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Daniel81

R 60 Macro vs R 100 Macro

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I have had an R 60 Elmarit Macro for 6 months now, using it on my SL with R adaptor.  I got an excellent copy and the focus ring is smooth as butter.  I just got an R 100 Elmarit Macro the other day (quite a late model - serial number in the 39xxxx).  It is in excellent condition - the focus is smooth but very tight - a big contrast with my R 60. I may send it off to have the focus loosened  /  lubricated (when I put my ear to it while rotating the focus, I can hear a lot of friction).  Can anyone who has owned both of these lenses tell me if it is typical for the 100 to focus quite a bit tighter than the 60 ( it IS a LOT more metal, so perhaps that is just a normal contrast between the two lenses) or am I right to expect the 100 to be as free, loose and buttery with its focus ring as i am used to with the 60 (in which case I will certainly send it away)?  Thanks.

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I have owned both.  My copy of the 100mm also had a lot of drag on the focus ring.  The long focus throw of the lens and the drag made it difficult for me to change focus quickly, which is the main reason I eventually sold it.  Of the 20+ R-mount lenses I've owned/used over the years, the 100mm macro had the most drag on the focus ring of any of them.

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I have not had 60mm, but I had the 100mm APO Macro. It has a quite well damped focusing ring. It is smooth, but a bit hard to turn. This is done on purpose to make it easier to focus in small increments in the macro range. For action and quicker focusing, Leica recommended the 90mm APO Summicron and the 135mm and 180mm Elmarits. You should certainly ask Leica if they can adjust it, (they will probably want to see the lens regardless...), but my guess is that this is more inherent in the design of the lens helical and elements, rather than something that can be significantly loosened.

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Daniel, my experience echoes that of Stuart"s - firm, though perfectly manageable. For a macro lens used on a tripod, I'd rather have it that way round. My 50/2 is also quite tight, but my 180/2.8 Apo is the other way round - a bit too easy for my personal taste - but I gather this is not uncommon with lenses with internal focus. The 100 Apo moves externally, and has to be moved in and out quite a lot. I suspect there is nothing actually wrong with your lens, and that it's just the way it is.

 

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Hello,

Since very long that I use the two types, untill now mounted on M digitals body, I see them as two different uses and complementary.

The A.M.E.R. 100mm was purchased new in the '90, when I had the 60mm before that for some years.

Since new the "hard to turn focus" was something to learn, so I set the ring to the ratio that I need, then "focus" (leaning in/out) accordingly.

Two turns of 360° to reach 1:2 is something too slow for fast action use.

Good thing is decades later, after hard use, the AMER is always one of the best macro lens nothing can compare.

 

The 60mm is faster/lighter to use but if their results are nice, not really comparable to 100mm results.

 

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I was about to say that I don't recall the focus on my 100mm to be stiff, but then recalled it's just the lens head and focus is done with the rack and pinion. But it's an exceptional lens, the only one of my R suite that I use exclusively with a digital camera - macro on film being one masochistic step too far even for me!

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Thank you EVERYONE here for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I don't know much about lens design, but it certainly is my impression that its just a LOT of metal to be moving in and out externally and therefore, by its nature, the focus experience is 'heavy going'!  Amplified by the very large throw involved!  I agree, in the end, macro work is more about moving closer and away from the subject to 'get it right' (rather than using the focus mechanism)  . . . and the focus peaking of the SL helps that a LOT!  This 'heavy going' is just such a contrast with the R 60 macro, I found it quite a contrast - but its such a heavier lens with so much more metal and so much more throw to the full focus - it makes sense.  I will just learn to appreciate them to be two very different lenses!!  (and I do also have the R 180 which I find a real delight to focus - its like butter - I can really fine tune that way - but its not macro and the focusing is all internal - a different beast altogether!!  Conclusion:  EACH lens is unique, has a unique personality and unique application.  Thanks again to everyone here.

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