Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/02/02

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Subject: [Leica] old lenses as good as new ones?
From: imxputs <>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 99 09:52:48 +0100

Christer wrote in part:

>Unless you are a
>        professional, use a tripod, Kodachome 25 or TechPan, a used lens will
>        you very well. I do not know what version mine is and I am not really
>        interested. As my Leica dealer once said: "All Leica lenses are good
>        for most of us, and do not beleive that later versions are always
>        than earlier ones; many changes have been made to reduce 
>       costs." (..... and to increase selling prices at the same time???)

It is true one needs to optimize the whole imaging chain in order to maximize 
image quality. I showed the Leica optical designers quite recently some 
pictures  made on tripod and TechPan. They were really delighted to see the 
quality potential available in modern Leica lenses exploited on film.
It is a fallacy to assume or state that all Leica lenses are good enough for 
most of us in day to day shooting (handheld, 400ISO and 1/30 at full 
The clarity of detail, the absence of flare and the high overall contrast 
coupled to very high microcontrast and the ability to retain gradation in 
small subject details are very visible in all picture taking situations. 
Especially when using the wide apertures.

The dealer is right on one account: if you stop down to f/8,0 the differences 
are diminishing. But they do not evaporate! You can see the quality boost.

I just finished the most comprehensive and comparative test of Leica M lenses 
ever conducted. The testresults of hirty-one lenses (old and new) are being 
evaluated right now. The conclusions will highlight why modern Leica lenses 
are vastly superior to older ones in all circomstances.