Leica- Vario-Elmar- R 1: 4,5/75-200 mm

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Hi does anyone of you have experiences with this Leica Zoom? Saw such a lense in photo second hand shop I'm thinking about to buy it. But how is the quality of photos, would you say that it is good zoom?

Thanks for all answers! Cris

-- Cris (gooneybird@gmx.net), February 05, 2002


That was a Minolta lens manufactured for Leica in an R mount of their specification. It is optically identical to the same lens in Minolta mount, which can be purchased along with a used Minolta body for a fraction of the cost of the Leica version lens alone. It is not a "bad" lens, but it is on a par with the best Japanese zooms of the 1970's so at the price it sells for IMO it is not a good buy. OTOH the current 80-200/4, at around $1100 in mint condition, *is* a Leica- designed lens of prime-lens quality, and in Leica-relative terms is a huge bargain.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), February 05, 2002.

I concur with Jay. Forget the 75-200 and buy either the 80-200mm F4 or if you have the money, the top of the line, the 70-180 APO F2.8, a masterpiece. I presently have the 80-200 and have used it for several years while on vacations in Europe with or without the 2X APO. The resulting photographs are fantastic IMHO. You will undoubtedly be very happy with it. I agree that a used version of the 80-200mm is a great bargain.(8>)--Albert

-- Albert Knapp MD (albertknappmd@mac.com), February 06, 2002.

Her's some first hand experience regarding your question. I purchased a used 75-200mm Leica zoom in 1986. I was satisfied with the lens performance, but had always read/heard that the lens was a Leitz-Minolta compromise; whatever. About 7 years ago, I purchased a late 180/2.8 and performed some tests projected and louped against the zoom. I saw little difference, and returned the 180 lens. About a year later while in contact with some Leica technical reps, I discovered that this individual also used the 75- 200mm zoom. I was impressed and surprised. I guess the kicker was when at about the same timeframe, I was speaking with Jim Lager, the well known and respected Leica expert, he told me that he ALSO uses this lens. At that point I decided to stick with the lens until it was no longer useable or fixable. Now I suppose that the new 80-200 zoom is a better lens, but I also suppose that it isn't 4 times better even though it costs 4 times as much the older zoom. Most people will not see or appreciate the differences except under the most extreme and, generally impractical, enlargement sizes. I'd recommend purchasing the 75-200mm lens if you can get one affordably.

-- Joe Barbano (joseph.barbano@symmetron.com), February 07, 2002.

Chris for what its worth Ive been using a Leitz Wetzlar 75-200 f4.5 on my Leica RE for about a year. I purchased it in mint condition for 400.00 and felt it has been one of the better buys Ive managed in my photo gear acquisitions. Its compact, light, uses 55mm filters, and is very very sharp based on the 8x12 color prints Ive made from 400ASA film. It is sharper than the old (fat) style 250f4 Telyt that I used to use by a good margin. I admit the new 80-200 f4 is a superb lens by all accounts, Ive been tempted to trade up but even used it costs three to four times as much. I would be glad to send some JPGs to anyone who is interested, scanned negs from the 75-200 zoom. If anyone has comparison shots with the older zooms vs the new one from Kyocera I would love to see them.

-- Ron Dixon (RDixon@stny.rr.com), February 14, 2002.

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