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ROM lenses for digital SL2/SL3


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Hi,

I am new to the Leica R system while recently acquired a good condition R6.2 from eBay with the 35-70mm f4.0 macro zoom. It's a very nice compact zoom. I am thinking of getting a digital SL3 in the future hence want to know if investing additional R lens is a good idea. My questions are: 

- would R lens on digital SL body a good idea? I have a few M lenses already but some are saying R lens works better in SL

- is there any advantage of using ROM mount lenses on the SL body?  

I am thinking of adding either the R24mm or R28mm and ROM versions are simply too expensive comparing to 3-CAM mounts. I believe ROM lenses will transfer focal information to the SL while the R-to-L adapter but metering still needs to be stopped down. Appreciate if I can have some advises before making my next R lens purchase. Thanks.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, stam6882 said:

Hi,

I am new to the Leica R system while recently acquired a good condition R6.2 from eBay with the 35-70mm f4.0 macro zoom. It's a very nice compact zoom. I am thinking of getting a digital SL3 in the future hence want to know if investing additional R lens is a good idea. My questions are: 

- would R lens on digital SL body a good idea? I have a few M lenses already but some are saying R lens works better in SL

- is there any advantage of using ROM mount lenses on the SL body?  

I am thinking of adding either the R24mm or R28mm and ROM versions are simply too expensive comparing to 3-CAM mounts. I believe ROM lenses will transfer focal information to the SL while the R-to-L adapter but metering still needs to be stopped down. Appreciate if I can have some advises before making my next R lens purchase. Thanks.

 

 

 

The R 35-70/4 ASPH ROM at f4 likely out-performs most R prime lenses within same 35mm to 70mm focal lengths at their f4 or smaller apertures - as documented by Erwin Puts in his book "Leica Lens Compendium". So unless DOF or low light imaging considerations, or older R prime lenses' image renderings, are important, it's unlikely that acquiring R24mm and R28mm Mk I will offer advantages. The R 28mm Mk II is far superior to the Mk I but is expensive. Furthermore, Leica digital mirrorless cameras' high ISO capabilities enable use of e.g., the R 35-70 f4 ASPH lens at fast shutter speeds – and the digital camera's live view image brightness is 'amplified' for efficient focusing.  

Regarding using R ROM lenses on Leica digital SL series, there are several threads explaining same within the Leica L Mount / Leica SL sub-forum, e.g., https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/304988-r-lenses-vs-modern-m-lenses-for-the-sl2/#comment-3884048

When buying s/h manual focus R lenses beware of stiff focus – sometimes sufficiently stiff to compromise accurate focus and composition when used handheld. Prudent to check with sellers ref stiff focus prior to purchase – some sellers tend to not mention same. 

The latest Leica Pocket Book 9th Edition shows MTF graphs for all Leica R lenses. The R24/2.8 is an adopted Minolta design dating from 1974. The R 28/2.8 design dates from 1970. Aspheric lens elements (one ASPH element was used in the R 35-70/4) were not on most mass produced camera lenses designers' radars in the 1970s. Canon was the first lens manufacturer to use aspherical lens elements in mass produced camera lenses c. 1971.   

BW, dunk

 

Edited by dkCambridgeshire
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R lenses work very well on SL series. Leica designed them with R lens owners in mind. They could have called the SL(601) R10 as well...🙂

Benefits from ROM lenses are limited and only applicable when the native Leica R-L adapter is used as I explained in this post:

 

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Posted (edited)

If you are looking for a 24mm lens for the SL, you will find many singing the praises of the 24mm 3.5 Sigma contemporary lens. It is very inexpensive new, solidly built out of metal, has an aperture ring, autofocus and very sharp edge to edge results. It performs as well or better than most of the latest M lenses in this focal length. Looking at the MTF, it is significantly better than the 24mm R lens, as well as better than the most recent 28mm R lens. They may have a look you prefer, but from a technical standpoint, it is hard to argue with the 24mm Sigma. Her is one that I took with it that I like and shows some of its character. It does have some vignetting, but that is easily correctable.

If you want a wide angle R lens, the 19mm 2.8 Elmarit is great, and the newest 28mm is also very good, but as you might have noticed, the prices have stayed quite high, partially due to people buying them to turn into cinema lenses. Most of the native L mount lenses are going to perform a bit better technically because they are so much newer (at least 20 years). The Sigma lenses in particular offer a really good balance of build quality and optical performance at a low price.

 

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Edited by Stuart Richardson
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Posted (edited)

You are right. Super wide angles are a bit difficult for R lenses because in the 70s and 80s, early 90s they were quite rare.
OTOH the old 28mm Elmarit is still and excellent performer for the money. And in particular the Summicron 50mm F2.0, 50mm Summilux F1.4, Macro Elmarit 60mm F2.8 and 90 mm Summicron F2.0 R lenses are absolute bargains compared to the M lenses from the same era.

And unlike the Leica M lenses, the history does not stop with 135mm for R lenses. They are less hyped by video boys, but they are very good, even compared to today's new offerings in the same price range. (200€ - 1000€).  For my eyes they offer more than enough sharpness and a smoothness and 3D pop effect that is hard to replicate with modern lenses.

Of course modern lenses all offer AF and some even OIS, so that would be my main motivation to buy one to replace my best R lenses on some occasions.

I totally agree that the best current Leica SL lenses, in particular the SL APO Summicron primes are technically superior, they will cost you 5 to 10 times more. 
 

E.g. my SL 601 with Vario Elmarit 35-70 F4.0 R


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Edited by dpitt
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4 hours ago, dkCambridgeshire said:

R 28/2.8 design dates from 1970

The 2nd Version of the lens (11333) from 1994  is very, very good 😃

https://lens-db.com/leica-elmarit-r-28mm-f28-ii-1994/

Ditto the 2nd version of the 19mm (11329) from 1991:

https://lens-db.com/leica-elmarit-r-19mm-f28-ii-1991/

Both these lenses show no problems on modern digital cameras at 60MP resolution, which is pretty good for 30-year plus designs!

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They are very good lenses! I just figured I would mention the Sigma because despite being newer and optically superior, they are going to be less than half the price of an R19mm or 28mm 2.8. I don't think wide angles tend to be "character lenses" in most cases, as they usually have nearly everything in focus. So at least for me, priority goes to size, weight, cost, lack of distortion and edge to edge sharpness. If I had money to spend on an R lens to use on the SL, I would save up for the 50mm 1.4 Summilux E60, which is a lens with incredible character wide open, and still modern sharpness stopped down. The 90mm APO, 100mm APO and 180mm APO, and super telephotos are also all still more than good enough to outclass all but the very best and newest of glass on L mount (the telephoto primes will still outdo the 90-280mm for example). But when it comes to the wider lenses I think you are paying a lot for the privilege of an R lens, but not really getting a huge payoff in character. All that said, I think they are very fine lenses. I had the 19mm when I shot the R9 and it was very good. I never had a 28mm prime as I had the 28-90mm zoom, which I liked. But if the focus is on the SL, I would pick the 24mm 3.5. I use it alongside the APO Summicrons and it fits right in. I still cannot believe how cheap it is, given how good it is and how well built.

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6 hours ago, dpitt said:

R lenses work very well on SL series. Leica designed them with R lens owners in mind. They could have called the SL(601) R10 as well...🙂

Benefits from ROM lenses are limited and only applicable when the native Leica R-L adapter is used as I explained in this post:

 

Useful link, thank you

 

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