R 4/250 first version - opinions please

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by vidom, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. I'd like to expand my R range, the longest lens I now have being a 2,8/135. As a
    180 would be too close to the 135 I already have, I think about buying a 4/250
    (1. version) because it is quite cheap. Any first hand impressions here? I've
    read Erwin's "expertise" on this lens, but it can't really be that bad, can it?

  2. I have been using the 250 (non-rotating tripod collar) for family sports (soccer on a mini
    field) and general nature photography (whales and some birds). The lens is a decent but
    not stellar performer. It is sharp but is nowhere near as sharp or contrasty as the 100
    Macro or the 35 or 50 Summicron. The 250 is also somewhat flat with respect to colour
    rendition. I used to have a Nikkor 300/4.5 back in my Nikon days and I would rate the
    250 in that league. Decent, but nothing to get really excited about. f4 is a bit dark in the
    R9 viewfinder and the focusing prisms have a tendency to black out. The bokeh is quite
    nice though and the lens balances well on an R9/DMR. The lens is well made and the
    focusing action and throw are very comfortable for me.

    I bought it because it was cheap and I don't use a long lens that much. You get what you
    pay for.
  3. I gave my first to my son. Heavy and hard to handle.

    I purchased a second version and the pic are nicer and the lens is far easier to handle especially with the Leica shoulder stock. Then it is a dream.
  4. Actually, I found the first version (short and tubby - and heavy) to be slightly sharper and
    contrastier than the second version. Not a lot - but noticeable on a flat gray day. Fewer
    elements and fewer air/glass surfaces. But it did have a bit more color fringing.

    And it has a rather long minimum focus distance and a very long focus throw. The 2nd
    version focuses faster and closer with internal focusing. Better for sports and the like, as
    well as lighter.

    If you can live with the physical limitations, it produces rather a nice image for the price.

    The differences between the two 250s is tiny compared to the exotic leap in contrast,
    resolution - and price - one gets in the 280 APO f/4.
  5. I think Andy is right. The 250/4 R lens had very good performance for its generation, but it will not compare with the newer generation 280/4 APO R, which is the benchmark for this focal length.

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