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Thread: mass

  1. #1
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    mass

    Long-time Leica-R user here looking at making a switch.

    What I like about my Leica-R equipment:

    fabulous image quality, from both lenses and the DMR
    good manual focus capability
    great personal service from Leica USA's staff

    what I don't like:

    horrific service/repair cost and downtime
    few spare parts
    replacement lenses and bodies scarce and costly
    most importantly, mass

    Since my 63rd birthday is rapidly approaching and having a few injuries that won't heal I'm reminded of Ansel Adams' quote: "the best camera is the biggest one you're willing to carry". Quite simply, despite the image quality the R8/DMR and Leica-R lenses are no longer the best camera for me.

    I want to carry my camera. To do that I need something lighter, a LOT lighter. I also want a camera with a bigger sensor than the DMR has, not APS-C smaller. I also prefer fully manual lenses with no electronics. This isn't negotiable; call it a personal quirk. What I've learned:

    The R8/DMR is 1495g, the a7II is 599g.

    My beloved 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R is 1875g; the Nikon 300mm f/4 PF is 755g but being an E lens I'd have to use a Nikon body. A Canon FD 300mm f/4 L is 1060g and may be used on the a7II.

    The Nikon 55mm f/3.5 AI is 240g, the Leica 60mm Macro-Elmarit-R is 400g

    You can see where I'm going with this - by perhaps sacrificing some image quality I can cut the weight in half, and since the a7II has stabilization with all lenses there will be times I can replace the tripod with a monopod, or the monopod with a shoulder stock. More weight savings, more likely I'll have it with me.

    Am I missing anything? What I see in a switch to a7II is the option of using cameras and lenses that weigh much less, I have lens choices from several manufacturers, I gain stabilization with all lenses, and I have a foothold in a system that is growing instead of having reached a dead end. No AF with adapted lenses means nothing to me at this time. The biggest unknowns for me are the a7II's color quality vs. the DMR, and the a7II's manual focus capability vs. the R8.

    Any other suggestions are welcome.
    Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Doug I would jump on the A7II buy some lighter lenses from 90 down and keep a few of your long R glass and use a adapter. Manual focus via EVF is better than one thinks. Focus peaking is a huge plus. Also the magnifier on a custom button is priceless. Color on the Sony is outstanding. Being a old DMR guy myself your going to get very close if not better looking files. The 2 Loxia manual focus 35 and 50 are gems the new Batis lenses look to be very good. A great Minolta 200 2.8 can be had with Sony adpter that is sharp as a tack. Get that weight off my friend. I done it and could not be happier. I do like the vertical grip as well on the A7II. I'm expecting the A7r replacement to be at least the same new A7II body and feature set if your looking at over 24mpx. Sony also makes a outstanding 300 2.8 in A mount so need adapter of course. Doug you can rent one plus adapters at Lensrentals and give it a spin as well.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    I would say keep your R-lenses with an adapter on the a7II and only sell them off once you found (and proven to yourself) a nearly equivalent but lighter alternative is in your bag.

    Colour quality is very hard to say anything about, but I think with good profiling you should be able to get close.

    Focussing with an EVF will have the advantage of being able to zoom in, but some people don't like using EVF's, so there again I would try (extensively in the field) before letting go of your trusted system.
    My Pics
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    Re: mass

    Well, Doug, I only have one question for you with regards to the A7II.
    How are you going to focus on BIF with EVF, focus peaking, and magnification?
    Of course, infinity does not require active focusing, but near to intermediate distances?
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: mass

    Why aren't you considering the A7s? Sony are on the record that designing telelenses for the E mount is a big challenge. That is something to keep in mind.
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    Re: mass

    I would hold off for whatever the new A7rII is going to be. The reason is that you can crop more aggressively with the 36mpx sensor than the A7ii or A7S and if rumoured correctly you will get IS, the same as the A7ii.

    For what it is worth, I was a longtime Leica DRF user and I can honestly state that the Sony sensors blow the Leica sensors out of the water. The dynamic range and colour are excellent.

    Upcoming is a new FE 90/2.8 macro which from early accounts is supposed to be excellent.

    Just my two cents.

    LouisB

    PS Love your work!
    -----
    My new book "Whitechapel in 50 BUildings", Flikr Stream, www.louisberk.com
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    Re: mass

    Sorry to hear you are getting old like the rest of us Doug

    I think you are facing a key demarkation. You have a very identifiable look and feel to your work, quite unique really, which can at least be partially attributed to the DMR/Imacon tuned CCD and Leica R optics.

    Having also been a DMR/9 user (albeit not with long lenses like you), I've yet to match that unique rendering with a 35mm DSLR or Mirror-less camera. The ONLY camera that has provided that, and then some, has been the Leica S which doesn't solve your problem.

    Personally, I do not particularly like the rendering I get from either my 24 meg or 36 meg Sony cameras. They are capable cameras and get the job done, but I have little love for them other than that. I do not like any of the dedicated FE lenses for the E mount Sony's and sold all of them except a few which I kept for AF snaps. The best I can do to explain my opinion is that the Sony kit/FE optics is technically correct, but somehow manages to be pedestrian in look and feel. I'd rent one and try it. Maybe it'll be fine for you and what you shoot.

    What I do not know is what the rendering may look like when using Leica R optics on the A7-II.

    Also, I've been using an EVF for years now and rejoice when I pick up the S camera and look through the OVF. However, EVF does have the advantage of "you get what you see" but for a seasoned photographer like you, that may be less important.

    IMO, the Sony mirror-less cameras are a dog's breakfast of ergonomics and organization. Worst menu layout of any camera I've ever used. Idiotic actually. If you like lots of buttons all crammed next to one another, you'll love the Sony mirror-less cameras.

    That said, they are the only game in town for small FF hi-res cameras that'll take almost any lens.

    It is the lenses that will pose the greatest challenge IMO.

    Personally, were I you, I'd wait for the Sony "Cornucopia of Cameras" to deliver the A7R replacement that hopefully fixes the shutter issue and adds IBIS with more workable resolution, you may not need as long of lens to lug around.

    - Marc
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  8. #8
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Thanks for the responses, all very constructive.

    Quote Originally Posted by pegelli View Post
    I would say keep your R-lenses with an adapter on the a7II and only sell them off once you found (and proven to yourself) a nearly equivalent but lighter alternative is in your bag.
    That's the plan, assuming I can come up with the $$$$. Cash has been, and will remain, an issue for the foreseeable future.


    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    Well, Doug, I only have one question for you with regards to the A7II.
    How are you going to focus on BIF with EVF, focus peaking, and magnification?
    BIF has not been a high priority for me. As I figure it, if there's an acronym for it, it's been done to death.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Why aren't you considering the A7s?
    Two reasons: the a7s has no IBIS, and a full-frame camera would need at least 16 un-AA'd MP to equal the pixels-per-duck I get with the DMR.


    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    I would hold off for whatever the new A7rII is going to be. The reason is that you can crop more aggressively with the 36mpx sensor than the A7ii or A7S and if rumoured correctly you will get IS, the same as the A7ii.
    It's something I can step up to in a year or so once they become available on the second-hand market.


    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I think you are facing a key demarkation. You have a very identifiable look and feel to your work, quite unique really, which can at least be partially attributed to the DMR/Imacon tuned CCD and Leica R optics.
    One of the biggest reasons I've kept using the DMR.

    Having also been a DMR/9 user (albeit not with long lenses like you), I've yet to match that unique rendering with a 35mm DSLR or Mirror-less camera. The ONLY camera that has provided that, and then some, has been the Leica S which doesn't solve your problem.
    The S2 is actually lighter than the R8+DMR
    Aside from the $$$$ issue the huge lenses for a comparable angle of view have ruled this option out.

    Personally, I do not particularly like the rendering I get from either my 24 meg or 36 meg Sony cameras. They are capable cameras and get the job done, but I have little love for them other than that. I do not like any of the dedicated FE lenses for the E mount Sony's and sold all of them except a few which I kept for AF snaps. The best I can do to explain my opinion is that the Sony kit/FE optics is technically correct, but somehow manages to be pedestrian in look and feel. I'd rent one and try it. Maybe it'll be fine for you and what you shoot.
    I have no plans to purchase any dedicated E-mount lenses. The a7II for me is an image-recording back with a viewfinder.

    What I do not know is what the rendering may look like when using Leica R optics on the A7-II.
    Yup that's my big question.

    Also, I've been using an EVF for years now and rejoice when I pick up the S camera and look through the OVF. However, EVF does have the advantage of "you get what you see" but for a seasoned photographer like you, that may be less important.

    IMO, the Sony mirror-less cameras are a dog's breakfast of ergonomics and organization. Worst menu layout of any camera I've ever used. Idiotic actually. If you like lots of buttons all crammed next to one another, you'll love the Sony mirror-less cameras.

    That said, they are the only game in town for small FF hi-res cameras that'll take almost any lens.

    It is the lenses that will pose the greatest challenge IMO.

    Personally, were I you, I'd wait for the Sony "Cornucopia of Cameras" to deliver the A7R replacement that hopefully fixes the shutter issue and adds IBIS with more workable resolution, you may not need as long of lens to lug around.

    - Marc
    The "Cornucopia of Cameras" is one of the things that appeals to me, especially since Sony is on record saying the goal is to include IBIS in the new cameras. There's a good selection of feature sets at reasonable cost among the various bodies, all with similar size/weight and similar if not lovable control layout. Want a low-light camera? Check. More pixels-per-duck? Check. All-arounder? Check. IBIS? One so far, more promised. I expect I'll be talking with LensRentals.com soon.
    Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com
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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post

    Two reasons: the a7s has no IBIS, and a full-frame camera would need at least 16 un-AA'd MP to equal the pixels-per-duck I get with the DMR.
    As of now, Doug, only Olympus have the gear that fits your needs, complete with a TC (I was told that it is a very difficult task to design a TC for the mirrorless with short flange). If I have to go alone with IBIS and lenses (fast AF to the boot), in a compact package Olympus m43 would be the clear choice.

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    On file comparing the DMR to the Sony I have to disagree as with the DMR it had a lot of punch but that was due to very little DR which the Sony has tons of it. To make a Sony look like a DMR than you need to actually decrease the DR so that takes adding black in post to get the punch. One problem with high DR cameras is files look flatter out of camera. At the time the DMR was the best thing going but a lot of improvements with sensor technology since than. I thought like many CCD was the cats meow but after testing the Credo 50 CMOS sensor for MF that just don't hold water as much as I thought. Maybe CCD still has a touch of smoother file but that's debatable too. Don't get me wrong I loved all 5 CCD backs and the DMR but I come from a camp that likes a lot of punch in there files and saturation. You can do that with CMOS as well even with all the added DR you can get that same punch with post. I typically add about 4 points of black in my Sony files to get that contrast back. I've done a lot of tests before I left medium format behind against at the time a Sony sensor in a Nikon D800e and it was pretty easy to get that look in post. Of course that was using Zeiss glass which by nature has a lot of snap in there glass. I'm actually quite impressed with the A7r files. My last workshop in Moab the shots look amazingly good.

    There are a couple of really nice FE lenses . The Loxias are little gems but of course if your sitting on Leica R glass it works beautifully on the Sonys but I would keep the long stuff and if you have to drop weight you can do that on the short lenses. I would at least buy the A7II body a very good Leica R to Sony adapter try them out and rent some Zeiss FE glass and compare.
    Now if your sitting on a Leica 19, 28 than I would keep them both. There not going to save any weight or bulk . Like I said the old school Minolta 200 2.8 made back in 1986 is as sharp as any Leica 180 and I had before both the cron and the elmarit . The Minolta is tiny , light and a brilliant little lens. My shot in Moab of the Garden of Eden not sure any 180/200 lens could match it that's how good that 200 is.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: mass

    Good point about the DR! Recently, I came across a nice collation of many of the current digital cameras (DR wrt ISO).

    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR.htm

    Only one Leica (M240) features there. It gives an indication of how the Sony cams stack up vs the rest.

  12. #12
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Not read it yet but they have tremendous DR which by nature makes the file flat. Up to us to get what we like in post
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: mass

    Dang iPad is making me mad.Minolta 200

    403 Forbidden
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: mass

    The other issue is just about anything new you buy these days is a Sony based sensor. All MF outside the Leica S is CMOS Sony now.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    As of now, Doug, only Olympus have the gear that fits your needs, complete with a TC (I was told that it is a very difficult task to design a TC for the mirrorless with short flange). If I have to go alone with IBIS and lenses (fast AF to the boot), in a compact package Olympus m43 would be the clear choice.
    I've seen a lot of m43 images and none appeal to me. I want a bigger sensor, not smaller. Fast AF means nothing to me, I prefer manual focus by a huge margin.


    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    On file comparing the DMR to the Sony I have to disagree as with the DMR it had a lot of punch but that was due to very little DR which the Sony has tons of it. To make a Sony look like a DMR than you need to actually decrease the DR so that takes adding black in post to get the punch. One problem with high DR cameras is files look flatter out of camera. At the time the DMR was the best thing going but a lot of improvements with sensor technology since than. I thought like many CCD was the cats meow but after testing the Credo 50 CMOS sensor for MF that just don't hold water as much as I thought. Maybe CCD still has a touch of smoother file but that's debatable too. Don't get me wrong I loved all 5 CCD backs and the DMR but I come from a camp that likes a lot of punch in there files and saturation. You can do that with CMOS as well even with all the added DR you can get that same punch with post.
    Good point, that was my suspicion. I'm OK with post-processing so this will make the switch easier.

    There are a couple of really nice FE lenses . The Loxias are little gems but of course if your sitting on Leica R glass it works beautifully on the Sonys but I would keep the long stuff and if you have to drop weight you can do that on the short lenses. I would at least buy the A7II body a very good Leica R to Sony adapter try them out and rent some Zeiss FE glass and compare.
    At this time I have only three R lenses, the 60 Macro (x2) the 100 APO and the 280/4 APO plus extenders.

    ... the old school Minolta 200 2.8 made back in 1986 is as sharp as any Leica 180 and I had before both the cron and the elmarit . The Minolta is tiny , light and a brilliant little lens.
    This as much as the weight reduction and IBIS is why the a7II appeals to me, the ability to use all sorts of older optical gems.
    Doug Herr http://www.wildlightphoto.com
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    Re: mass

    I was asked which copy to look for in the Minokta 200 . I went with the HS version. Now you will find a lot with paint chips and unfortunately this is normal .

    Look for exactly one like this

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/191574531194?nav=SEARCH
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    This is tricky make sure you read high speed Apo on the lens. If you don't see it than its not the one I have. Hard to find in the states but I did get one at KEH. Built in 1986.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Don't buy the one I just listed though it has a little fungus inside which turns into a lot of fungus in high humid climates. Always look for a clean one inside.

    Billy thanks for asking about this. Wanna make sure folks get the right one . Now there is one without high speed but I know little about it
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: mass

    Perhaps your best bet is to rent an A7II from lensrentals.com (or similar), and see what you think. That said, I have been happy shooting my R (and M) lenses on mine using the relatively inexpensive Metabones and Fotodiox adapters. I'm not a pro, though, so my requirements are less strict.

    The one caution I'd give is that I find the camera body to be too small for good handling with larger and/or heavier SLR lenses. The adapters are about an inch thick (for SLR lenses), so you're putting those nice heavy lenses out on a lever.

    For my own purposes, adding the grip to my A7II made it much easier to handle the camera with even a 50mm Summicron-R mounted. However, now the camera is approaching DSLR size. Oddly, it looks much "thinner", but if you draw a box around the A7II+grip external dimensions, it is actually similar in size (and a bit taller) to my R8 with motor drive. However, the Sony+grip+l-plate is still quite a bit ligther than the R8+motor.

    Hope that helps a bit.

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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Good point about the DR! Recently, I came across a nice collation of many of the current digital cameras (DR wrt ISO).

    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR.htm

    Only one Leica (M240) features there. It gives an indication of how the Sony cams stack up vs the rest.
    More cameras are listed in this page:

    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/DXOPDR.htm
    Ario
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    Re: mass

    Doug, If you survey the past there are a number of excellent lenses that are surprisingly small and light weight, but have a beautiful draw to them.

    I recall an old Leica R 70-210 zoom that Leica spec'ed and Minolta built for them that was shockingly good, specifically the color rendering. Not that you'd use one, but it is just an example. I have a mint Canon 70-210/4 I'm going to adapt to my Sony A7R myself.

    I'm not sure I'd give up that Leica 60mm Macro to save 160g. If I recall correctly very few lenses could match certain versions of that 60mm.

    I can tell you that the A mount Sony/Zeiss lenses adapted using the LE-AE adapter doesn't save much it is the lenses that make up the majority of the bulk anyway. I much prefer using them on my A99 which handles better than any of the A7 cameras.

    BTW, when I mentioned that I do not like the rendering of the Sony A7/A7R I meant the sensor rendering with ANY lens on it. The discussion regarding DR is one reason, and another I speculatively attribute to Sony's compressed RAW out-put, or whatever they are doing to the file out-of-camera.

    - Marc
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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by Ario Arioldi View Post
    More cameras are listed in this page:

    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/DXOPDR.htm
    Thanks, Ario!

    I was curious about the monoblock Leica T vs the NEX-5N.

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    Re: mass

    FWIW I'd second that you rent the camera for yourself and come to your very own conclusions. We can only ever offer our biased and subjective advice based one what we do.

    I've moved to the Sony FE system from Leica M9's due to the fact that I couldn't get with the rendering and color of the M240. Mind you this was within the first few months they were released and I haven't touched one with the firmware updates since then.

    The point is that whether or not the FE cameras are/can be a proper DMR replacement for you is all subjective. You just have to try it out under your normal conditions. I found that for me the IQ ceiling I got was a lot higher than the M9 but it took some slightly different processing techniques. As previously stated the menus take some getting used to but once the camera is set up and you have the quick functions how you'd like then you really only ever need to dive in them to format an SD card on a normal basis.

    I don't know what RAW processor you use but Capture One Pro or Capture One for Sony helps me get the desired results faster but it's as user unfriendly as a RAW processor can be initially. If size isn't a issue there are a few native FE lenses worth considering if the Zeiss look is agreeable with you. If not then your Leica R lenses will function as designed. I think the A7II is the best all around camera in the system right now but who knows what's around the corner - it is Sony.

    Most importantly I think we are all looking forward to you sharing your experience and some of your wildlife shots here.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Most importantly I think we are all looking forward to you sharing your experience and some of your wildlife shots here.
    +1

    It will be awesome to see Doug's delightful bird shots here.

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    The one caution I'd give is that I find the camera body to be too small for good handling with larger and/or heavier SLR lenses. The adapters are about an inch thick (for SLR lenses), so you're putting those nice heavy lenses out on a lever.
    Thanks, that's important to keep in mind. Most likely I'll have a 55 macro lens and a wildlife lens on a shoulder stock so it may not become an issue for me. But handy to keep in mind.

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    Re: mass

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Doug, If you survey the past there are a number of excellent lenses that are surprisingly small and light weight, but have a beautiful draw to them.
    Agreed! One imaging quality I'm specifically looking for is an absence of longitudinal chromatic and spherochromatic aberration. These appear as green and magenta fringes on higher-contrast objects in the foreground & background. Lateral chromatic aberration is mostly software-fixable but the longitudinal and spherochromatic require tedious hand masking and selective desaturation to make it look OK. The 280mm f/4 APO is outstanding in this respect. I've identified a couple of older lenses that look like they have little or no fringing, don't weigh or cost too much, and can be adapted to the a7 bodies. The IBIS of the a7II means I can use lighter support instead of the Series 5 Gitzo. The 280 APO won't need a new home but it will see a lot fewer of the longer hikes.

    I'm not sure I'd give up that Leica 60mm Macro to save 160g. If I recall correctly very few lenses could match certain versions of that 60mm.
    I'll sell one of the two I have and the other will be a truck/yard/short hike lens. Last summer's backpacking trip at 11,000' elevation with a 60 lb backpack convinced me 'tis better to carry a good camera than to leave a great camera behind.

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