Leica R lenses review (24/2.8, 50/2, 80/1.4, 90/2, 180/3.4)

WECC Leica R Review

    Leica has been a giant in cameras for almost a decade, starting from the 1920s the Leica starts to rise and shine, but today our focus is not on the well-known M series nor the medium format S series, but the lesser known R series. Leica AG had seized production of almost all of the Leica R series in 2010, where costs and sales were not ideal but Leica did leave a large precious heritage that is mostly affordable, great performance and adapatable to most available digital camera systems available in the market today, that covers Sony/ Minolta Alpha, Pentax K & Nikon F (through mount swap), Canon EF, Olympus/Panasonic 4/3, Sigma SD; mirrorless: Canon EF-M, Pentax Q, Samsung NX, Panasonic/Olympus M43, Nikon 1, Sony NEX/E, Fujifilm X.


Today I have brought a few Leica R lenses to the table for the review, personally I use these lenses on my Leicaflex SL, Leica R8, Canon EOS3, Canon Eos 6D and my Fujifilm X-E2, they were attached either through original R mount or adapters, adapters are available on ebay/ camera stores from $30 to $200 dollars, brands such as Metabones, Kipon would have costed a bit more with better build quality, some even had heliocord build in so you could have better close focus capability( mainly only with mirrorless mounts).

List of lenses to be reviewed:

  1. Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 - 3 cam

  2. Summicron-R 50mm f/2 - 2 cam early ver.

  3. Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 (E60)- 3 cam Later ver.

  4. Summicron-R 90mm f/2 -3 cam early Canadian ver.

  5. APO Telyt- R 180mm f/3.4 - 3cam Canada


1.  Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 is an underrated lense of the R system, despite it was designed by Minota it does have great performance and doesn’t cost a limb. Distortion is not obvious but light falloff does exist before f 5.6 but sharpness is above average.


2. Summicron-R 50mm f/2 basically came with two designs, the early ver (Series VI) and the later ver. (E55), unfortunately I only had the early ver. and will only be reviewing it. This 50mm comes with a very reasonable price tag as well, I got mine for about $200, it retains sharpness even wide open, compact size, almost no minimal distortion, bokeh is smooth but certainly the color gradiation is more of the older lenses kind, great presentation of metallic colors and subtle low light presentation.


3. Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 is usually an expensive lense but has great performance, great sharpness, very very smooth bokeh, the nearest focusing distance is 0.8m pretty normal for portrait lenses, best sharpness is at f 5.6 but even wide open it has above average sharpness and strong focus breathing as every distance focused does have a different image presentation.


4. Summicron-R 90mm f/2 Canada, this lense would be the main competitor to the Olympus Zuiko 90mm f/2 Marco but without the marco capability, sharpness at wide open is not ideal, but stop it down to f/2.8 then it gains solid performance, the 3-stage hood was a bit annoying as sometimes it tilts to the side a bit and only takes series VII filters which are proprietary and expensive, nearest focus distance is 0.7m not too bad but certainly the OM Zuiko 90/2 having marco capabiabilities would be more versatile to use, this leica 90mm is usually still having a reasonable price at around $ 6-800 dollars for early vers and more for later vers, a lot more with the APO 90mm f/2, if u could even find one…


5. APO- Telyt 180mm f/3.4, this lense is a giant with a small body, it has a small size but great weight as within it is 4 group 7 element design, one of Leica’s first APO designs but the most affordable one at roughly $600-1000. This lense is sharp at every f stop, but bokeh is quite rough, nearest focus distance is at 2.5 m which means marco capabilities are extremely limited without extension tubes. Words cannot describe how sharp it is, photos below would help explain itself, very handly as a compact package, at half the price and half a f stop smaller than the famous APO-Elmarit 180mm f/2.8 it is a good deal. (APO Summicron-R 180mm f/2 is great, exceeding allmost all expectations but would cost too much for any non-professional use….)



by Amy Wolff


Julian Richards, who has been a successful photo rep for 20 years, recently decided to close his agency and walk away from the business. His agency included a fluctuating roster of 8-12 photographers. In the beginning, they included David Barry, Chris Buck and Michael McLaughlin. Soon after, Richards added Dana Gallagher, Sian Kennedy, Greg Miller and James Smolka, and Henrik Knudsen. PDN wanted to know why someone with such a solid, long-standing reputation in the photo industry would choose to just walk away.

PDN: Did your interactions with your most recent roster of photographers contribute to your decision to get out of the business?
JR: Only inasmuch as they recognized that it wasn't making sense. There was a mutual understanding: that the organ the agency had become wasn't servicing the needs of its constituent parts. It's not dissimilar to an old marriage, replete with compromises, in many ways richly so. But there's that night you stay up till 3am at the kitchen table with one lamp on; you say what you've been thinking, she does too. All of it. Then you look at each other and it's: 'So what do we do now?' You go to bed, wake up the next morning and it's all still there. The full ashtray, the empty glasses, the mood of desolation. No blood, no screaming and no way back. The accumulation of doubt achieves critical mass and the years of working at it are over in a few short moments.


SOURCE (http://www.pdnonline.com/)


The last time I wrote a blog post about photography, I said “I knew going into this that I would never regret my decision. The Leica M Type 240 camera (with its lack of features and creature comforts) is everything I hoped it would be.”

I can tell you without hesitation that prior to selling the Leica M 240 digital body, it was worth it and it was everything I hoped it would be. Spending 8 full months with such a gorgeous and precise rangefinder digital camera was an incredible experience everyone should have at least once in their life. Spending the last 12 years with digital was in and of itself a lifetime experience.

By now you are asking yourself — “what happened?” — let me explain.


Source (https://medium.com)



Josh Wool is a Brooklyn, New York based photographer specializing in portraiture, lifestyle, and fashion. After a successful decade long career as a chef, Josh left his home in the South to focus his creative energy on making honest, intimate, and timeless images in New York City. In just a few short years he has established himself as one of the top new talents. This year Josh was honored with being part of the 2014 PDN 30 and a recipient of Visual Supply Company's Artist Initiative Grant.  Along with a growing commercial client list, his work has also been shown in galleries next to legends Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Lee Friedlander, Vivian Maier, William Klein, Saul Leiter, William Eggleston, and Garry Winogrand.



Geordie is a freelance photographer and photo editor based in Brooklyn, New York. In 2013 he was named one of PDNs 30 New and Emerging Photographers to watch

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