Leica R 80mm Sumilux and 135mm Elmarit

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by john_hoang, Jul 5, 2000.

  1. I am planning to get one of the two lenses: Leica R 80mm f1.4 and 135mm f2.8 and would appeciate information from Leica users. How good are they wide opened?
  2. John


    Have you looked at the existing threads? There is a discussion of the
    80mm Summilux under a question I asked comparing it to the 90mm
    Summicron. To answer your question the 135mm design dates from the
    original lens set for the original Leicaflex in 1965, whereas the
    Summilux appeared in 1980 or thereabouts. This tells you something.
    The 135mm apparently has very pleasing qualities and is meant to be
    an excellent portrait lens (whatever that means - I suspect it has
    nice bokeh and to be a little soft at wide apertures) but in terms of
    raw resolutiuon the Summilux is much better. I bet you the Summilux
    outperforms the Elmarit at f2.8 by quite a margin. The 135mm is in
    need of a redesign in my opinion - I bet Leica think this too, but
    the 135mm focal length seems to be somewhat out of favor these days
    compared to the 90mm and 180mm. Of course the best lens in terms of
    performance is the 100m Apo Macro which will beat both the Summilux
    and the Elmarit in terms of performance at f2.8 with performance to
    spare. You can pick up a secondhand 135mm Elmarit pretty cheap, so if
    I was you I would buy one and see whether you like it, if it does not
    work out you have not spent a great deal of money. The Apo-Macro and
    the Summilux would be expensive mistakes....
  3. John,
    If your looking for a portrait lens, you can't do any better than the
    90mm f2.8 Elmarit. That lens is the reason I bought a Leica R
    camera. It was picked as one of the 10 best lenses made recently by
    a European Magazine, and was the only lens on the list that didn't
    cost a fortune. Mine is tack sharp at f2.8 ( I tested it at over 80
    LPMM at 2.8) and has the most beautiful color reproduction. It focus
    very close (under 28 inches), is compact, has a built in hood, and a
    55mm filter size. F2.8 is about the minuimum aperture for getting
    most of a face in focus, so I never use anything faster for portraits
  4. Hi John,
    I have the 135 Elmarit and use it extensively for portrait and short
    telephoto work. It is not a 'blow-your-mind-away-sharp' kind of
    lens, but it has the most beautiful rendition of colours I have
    seen and give very smooth and pleasant skin tones and still is
    sharp enough to bring out details without being hash. I like this
    length better than the 80 or 90 which I find a little too short. I hate
    to stick a lens in front of people. Conversely the 180 is too long
    for portrait. I never seem to find enought working room with
    180mm lens. Even though the 80 lux is 2 stops faster I think to
    get faces in focus you can't go much lower than 2.8. If I
    remember correctly the 80 lux doesn't allow you to use converter
    wherease the 135 works very well with the 2x if you stop down a
    bit. May not have any relevance to your choice of photography. I
    also use the 135 with an extension tube which gives me a nice
    1:3 for most flower shorts. In this mode, stop down to f11 it is
    very sharp. Hope you find this helpful.
  5. John


    Actually, I correct myself, the Elmarit has been redesigned once in
    the late 60s (I think), still what I say still holds I believe.
  6. Thanks to all of you for very helpfull responds. I will try the
    Elmarit because with your recomendation, and the price so low,
    compare to the Summilux, it is worth a try. Thanks again.

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