Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/13

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Subject: Re: [Leica] shall I compare thee to a Summilux? :)
From: Ben <>
Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 04:21:08 +0000

apbc wrote:

> Yes I would agree that many Leica R lenses seem excessively heavy - 50% or more 
> heavier than many of their rivals' versions (but then they are built to last and > > you can't have it both ways). There are exceptions - the 80/1.4 springs to mind as > a package that is a lot smaller and lighter than the Canon 85/1.2 

The only L Canons that are heavier than Leicas are those that are faster
in aperture. When you get to really big apertures (relative to focal
length), even a 1/2 stop makes things a lot bigger.

It's not just pure bulk that makes something sturdier. The bulk has to
be put to good use. If not the mass just works for self-destruction.
Like carrying something heavy in the boot of a car. At impact the mass
just exerts force to destroy the car and occupants.

Yes, you can't have it both ways, but given the choice of two heavy and
strong/sturdy lenses, I will want the benefit of the wider aperture to
make the bulk worth my while. Some of the Leicas are heavier than the
Canon Ls and some of the Canons are heavier than the Leicas, but in all
cases the Canon gives you a stop or two wider aperture.

> <Well where are the fast Leica lenses?>
> 35/1.4, 35/2.0, 50/1.4, 50/2.0, 80/1.4, 90/2.0 - all built to professional 
> standards of rigidity and durability to say nothing of the image quality. Yes 
> Canon has a number of super speed fixed focal length lenses in the L series which 
> because of the size, weight and optical characteristics render them special use 
> optics IMHO.

It's not clear why you have relagated many of the Canons to "special use
only" category. At 550 grams, the 24/1.4 is not heavy nor large by any
stretch of the imagination. Neither are the optical characteristics
anything less than outstanding. It outperforms the Canon 28/2.8 at all
apertures, has less light fall-off and less distortion.

The 135/2 is clearly not heavy being about the same as the Leica
135/2.8. In optical quality it is sometimes said to be the 2nd best lens
Canon makes.

Yes, the 85/1.2 is heavy, but it too is of outstanding optical quality,
gaining **** performance on Chasseurs as well as "excellent" sharpness
by f2.8.

> In the 50mm range I have owned or currently own 28-70L, 28-105, 28-135, 50/1.4, 
> 50/1.8 and the only one of these which I would regard as a fully professional 
> grade tool is the 28-70L - the others get out of alignment very easily 

What do you mean by out of alignment?

> But to take yr points- the 14/2.8 is smaller and lighter and cheaper than the 
> Leica 15mm but the two examples of the 14 I have shot with are quite fuzzy in the 
> corners: I have asked Leica 15 users about this and they say FWIW the corners are > very sharp. 

Well, it's a bit hard to compare what you mean by fuzzy to what someone
else considers sharp. Chasseurs says the corner sharpness is good at
f5.6 and between good and very good by f8. That seems reasonable for
such a wide lens. Chasseurs must have thought so too giving it ****.

> As for the 135 - it is a good lens but IMHO is not built to the same standards of 
> durability and long-term fixability as the Leica 135: 

I have to say why? There is the issue of the USM motor, but that is the
price of AF. Apart from that I don't see the justification. Construction
is metal. What more can you say without doing a destruction test?

> As for the Chasseurs report - for what they are worth (too simplistic IMO) you are > confusing light fall-off with fall off of sharpness: 

No I'm not! Why do say that?

> two entirely different criteria. And what are they measuring in the 'corner' - is > it the corner 1mm or somewhere in the outer 3rd of the image or what? My 
> experience is the the outer 4-5mm of the image circle within the frame is quite 
> poor for the Canon EF 14mm, 20mm, 24TS-E, 28mm (1.8 and 2.8) and the 17-35 at 
> wider settings and very poor for the 20-35 at the wider settings. IMHO this shows > that Canon make lenses to a different set of quality criteria to Leica:

Very few lenses indeed perform "consistently" as you put it, at all
apertures. Neither has Leica worked any special magic here. Chasseurs
said regarding the Leica 50mm f/1.4 R "Sharpness is the best in the
center of the field, especially wide open, but poor in the edges".

I've tried some of the Canon lenses you mention above. I don't normally
have time to record exactly what aperture I've used, but I can say that
they are capable of sharpness beyond what I can discern with an 8x
loupe, even in the very corner.

- --
Judah-"Ben" Hur-Holmes TecoBen MichaelJackson-Ben Napoleon Bonaparte