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R80-200/4: The best 135mm lens?

Michael Fan , Aug 07, 2009; 10:03 a.m.

According to the technical data published in Leica web site. When I compared the MTF graphs of R80-200/4 to M APO 135/3.4 and R APO 70-180/2.8, I noticed the MTF of R80-200 is better than M135/3.4 APO all the way. Then I compared it with R APO 70-180/2.8 at 135mm, when both at wide open, the 80-200 has a better MTF (I know this is unfair as one at 2.8 and the elmar at 4), however, at 5.6 and 8, again the elmar has a better MTF and this also applys at the 180 end. (The MTF of Elmar is not as good as the APO 180/2.8 but very very close)
Base on the above, can I conclude the R80-200/4 is the best Leica 135mm lens ever (or just in term of MTF)?


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Robert Meier , Aug 07, 2009; 10:28 a.m.

Very interesting. The R80-200 was made by Kyocera, wasn't it? How does the R80-200 compare to the R90/2.8?

Stuart Richardson , Aug 07, 2009; 04:05 p.m.

I wouldn't conclude anything until I had actually shot with the lenses. The 80-200 is a great lens, but MTF can be difficult to interpret, and of course, it doesn't tell you everything.

Jonathan - , Aug 07, 2009; 05:08 p.m.

Michael, I just took a very quick look at the MTF graphs on the Leica site, and it appeared to me that the M 135 had better performance than the R 80-200 at the three apertures tested, though the results weren't really comparable since graphs for the 80-200 were at the 80mm setting.

Could you provide a screen shot of the graphs you're referring to?

Charlie Chan , Aug 07, 2009; 06:28 p.m.

The 80-200/4 ROM is one of Leica's bargain lenses. It was designed, I believe, shortly after the 70-180 APO. It's like a baby APO lens and is stunningly good regardless of money (accepting of course its max f4 aperture). Looking at the files from this lens and my 180/2 APO, there's some difference, but not it's not vastly inferior to the 180 cron.


Douglas Herr , Aug 07, 2009; 07:01 p.m.

I agree with Charlie, it's a great bargain! Whether it has the best MTF curves or not it's a great lens with no bad habits.

Michael Fan , Aug 07, 2009; 11:23 p.m.

Hi Johnathan,
In Leica site, there're MTFs of 80-200/4 at 80,100,135,180 and 200 and I used the 135 to compare with the M 135 APO since I think we need to use the same focal length for comparsion.

Michael Fan , Aug 07, 2009; 11:53 p.m.

Hi Robert,
As MTF for R90/2.8 is not available and no comparsion can be made.
I looked at the MTF of R90 AA, since only MTFs at 80 and 100 are available for 80-200/4, again no direct comparsion can be made. When I compared 80-200/4 at 80 with 90AA, the 90 AA is better.
For 80-200/4 at 100, overall the 90 AA is better but at 5.6 , 20lp/mm up to 5 mm(Y'), the Elmar is slight better and at 5.6 40 lp/mm up to about 7 mm(Y'), the Elmar is more obvious better than 90AA.

Michael Fan , Aug 08, 2009; 12:10 a.m.

By looking at MTFs, I wonder if in some aspect in actual photos taking, the 80-200/4 is superior to its APO big brother? And as the 80-200/4 is too good, so Leica didnt make it an APO as it would beat its APO brother!?

Gary E , Aug 08, 2009; 12:51 a.m.

I can't say if the 80-200/4 is best at being a 135, but I will say it can keep up with the 70-180/2.8 with the exception of being a beast of a lens plus being one of the most expensive. The 80-200/4 is one of Leica's great bargains and only can be bettered by adding a tripod collar. I just feel uneasy locking this setup on a tripod only by the R8/9's tripod lug. Oh, you do know you probably just increased the prices on the last remaining stock by boasting about this gem of a lens...

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