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Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280 or Telyrt-R 280/1.4?

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I recently picked up an APO Telyrt-R 280/1.4 adapted to my SL with the Leica adapter.  I have reported in another thread that I have run into some issues with light leakage when taking 20-second or greater exposures using a 10-stop ND filter.  I have isolated the problem, and found it to be the Leica R-Adapter-L, and not with the lens mount, and I have discovered a simple and inexpensive solution to eliminate the light leakage.  So we can put that aside for the moment.

 

The Telyrt-R is a highly touted classic that tops the MTF charts in performance, and due to its relative scarcity (approximately 2,000 manufactured between 1993 and 2009), it is a lens that should prove to be a good long-term investment. Current prices for mint copies run $5,600 and up.

 

The truth is that this is not a lens I wish to lock up in a safe to fund my grandson's college education a few years from now; I want to take it to the beach, and to the woods, and to the mountains.  To shoot with it and expect consistent performance with minimal frustrations.  My primary use for a long lens is for landscapes, and occassionally for shorebirds.  And when I get really serious about shooting wildlife I pull out my old Canon 1Ds III and the Canon 500mm f/4 and fire away.

 

Here's my question:  Telyrt-R 280/1.4 or Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280?   I have the 24-90, which is the finest zoom I have used in my many years of photography, and from what I read, the 90-280 is even better. On the one hand, there is the beautiful classic, manual focus Telyrt that begs for a tripod, and on the other hand, there is the newer, autofocus zoom with IS.  Hmmmm?

 

My Leica friends, I would appreciate your input.

 

Thanks,

Robert

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APO Telyrt-R 280/1.4? Must be HUGE if there is one.

Only good for stationary subjects.

I think he means the 280/1:4, or more commonly 280/4. If you look at the front of your lens, I think you'll get where he's coming from.

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For the wisdom of an expert who's used both, see wildlightphoto's assessment here:  https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/275874-sl-90-280mmr-280mm-f4-apo/

 

This is a question I grapple with every time I come back from a 4-hour walk with a crick in my neck and thoughts of how many more shots I might have gotten with autofocus, and my opinion changes every few days or so.

 

Weight difference deployed and shooting hand-held is 378 grams, and not having to manage a focus ring makes the 90-280 seem lighter still.  

 

A consideration pointed out by others is that there are no teleconverters for the 90-280.  But to my eyes, the uniqueness of the older Telyt is best exploited by shooting it without an extender.

 

My strongest concern about the 90-280 was autofocus accuracy.  One of the local Leica stores was kind enough to let me borrow a copy for a day and a half, during which time I found AF speed and accuracy to be well to my satisfaction on both the SL and TL2. 

 

I'll likely hang on to the Telyt at least for a while longer for the simple reason that I'm familiar with its characteristics/idiosyncrasies.  But if I had neither and had to make a choice, I'd likely be more tempted by the newer lens.

 

 

 

 

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APO Telyrt-R 280/1.4? Must be HUGE if there is one.

Only good for stationary subjects.

One can only wish for a 280/1.4.  

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The question being on which hair to focus....

Yes, and whether on the front or back side of it.

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While I certainly would appreciate sensor OIS for my primes, I wonder what's to detest with the marvellous stabilisation of the 90/280?

 

By the way, it looks pretty evident to me that an SL2 will have sensor OIS, as an M11 will, it simply is the future. If so, you can still use the lens IS for enhance stabilisation, or turn it off.

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While I certainly would appreciate sensor OIS for my primes, I wonder what's to detest with the marvellous stabilisation of the 90/280?

 

By the way, it looks pretty evident to me that an SL2 will have sensor OIS, as an M11 will, it simply is the future. If so, you can still use the lens IS for enhance stabilisation, or turn it off.

 

 

The OIS has only two settings: On and Off.  Leica clams it automatically detects the difference between panning and "unintended wobble" but it doesn't correctly detect intentional camera movement other than panning.  I've repeated this complaint on this forum more than I care to but in a nutshell it's worse than useless when following an animal's random small movements because the OIS lags the camera movement.  By the time the OIS catches up with the intended camera movement the animal will have moved again.

 

BTW sensor stabilization isn't sensor OIS.  OIS = Optical Image Stabilization.  Sensor stabilization leaves out the 'optical' part.  I'm looking forward to an SL2 with sensor stabilization, this feature is very handy in my Sony cameras.  280/4 APO + 42 stabilized MP = WOW

Edited by wildlightphoto

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IS and OIS serve the purpose of holding the background steady.  In the best-engineered examples (Olympus E-M1.2 with the new 12-100), you can shoot cityscapes with the wider angles handheld at exposures of several seconds and get most of them super sharp.  They also handle smooth movements for video pretty well, and you can learn how to underlead a subject so that the lens ends up centering on them.  But neither of this situations is what Doug does, so I understand his comments.

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What often bothers Doug is so specific to his subject and shooting methodology that it's often a plus for me.

 

The image stabilization is why I wanted the SL90-280 in the first place. Without it, a lens of this focal length I wouldn't carry much because I'd only use it on a tripod. With it, I get photos with the SL90-280 that I would never manage otherwise, and I carry the lens far more frequently. 

 

I'm almost never trying to track the fast, erratic motions of a small animal in flight, so whatever lag the OIS might have simply doesn't become apparent in my photography. I like the fact that it stabilizes the image in the SL viewfinder and ables me a better shot at focusing critically. 

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Seems to me this can be solved by the addition of an optional tracking logic than to require abanding OIS.

 

OIS can correct more types of movement more effectively than sensor stabalization except rotation but that's not what this is. Plus, sensor stabalization requires a large image circle than normal so isn't something that can be added if the lenses aren't already projecting a larger image circle.

 

 

 

The OIS has only two settings: On and Off.  Leica clams it automatically detects the difference between panning and "unintended wobble" but it doesn't correctly detect intentional camera movement other than panning.  I've repeated this complaint on this forum more than I care to but in a nutshell it's worse than useless when following an animal's random small movements because the OIS lags the camera movement.  By the time the OIS catches up with the intended camera movement the animal will have moved again.

 

BTW sensor stabilization isn't sensor OIS.  OIS = Optical Image Stabilization.  Sensor stabilization leaves out the 'optical' part.  I'm looking forward to an SL2 with sensor stabilization, this feature is very handy in my Sony cameras.  280/4 APO + 42 stabilized MP = WOW

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Plus, sensor stabalization requires a large image circle than normal so isn't something that can be added if the lenses aren't already projecting a larger image circle.

 

 

I may be totally wrong but it seems the 24-90 has a larger image circle to allow for in camera corrections.

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What often bothers Doug is so specific to his subject and shooting methodology that it's often a plus for me.

 

The image stabilization is why I wanted the SL90-280 in the first place. Without it, a lens of this focal length I wouldn't carry much because I'd only use it on a tripod. With it, I get photos with the SL90-280 that I would never manage otherwise, and I carry the lens far more frequently. 

 

I'm almost never trying to track the fast, erratic motions of a small animal in flight, so whatever lag the OIS might have simply doesn't become apparent in my photography. I like the fact that it stabilizes the image in the SL viewfinder and ables me a better shot at focusing critically. 

 

 

My problem wasn't tracking fast erratic motions, these were slow erratic motions.  OIS would be much more useful to me if it could be programmed to read my mind and determine that the camera motion it observed was intentional.  (Sensor stabilization also stabilizes the image in the viewfinder.)

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My problem wasn't tracking fast erratic motions, these were slow erratic motions. OIS would be much more useful to me if it could be programmed to read my mind and determine that the camera motion it observed was intentional. (Sensor stabilization also stabilizes the image in the viewfinder.)

Unfortunately current technology only limits retina and mind reading to Hollywood dream factory. No AF system available currently is perfect and can respond as fast as our eyes and mind. However it does not make AF redundant in cameras.

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My problem wasn't tracking fast erratic motions, these were slow erratic motions.  OIS would be much more useful to me if it could be programmed to read my mind and determine that the camera motion it observed was intentional.  (Sensor stabilization also stabilizes the image in the viewfinder.)

 

 

I can't remember which manufacturer's gear it was, but one, possibly two, of the systems I had and subsequently offloaded had in the instruction manual a caveat that the image stabilization requires a "second or two" after a half-press of the shutter button in order to stabilize the image.  For photographing anything other than a stationary object it was useless to me.

 

Further, in two m43 systems that I used in which both camera and lens had stabilization, the more narrow the AOV was, the more likely it was that the focal plane in the recorded image would end up somewhere other than where I intended, technique be damned.

 

For my purposes the best stabilization is good ol' inertia combined with a reasonable shutter speed.  The IBIS in Sony and Olympus bodies when used with non-IS MF lenses would be a fairly close second.

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Back to the lenses, I would definitely get the 90-280mm. The only thing that would make me choose the 280mm f/4 is if you wanted to use extenders with it. About stabilisation, If you don't like or don't need the OIS for your kind of shooting, just turn it off and the zoom will behave the same as the 280mm - but you'll still have one of the best AF for a long zoom around. Physically, both lenses are the same size once you factor in the adapter, and the zoom is actually lighter (ever so slightly). Optically the zoom is as good as the 280mm. So, unless you really need to use an extender, it would be a no-brainer for me

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

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Back to the lenses, I would definitely get the 90-280mm. The only thing that would make me choose the 280mm f/4 is if you wanted to use extenders with it. About stabilisation, If you don't like or don't need the OIS for your kind of shooting, just turn it off and the zoom will behave the same as the 280mm - but you'll still have one of the best AF for a long zoom around. Physically, both lenses are the same size once you factor in the adapter, and the zoom is actually lighter (ever so slightly). Optically the zoom is as good as the 280mm. So, unless you really need to use an extender, it would be a no-brainer for me

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

What you have said is generally true. Loosing one F stop by using tele-converter against loosing sensor size by mounting 90-280mm on TL2 looks to be a more attractive option for me (have yet to try that). Not do I just gain AF capability but the lighter package over SL for an extended Tetris range just got more versatile. I'm uncertain how will the TL2's AF work with 90-280mm in terms of speed and AF tracking capabilities. It sure looks promising on paper at this stage. In real world, s longer reach telephoto provides a better reach for wildlife photography, Many have complained the reach of 280mm isn't quite enough for wildlife including me, however when the subject gets bigger in the frame, it would certain post a challenge to spot and track the moving subject more than a shorter focal length lens.

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