bodies. Any lens that MIGHT have an issue with a 1 series WILL have an issue with a 5D. many that clear a FF 1 series will foul one 5D/II but not another. Many lenses also clear fine - until you get towards infinity then ....

    Some 5D/II owners and to a lesser extent 1 series owners shave the mirror on their camera - saves a lot of hassle and the suckers depreciate so fast anyway. New mirror from Canon is about $300 when it comes time to sell.

    www.pebbleplace.com and even better, the Alternate Forum on FredMiranda are great places to look for info.
    Last edited by robmac; 16th March 2009 at 11:21.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I wonder who started that one. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    I'm diving into the R-glass pool......I sure hope the R10 is more than a wish and a dream. I've got Marc's R10 pic on my cube wall, right above my monitor...figure word will get back to Solms somehow.

    When I showed Marc's images of a possible R10 to one of my friends who had sold all his Leica and Hasselblad photo gear years ago (in favor of very expensive telescopes, including a rare Leitz scope)....his reaction was "Now you're talking!". By contrast, my Hasselblad 503CWD-II didn't even get a yawn from him. There's just something about those Leicas......

    Gary
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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: The current market for R lenses

    Correction: Zeiss telescope....and Leitz eyepiece. Needless to say, the views of stars, galaxies, planets etc are spectacular with these optics.

    Gary
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