Leica Vario-Elmar-R F3.5/4.5 28-70 lens: Good?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by richie chishty, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. I have an opportunity to buy this used lens in mint condition. I was wondering what would be a reasonable price for this lens, and also how it compares in quality to other Leica R zoom lenses in this range. I have used only fixed focal length lenses (28, 50, 60, 90, 100 and 135) so far. Thanks in advance for your responses!
     
  2. The first version of this lens (3-cam, pull-out hood, 1990) was made
    for Leica by Sigma and used Sigma's design and glass in what I refer
    to as a "Leica-lookalike" mount. It was released along with the R-E
    body and for a time it was sold as a kit. The performance of the
    lens is on a level with any good Japanese zoom of 10 years ago, and
    indeed a Sigma lens of the same optical quality could be bought in
    other brand mounts for a fraction of the R version.

    <p>

    The second and current version of this lens (ROM, screw-on reversible
    hood) is optically almost identical but no longer made by Sigma. In
    fact, the current mount is the exact same one used for the 35-70/4.

    <p>

    I had a 1st-version for a couple of weeks, and shot a test roll
    through the second version. The sharpness and contrast were equal to
    the 28-70/3.5-4.5 AF Nikkor I owned, but the "Leica" lens showed
    significantly more distortion at both ends. Though it has been
    reported in a popular Leica "lens tester"'s book that performance of
    the 2nd version is better [only] at 28mm, I'm afraid I just couldn't
    see it.

    <p>

    I have read from a few owners of this lens that they are very happy
    with it, and I don't dispute that. I was happy with my 28-70/3.5-4.5
    AF Nikkor. But I expect more from Leica, and the 35-70/4 delivers.
    I've also read reports from owners who say the 28-70 has "that Leica
    look". From the outside, yes it does. On film, IMO no it doesn't.
    To me it is overpriced for what it is.
     
  3. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    There were extensive posting about this matter in http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl? msg_id=003N2D
     
  4. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    Photodo tests:<p>

    Grade: 3.2 35mm/MF LeicaR Vario-Elmar-R 28-70/3,5-4,5

    Grade: 2.8 35mm/AF Nikkor AF 28-70/3,5-4,5D
    Grade: 3 35mm/AF Nikkor AF 28-70/3,5-4,5

    Leica R better
     
  5. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    How good is grade 3.2 ?

    It is as good as the following prime lenses, including one of Leica
    prime lens<p>

    Grade: 3.2 35mm/AF Canon EF 28/1,8 USM <p>

    Grade: 3.2 35mm/MF LeicaR Elmarit-R 24/2,8 <p>
    Grade: 3.2 35mm/AF Nikkor AF 28/2,8D <p>
    Grade: 3.2 35mm/MF Nikkor 35/2,8 <p>
    Grade: 3.2 35mm/MF Pentax SMC-F 28/2,8 <p>
     
  6. Lest anyone out there place their cash down on lenses based solely on
    Photodo's numerical ratings...

    <p>


    1.Photodo tests are made only at infinity, factoring in nothing of
    lens' performance at other distances, nor does it address such
    matters as flare. Their number ratings are weighted in a proprietary
    manner that makes them less than implicitly reliable. Only the
    actual MTF graphs are useful and there again, they're only from
    infinity.

    <p>

    2. The AF-D Nikkor 28-105/3.5-4.5 ($350) received a 3.2 just like the
    Leica 28-70 ($1000). The Sigma 28-70/2.8 EX ($350 and a straight
    f/2.8 lens) received a 3.5, better than either--I owned that lens
    also, and it was *very* prone to flare even with the hood. In
    reality the difference between 2.8,3.0 and 3.2 is minuscule and
    wouldn't be noticed in practical photography. The 70-210/4 R (aka
    Minolta) lens received a 3.3, in contrast to the 80-200/4 which
    received a 4.2. *That*, noting the MTF graphs, *is* significant.

    <p>

    3. If you look at the MTF graphs for the Leica 28-70 you will note
    the steep downfall of the curve away from the center of the image as
    well as the significant divergence of the saggital and tangential
    curves. Much more telling of the lens' "just ok" performance than
    Photodo's numerical assignment.

    <p>

    4. Note also the "% distortion" for the Leica lens as opposed to the
    others.

    <p>

    If you use the Photodo data responsibly it is quite useful.
     
  7. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    You are not comparing the same 28-70/3.5-4.5 lenses

    <p>


    Where is the MTF of your

    <p>

    2.8 35mm/AF Nikkor AF 28-70/3,5-4,5D ??
     
  8. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    If your criteria is only price the go with Canon or Contax, they offer
    better performance at much lower price <p>
    For example take standard 50mm/f1.4

    Grade 4.5 Carl Zeiss T* Planar 50/f1.4
    <p> Grade 4.4 Canon 50/1.4

    <p> Grade 4.3 Leica Summilux 50/1.4

    Carl Zeiss and Canon are all better than Summilux, at much lower
    price
     
  9. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    The best zoom lens in this range is Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* 28-85 zoom made of genuine German glasses.
    Leica glasses come primarily from Hoya.
     
  10. Not sure how where the glass is made affects the quailty.

    <p>

    For what it's worth, (and lets face it, it ain't worth much, you either like a lens or you don't) I've always questioned the quality of variable ap zooms. All the best stuff seems to be constant.

    <p>

    Anyhow, resume bickering :)!
     

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