Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Started Aug 16, 2017 | Discussions thread
Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,413
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

teezy319 wrote:

Awesome! Thanks for the response!

I already own the 35mm f/1.4 and I'm currently doing a lot of research on my Leica R lens wish list to round out the kit. I think I've boiled down to:

- 19mm f/2.8 V2: for ultra wide angles.

- 50mm Summicron f/2.0 latest version: I've heard wonderful things about the Summicron 50mm and don't necessarily need the extra speed from the Summilux.

- 60mm f/2.8 Macro: Also heard awesome things about this lens and how it has great macro capabilities and can be a walk around normal lens.

- 80mm Summilux f/1.4: The go-to portrait lens from what I've read.

- 35-70mm f/4 with Macro: Gotta have at least one zoom lens, and this is supposed to be much better over the f/3.5 version.

After these 5 lenses, my research has pointed me in various directions

- 90mm Summicron f/2.0 APO : I've heard incredible things about this lens, but it seems rather unnecessary if I have the 80mm f/1.4. I haven't been able to find any side by side comparisons with the 80mm

- 100mm f/2.8 Macro APO: This might be the longest tele I need for the R system to round out all the focal lengths and I've heard great things.

- 180mm: There are multiple versions of this lens, and they all seem to be great. Can't decided between f/3.4 or f/2.8.

It'll take awhile for me to build up the funds to get everything, but I've definitely caught the Leica bug haha.

Glad to help.

My R lens kit is now:

  • Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5 :: The classic Zeiss Distagon 15mm lens built for Leica by Zeiss with Leica tuning and mount. One of my very favorite lenses. 
  • Elmarit-R 19mm f/2.8 v1 :: The original Walter Mandler design. The later version outperforms it, but is not compatible with the Leicaflex SL. That said, the Mandler design's particular imaging signature is delightful. 
  • Summilux-R 50mm f/1.4 :: Mine is a 1972 vintage lens with the separate lens hood. Another typical Mandler design ... slightly soft and glowy wide open, razor sharp stopped down. One of my most used lenses. 
  • Summicron-R 50mm f/2 :: A 1964 vintage lens with single cam and separate hood. Turns out this is an outstanding macro performer at magnifications greater than 1:1 with the Focusing Bellows-R. 
  • Macro-Elmarit-R 60mm f/2 :: Terrific macro lens, one of the best. Infinity to 1:2 in lens, add Macro Adapter-R for 1:2 to 1:1 range. Another one of my most used lenses on the SL. 
  • Summicron-R 90mm f/2 :: Not quite up to the APO model's performance, but some of the most beautiful bokeh I've ever seen in a portrait tele lens. If the 50 or 60 isn't on the SL, this lens usually is. 
  • Macro-Elmar-R 100mm f/4 with Focusing Bellows-R :: This lens was available with both focusing mount and bellows mount. Mine is the bellows mount variant, which means that on the bellows it achieves continuous focus from infinity to 1:1 magnification. An excellent performer for tabletop and other macro work, and relatively inexpensive; usually found with the Focusing Bellows-R for under $500. 
  • Elmarit-R 135mm f/2.8 :: A solid performing middle telephoto with excellent bokeh and speed. Reasonable size and weight too.
  • Elmar-R 180mm f/4 :: Excellent telephoto performance with very light weight and very compact. It even works well on the bellows too for a good longish macro lens.

I acquired this set of lenses (along with a few other longer/newer ones) when R system gear was at its absolute low point. All of these except the SER15 averaged less than $450 apiece at that time, a truly amazing bargain considering that when I first looked at the R system any one or two of the new 1998 lenses could have cost me more than all eight of those together...! Prices have risen since the introduction of the M/M-P typ 240 and SL bodies and their R system adapters. The other ones I sold recently to help fund a new Vario-Elmarit-SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 lens for the SL.

Leica put a huge amount of development into the R system lens line. They are all pretty darn great.


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