Leica R

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

I want a Leica R body and a couple of lenses for travel color chrome work. Generally, a 24mm or the 19mm , 60 macro (if it is a good lens) and a 80-200 zoom or a 2-300mm lens would do it.

Now for the hard part...which body 6.2 ? 7? 8? I like the advanced metering of current EOS-like bodies if that helps.

Your insight is always treasuered. Thanks

-- Robert Burgess (bobburgess@earthlink.net), April 11, 2001



I purchased an R8 back in January and have been very happy with it's handling, and the lenses. I currently have a 90mm 2.8 and a 28mm 2.8, both are contrasty and yield very nice chtomes. The viewfinder on the R8 is superb, extremely bright. It is a very intuitive camera, well placed controls and solid.

-Dan Della Piazza

-- Dan Della Piazza (dandella@home.com), April 11, 2001.

Macro Elmarit 60/2.8 is an excellent lens-- one of the best macro lens I use it often as a standard lens instead of Summicron 50/2, great for close up of flowers, butterflies and landscape. Landscape master David Muench used Macro-Elmarit 60/2.8 for many of his 35mm landscape pictures

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), April 11, 2001.

Thanks for treasuring our insight - I am not sure it is worth that! If you like EOS style metering then you need the R8 as the R6.2 and R7 have more conventional averaging and spot metering (the R8 has this as well of course). The R7 is a good camera but does not have matrix metering so if you like to leave the camera on auto it will not work quite so well (in theory at least). The R8 gets a lot of knocks from Leicaphiles - but it is a real thoroughbred in my opinion - just bigger than most people have come to expect from a Leica.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), April 11, 2001.

For travel color chrome work I'd start with the 35-70/4 and 80- 200/4. I'd choose the 21/4 for wide-angle, as you don't need an f/2.8 lens and the 21 is lighter than the 24 (and a lot ligher/smaller than older 19) and less expensive than the current 19. I'd also pick up a 2x for rare occasions with the 80-200. You would also be wise to get a 50/2 for use in low light situations, it's not too expensive (for a Leica) and optically superb. I myself carry the 35/1.4 in preference, but that's about 3x the price of the 50, used. Other very nice lenses for travel are the 28/2.8, 35/2.8 (last version E55) and 90/2.8 (last version E55). I'm not too keen on the macro lenses for Leica R, as good as they are optically. They don't go from infinity to 1:1 without accessories, and there's no TTL ringlight available for the Leica R8. I use the Nikon 5T and 6T achromats with a 60-62 stepping ring on the 35-70 which already has a decent close-focus mode. For bodies, the R8 is the only one with an evaluative metering system. But I'd never own less than 3 R bodies. It's not that they're that unreliable, just that Leica service is very slow. My choice for a single backup would be an R6. Much cheaper than the 6.2 and lacks only the 1/2000 top speed. For a second all-round body, the R7. BTW, if you stand an R7 and R8 next to one another, you'll notice they are almost the same height and depth (the R8 looks thicker because of the body contours and grip), the R8 is a couple cm longer. It does weigh more, but it's not that noticeable. The R8's size is mostly optical illusion. Put a motor-winder on both bodies, the R7 is taller and heavier!

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), April 11, 2001.


Having just recently changed from the R7 to the R8, I would recommend the R8. The five-year warranty alone is well worth having but the R8 also has a number of important extra features, including:

* matrix metering;

* ability to use any metering method with any exposure mode (the R7 is quite restricive in this regard);

* shutter speeds, manually adjustable in half-step increments from 16 sec to 1/8000 sec (R7 is 4 sec to 1/2000 sec);

* flash synch up to 1/250 sec (R7 is up to 1/100 sec);

* more convenient mirror lock-up which will work with the camera's self-timer.

As Jay has said, the difference in size and weight between the R7 and R8 bodies is not really that great and I found that it was more than offset by the extra comfort afforded by the R8's shape. In any case, once you start attaching some of the heavier R lenses, the R8 seems to provide a better balance.

As to the 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, I have found its performance to be very good even at its maximum f/2.8 aperture, giving superbly sharp images with high contrast and brilliant colors. The quality of out-of- focus areas (bokeh) is first class and provides a smooth "creamy" background. If you don't need the speeds of the faster 50mm Summicron-R or Summilux-R lenses, the 60mm Macro can serve very well as an all-round standard lens.

Hope that helps,

Regards, Ray

-- Ray Moth (ray_moth@yahoo.com), April 16, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ