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Thread: Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

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    Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

    I realize this might not be a great idea, but I need a focal length in the range of 300-400mm sometimes and the cost of renting any of the nikon 2.8 primes and or trying to lug such large lenses is not what I want. I do however want high image quality edge to edge as the shots will be at infinity and mostly landscape.

    Has anyone with Leitax'd lenses tried either the Nikon TC-20E III 2x or the Sigma 2x EX DG APO teleconverters with their Leica's on a D800/E? About the only Leica I can afford at the moment is the Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4. Though I have never used the Leica extenders, it seems the APO versions are the most desireable but are priced accordingly. I am hoping either of the alternatives would be close enough, and since the lens will be adapted to Nikon it would save me the headache of switching the Leitax adapters back and forth or such when I wanted a 180mm vs. one that has and extender on it.

    Alternatly, I have thought of using the excellent Sigma 150mm APO Macro with either of the above mentioned Extenders but I would be limited to 300mm, which is a bit short of where I want to be. Another alternative is the new Nikon 70-200 f4 VR with TC-20E III too, might rent it for the weekend and test, but suspect the corners will not be sharp enough. But it would be a fun/light lens with auto-focus

    -John

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

    There is no solution that approximates the performance of a 300-400 prime lens.

    The Apo 180 3.4 is a superb lens and in particular at infinity (its weakness is in closer focusing distances and its long throw make it had to use for portraits or sports ..but at infinity its very very good). I have used it on the DMR will the 1.4x apo and 2x apo leica extenders and neither is a good solution . The extenders are much better matched to the expensive 180/2.8 and 280/4 APO lenses . Matching a converted 180/3.4 (leitax mount) with a nikon or sigma extender is hopeless . With a lot of special work a Leica 1.4X extender can be converted to have a nikon mount on both sides ..but only a few have tried this ..plus its a $4K solution with the 180/2.8apo,the 1.4x apo extender and the conversions costs .

    The best solution I have found is only a last resort option . Have used the 70-200/2.8 VR2 lens with the new 2x extender ..stopped down to f4 (T8/9 factoring in the extender) you can get acceptable IQ for sports . .. not for landscape .

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    Re: Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

    Roger:

    Are you sure you used a 1.4x with a 180mm f3.4?

    I think the best option is to either use the Leica 2X APO by leaving the R mount on the 180mm and just changing the R mount on the camera side of the 2X APO or a Leica 2X APO converted to Nikon mount. On the Leica R lens thread in the FredMiranda.com alternative lens forums, there is a guy that has converted a Leica 2x APO to Nikon.

    A cheaper alternative may be one of the Nikon 300mm f4 ED lenses, which are pretty good, even the older one with the screw drive.

    Here is my 180mm f3.4 shooting sports on my Nikon D800E. It can be done if you have good eye/hand coordination, but I gave in, sold the 180mm APO and bought the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II, which works great for sports. If you are doing scenics, the Leica would be better across the frame on a full frame digital.


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    Re: Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

    Thank you both for your input!

    Yes it was my plan to only modify the lens, not both the lens and the adapter, that would be a headache for sure. But if the lens is already adapted to Nikon mount then (unless there is element clearance issue) one could try a nikon extender. But if image quality suffers too much then not a good application for me. Oh well.

    I did try the Nikon 300mm f/4 AF, but not the newer ED version. The AF version I tried did not produce very sharp images with the D800, I think its older design does not afford enough resolution for the sensor. I did some basic tests, MLU, Sturdy Tripod, 1/600+ shutter speed, F6.3-F11. Nothing quite sharp enough, and strange mushing of details sometimes. Does the ED version have higher resolution?

    What about a Leica 350mm f3.4 TELYT-R? This would be an ideal focal length for me without extenders.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica APO-Telyt-R 180mm f/3.4 + Nikon/Sigma Extenders?

    Rob

    I think you are correct . Its been a long time since I used the 180/3.4 and it was the 2x that I used with it . (not the 1.4X) . The key was I could take the 180 and the 2x places I couldn t take a longer lens .

    The newer 180/2.8APO was (in its final form ) matched to the 1.4XAPO extender so you had approximately a 250/4 lens and on the DMR that was a closer to a 350 due to the sensor being 1.37. This is a really excellent combination and was my favorite on the DMR again because it was portable. On a Canon body you could add an adapter to each ..inconvenient but straightforward . On the Nikon you generally have to decide do I convert the extender and leave the 180 as an R mount or do I convert the lens itself (which then will not mount to the extenders R mount ) . As Rob points out at least one person has modified the extender for a Nikon mount but its not straightforward .

    The key issue with any extender is the loss of IQ from the prime lens in its native form . If you start with a Nikon or Canon 300/2.8 and add a 1.4x extender you can still get performance similar to a prime lens . I know of no less costly alternative prime /extender combination .

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