Seeking comparison of 180 Elmar-R with 180 2.8 Nikkor : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I'm tempted by a used 180 Elmar-R, for $425.00 (is this price OK?) but would first like to hear from anyone who has compared it with the 180mm 2.8 Nikkor manual-focus. The latter is tempting for the advantage of a higher shutter speed when hand-holding under marginal light conditions.

I'd be interested in any comments.


-- Bob Fleischman (, November 06, 2000


Hi Bob, I have previously used the manual focus Nikkor 180/2.8 ED quite a lot and I must say it is a very, very sharp lens. I have no experience with the 180 Elmar-R but am currently using a 180 Elmarit-R. The Elmarit is also very sharp but subjectively speaking (I did not do any tests) I feel that the Nikkor might actually be sharper wide open. But a few complains about the Nikkor is that flare can be a problem wide open, and out-of-focus bright spots in the background shows up as polygonal disks, in the shape of the diaphram opening. Also, compare with the Elmarit, the 180 ED is more of a handful. I have smallish hands and the large barrel presents more of a handling problem for me than the Elmarit, which is very compact. I hope this is useful for you. Regards

-- Steven Fong (, November 07, 2000.


Of course, I cannot answer your question directly as I have not used this particular Nikkor. I have however owned the Elmar-R and it is a truly excellent lens - no complaints. It is also small and light. I exchanged it for an Apo-Telyt 3.4 180mm which is perhaps even better and is a half a stop faster. I suspect (based on comparison with other Nikkor lenses) that the Elmar will be more flare resistant than the Nikkor you mention. Certainly, should you choose the Elmar you will have a superb lens. f4 is a little slow and with teles speed is particularly important, so the Nikkor might be more useful. On the other hand its wide open performance has to be really useable otherwise you are wasting your time and money and the extra weight will be a burden. Personally, I wish I could afford the new 180mm 2.8 Apo Elmarit!

-- Robin Smith (, November 10, 2000.


I have used the Nikon extensively and it is quite a nice lens. Actually a tad better than the Leica non APO, which I briefly tried out but found not delivering the goods. My vote goes for the 180/3.4 APO-Telyt as well. had this lens ages ago and didn't realise back then how good it was. Will get one again eventually, since I can't afford the 180/2.8 APO or the 180/2 Apo. If you believe in lens tests check out: They have the Nikon and Leica old 2.8 and 3.4 (and more...) on MTF test. Hope this helps.

-- Henrik Rundgren (, November 10, 2000.

Doesn't the 180mm f3.4 Leica lens have a long minimum focus for a lens of that focal length,like 8 or 9 feet? It seems to me that it would limit its usefulness some. The Nikon 180 goes to about 5 feet.

-- Andrew Schank (, November 10, 2000.


Is this correct? I must say in practical terms I have never felt limited by the close focussing abilities of the 3.4 Apo, but it might be true, I just don't know. When things get close I tend to use my 90.

-- Robin Smith (, November 13, 2000.

Yep, sad but true: The close focus of the 180/3.4 is 2.5m or approx. seven ft. Still, I use it for LONG shots where it is truly amazing. As a precious poster stated I tend to use other focal lengths for close range shots. It is not a do-it-all lens but for general long distance photography it rule

-- Henrik Rundgren (, November 17, 2000.

I meant PREVIOUS poster... :-) It seems like the messages I submit lack the last three characters. End of the last sentence in previous/precious post: rules! I'll space this one out...

-- Henrik Rundgren (, November 17, 2000.

Not to be nit picky, but 2.5 meters is over 8 feet (not 7 feet as mentioned above fpr the 180mm 3.4). I think that is a poor minimum focus distance for a 180mm lens.

-- Andrew Schank (, November 17, 2000.

I recently put together an R system. I tested the 180/4, 180/2.8 non APO, but second version, and 180/3.4. I found the 180/3.4 a major disappointment, in fact everyone I showed the slides to picked the 180/2.8 and the lack of contrast in the 3.4 was quite obvious. I suspect there might have been something wrong with the sample I tested (like, someone got rid of coating on internal elements or something) because this is contrary to anything I've read. However, the 180/2.8 is the only one of the three that can take the 1.4X, and that adds to its usefulness. It also takes a 67mm filter, the 3.4 uses E60 which are hard to find. The 180/4 is outstanding for its compactness and light weight, I almost bought one, but again its inability to take the 1.4X and very slow speed with the 2x put me off. Optically, I wouldn't say it lags behind in any way. I had owned a non-ED version of the 180/2.8 Nikkor, and the EDIF-AFd version. I rarely if ever shoot at more than f4, usually f8 and slower, so personally I've never seen a striking advantage with Leica glass. The build quality (even compared with manual Nikkors) is much higher, though.

-- Jay (, November 20, 2000.

I have never shot with the 180 Elmar, however I have owned the Nikkor 180, the first version of the Elmarit 180, and currently own the Apo-Telyt 180. Both the Nikkor and Elmarit 180 2.8's are excellent lenses, both somewhat bulky and not that great for hand held work. The Elmarit is probably better optically but just too heavy for most people, the second version of the Elmarit is much lighter but no better optically. Then there is the Apo-Telyt, the previous post must have had a damaged lens, because this lens has to be used to be believed! The Apo-Telyt will outperform almost any film on the market. The resolution, contrast and colour fidelity, is comparable to the best lenses money can buy. It is compact and reasonable in weight, and the best part is that you can buy them used, for very attractive prices. The new 180 Apo Elmarit may in fact be a better lens, but at 3 to 4 times the price the Apo-Telyt is all the telephoto most people need. If I am shooting in close my 90 Elmarit would always be my choice over any 180.

-- David Kernaghan (, April 10, 2001.


I shot handhelding with SL2 & 180/2.8 (2 cam), and with R6(or SL2) & 180/2.8 (3 cam, compact version, looks like MC). Simultaneously I shot with F/F2 & 180/2.8 ED. I couldn't find a difference, the results are almost same: very very sharp pictures, a little better with SL2 & compact 180(3 cam) and F2+180ED when shooting light sourses in a frame (more contrast, best flare control).

180/2.8 (2 cam)is much hevier than the other two (1'360 gram). So, I prefer 180/2.8 (3 cam, compact) and Nikkor 180/2.8 ED.

I payd for 180(2 cam) $450, 180 (3 cam) $900, 180ED $300.



-- Victor Randin (, April 13, 2001.

.....but F2 is better for me than SL2.

-- Victor Randin (, April 13, 2001.

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