75-200 4.5 R vs. 80-200 4R

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I have a Leica R 75-200 f4.5 zoom produced by Minolta ,I understand, I purchased it used in absolutely mint coindition and it has given me very good results on my Leica RE. I am thinking about trading up to the newer 80-200 f4 Leica design produced by Kyocera. I would appreciate any comments regarding veiwpoints on either lens and if this seems like a prudent move. I have had no experience with the newer zoom other than reading very positive test reports. Any thoughts ? Thanks R. Dixon

-- Ron Dixon (RDixon@stny.rr.com), December 23, 2001


While I don't own either lens, I can give you some pointers as I've been researching the medium teles myself.

Here's a visual comparison between the imaging of the 75-200 and some other Leica lenses. Note that while the zoom is quite good, it falls behind the 3 other lenses, as a point of reference.

The Photodo.com MTF tests indicate that the 80-200 f/4 at 200 actually comes out a tad BETTER than the 180 APO 3.4 when both are at full aperture, which means it would be better than ANY of my samples.

The Photodo charts also show the newer zoom reproduces 40 lppm with as much contrast as the older lens gets at 20 lppm - a (very) rough indication that it's about twice as sharp. (!!)

The new lens has separate rings for zooming and focus - this is good in my book but some folks prefer a single ring.

-- Andy Piper (apidens@denver.infi.net), December 23, 2001.

Two other points

1) the new zoom is avilable used in the $1100-1200 range, which seems like a real deal.

2) I look forward to what others have to say, too.

-- Andy Piper (apidens@denver.infi.net), December 23, 2001.

The 80-200/4.5, 75-200/4.5 and 70-210/4 were all Minolta lenses transplanted into R mounts. The 70-210/4 looked almost like a real Leica knock-off. All these lenses, especially the latter, performed as well as the best Japanese zooms of their days, but the newest (the 70-210/4) was a 1984 design. Performance drops at the long end, there is some distortion, and overall contrast is lower and flare tendency higher than today's best zooms. The 80-200/4 is a Leica design. Only the production is done by Kyocera. After more than a year using this lens my 90/2.8 and 180/2.8 are almost un-used these days, and only occasionally do I pack the 90/2. It's an absolutely magnificent lens. Better performing than the 80-200/2.8 AF-S Nikkor. The older Minolta-based zooms sell in the $500-$800 range, whereas you can get the same optics in a Minolta mount and a Minolta body together for half that cost. OTOH at around $1100-1200, a mint, used 80-200/4 ROM is one of the 2 true bargains in the R system (the other being the 35-70/4 ROM).

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), December 23, 2001.

I put a roll of velvia through an r6 with the 80-200f4 at a leica day in London a couple of weeks ago - some of the shots being copy shots of ones taken by a friend using a 90f2apo and 75 1.4. on his m6 and all of the shots taken on the zoom being at full aperture. We got the films dev'd at Joe's Basement and viewed the slides on his supercolorplan-based projector. I have to say that while there may have been (very subtle) differences in the colour and tone reproduction, they were extremely small - In short I was very very impressed (and I'm pretty awkward about these things). I didn't find it that easy to hand hold but maybe that's just a question of practise (and it was winter in London with velvia!). I reckon if you don't mind the slow speed (and it's faster than your old one) you'll be very pleased with the new lens.

-- steve (stephenjjones@btopenworld.com), December 24, 2001.

Re. handholding the 80-200/4: Any lens of that focal length is difficult to shoot tack-sharp handheld. The smaller ones are slower and the faster ones are huge and heavy. All of them, including this one, could benefit from a tripod collar and some kind of adjunct support...or Image Stabilizer technology. However the 80-200/4 has one major advantage over any other brand's equivalent, and that is you can shoot it wide open with total confidence. In fact, when comparing it to my 80-200/2.8 AF-S Nikkor I found that I needed f/5.6 to get approximately equivalent performance to the Leica at f/4, so while there's no arguing the 2.8 lens + F100 viewfinder was easier to focus, by the time I stopped the Nikkor down and dealt with its bulk and weight, the Leica gave much better results handholding.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), December 24, 2001.

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