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Thread: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

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    Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I have owned the Nikon 200/2 VR I for some time now, and it is an absolutely fantastic lens. Sharp, unbelievably fast AF, VR, boke to die for, and so on. On the other hand, the Leica 180mm f/2 Apo-Summicron-R has been a long-time dream lens for me, and I have been wondering recently if the greater size and extra 0.5kg of the Nikon are really offset by its AF and VR. I have found myself using it mostly on my tripod, i.e. with manual focus and no VR.

    I recently sold a Leica M lens, so by stretching a little, I was able to pick up the Leica, with the intention of comparing the two, and selling the one I like less. In this thread, I will attempt to compare the two lenses fairly in two areas:

    • Practicality
    • Image quality


    I presume that the Nikon 200/2 VR is roughly comparable to the 200/2 VR II, as well as the Canon 200/1.8 and 200/2 IS, so this thread could also be potentially useful/interesting to Canon owners. There are sure to be small differences, but these lenses are all superlative, and so the commonality will be greater than the differences.

    To start off, let me list the practical advantages of the two lenses, as I see them at this time. This may change as I spend more time comparing them.

    Nikon pros:

    • Auto-focus
    • VR
    • Auto-aperture
    • Hood coverage


    Leica pros (with Leitax adapter and Dandelion chip):

    • Compact size
    • Focuses to 1.5m instead of 2m
    • Better shape for hand-holding
    • Lower weight (2.5kg vs. 3kg)
    • Proper lens cap (the Nikon baglet is hard to get off quickly)
    • Built-in hood
    • Better for manual focus
    • Better balance on a Nikon D3
    • Quick to get ready to shoot (mount lens, take cap off, pull hood out)
    • I hesitate to list this, but the Leica can take 100mm filters. I have never seen one, and they must be horrendously expensive, but there it is. It also takes Series-6 filters internally.


    There are some other differences which could be seen as an advantage for either, such as the fact that the Nikon is carried on the lens strap, with a lens-cap-bag around the reversed hood, meaning that when the bag is removed and the hood mounted, it is easy to pack the hood in a camera bag, leaving nothing else to carry. The Leica has a separate pouch which protects the lens better, but which then needs to be carried over the shoulder when the lens is in use.

    ---

    Before I get into photo posts, I would like to encourage anyone who has owned any of these 5 lenses (Leica, 2 Nikon, 2 Canon) or other similar-spec lenses (180-200mm, f/2 or less) such as the Zeiss 200mm f/2, to please join in and post any images they have which they feel show off some characteristics of that lens.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Here are some photos comparing the physical size and shape of the two lenses (please ignore the parental evidence in the background and the dust on the lenses):



















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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    It will probably take me about two weeks to find the time to go out and shoot with both lenses at the same time, so pour yourself a coffee and grab a good book
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Carsten

    These types of tests really depend on the desired application ..what type of photography do you do that benefits from a 180-200 F2 lens.

    The 180 focal length has always been my favorite telephoto lens. I ve had every model Leica has ever made including the 180/2 APO and it is normally my longest lens for my SLR . I use it for reach ..especially around water where I can t sometimes get closer and for sports . For portraits I would rather be around 85-100 but I know the fashion guys like longer glass .

    I had both the 180/2 R and the 200/2 VR but found that I rarely use either lens ...primarily due to the size and weight . I much prefer the 180/2.8APO R or the new 70-200/2.8 VR2 . Not many people have compared the new Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR2 because the older version was not in the same class of IQ as really any of the 180 primes.

    I ve shot a lot of sports with the 180/2.8 all manual focus and the newer 180/2.8 APO is the best focusing and handling of the bunch . Just an exceptional lens (the 180/2 is similar just a lot bigger ). But for any movement using F2 ..I need to go with the Nikon 200/2 or really something longer . And for all around use on a Nikon I go to the 70-200/2.8 and I hardly ever use zoom lenses.

    Fast glass is real fun but these two may just be too heavy for the focal length and other alternatives are pretty close in IQ.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    This is very true, and in part due to the possibility of fast movement, I initially bought the 200/2 VR rather than waiting for a good copy of the 180/2 to come my way, but in the end, I just did not use it that way. The Leica is more compact enough that I can throw it into my photobag and not die carrying it around. The Nikon simply didn't fit into the bag. This, for me, makes enough of a difference that I will likely end up keeping the Leica and selling the 200/2 VR. I don't use this focal length every week, but I do love the results I can get with f/2 vs. f/2.8 enough that I think it makes sense to have one in my kit. Maybe that will change in the future...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I don't have any comparison shots yet, but here is one 13-shot stitch made with the Leica, to see if it would get similarly good results to my Nikon. I would have wished for a little more space around the tree, but there was too much junk around. The shots are very sharp, with generally very attractive boke, but in the trees there are some donuts in the highlights, i.e. slightly over-corrected spherical aberration.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Another Leica 180 Cron shot, still no time to go out with both:

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    There is a Leica 180mm f/2 Summicron-R on eBay UK right now, with no limit. I wish I had known that before I bought mine:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Leica-APO-Summ...-/110708358807
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    This is very true, and in part due to the possibility of fast movement, I initially bought the 200/2 VR rather than waiting for a good copy of the 180/2 to come my way, but in the end, I just did not use it that way. The Leica is more compact enough that I can throw it into my photobag and not die carrying it around. The Nikon simply didn't fit into the bag. This, for me, makes enough of a difference that I will likely end up keeping the Leica and selling the 200/2 VR. I don't use this focal length every week, but I do love the results I can get with f/2 vs. f/2.8 enough that I think it makes sense to have one in my kit. Maybe that will change in the future...
    Carsten,
    you know I have owned both and here are some more aspects:
    -I find the Nikon hood, while large to be a better protection because it is fixed vs the sliding hood of the 180
    -The bag included with the Nikon lens works very well IMO even if a Nikon body is attached
    -The strap on the Nikon works very well too
    -However I agree that the size of the 180 Leica is more comfprtable for portrait use
    -when I used the 180/2.0 on the DMR I had many slightly out of focus images, I found the AF of the Nikon really usefull for such shallow DOF; I really believe AF and VR increases a lot the range of subjects for using the lens, specially with converters.
    While the Leica might be less obstrusive and a little lighter (still not light) and therefore better for portrait I believethe Nikon should be much better as soon as you have movement.
    Shoot your daughter when going on the Laufrad with both lenses at f2.0 or f2.8, shoot some birds in flight with both lenses, shoot a soccer game and then decide which lens you like better.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Well, you make good points! The Leica naturally cannot keep up with the Nikkor for AF/action, but as you know (since you sold me the Nikkor ) this wasn't enough to make you keep it. I have to look at under what conditions I use it, and I don't use it for my daughter. I am often much too close to her. I have a 70-300 VR zoom and a Sigma 50 f/1.4 and I might at some point add a 24-70 or other fast flexible zoom. These lenses should cover my needs with my daughter for the next several years. After that I can look again. What I have used the Nikkor much more for is stitching for thin DoF, and general nature shots (no animals). For this purpose, the Leica appears to be better.

    I will compare the IQ of both lenses, and if they are close, I will likely keep the Leica. It fits in my bag, and is easy to put on and off and get in and out of the bag. The Nikkor is a great lens, but harder to handle, and hard to get into and out of use. I would really love to keep both, but they are too expensive for this to make sense.

    When you had the Nikon (and Leica), how did you carry them around, and mount/unmount them? This is for me where the big difference is. The Nikon's Bedienungskonzept is less well thought-out if you don't keep the lens on the camera.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    There is a Leica 180mm f/2 Summicron-R on eBay UK right now, with no limit.
    That's the lens "Brainiac" had posted on another (undisclosed) site. I'm surprised nobody took him up on it, as it seemed to be a very good value.

    Having shot the Canon f/2 as well as the Leica, I'd say if AF isn't critical the Leica slightly edges the Canon, but only very slightly. To my eyes, it's mostly in the color department, as for fringing and sharpness the EF cedes little, if anything, to the Summicron.

    Carsten, do you have a series 6 polarizer as well?

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I think The Leica/Nikon relationship is similar, but they are all three astounding lenses. I made an offer to Richard to trade my Nikkor, before I decided to buy both, test them against each other, and then sell the less desirable one, but I completely forgot about that lens when buying, unfortunately. It is in at least as good shape as mine, and should make a nice deal for someone.

    I don't have the polarizer, btw. I presume it is hard to find, would need a new drawer, and would cost a mint, and I don't really use polarizers.
    Last edited by carstenw; 1st July 2011 at 14:02.
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    A foreground-background boke test shot with the 180 Cron which I ended up liking a lot:

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    So, the big day has come, and I will be posting comparison shots! First a brief discussion though:

    I went out today, with both 200/2 VR and 180/2 Cron, and I hope I won't be doing this much. Not only did they break my back, but you really need three hands to handle switching these two lenses. Mounting them on a tripod would have helped, but then I would have needed three hands for carrying, and anyway, I don't have an Arca-style clamp for my Leica yet.

    The biggest impression from today is that the Nikon may look a bit larger, with a somewhat larger hood, but the reality is that the feeling while using the two lenses is hugely different. The Nikkor is very bulky and an awkward shape, whereas the Leica is quite compact, and easy to handle. The measurements do not adequately demonstrate quite how large the difference in handling really is. If you have a bag large enough to pack in the Nikon with its hood in position, then this difference is minimized.

    The second-biggest impression is that although the Nikkor is weather-sealed, the sack isn't, and is open at the top, and as it was raining today, at times quite hard, I found myself concerned with how much water would make its way into the bag. Almost none, was the answer, but the worry was real. 2-0 Leica. In fact, the Leica even scored a bit higher than that, since it fits into one of my regular bags, whereas the Nikkor doesn't. Of course, once on the camera, the Nikkor is weather-sealed and the Leica not. I don't expect there to be a problem with the Leica, but again, the worry might be there.

    My earlier impression of the shapes of the two lenses was reinforced in real use: the Leica's shape is nicer to hold. The Nikon forces your hand further forward, which gets tiring quicker (and it weighs more too).

    On the point of focusing, I was handed another surprise: I spent more time fixing focus with the Nikkor in AF mode than with the Leica's manual focusing. The thing is that when you focus on quite small things at some distance, it is easy for the AF sensor to overlap more than you want. The caveat is that this is only for some subjects. For planar subjects and subjects in motion, the Nikkor slaughters the Leica, obviously. I just don't happen to use my lens much in that way. I did miss focus with the Leica a few times, one time quite consistently, but in general I find it easier to get right.

    About white balance, the Nikon has a tendency towards too much blue, whereas the Leica leans more in the direction of brown. Both are fixable, so this is just a data point. The colours of the Leica are generally a little warmer and a bit more saturated. The Nikon has very good colours, the best of any Nikon lens I have tried, the Leica perhaps a tick better. The Leica tends towards under-exposure, but perhaps that is just because I didn't get my Dandelion chip working yet, so that might change. I tend to use my D3 with -1/2 stop dialed in, so I can get either lens working right in this regard.

    The Leica appears to be able to hold the hightlights slightly better, even in shots where the exposure was the same. The difference is tiny here, but the Nikon's highlights are consistently a bit brighter than the Leica's. I guess this might be down to coatings, so maybe the VRII is better there.

    The Nikon is perhaps the teensiest bit sharper, although both are really truly fantastic in this area. Similarly, the Nikon has perhaps the teensiest bit less CA, but both have almost none. The Nikon's boke wide open is a bit smoother than the Leica's, surprisingly. This could just be its slightly longer focal length at play, since I made no attempt to equalize cropping in-camera. I would have to test that separately, but I am not sure if I will get around to it, since it isn't important to me; both look fantastic.

    Overall though, the IQ of both lenses is really fantastic, and there is hardly anything to complain about with either; these are undoubtedly two of the best lenses ever made. If I was made of money, I would keep both, but the Leica would get more use, due to its manual focus, easier handling and smaller size.

    Okay, enough of that. Now for some shots, although given that I will try to equalize the exposures, white balances, and cropping, there is almost no possibility to see any differences. Please ask for crops of certain areas if you see something you would like to examine closer.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    In all the shots which follow, I am not going to sharpen or do anything special during resizing. The focus spot doesn't always lie in exactly the same place (I would probably have to bring a laptop to get that close), and I haven't compensated for the smaller focal length of the Leica, so it just made no sense.

    I edit only white balance and exposure, and leave black point, contrast and so on as is. This allows a better comparison (although the differences are so small that you don't see much most of the time). I also always have the Nikon first, Leica second.





    For this first shot, there isn't really much difference, apart from the noted slight bluish tinge of the Nikon, which I was not able to completely neutralize, the slightly more controlled highlights of the Leica, and the slightly more detailed boke of the Leica. The focus point is slightly different, but both lenses are beautifully sharp and render the scene with grace.

    To see the differences clearly, open both images in separate tabs and switch quickly back and forth.
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    There isn't much to see here, except that there isn't much to see. The plant was moving so the focus is slightly different. Look around the image to find the sharpest spot. The Nikon is again slightly more blue, and the Leica has slightly more busy boke. This is just slightly more than 2m, i.e. close to the Nikkor's near limit.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Another, similar shot, which shows a bit more in the boke. The position isn't quite the same (people were walking by, and I sometimes had to move to let them past, while changing lenses). I just noticed that the shots are at ISO 2500 and 2000, respectively, but at these sizes, this doesn't show. I think the VR might be helping the Nikon sharpness in this shot, or perhaps the plant was moving slightly for the Leica shot, which isn't as sharp. It was also raining, which explains the small white marks



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    For this shot, I am leaving the blue cast of the Nikon and the under-exposure of the Leica, just to show what I am equalizing in these shots. I also didn't crop.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    In this shot the Leica was focused slightly closer. There isn't really much difference, except that the Leica looks a half a tick more contrasty, and the Nikon has the tiniest bit of swirl in the foreground boke on the bottom left.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Wildlife! The Leica shot is sharper. I can only think of one reason: it was shot at 1/500s, whereas the Nikon shot was at 1/350s. Since the VR should have more than equalized that difference, perhaps the duck was moving? I cannot really imagine, but fact remains: the Leica shot was slightly sharper. Again, the Leica shot was darker and richer, the Nikkor shot more blueish and brighter. After equalization, the Leica shot holds the highlights slightly better.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    This shot was done to examine CA. Apart from a very teensy amount of green in the boke on the edges of the chrome on the Leica shot, I see nothing to be concerned about from either lens. An excellent result.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Comparing shadows and highlights, as well as foreground and background boke. The Nikkor is typically slightly blue, and in this shot, I was having a hell of a time getting it to focus on the darker leaves in the centre. It wanted to focus on the brighter leaves in the background. The Leica focused correctly the first time. AF is not always a win. There is a little more detail in the highlights on the Leica shot, otherwise the shots are very similar.



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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Well, that's all for today. The differences are puny in most cases, at least those seen in the images. I could imagine someone preferring one lens or the other for boke, but the other differences are equalizable in post.

    The main difference, as mentioned, is in the handling. The Nikon is a larger lens, and the shape is different. Someone with big hands might prefer the Nikon, but I prefer the Leica's shape. The AF and VR are also notable differences, for some, but not for my work.

    I am hoping to find someone willing to let me do some portraits and post the results here, but I don't have any models in my circle of friends, so I might be out of luck. I will do the tests anyway, but may have to just write about it here. I am expecting the Leica's near limit of 1.5m instead of 2m to be the only notable difference, and am curious if manual focus loses badly to auto-focus, but other than that, I expect no surprises.

    I will probably sell the Nikon in a week or so. I just want to try making portraits first, but unless the Leica totally sucks, my conclusion is already done. For my purposes, the smaller size and manual focus are preferable.
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Hi Carsten,
    even though I dont see much difference I have to say overall I very slightly prefer the Leica images having little more pop and little more 3D-look from the images you posted.
    If you dont need AF and if you prefer the handling of the Leica than I think you make the right decision.
    By the way you know my choice for this focal length: the 70-200VRII
    Tom






    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Well, that's all for today. The differences are puny in most cases, at least those seen in the images. I could imagine someone preferring one lens or the other for boke, but the other differences are equalizable in post.

    The main difference, as mentioned, is in the handling. The Nikon is a larger lens, and the shape is different. Someone with big hands might prefer the Nikon, but I prefer the Leica's shape. The AF and VR are also notable differences, for some, but not for my work.

    I am hoping to find someone willing to let me do some portraits and post the results here, but I don't have any models in my circle of friends, so I might be out of luck. I will do the tests anyway, but may have to just write about it here. I am expecting the Leica's near limit of 1.5m instead of 2m to be the only notable difference, and am curious if manual focus loses badly to auto-focus, but other than that, I expect no surprises.

    I will probably sell the Nikon in a week or so. I just want to try making portraits first, but unless the Leica totally sucks, my conclusion is already done. For my purposes, the smaller size and manual focus are preferable.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Hehe, have you compared the 70-200 VRII against the Leica I have a Contax 80-200/4 which I quite like, for when I need the smaller size. I just find that I use AF less and less, and so I am strongly considering cutting back to one or two AF lenses, perhaps Sigma 50/1.4 and Nikkor 24-70/2.8.

    Did you ever try to compare the Nikkor 200/2 VR and the Leica 180/2, or did you only use them on the D3x and DMR respectively? Were you ever aware of any significant optical or IQ differences?

    These lenses are so close, both truly excellent. The Nikon is just a fair amount larger.
    Last edited by carstenw; 4th July 2011 at 12:09.
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Hi Carsten,
    although you've played down the differences in your posts, I agree with t_streng in generally preferring the Leica versions. The contrast difference on the tree trunk image is actually rather stark, and I think gives many of the Leica images a decent edge in "3D"-ness, with the Nikon left looking a bit flat in comparison. No doubt some of that could be corrected in post. The Nikon seems to have generally smoother background bokeh, but I personally prefer the bit of extra "character" in the Leica backgrounds that gives a better sense of depth even for objects well behind the focal plane (instead of flattening everything into a uniformly blurred background). It would be interesting to see a direct comparison against the Canon 200/1.8 or 2, since I think this is the lens that Brainiac (a real "3D connoisseur") ended up preferring after comparing many of the 200/2-ish variants.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Yes, I agree that I prefer the Leica slightly, but I don't think the differences are big enough to cause the decision to sway either way, unless everything else was an absolute tie. The Nikon's smoother boke, slight sharpness edge and the AF and VR could just as easily sway the decision the other way.

    Richard preferred the 200/1.8L because of its greater 3D, IIRC. He also tried the Contax 200/2, but this lens is older and not as good as these newer lenses. He never tried the Nikons, to my knowledge, being a Canon fiend. He did post some comparison shots on FM, although never of the same subjects, and I was never able to see a significant difference, without the possibility of doing a direct comparison.
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Hehe, have you compared the 70-200 VRII against the Leica I have a Contax 80-200/4 which I quite like, for when I need the smaller size. I just find that I use AF less and less, and so I am strongly considering cutting back to one or two AF lenses, perhaps Sigma 50/1.4 and Nikkor 24-70/2.8.

    Did you ever try to compare the Nikkor 200/2 VR and the Leica 180/2, or did you only use them on the DMR and D3x respectively? Were you ever aware of any significant optical or IQ differences?

    These lenses are so close, both truly excellent. The Nikon is just a fair amount larger.
    No,
    I haver never compared the 70-200II to the Leica.
    I had the Leica for the DMR - so when I sold the DMR and the Leica lenses and just had Nikon as DSLR I wanted the 200/2.0. The idea was to have a 200/2.0 and 300/2.8 and 400/4.0 all i one lens (with TC).
    I never compared it to the Leica but I was surprized how good the Nikon is even wide open - when I got it.

    I also had the 70-200VRI before but wasnt happy so sold it for primes. The 70-200VRII seems much better for me (contrast and sharpness) than the vers.1 so I didnt feel anymore that it was worth to go primes in this range.

    No doubt the 180 Leica is better optically (and faster), but the 70-200 is surprizingly good.
    Now if I didnt have the S2 for the times I want "super duper IQ" I might have kept either the Nikon 200/2.0 or the Leica 180/2.0
    So I understand your decission.
    The only thing I see is that if you say you dont want to use it for portraits and not for action that its a limited choice of subjects for such an expensive lens.
    Cheers, Tom

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I *will* use it for portraits, but probably not much for action. The primary use will be neither though, although since it fits in my shoulder bag, I suspect I will carry it more and find new uses for it.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I *will* use it for portraits, but probably not much for action. The primary use will be neither though, although since it fits in my shoulder bag, I suspect I will carry it more and find new uses for it.
    Do you use it with Leitax?

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Yes, and a Dandelion chip, but the first one didn't work, and I didn't install the replacement yet, although it is here. The Leitax mount is super-nice, and mounts smoother than many of my OEM mounts.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    It's probably worth trying to get a polarising filter but it all depends on the kind of work you do. I tend not to use mine, because I normally use the Cron for shooting people, but it's there if I need it. I paid over $600 for the filter, but that was new. Mind you I had the lens for well over 10 years before I finally bought the filter, so clearly it's not a 'must have' item.

    Not sure how you would even get one now but I suppose it doesn't matter to me either.





    JJ

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I bought a nice 77mm polarizer filter when I first got into DSLR photography. I used it in my film days, so I figured I would need it again. In fact, I never really used it. At $600 (or even somewhat less than that), I think I will wait with the purchase until I really need it
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    If you did need a CPol for the 180/2, a B+W 105mm KSM CPol is "only" $200; add a 100mm->105mm step up ring, and you're all set for a lot less than $600 (though this probably wouldn't play well with the built-in hood).

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    That's a lot of glass, 105mm! I'll keep my eye open for a good deal.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    I have traded my Nikon 200/2 VR for a 24-70 and 70-200 VRII, so at this point the comparison will stop, at least from my side. Feel free to post images from any other comparable lenses here. I will post the odd shot from the 180/2.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Wow. A rich mans hobby here. No wonder Nikon sells the 180mm F2.8 AFD; compact, built in hood, AF, less expensive than these toys! Thanks for the examples.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Interesting stuff, Carsten. I do think the focal length difference and slightly higher contrast of the Leica play significantly with the bokeh. There would still be differences with an equalized FOV, but I think they the overall visual impact would be reduced to the point of insignificance.

    Overall, it's nice to see the big guns catching up with a long-discontinued lens.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Quote Originally Posted by williamkazak View Post
    Wow. A passionate mans hobby here.
    There, I fixed it for you.
    This is not the forum for complaining about the price of gear.
    I'm not a doctor of any kind, nor do I earn 6 figures yet I have a camera/lens collection that makes many amateurs blush.
    My Tumblr
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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    Leica has better contrast. Looks sharper to me.
    -Dragos
    Panasonic GH1/G1, Canon FTb(n)/F-1, Mamiya C330F/RB67 Pro SD, Chamonix 45N-2, Nikon F5 + Assorted Lenses

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    The little nikon 180 will surprise you with it's image quality, it's bokeh, mediocre comparatively speaking of course. Hard to argue with the Leica look, and the 180 must be a beautiful lens. I have the 200VR, it's a great lens for sports, any type of action, and you can get that great bokeh @ f2. To me, giving up the AF for this type lens is to much to ask. If you are only using the 200 on a tri-pod with manual focus, you are not using the lens to it's fullest potential anyway. I have moved away from big lenses, or am in the process of it, giving it up, but I am keeping the 200vr, takes a 1.4 tc really well, and gives me a 340 2.8 I think it is. Don't hold me to that, maybe it's 4.0. I forget.

    I have a 300VR, and am considering trading it for a rare Noct lens, Crazy I guess, but it's what I am into, and I regret getting rid of my ground aspherical element nikon glass. i used to have the 28 1.4 and the 58 noct. just lovely glass. I may give up my 24 1.4 for another 28 1.4d as well. I just love the rendering of that glass.

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    Re: Leica 180/2 vs. Nikon 200/2 VR

    No idea about the Nikon, but my Leica 180/2 is my favourite lens, bar none. It is my go to lens for gigs on my DMRs - Manual focus is fine on the 180, as the DMR VF is so bright.



    Mel C with Jools Holland at Cornbury Festival, UK



    Royal Ballet, Sadlers Wells, London, UK
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