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No more love for the 24-90?


Olaf_ZG

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In another thread I talked about my desire for a native lens and why I sold it. To me, the SL should be for what the M can’t, so (tele)zooms should be a strength next to my m-lenses.

Leica managed to do with its lenses what it did with the body: almost every potential buyer is asking him/herself: do I need resolution (sl2) or do I need light (2s). With the lenses the question: do I need range or do I need light/narrow focus.

 To me light was more important than resolution, so I went with the 2s, regarding standard zoom my mind is not yet made up due to difference in price.

But one thing I notice, I don’t really see much love for the 24-90. The 90-280 is actively shown on this forum, the standard zoom not. Not much love. Why is that?

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The 24-90 was one of the best zooms I've had in terms of image quality vs convenience.  Once I moved to the APO Summicron-SL lenses I found that I would rather trade convenience for what I consider to be superior image quality.  Don't get me wrong, the 24-90 will outperform many prime lenses, jut not the APO Summicron-SLs.  For some the difference is not worth the cost, both financially and in terms of space required to carry them with you.  

One thing I became aware of when using the 24-90 was that the majority of my images were taken around 50mm.  It's how I ultimately realized that I "see" in 50mm.  Now I have the 50mm Summilux-SL, 50mm APO Summicron-SL, and the 50 mm LLL Speed Panchro ii for 90% of what I shoot.  Although I have the 35 and 75 APO Summicron-SL lenses, I keep them for very specific scenarios and most of the time I don't find that I'm missing much by not having them with me.  

 

Edited by Dr. G
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I've asked myself the same question -- resolution of the SL2 or the low-light capability of the SL2-S.  I've even gone as far as looking at the S 007.  I (still) really like my SL2-S with either the SL 35 APO or the SL VE 24-70, especially in multi-shot mode. The prints I get are excellent although my Canon Pro-300 can only do up to A3+ (13x19).  I doubt going bigger through my lab would make any difference in image quality.  

For everything I've looked at which includes the current medium formats on the market I just can't pull the trigger on any of them.  I'm going to wait on the SL-3 and see what that has to offer.  At least it'll keep my money in my wallet a while longer.  

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I am primarily an event shooter, so zooms are my bread-and-butter lenses. I love the 24-90 and just added the 90-280.  I have a wedding this Saturday and will have one on my SL and the other on the SL2.  Both lenses are the best zooms I've shot with and, while my APO 35 and 75 Summicrons-SL lenses are better, I still prefer the zooms for many events.

I have to use electronic shutter for best results with both the zooms.  My events are normally indoors and 1/125 sec is my standard shutter speed setting. It is fast enough to stop subject motion and allows for lower ISO and/or smaller apertures. At the long end of the 24-90 and with the 90-280 I cannot consistently hand hold crisp images with the mechanical shutter at 1/125.  About half or so just lack the sharpness the lenses normally produce. They are not out of focus, just slightly soft. No problem when using the electronic shutter at 1/125.  I can reproduce this at will.  At higher shutter speeds using the mechanical shutter there is no problem.  This "shutter shock" issue has been documented on this forum.  As long as I take into account this limitation, I get beautiful results from both and can recommend them without reservation.

Edited by Luke_Miller
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On 9/19/2023 at 1:25 PM, Luke_Miller said:

I am primarily an event shooter, so zooms are my bread-and-butter lenses. I love the 24-90 and just added the 90-280.  I have a wedding this Saturday and will have one on my SL and the other on the SL2.  Both lenses are the best zooms I've shot with and, while my APO 35 and 75 Summicrons-SL lenses are better, I still prefer the zooms for many events.

I have to use electronic shutter for best results with both the zooms.  My events are normally indoors and 1/125 sec is my standard shutter speed setting. It is fast enough to stop subject motion and allows for lower ISO and/or smaller apertures. At the long end of the 24-90 and with the 90-280 I cannot consistently hand hold crisp images with the mechanical shutter at 1/125.  About half or so just lack the sharpness the lenses normally produce. They are not out of focus, just slightly soft. No problem when using the electronic shutter at 1/125.  I can reproduce this at will.  At higher shutter speeds using the mechanical shutter there is no problem.  This "shutter shock" issue has been documented on this forum.  As long as I take into account this limitation, I get beautiful results from both and can recommend them without reservation.

Luke, when you use ES indoors how often are you having issues with artificial light banding and what is your protocol for discovering the banding at the job and avoiding a ruined batch of photos?

Thanks, Doug

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22 minutes ago, goodbokeh said:

Luke, when you use ES indoors how often are you having issues with artificial light banding and what is your protocol for discovering the banding at the job and avoiding a ruined batch of photos?

It's probably because he uses a fixed shutter speed of 1/125. That's close enough to half of the 60Hz grid frequency in the US, so every part of the image is exposed by one half of an AC cycle. Speeds of 1/125, 1/60 and 1/30 should be safe in the US in almost all cases. 1/40 should work too, because it corresponds to 3 half cycles. Safe speeds in 50Hz locations are 1/100, 1/50 and 1/25.

Banding is more likely to occur at speeds faster than 1/2 cycle (anything past 1/125), or at speeds that don't divide evenly into the grid frequency.

The cause is cheap LED fixtures that don't smooth the current (with a capacitor) after it has been rectified. It's a saving of a few pennies per unit. I guess that adds-up if you are selling millions of bulbs.

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Bernard, I'm new to the SL2. Last week I was in a museum in Victoria, B.C. and I experimented by using ES for silent shooting. Things went fine until I photographed a display with a clustered group of monitors which produced rainbow banding artifacts with shutter speeds ranging from 1/80 to 1/160 sec. I chimped afterwards for some reason and saw the banding in the EVF. I then switched to MS, reshot and the artifacts were gone.

This chimping discovery was just dumb luck on my part. It would be great to know what tips event photographers like Luke have when "under pressure" on the job to avoid possible ES artifacts. 

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I have often used the electronic shutter indoors (for the silence), but I always take test photos first to check the characteristics of the lighting, and whether there is a shutter speed that minimises the problem. It's usually visible on the LCD or EVF.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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5 hours ago, goodbokeh said:

Luke, when you use ES indoors how often are you having issues with artificial light banding and what is your protocol for discovering the banding at the job and avoiding a ruined batch of photos?

As others have posted, 1/125 generally works except with some LED lighting.  Any banding can usually be seen in the EVF or LCD, but if you are not looking for it, one can miss it in some cases.  For major events, like the wedding I have Saturday, I will be shooting the rehearsal tomorrow night with the settings I intend to use.  It is a venue I haven't shot in before and is recent construction so I will be looking for banding issues.  If it looks like the electronic shutter is going to cause problems, I will go to the mechanical shutter and use higher shutter speeds to mitigate the shutter shock.

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Considering the cost of 24-90mm used, it is probably the best zoom lens money can buy now. Optically it is nearly perfect and it has a great zoom range. It built very good, however there are two issues to look after:

1. Zoom creep - this will require it sending for adjustment to Leica

2. If zoom creep is not addressed on time, zoom develops a barrel play, especially noticeable when extended at 90mm

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16 hours ago, goodbokeh said:

Things went fine until I photographed a display with a clustered group of monitors which produced rainbow banding artifacts with shutter speeds ranging from 1/80 to 1/160 sec

That's a tough one, because video installations could be using any number of frame rates. For instance, in the analog video era, a European artist would have shot in PAL or Secam at 25 fps, whereas a North American artist would have used NTSC at 29.97 fps. Digital installations could be in 23.97, 24, 25, 30, 59.94, 60, or anything that the artist desires. There's no guarantee that a group of monitors are all running at the same speed.

You just need to test, try lower speeds, and hope for the best.

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In anticipation of the possibility of having to use the mechanical shutter to avoid banding at my wedding tomorrow I undertook a test to see which mechanical shutter speeds I would have to use to prevent softness from shutter stock.  I used my 90-280 at its long end assuming (dangerous) that it would present the worst case for both it and the 24-90. I shot, handheld, three images of a static subject at distance without refocusing at each shutter speed. I did the test sequence with both the SL and SL2 and results were the same for each body.  1/125 produced the expected slight softness.  1/160 was somewhat better. 1/200 was better still and I could live with that. 1/250 was slightly better and higher shutter speeds produced no noticeable improvement.

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My 24-90 is on the way back after being adjusted in Germany for closer portrait focus shift at long end.  We’ll see how it goes.  I love the lens for general use when you need quicker change of focal lengths.  

but I will likely not use it as much compared to the stellar apo summicrons.  

Robb

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I use the 24-90 80% of the time for theatre work because of the versatility in rapidly changing scenes. I would rather use a Apo Summicron, but I have to keep those for when a specific look is needed in a particular scene, rather than a wide range of shots.

Edited by LocalHero1953
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10 hours ago, _Olivier said:

I absolutely love my 24-90. I use my SL2 for travel, and take the 3 zooms with me that cover all focal lengths from 16mm to 280mm, but probably 60 to 70% of my photos end up being made with the 24-90. Most of these are 24-90: https://www.olivierdesmet.com/in-praise-of-stillness

 

Wonderful images, thanks.

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On 9/25/2023 at 2:12 PM, _Olivier said:

I absolutely love my 24-90. I use my SL2 for travel, and take the 3 zooms with me that cover all focal lengths from 16mm to 280mm, but probably 60 to 70% of my photos end up being made with the 24-90. Most of these are 24-90: https://www.olivierdesmet.com/in-praise-of-stillness

 

Ditto, nicely done images!

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