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Leica R telephoto quandary

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Recently acquired a Canon 5D(mk 1) and Leica R adapter. Now need lens(es) to include something 300mm +/-.

 

Budget - under $1000. Please - no suggestions of superb $4,000 APO lenses

 

Looking for user experience that compares/contrasts any of the following possibilities:

 

1. 180 f/2.8 (Series filter version) + 2x R converter (non APO)

2. 180 f/2.8 (E67 filter version) + 2X R converter

3. 180 f/3.4 APO + 2x converter

4. 250mm f/4 (either version) alone

5. 250mm f/4 (either version) + 2x converter

6. 400 f/6.8 alone

7. 180 f/2.8 (either version) + 400 f/6.8 (I see enough 400 Telyts out there for the price of a 2x converter that I'd consider this option, too. Usually missing the grip and shoulder brace - but I don't need those anyway)

 

For reference - I have in the past on film used the 180(E67), both 250s, and the 400 f/6.8. So I have a rough idea how those perform alone (not with 2x converter). I also know the Lens Compendium reviews, but they also do not mention 2x converter effects.

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Mid last year I bought (in Australia) for $Aust 750 odd, a 350mm f4.8 lens (S/N 3,252,581) with its leatherette case, plus a new Novoflex R-EOS adaptor thrown in. Another is advertised here for over $2,300, which is too much. The lens I bought was in excellent optical order and fitted with caps. It is smooth to focus, although with a heavy action.

 

Surely an equivalent quality one of these is available in USA/Canada for under $1,000.

 

A couple of Australian addresses specialising mostly in Leica gear are:

ian_rivlin@hotmail.com

moshepulik@bigpond.com

 

Hope you find a decent lens,

 

John.

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Good point - I left out the 350. Most here are a bit over $1000 US - but worth looking for.

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Andy,

 

I recently acquired a 400 f/5.6 M lens with grip and shoulder brace within your price range and very recently a 400 f/6.8 M lens without grip and shoulder brace but with an extra extension tube for close-up, series 8 UVa filter, and original leather case for about half your price range. As you know, the 400 f/6.8 appears to be a much nicer lens in comparison, better optics and much lighter, seems downright usable. Attached is a quick shot with a D3 in a fairly dark room, ISO=200, f=6.8, 2.5s.

 

K-H.

Edited by k-hawinkler

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I would make one observation. If you go for the 180/3.4 APO +2X option, spend the relatively modest extra sum to buy the APO extender - which is far superior, and would not unduly compromise the quality of the prime lens.

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I would second that! The old 2x extender is not very good optically ( although it was better than the competition at the time) but the 2x APO is a lot better. I would, however go for the 1.4xAPO extender, if you have a lens that fits it - not all lenses do!, as that one does not impact image quality at all in normal use.

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I haven't got much experience of R telephotos however I did borrow and use a friend's 180/3.4 apo on my 5D and was very impressed with it indeed. It strikes me that of the options you list and added to, this is the only apo lens and I would suggest that starting with an extremely good prime would be a potentially better option, as any converter (apo or otherwise) can only degrade image quality and not add to it. So the best original prime would be the one I'd be looking for as a starter and if the 2x apo would fit as masjah suggests then this sounds like a very good option indeed - at some point I may even consider it as a longer lens solution on my Canons!

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Yes; the 2x apo converter does fit on the 3.4 apo ( the 1.4x not!) and the combo is excellent!

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I have the 250/4 Telyt-R converted to Nikon F with a Leitax replacement bayonett.

 

It is excellent albeit a little soft. Focus is also a bit dificult with a somewhat narrow DOF, but sometimes I get lucky:

 

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250 4.0 Telyt R second version, has a ROTATING tripod foot, not round tripod mount. It has a cousin 350 4.8. First version of the 250 is a clunk in handling. AVOID. optics are decent.

 

180 2.8 short compact version is nice.

 

My 250 while not APO, is only a touch soft at 4.0 on film.

 

Some people fail to sharpen digital capture. It must be done and done properly. I have used a few Leica R on Nikon digital and all are very nice. APO are outstanding

 

I prefer Nikon lenses for portraits.

 

Visoflex lenses work ok. Camera Quest sells a Leica to Nikon adapter. I have 65/90/135/200/280/400 & 560 and all work well. Naturally no auto diaphragm, but you do not get that with an R lens on Canon anyway.

 

I recommend a Katz Eye focus screen for the Canon if you manual focus.

Edited by tobey bilek

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Get an old Tamron 300/2.8 SP LD adaptall 2 lens. I've had 3 lenses in the 300 range and used them on my DMR. The Tamron, the 280/2.8 APO (non-modular) and the 280/4 APO. The 280/4 APO is one of Leica's stellar performers, but is rare and expensive. There was very little difference in perfomance between the 280/2.8 APO and the Tamron 300/2.8 SP LDIF - perhaps slightly more colour fringing with the tamron, but you would be hard pushed to tell.

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I've used the 'normal' 2x on 180 2.8, 2nd version [pretty good if stopped down a bit];

the 2x on a 3.4 APO [good], and same 2x on 2nd ver. 250 [just ok if stopped down a bit]

 

I've used the 1.4x on the 180 2.8, 2nd version, and it was good, even wide open, but better stopped down a little.

 

My avatar was taken with stacked 2x and 1.4x APO extenders on a 180 2.8 ver. 2. I shot it [obviously] into the sun with an R8 and it turned out ok. I've lost the original negative, so this is all I have of the shot

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Andy,

 

You haven't mentioned whether your 5D has had its mirror shaved so I'll assume that it hasn't. (In case you weren't aware, some Leica R lenses foul the mirror return path on Canon full frame dSLRs including the 5D.)

 

Here is a table of compatible R lenses and ones that can exhibit the problem. Incidentally, shaving the mirror is much more straightforward than it first sounds and a good instruction is provided here.

 

Pete.

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Incidentally, shaving the mirror is much more straightforward than it first sounds

I considered doing this to use R wide-angles but chatted to the repairer that I use. Trimming the mirror may cause long term problems as apparently there are balancers pivoting when the mirror operates to lessen its impact. Shaving the mirror will create imbalance which will probably result in increased wear. Its not relevant to teles so won't be needed here. For some wides (such as the last 19mm) it would be required and I decided it wasn't a viable step for me to take.

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Leica lenses look way better than either of these images on my D700 Nikon.

 

I have no idea if people do not know how to sharpen or what is going on.

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Leica lenses look way better than either of these images on my D700 Nikon.

 

I have no idea if people do not know how to sharpen or what is going on.

 

tobey,

 

Thanks. I have never played with sharpening parameters. What settings do you recommend?

 

K-H.

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for web-reduction sharpen, if you use CS4, Smart sharpen 35%, radius 0.5, more accurate off. correct lens blur. Fade 100% in luminosity (under edit)

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