Lens test results for Leica R180mm f2.8 APO

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I am an M6 enthusiast because of its lenses. I have recently bought a R8 with 35mm/2.0 and 100mm/2.8. I am interested in getting either the VAE 70-180/2.8 APO or stick to prime lenses and buy the 180/2.8 APO - according to Erwin Puts the 180/2.8 APO is way better than the VAE at the 180 range and I already have a respectable 100/2.8. Any views?

Does anyone know how the 180/2.8 APO is rated by Chasseur d'Images, Color Foto, Foto Magazin, Aktuell Fotografi and/or FOTO?

Grateful for any comments/advice/tips. Thanks!


-- David Yeo (yeo_d@hotmail.com), August 06, 2001


Chasseur gives it 5 stars for performance. They only complain about the price and lack of a tripod mount. I own the 180 Apo Telyt, which got 4 stars, and the performance is great. I dislike the lack of tripod mount and long close focusing distance, 2.5 meters for the Telyt.

-- pedro lastra (plastra@bellsouth.net), August 06, 2001.


Go for the APO 180/2,8. It's so much easier to use, because it's lighter, and the focusing ring is much better.

Handheld, there is no contest.

The STA- 1 tripod mount made for the APO-Macro 100/2,8 works great with the APO 180/2,8.

-- Lucien (Lucien_vd@yahoo.fr), August 06, 2001.

David Yeo;

>>interested in getting either the VAE 70-180 2.8 apo<< >>or sticking to prime lenses & buy the 180 2.8 apo<<

I traded my VAE 70-180 apo for the 100 apo macro & the 180 2.8 apo. The VAE 70-180 is a great lens; it's just that these primes are awesome!

The 180 2.8 apo is a world class lens. The detail & tonal quality are w/o peer.And, yes it's a lot better at 180 than the VAE ;-)!

I use it a lot for portrait work (R8 & tripod)...slides are beautiful.

No regrets with this trade ;-)!

Thomas Donovan

-- Thomas Donovan (75674.3465@compuserve.com), August 06, 2001.


You will find the 180mm f2.8 APO is a fantastic lens to use: - weight and balance are ideal with the R8, inducing remarkable hand held stability. The balance is further improved by the internal focusing architecture;

- the focusing ring is the most comfortable and the smoothest I have ever used (much smoother than the 100 macro), manageable with one finger (for example your left hand thumb or index, with the camera resting securely in the palm of your hand);

- results are irreproachable, and ALL test benchmarks concur on this;

- the 70-180 f2.8 zoom is way too heavy for handheld usage. Adding the 180mm fixed focal to your 100mm macro is the way to go. There is no problem using a tripod, either with the special ring mentioned by Lucien or with the tripod attached to the camera.

Furthermore, sticking to the "leicaphile" discipline of fixed focal lens usage (move around your subject and only change focal lengths when you have to) is, in my experience, a recipe for more interesting pictures. Leave such heavy zooms to situations were moving is forbidden. I can only think of specific photojournalism situations that might really require such zooms.


-- Alan ball (alan.ball@yucom.be), August 07, 2001.

Thanks for the really sound advice everyone! Does anyone know where I can get hold of the STA-1 tripod collar? It'd be great if anyone know where I can read on the internet some reviews on the 180mm 2.8 (I have read Erwin Puts' review).

-- David Yeo (yeo_d@hotmail.com), August 07, 2001.


B&H is selling the STA-1 tripod collar.

-- Lucien (lucien_vd@yahoo.fr), August 07, 2001.


I have the 2,8/180 Apo and I like it very much. To get the best possible picture quality I would ualso suggest to get a tripod collar for this lens and use a monopod or tripod if possible. You can also use this lens to photograph small wildlife as butterflies etc. with a diopter lens. As Leica have no such lens to offer, I bought the Pentax S87 instead. It is the only 2-lens-diopter with a 67mm thread and the right focal lenght for the 180 Apo that I could find.


-- Thomas Haller (thomas.haller@web.de), August 08, 2001.

Thanks very much for the advice Thomas. Which tripod collar do you use - the STA-1? Do I really need it? Re the diopter lens - will this make it into a "macro" lens? If so what is the reproduction ratio? What is th quality of the Pentax lens? Seems a shame to pair an APO lens with something which may degrade the overall quality.

Thanks again.


-- David (yeo_d@hotmail.com), August 08, 2001.

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