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Thread: Leica R moderate telephotos

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Leica R moderate telephotos

    I'm looking to add a moderate telephoto to my growing Leica R system. Something used, EX+ condition in the $500-$1,500 range. Three lenses I'm thinking about:

    135mm Elmarit (latest version I can find...this is probably the least expensive option)
    180mm Elmarit (doubt I can find an APO for under $1,500)
    Vario-Elmar 80-200 f4 (I've found one in excellent condition, latest version)

    Any thoughts/experience appreciated!

    Gary
    Alaska

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Gary:

    Wow, Alaska. Hard to recommend unless we know what you like shooting. Since you are in Alaska... I would think you need a f2.8. The 180 and 135 are good. I have them both, but I use the 180 more. The 180 APO Telyt f3.4 may be something you are looking for, under $1K. Some complain about close focus with the Telyt, but for Max focus, it is sharp. I am thinking of getting one. I have the 80-200 f4. Great lens got the outdoors and give you a great range. It si hard to pick any since they are great on their own.

    Hope this help & not to confusing.
    Robert.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Just looking for a general purpose telephoto.....nothing special re use (not for birding, wildlife photography etc, which would obviously require longer FL).

    I suppose what I was really wondering is....are there any clunkers in this bunch to avoid? I have Erwin Puts Leica Lens Compenium and see that generally, he doesn't consider the 135mm lenses to be real standout performers.....but I'm wondering "as compared to what?". Maybe that so-so Leica 135mm is actually quite good as compared with the Canon and Nikon glass I've been using for many years. I actually like the 135mm focal length and these are pretty good bargains, as Leica glass goes. The Vario-Elmar 80-200 f4 sounds very good from Puts' comments (except at the 200mm FL).

    Always helps to hear folks real world experience and observations.

    Gary
    Alaska

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    I like the 135 very much and it is a bargain; just buy and use. I am sure you will like it.

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    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Hey Gary,

    I have and love the 180mm f2.8 - I just converted it for Nikon F, and posted a thread about it here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7928

    You cannot go wrong with it, and it's not very expensive either. By the way, it easily outperforms my Nikkor 180 f2.8 (which is a great lens in its own right, btw).

    Hope this helps!
    Vieri Bottazzini
    Leica Ambassador | Formatt-Hitech Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER | VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS | VIERI BOTTAZZINI FINE ART

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Gray:

    The 135 Elmarit-R would be a good choice for a general purpose telephoto. It has a very smooth rendition, not as sharp as the 135/3.4 Apo-Telyt-M, but very pleasing color signature. To me, 135 FL is a bit limiting for SLR telephoto lens.

    The 180/3.4 Apo-Telyt is another amazing lens, especially at infinity. One word of caution is that the close focus distance is 2.5m on the lens, which is too long, IMHO.

    The 80-200 zoom is a good travel lens, compact with excellent optics throughout the range. At 200mm, it is not as good as the 180/3.4 Apo-Telyt. I find that f4 is too slow at times.

    I have used these three lenses for many years and I still keep the 180/3.4 Apo-Telyt today. I don't think you will go wrong with any one of these. Perhaps, your FL preference will dictation your selection.

    Kind regards,

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Thanks for the feedback everyone....exactly what I was hoping to get. I had found a really nice Vario-Elmar 80-200/4 ROM and I think I'll go with that for now. Then I can keep my eyes open for a nice 135 and 180 later. If you happen to come across really clean copies of these for sale somewhere, let me know!

    Thanks again.

    Gary
    Alaska

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Gary... R Lens... hard to find a clunker... Anyway two shots 135, 180 and 80-200/Apo 2X Converter... All wide open.

    Fuji 400 film... Fuji Frontier Scan by Lab. The 200 is a bit grainy due to scan.
    Last edited by lmr; 8th June 2009 at 17:03. Reason: Extra information

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    As a general-purpose lens I'd probably pick the 80-200 f/4 or late 180 f/2.8 over the 135. The 135 is a good lens but it's also very heavy and the minimum focus distance is rather limiting.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    I ordered a Vario-Elmar 80-200/4 ROM from KEH last night. Should arrive here on Wednesday. :-))

    Thanks again everyone!

    Gary
    Alaska

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by gero View Post
    I like the 135 very much and it is a bargain; just buy and use. I am sure you will like it.
    Yes, I agree! Bought this lens for only 150,-- I am very content with it.
    Here is an example. Both with Olympus E-3.


    And one with the Leica 180mm APO Telyt 3.4 Love this lens for pictures with a lot of DOF.


    Kind regards, Michiel

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    fytten50
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    How does the 80-200 mm compare to the 70-180 mm APO elmarit? I know the APO elmarit weighs almost the double of the 80-200, but not considering this and not considering the difference in price, which one would you choose?
    Fytten50

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Terrific photos Michiel....I love industrial and port environments. I wish there was more of that here in Alaska. I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for a 135mm Elmarit.

    Gary
    Alaska

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    .......I'm definitely going to keep my eye out for a 135mm Elmarit.
    Gary
    Alaska
    I didn't think a 135mm Elmarit would be so hard to find.....still looking. KEH, Camera West, B&H....those are my usual sources.

    For something a bit longer....what do folks think of the 250 f4 Telyt?

    Gary

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    The 135 Elmarit is almost always cheap, but a great little lens. I loved mine, while I had it.

    Avoid the first version of the 180 Elmarit, and get the second version, or the APO-Telyt 180/3,4. I have a copy of the second version, and it is very good. The APO-Telyt is even sharper at infinity, as it was designed for the coastal guard or something like that, but closer up I don't think there is much difference.

    The APO-180 kills them all, so if you are patient enough to save up for it, that would be the lens to get.
    Carsten - Website

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    gdwhalen
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    I have the 70-180 f2.8 APO zoom in excellent condition for sale for $3,300.00. It blows any zoom that I have ever used away.

    http://www.gdwhalen.com

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    180/3.4 APO's can be found for under 900 dollars.

    An amazing lens...

    "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."
    Mike Johnston


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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by gdwhalen View Post
    I have the 70-180 f2.8 APO zoom in excellent condition for sale for $3,300.00. It blows any zoom that I have ever used away.

    http://www.gdwhalen.com
    Hmm better than the 105-280?
    I may be interested.

    Victor

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    mariuccio
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    Yes, I agree! Bought this lens for only 150,-- I am very content with it.
    Here is an example. Both with Olympus E-3.


    And one with the Leica 180mm APO Telyt 3.4 Love this lens for pictures with a lot of DOF.


    Kind regards, Michiel


    Michiel,
    the first example isn't Oly E-3 but Pana G1 (by Exif data...)

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    ....what do folks think of the 250 f4 Telyt?
    When I was looking for lenses near this focal length I didn't consider the early version of the 250mm Telyt-R because of its weight, longer minimum focus distance and non-rotating tripod mount. The late 250 is lighter, more compact, has a good rotating tripod mount and a much improved close-focus limit.

    Optically the late 250 is OK but nothing to get excited about. Central resolution is good, but toward the edges lateral chromatic abberation becomes visible. Flare is very well controlled, color quality is good, bokeh can tend to be a little harsh.

    A sample photo:



    In making this photo I took advantage of the close minimum focus distance and the rotating tripod mount. It's unlikely I'd have gotten this picture with the older lens.

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Oh yeah, that boke is really harsh
    Carsten - Website

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Finally found a late model Elmarit 135mm from KEH in EX+ condition....very reasonably priced at $254. Some really nice shots with the 135 posted here and other info on the web convinced me to keep looking, and looking and looking. Never thought this 135mm lens would be so hard to find.

    Still thinking about a 180 and whether to get the Apo-Telyt 3.4 or the Elmarit 2.8.

    Gary

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Finally found a late model Elmarit 135mm from KEH in EX+ condition....very reasonably priced at $254. Some really nice shots with the 135 posted here and other info on the web convinced me to keep looking, and looking and looking. Never thought this 135mm lens would be so hard to find.

    Still thinking about a 180 and whether to get the Apo-Telyt 3.4 or the Elmarit 2.8.

    Gary
    I have a 135/2.8 German left over from my DMR portrait shooting days ... looks just like the one in your photo Gary. If you still want one ... $225. plus USPS shipping. Really good copy.

    I never liked the 180/3.4 ... killer at infinity, but I didn't like the characteristics at portrait distances. The 135 was much more suited for that.

    I also had the 180/2.8 APO ROM ... which was great, but bigger, and far to brutally honest for portraits.

    Depends on application. For shooting people, the 80/1.4 and 135/2.8 where my go to R lenses ... I avoided the M90AA and went for the M90/2.8 for the same reasons.

    -Marc

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I have a 135/2.8 German left over from my DMR portrait shooting days ... looks just like the one in your photo Gary. If you still want one ... $225. plus USPS shipping. Really good copy.

    I never liked the 180/3.4 ... killer at infinity, but I didn't like the characteristics at portrait distances. The 135 was much more suited for that.

    I also had the 180/2.8 APO ROM ... which was great, but bigger, and far to brutally honest for portraits.

    Depends on application. For shooting people, the 80/1.4 and 135/2.8 where my go to R lenses ... I avoided the M90AA and went for the M90/2.8 for the same reasons.

    -Marc
    I second what marc says on most there..I too really liked the 135 on the dmr
    and I think if I were doing more vista landscapes the 180mm3.4 would be the one I would look for.
    I always wanted the 180f2 but never could justify the extra mula.
    great price marc, the 135 has to be the best r lens value out there..

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I have a 135/2.8 German left over from my DMR portrait shooting days ... looks just like the one in your photo Gary. If you still want one ... $225. plus USPS shipping. Really good copy.
    -Marc
    Aaargh! Holy cow Marc....what else have you got in the back of your closet? If I had known you had one...I definitely would have bought it from you. Darn!

    Gary

    P.S. I love the Hasselblad 350mm CF lens...and all the other V-series stuff I've bought from you.

    Got anything else hidden away you want to part with...that I can afford?

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by paulmoore View Post
    I always wanted the 180f2 but never could justify the extra mula.
    No kidding! With my budget, I'll have to settle for a 2.8 or 3.4 lens.

    great price marc, the 135 has to be the best r lens value out there..
    Agreed...just wish I had bought Marc's. Even so, I'm amazed to get this lens for ~$250.

    gary

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    For something a bit longer....what do folks think of the 250 f4 Telyt?
    I'm selling my APO 280/4 and extenders (1.4x, 2x) - let me know if interested.

    Oops, didn't notice the posting date. Never mind.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    I not sure where this goes, here, Canon or Analog but I'll put it here where all things Leica are admired.
    Here is my new/old super clean APO 180/3.4 E60 2 Cam.

    Plan to use it on the FF Canon bodies and a Leicaflex SLR2 I pick up tomorrow. I've all ready been to Austin and back today. Won't have any Canon images till late next week. The post office was closed last week for May Day in Hong Kong. Should have some C41 film images up by Monday or Tuesday in the Analog forum.
    I feel like buying a 180/3.4, just in honor of John Stovall.

    Gary

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by Jan Brittenson View Post
    I'm selling my APO 280/4 and extenders (1.4x, 2x) - let me know if interested.

    Oops, didn't notice the posting date. Never mind.
    Still looking Jan...so posting date is a non-issue. However, I'm guessing that my bank account wouldn't support the purchase of a 280 APO. That must be one very pricey lens.

    Gary

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    Yes, I agree! Bought this lens for only 150,-- I am very content with it.
    Here is an example.
    Kind regards, Michiel

    Still one of my favorite photos from the Elmarit 135.....I hope the lens I bought will be nearly this good.

    And one with the Leica 180mm APO Telyt 3.4 Love this lens for pictures with a lot of DOF.

    I really love those images Michiel.

    Gary

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    Re: Leica R moderate telephotos

    Quote Originally Posted by bensonga View Post
    Still looking Jan...so posting date is a non-issue. However, I'm guessing that my bank account wouldn't support the purchase of a 280 APO. That must be one very pricey lens.
    I just checked ebay prices, and HOLY CRAP. The extenders aren't cheap either. Leica prices have really gone stratospheric since I bought this lens in 2005 or so.

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