Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/01/20

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Subject: Re: [Leica] 180 2.8 R-lens - any experiences?
From: Jim Brick <>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 20:37:06 -0800

At 05:27 PM 1/21/98 -0800, you wrote:
>Hello friends.....I am back from a 2.5 week expedition to
>Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Bali....what a beautiful trip.....
>tons of photographs to share with you all when I get
>my website revised.  
>In the meantime......I saw a used MINT 180/2.8 R lens at my
>local Leica dealer....I meant MINT.....the guy never used this
>lens.....they want $1300.  Is this a good used price for this lens?
>How is the performance of this lens compared to the 3.4?
>I know the 2.0 is the best 180, but which of the remaining 180s
>takes second place?  Does anyone have this lens, and can anyone
>offer ratings?
>Thanks a million....

I've answered this question many times. I've owned both at the same time.
Sold the 3.4 and kept the 2.8. Here's my take on the 2.8 & 3.4 lenses.

The 180/3.4 APO, I have read, was designed for the military and was
formulated for a very specific purpose. Surveillance at a specific
distance. The lens is excellent for its intended purpose, but in my
estimation, is *not* an all purpose 180mm lens. It does not like filters
(degrades sharpness noticeably, which I personally experienced), and it
does not like focusing closer than its "designed" distance. On the other
hand, the 180/2.8 new design, is bright, crisp-sharp, will take both 1.4x &
2x APO extenders, will focus close, loves filters, etc, etc, etc. So *FOR
ME*, and for good, sharp, Leica photography, with a nice bright ground
glass view, the 180/2.8 wins hands down. IMHO.

Buy it and don't look back.