35-70/2.8 R Lens

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Tin Cheung Camera Company, Hong Kong, has a new 35-70/2.8 R lens for sale for HK$39,000 or about US$5,000 if anyone is desperate.

Following the earlier thread suggesting that this lens was back inproduction, I contacted the Australian agent who contacted Leica. The story is that leica are manufacturing this lens on a very limited scale, but ONLY to fill some back orders. I understand that Leica are supplying at the original list price but will not entertain any new orders. Waiting time could be up to 2 years if your dealer has "officially" ordered one.

No news on a replacement version. Regards,

-- wayne murphy (wmurphy@powerup.com.au), March 31, 2002


Actually that's a pretty good price - I saw a post (Photo Village?) for a 'new production' unit of this lens for $5,999.

-- Andy Piper (apidens@denver.infi.net), March 31, 2002.

Pardon Me Respectfully Please Andy,

Is $5000 a good price, when other makes cost much less, body included?

Is this a particalarly challenging lens to design given the maximum aperature?

Is the quality of the Leica significantly superior?

Please don't go into relative production numbers.

I'm trying not to be provocative, contrary to recent posts, but that's what I just spent for my temporary used car for my temporary home.

-- chris chen (chrischen@msn.com), March 31, 2002.

5 grand is an amazing price. But, I must temper with that the fact that the 35 & 75 luxes I bought cost me a prodigious 4900 bucks! Ouch...given the scarcity of the lens, and the fact that a lot of R users could find such a zoom indispensible (I know I did with my Canon), well, I guess it's par for the course.

-- James (snodoggydogg@hotmail.com), March 31, 2002.

Ah, if I may be so bold as to indulge myself again...

Is $5000 a good price, when other makes cost much less, body included?

Welcome to Leica.

Is this a particalarly challenging lens to design given the maximum aperature?

Maximum aperture is only one aspect of lens design. I'm not an optical engineer but even I can appreciate that fact.

Is the quality of the Leica significantly superior?

What do you mean by superior?

Please don't go into relative production numbers.

Which, unfortunately, has a very large bearing on the value of Leica items to collectors.

I'm trying not to be provocative, contrary to recent posts,


but that's what I just spent for my temporary used car for my temporary home.

Are you sure you're shooting a Leica right now Chris? The kind of questions you're asking are exactly the ones coming from people who have never before heard of Leica. Just curious.

-- Anon Terry (anonht@yahoo.com), March 31, 2002.


Let me think:

M3, M4 Black Enamel, CL, 40 Leitz 'cron, 50 "lux, 28 Ver. III, 35/3.5 all gone one way or another (sold or stolen)

Currently with me/without me (emphasis not on me) M2/M3/M4/M6/CLE, 21 SA, two 35 Ver 1 'cron Wetzler, 40 Minolta for CLE, 50/1.5 'rit, 50 4th gen. black 'cron, 50 DR, 65 Elmar, 90 TE, 90 chrome Elmarit, 90 LTM 'cron, 90 LTM chrome Elmar, 135 black TE, 135 chrome Elmarit, 200/4.0 Telyt, Viso II. Glad to be back in the states. It's the worst system, but better than has ever been devised.

Only Leica listed; don't get me started.

Nuff Said, 8*)

-- chris chen (chrischen@msn.com), March 31, 2002.

Is the quality of the Leica significantly superior?

I don't know how good the other brands are but the Leica 35-70 f/2.8 is every bit as good as the 70-180 APO f/2.8, which itself is significantly better than the N- and C-brand competition.

-- Douglas Herr (telyt@earthlink.net), March 31, 2002.

$ 5000 is a ridiculous price to pay for a 35-70/2.8 lens, even one from Leica. This is a collector lens unless and until Leica finds a way to produce it in quantity at reasonable cost. Then you will feel foolish at having paid $ 5000 for a lens that will probably sell for $ 3000 or less new with warranty. The fact that they are making a small number now suggests that the price will fall even if it is not mass produced.

These lenses were up over $ 7000 not too long ago. Anyone who buys just risks seeing his investment fall steadily. Sorry. Not a good buy.

-- Eliot (erosen@lij.edu), March 31, 2002.

Not certain of the exact price but believe it was listed when first introduced at around 3 grand or so.

Was dropped from catalog listing last year sometime with the note that production economics were such that they could not continue. (Ostensibly due to an extremely high failure rate of the assembled optics to meet their standards)

I suspect that many which were back ordered for individuals were canceled by them with refunds, but dealers did not withdraw their orders (which cost them nothing).

I would have to laud Leica for fulfilling their back orders to those dealers at the original price if that is the case, especially when they probably continue to lose on each one produced. I'm equally not surprised that dealers would charge whatever the market will bear when they get them in, due both to the relative rarity, and the reputation of the lens performance wise. They see the chance to make some hay.

The difference between the authorized dealer cost and MAP pricing (at least in the US)is smaller than most of you would guess and much less what it was 4 decades ago in the era of "Fair Trade".

No different than the auto dealers of today when a popular model hits the streets. BTW, their margins are also less than they used to be.



-- Jerome R. Pfile, Jr. (JerryPfile@msn.com), March 31, 2002.

To paraphrase from the classic movie Used Cars: "Five thousands dollars!!! That's too f*$%in' high!!!!"

Sorry, but my 2 M3s and 5 fast lenses cost $1K less than that.

-- Mike Dixon (mike@mikedixonphotography.com), April 01, 2002.

Get a Canon EOS 3 and their fantastic 28-70 2.8 lens and spend $2000. Another $1500 for the new 16-35 2.8 and another $1500 for the new 70-200 2.8 IS. Nothing wrong with this picture. Good luck.

-- Don (wgpinc@yahoo.com), April 01, 2002.

"Can't resist this one"........If someone is prepared to pay US$5000, it is worth it.

James, like you said, you got two f/1.4 lenses for US$4900. Plus they weigh less than half that of the 35-70 I think. You did well my friend. **grin**

-- Kristian (leicashot@hotmail.com), April 01, 2002.

well here i will give you some diferent input.... at first to be constructive: buy a 2/35 a 1,4/50 and a 2,8/90 and you will have better quality, more possibilities and not more weight and costs....but i suppose who spend 5000$ for a zoom lense has everything he can have before...and/or he has some problem with handling of money isnt it? well i am shooting in addition to my linhof technikardan 4x5" with an R8 and with a M4-P ( this camera i like really ) . if i want quality i allways use my 4x5" - this is high quality on a really other level than any leica can produce. if i want to carry little weight i shoot with my m4p with three old lenses: vl15mm 2/35mm and 2,8/90. i love this equipement for its size and for its quality too.......the R8 i use mostly cause i can use a 28mm schneider-kreuznach shift, and my profession is to shoot architecture. also i have an old 1,4/50mm for her and a vario 3,5 28-90,- 4/70-180, a 2xconverter and a telyt 560mm, also a 60mm macro. the shift optic is usefull, the other things i mormally use if i really need to do it. The R8 came through an occasion to me, its a good camera , but really not more...usefull in her is that some clients have a lot of respect to the name leica . this has some worth for me - if you like it or not. the rest of the r system? the 28mm exists for nikon too and the other lenses? no idea if they are better or not than the nikons...they are good enough..and i dont care this little little differences at all- every larger format is in every optical aspect better. so the R system is in my hands ONLY for very practical reasons in use ..and i would do the hell to spent 5000$ in a 2,8 zoom lense....... . and there are many things to buy around photography which are creative and interesting. so just i bought a 360degr. pano camera, which can use my 28mm shift and works with rollfilm- gives incredible interesting and extraordinary perspectives....for 3000$.

if i read the threads here in leica, not all, but 85%, of the people here are not sounding as they are in any way serious about photography...only about technic and measurements and the name leica. as i said before: if you want high quality change the size of your formats....a.e. a mamya 7 is not big too....and will be so much better than every leica optic you wont imagine this......(and cheaper). it is really rare nowadays to meet a professional photographer who use leicas , at least here in germany. and why is this so? because they are to expensive...the optical difference is NOT visible to good lenses from other companies and (for me not so important but for many other profs it is just a must) they were not able to construct an autofocus system. and now happens the same story with digi bodies. since some years the leica marketing is telling that next year appear a leica body who can use the lenses.....lets wait till 2010 maybe than will come this body...but it seems the company will break down soon for finanzial problems. i really understand if this will happen. so aristocratic politic they have made with their products. really ridiculous in some aspect.

well, my m4p is a nice camera i like her. i think it was build 81 or so.

-- rainer viertlböck (viertl@navegalia.com), April 01, 2002.


I have more equipment than I can possibly jusify; a car I didn't have and needed because my company is not providing one on this assignment. Price a rental recently? I'm given a per diem to cover my costs, and buying was/is the most pragmatic course, not a 35-70 zoom for an R which I don't have.

I'll end up donating it to charity at the end of the job anyway, as I did the last time I was working stateside and had a $5000 car (was worth $7300 to the charity).

John, I've seen new 35, 1:1.4 for $1199 "buy it now" on ebay, and Jack F. was recently willing to sell a used 75 for $1350. Although, you got new passport guarantees. Not to belittle you, but to inform others.

-- chris chen (chrischen@msn.com), April 01, 2002.

Rainier said "at first to be constructive: buy a 2/35 a 1,4/50 and a 2,8/90 and you will have better quality, more possibilities and not more weight and costs."

Well, I think the point about this particular lens is that actually it is "better" than these lenes, or at least on a par - certainly "better" than the 35/2. I think that the price is too high, but the thing that I think really counted against this lens was its enormous size. As Doug says, this is a legendary lens - better or the equal of the fixed length equivalents and f2.8 too. Sure it is expensive - but this is Leica-land. It was a bold experiment that shows I think that really good performance at f2.8 quality does not come cheap. The 35-70 f4 is a bargain in comparison. That extra stop is difficult if you want it to be really useable. It will be interesting if Leica really will try again at this lens and whether when they do the quality will be as high - my guess is that the answer will be no.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), April 01, 2002.


I had to go back to catch what you were talking about--I was just using the Used Cars line in reference to the lens, not your car! Whenever I see something with a price that seems outrageous, the movie comes to mind.

Even within the wacky world of Leicadom, spending more on a single lens than it costs to put together an entire system (with backups!) seems a bit odd.

[Note, however, that I firmly believe people are entitled to spend their money any way they choose. They can even send it to me if they want!]

-- Mike Dixon (mike@mikedixonphotography.com), April 01, 2002.

Leica just made a batch of 100 35-70mm F2.8 lenses of which 11 went to the US. I had the pleasure of seeing and handling one at Ken Hansen's today. A beautiful lens but too heavy and the asking price is.......$6800...I hope they redesign it and make it cheaper but I share Robin's skepticism.

-- Albert Knapp MD (albertknappmd@mac.com), April 01, 2002.

Sorry, I should have put the price of this lens in context. The original list price for the 35-70 /2.8 zoom was HK$25,000.

Because the lens was so scarce, discounts would have been non-existent, but $39,000 is a powerful lot more than the original list price. I have absolutely no doubt that someone will pay the ridiculous premium being asked.

If you owned one, would you do any different? Honestly now.

-- (w.murphy@powerup.com.au), April 02, 2002.

anan sure likes to pick a fight!

chris, why do you have so much stuff? are you a gear hound ;^).

i thought you travel a lot and hate to carry too much. sell me one of your 90's, i only have a 50 and it cost me only 750 w/m3.

-- Allison Reese (a_b_reese3@hotmail.com), April 02, 2002.

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