Jump to content
Tobers

Impressed with the 55-135

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I bought a 55-135 TL lens when I got my CL. The long end is a focal range I've been missing with my M10 so I was particularly keen to get hold of this lens, but somewhat concerned that image quality would be a bit of a let down. It is after all a fairly pedestrian sounding APS-C slowish variable aperture zoom.

 

I really enjoy landscape photography, so I wanted to put my mind to rest and see how it would perform in comparison with my benchmark 50 Summilux-M ASPH and 90 Summicon-M AA lenses. Surely this variable aperture lens couldn't be as good as those two little gems? Obviously I'm not comparing apples with apples from a wide open aperture perspective, but for landscaping I'm normally around f/11 anyway so the fact that the 50 lux gives me f/1.4 is largely immaterial in this case.

 

A brief but controlled test was required. Tripod, daylight white balance, similar apertures, same scene. If you want to see full res,100% crops and some more pics at wider apertures, take a look here.

 

Leica CL + 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f-11 1-15th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

LEICA CL + APO-Vario-Elmar-TL at 90mm f-11 1-15 ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

Leica CL + 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f-11 1-25th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

Leica CL + APO-Vario-Elmar-TL at 55mm f-11 1-25th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

I have to say I'm impressed by the results. The variable aperture, relatively slow 55-135 puts out some very sharp, contrasty images. Aside from a very slight colour difference which you could correct if you wanted to, the pictures are amazingly similar. 

 

This gives me a lot of confidence in the 55-135 for landscape work. When I'm hiking up a big mountain in Scotland next month I'll leave the 50 and 90 M lenses behind and take the 55-135.

 

I'm also now pondering the 11-23 as an additional short zoom (I'll get the 18mm prime as soon as one is in stock somewhere). If the 55-135 is this good I think the 11-23 should be pretty amazing as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you talk to anyone who has had and used these lenses since the original T was released you would have found similar opinions ...... Leica just don't make lenses that compromise on quality and these are no exception....

 

The 11-23 is equally as good. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also now pondering the 11-23 as an additional short zoom (I'll get the 18mm prime as soon as one is in stock somewhere). If the 55-135 is this good I think the 11-23 should be pretty amazing as well.

Your in a similar place to me.  My current thought is the 23 f2 as a keep it on all the time lens (the 35 summicron asph is my go-to on the M) and the 55-135 as the extra lens for trekking... Waiting for a used 23 that I bought before the weekend to arrive.  Just picked up a used mint 55-135 from the Manchester Leica Store (aka Stephen's).  Pssst - they still had one in stock for £1099 when I looked last!

Edited by chris_tribble

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a 55-135 TL lens when I got my CL. The long end is a focal range I've been missing with my M10 so I was particularly keen to get hold of this lens, but somewhat concerned that image quality would be a bit of a let down. It is after all a fairly pedestrian sounding APS-C slowish variable aperture zoom.

 

I really enjoy landscape photography, so I wanted to put my mind to rest and see how it would perform in comparison with my benchmark 50 Summilux-M ASPH and 90 Summicon-M AA lenses. Surely this variable aperture lens couldn't be as good as those two little gems? Obviously I'm not comparing apples with apples from a wide open aperture perspective, but for landscaping I'm normally around f/11 anyway so the fact that the 50 lux gives me f/1.4 is largely immaterial in this case.

 

A brief but controlled test was required. Tripod, daylight white balance, similar apertures, same scene. If you want to see full res,100% crops and some more pics at wider apertures, take a look here.

 

Leica CL + 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f-11 1-15th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

LEICA CL + APO-Vario-Elmar-TL at 90mm f-11 1-15 ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

Leica CL + 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f-11 1-25th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

Leica CL + APO-Vario-Elmar-TL at 55mm f-11 1-25th ISO100 by Tobers, on Flickr

 

I have to say I'm impressed by the results. The variable aperture, relatively slow 55-135 puts out some very sharp, contrasty images. Aside from a very slight colour difference which you could correct if you wanted to, the pictures are amazingly similar. 

 

This gives me a lot of confidence in the 55-135 for landscape work. When I'm hiking up a big mountain in Scotland next month I'll leave the 50 and 90 M lenses behind and take the 55-135.

 

I'm also now pondering the 11-23 as an additional short zoom (I'll get the 18mm prime as soon as one is in stock somewhere). If the 55-135 is this good I think the 11-23 should be pretty amazing as well.

You are gonna like the 11-23 just as much.  I've shot video with both on my SL (as well as some stills) and am very impressed.  Others say the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Do you find the combo big or heavy compared to your M10 and the Summilux?

Not heavy, but the 55-135 is longer then the 50 Summilux as it covers a much longer range, out to effectively 200mm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not heavy, but the 55-135 is longer then the 50 Summilux as it covers a much longer range, out to effectively 200mm.

I compared the weight of 55-135 with older FF manual focus 135s and they almost weigh the same. Only few are less but not much. I think 55-135 is light enough given it has AF.

Edited by jmahto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was on my list for next year. You confirm what I read elsewhere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think these zooms are fantastic - perhaps technically the 11-23 is the best, but all three are surprisingly good.

I had a really interesting meeting with Peter Karbe (and others) a couple of years ago . . He was fascinating on the design of zooms.

 

Basically - as I understand it  -

you can make a fixed aperture zoom. .

but only by throwing away a wider aperture at the short end (the implication that you could turn an f2.8 28-70 into an f1.8-f2.8 28-70 without changing size or complication)

 

Making a good quality lens is easier (and cheaper) with a smaller aperture, both in terms of quality and of size (think the 50 APO) This also works for zooms

 

Most companies make slow / variable aperture zooms because they can make them decent quality very cheaply

Leica make slow / variable aperture zooms because they can make them very good quality at a reasonable price / size point. 

 

I used to worry that the AF on these TL zooms wasn't really good enough, but it turns out that it was the bodies, and not the lenses, as they now focus really quickly on the CL (and well enough on the TL2)

 

. . . of course, stabilisation would be great (but would make the lenses bigger)  . . . maybe there'll be a body with IBIS later on (which would also be bigger) - but with the excellent high ISO and the auto-ISO settings I'm not finding I get that many shots with camera shake

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Just been reading through your T and TL reviews with interest.

 

I’m usually allergic to a 18-55 type “kit” lens so have been agonising over the 18-56 Leica lens. However, I’ve seen some amazing images using this lens so I’m going to get one. With the 55-135 it should be a really nice little combo.

 

I’m not sure about the 11-23 at this point ie whether I’ll actually need something so wide. But I will add the tiny 18mm once it becomes available. Plus I have a 24 lux, 50 lux and 90 cron available if I need them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was on my list for next year. You confirm what I read elsewhere

 

Merry Christmas to all.

Edited by jmahto

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm using the 24 Summilux right now - amazingly good. I'll post later; Xmas Eve is not a good time for processing images

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the CL primarily to use with M and R lenses; I more or less accidentally got the 18-56 with it, and I find that itis such a nice combination that I will get the 55-135 as well. I'll probably sell the 135 APO M, as I have too many 135 mm lenses anyway..However, the M Summiluxes fill a gap in the lens lineup and give beautiful results,  and the other M and R lenses work equally well, except for the R fisheye, which loses most of its use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest VVJ

. . . of course, stabilisation would be great (but would make the lenses bigger)  . . . maybe there'll be a body with IBIS later on (which would also be bigger) - but with the excellent high ISO and the auto-ISO settings I'm not finding I get that many shots with camera shake

 

I am afraid I probably have to disagree on this one...

 

The TL-zoom lenses are really too slow for indoor photography and OIS would really expand their capabilities.

 

Perhaps 2 versions of the zooms, the current lighter versions without OIS and a newer slightly heavier version with OIS?

 

I would really love a 18-56mm (or even better 16-56) zoom lens for the TL that has the same optical qualities and versatility as the 24-90 on the SL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slow - possibly, for some. Too slow? No. Training will increase stability. Having said that, a Summilux will solve the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought the CL primarily to use with M and R lenses; I more or less accidentally got the 18-56 with it, and I find that itis such a nice combination that I will get the 55-135 as well. I'll probably sell the 135 APO M, as I have too many 135 mm lenses anyway..However, the M Summiluxes fill a gap in the lens lineup and give beautiful results,  and the other M and R lenses work equally well, except for the R fisheye, which loses most of its use.

 

Leica T Zooms are slow. With today's high ISO sensor and SW noise reduction, they work very well for me for low light. There is still problems for really dark indoors where monopod is not allowed and no proper supporting for my Leica table-pod. But fast lens has the advantage on selective focusing and the generic image rendering. This is where Leica M primes are hard to exceed.

 

Said that, I found the selective focusing rendering of Leica T zoom very very sweet, not the same game as a prime with the same F stops.  It makes wanting a Summicron or a Summilux less tempting.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting your review. I looked at the full size files for performance outside of the image center, and was surprised to see the 50/1.4 rather blurry at f/4. The zoom is clearly better. My 50 Summicron-M is pin sharp all over on a full frame MM at the same aperture, and I’d expect the Summilux to perform on a similar level. Could this be related to the CL sensor glass?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Read more about our Privacy Policy