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

Started Aug 16, 2017 | Discussions
teezy319 Junior Member • Posts: 32
Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

So I know the ROM versions are a little newer than the Leica R lenses with 3-Cam mounts, but I've found on ebay that generally means it's several hundred dollars more expensive.

I was told that ROM lenses are generally easier to adapt? Is that true? If only plan on using Leica R lenses on an R8 and not adapting to digital cameras, will the 3-cam lenses serve me fine?

Finally, should I always buy the lens with the highest serial number?

Thanks!

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JT26 Senior Member • Posts: 2,884
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

ROM is a little like the 6 Bit for M mount. If you are just using on film I wouldnt worry about ROM really.

OP teezy319 Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

JT26 wrote:

ROM is a little like the 6 Bit for M mount. If you are just using on film I wouldnt worry about ROM really.

Gotcha, so what are some cases when ROM mounts are preferable? Is it just in case I want a slightly future proof the lens so that I could adapt to other cameras and still have electronics?

 teezy319's gear list:teezy319's gear list
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Sjak
Sjak Senior Member • Posts: 2,625
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

teezy319 wrote:

Finally, should I always buy the lens with the highest serial number?

Lens condition is more important. Some lenses are taken well care of by their owners and will be in pristine condition after 40+ years. Others will be beaten up after a much shorter time. No higher serial # protects against heavy use 

The serial will help you determine if the lens is of the exact type you are looking for though.

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JT26 Senior Member • Posts: 2,884
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Yes sort of. If you use it with an SL for example I believe the Leica adapter allows the SL to transmit the Meta to the file which can make editing easier. However I wouldnt worry, I have 6 bit and non 6 bit and I dont have a preference. Although, if you get a good priced ROM lens it'll potentially hold value more.

For example a Mint 80mm Summilux ROM with box will appreciate... So would a few other like the 19mm Version 2, 50mm Summilux E60 etc.

But they aint cheap.

Adapting R lenses to a Sony is pretty enlightening, cheap to do and great results especially with R lenses.

JT26 Senior Member • Posts: 2,884
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Where are you based? UK, US, elsewhere?

OP teezy319 Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

JT26 wrote:

Where are you based? UK, US, elsewhere?

I'm based in the US. You actually gave me Leica store recommendations on another post haha

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David Kieltyka
David Kieltyka Veteran Member • Posts: 5,106
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Unless you're using an SL, which can read the ROM data via adapter, I wouldn't put much stock in ROM vs. non-ROM. Go for best optical and mechanical condition and let the ROM chips fall where they may. (Sorry…)  

-Dave-

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,386
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

teezy319 wrote:

So I know the ROM versions are a little newer than the Leica R lenses with 3-Cam mounts, but I've found on ebay that generally means it's several hundred dollars more expensive.

I was told that ROM lenses are generally easier to adapt? Is that true? If only plan on using Leica R lenses on an R8 and not adapting to digital cameras, will the 3-cam lenses serve me fine?

ROM versions of R lenses are the newest series of Rs, sometimes with upgraded optical designs, and on that basis will almost always be the more expensive lenses.

There's no difference in adapting ROM lenses to anything other than the Leica SL between the ROM and three-cam versions of the lenses. The Leica SL when fitted with the R Adapter L will automatically recognize and set the lens profile for ROM equipped R lenses. For use on an R8, ROM lenses inform the body about the lens and can influence the cameras exposure behavior when using Program mode or flash.

Finally, should I always buy the lens with the highest serial number?

That depends on what you're after. Generally speaking, more recent lenses might have improved optical performance and/or be in better condition. But some of the older lenses have their own unique imaging signatures that are valued despite later ones being technically "better".

I bought my R system lenses and bodies between 2012 and 2015, after the R system had been discontinued. I concentrated on buying nearly all 3-cam lenses for maximum compatibility between my long-favorite Leicaflex SL body and the Leica R8 body. (Even some 3-cam lenses are not compatible with the Leicaflex SL, like the Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 and Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/4, but these are few and far between.)

I used them on a Sony A7 for a while but was ultimately disappointed with the Sony's imaging behavior (never mind its haptics and other issues). I then used them on the Leica M-P typ 240 with the R Adapter M and was delighted with their imaging performance on that body. I now use them exclusively on the Leica SL and am similarly delighted with their imaging performance, and the ergonomics are just as good as using them on the Leicaflex SL. The lens profiles provided by Leica with both M or SL bodies and the Leica adapters help ensure that they image and perform as they did on film with the original R bodies they were designed for.

G

OP teezy319 Junior Member • Posts: 32
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Godfrey wrote:

teezy319 wrote:

So I know the ROM versions are a little newer than the Leica R lenses with 3-Cam mounts, but I've found on ebay that generally means it's several hundred dollars more expensive.

I was told that ROM lenses are generally easier to adapt? Is that true? If only plan on using Leica R lenses on an R8 and not adapting to digital cameras, will the 3-cam lenses serve me fine?

ROM versions of R lenses are the newest series of Rs, sometimes with upgraded optical designs, and on that basis will almost always be the more expensive lenses.

There's no difference in adapting ROM lenses to anything other than the Leica SL between the ROM and three-cam versions of the lenses. The Leica SL when fitted with the R Adapter L will automatically recognize and set the lens profile for ROM equipped R lenses. For use on an R8, ROM lenses inform the body about the lens and can influence the cameras exposure behavior when using Program mode or flash.

Finally, should I always buy the lens with the highest serial number?

That depends on what you're after. Generally speaking, more recent lenses might have improved optical performance and/or be in better condition. But some of the older lenses have their own unique imaging signatures that are valued despite later ones being technically "better".

I bought my R system lenses and bodies between 2012 and 2015, after the R system had been discontinued. I concentrated on buying nearly all 3-cam lenses for maximum compatibility between my long-favorite Leicaflex SL body and the Leica R8 body. (Even some 3-cam lenses are not compatible with the Leicaflex SL, like the Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 and Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/4, but these are few and far between.)

I used them on a Sony A7 for a while but was ultimately disappointed with the Sony's imaging behavior (never mind its haptics and other issues). I then used them on the Leica M-P typ 240 with the R Adapter M and was delighted with their imaging performance on that body. I now use them exclusively on the Leica SL and am similarly delighted with their imaging performance, and the ergonomics are just as good as using them on the Leicaflex SL. The lens profiles provided by Leica with both M or SL bodies and the Leica adapters help ensure that they image and perform as they did on film with the original R bodies they were designed for.

G

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.

 teezy319's gear list:teezy319's gear list
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Sjak
Sjak Senior Member • Posts: 2,625
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

You already mention possible overlap when talking about the 80mm & 90mm, this may include the 100 as well.

The Summicron R 90 can be had cheap for pretty competitive money if you settle on an older version (pre APO/Asph), and the 60mm macro too. Same applies to the Summicron 50mm, but to a slightly lesser degree.

If you take this route, you can already expand your collection against a modest investment, and re-sell later when you are ready for the higher priced versions.

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Godfrey Forum Pro • Posts: 29,386
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.

G

Sjak
Sjak Senior Member • Posts: 2,625
Re: Are the ROM versions of Leica R lenses worth the premium over the 3-Cam versions?

Godfrey wrote:

Prices have risen since the introduction of the M/M-P typ 240 and SL bodies and their R system adapters.

Also, the fact that they can be easily adapted to mirrorless cams from e.g. Sony and Fuji prevented further depreciation.

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