Leica 100 or 80 for R?

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I have been deciding between a used Leica 100 2.8 APO and the 80 1.4. Can anyone help me with this decision who has had experience with both lenses? Any help would truly be apreciated.

Thanks Gabe

-- Gabe Sachs (egabe@earthlink.net), December 06, 2000



Without more information, it would be hard to recommend a lens for you. While they might seen similar, they are different enough that the intended use for each would be the determining factor. Yes, there would be many opportunities that either one would be fine, but there would also be many that would dictate the correct one.

Low light, journalistic pictures without flash calls out for the 80... more considered photography where you attempt to extract everything out of the tiny surface area of the film would be better with the 100. I would not attempt detailed close-ups with the faster 80 and its slightly curved field at the close up range... and portraits of less than ideal complexions would not be too flattering with the 100 and its extremely detailed rendering.

What do you plan to do with the lens? The answer is there.

-- Al Smith (smith58@msn.com), December 06, 2000.

I have to concur, these are two very different lenses even though their focal lengths are similar. The 85 was designed with all efforts (and compromises) made in the interest of high speed. Unless you really intend to use it wide open most of the time, the 100APO is a better performer overall. I wouldn't worry about the 100 APO being too sharp for portraits, that's what Softars are for! If anything, the things I don't like about the 100 APO (besides its price) are the long turning circle of the focusing ring (a characteristic of macro lenses)and the size and weight. As a general-use lens in that length, I prefer the 90 Summicron. It isn't as sharp as the 100 APO nor as fast as the 85, but it treads a good middle-ground at less than half the price (used-to-used) of the 85 or 100. I also have a late-model 90/2.8, which is probably sharper or at least flatter- field than the Summicron, but lacks the f/2 aperture.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), December 06, 2000.

I use both lenses, but for totally different purposes, as the others have already mentioned above.

If I could get only one lens in this range, I agree with Jay that the 90mm Summicron would be the better all-around choice - decent speed, good with close-up attachments, good optical performance, much cheaper than either the 100 or 80, also much lighter than either, too.

-- Ken Shipman (kennyshipman@aol.com), December 06, 2000.

As all the others say the 100mm Apo is one of the very finest Leica lenses made, and one of the best 35mm optics in existence, but it is big and expensive. I must say I rather lust after an 80f1.4 as I had a Summicron 90 and sold it thinking I wanted the light weight and the better performance of the 90 2.8 Elmarit. I miss my Summicron all the time as the wider aperture is easier to focus and of course is just plain faster. As a note though, Erwin Puts maintains that the Summilux is actually a better performer than the Summicron. However, the Summicron is a bargain as it has been made since 1969 and so there a lot of them about. So I suspect that if you get a Summliux you will not be disappointed by the performance, but it will not be quite as stellar as the 100mm. Of course, 100mm is quite a big longer than 80mm too.

Anybody interested to swap a 90mm Elmarit 4 element (late type) for a 90mm Summicron (3 cam)?

-- Robin Smith (rsmith@springer-ny.com), December 07, 2000.

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