[LRflex] Re: Leica R lens 28-70mm zoom ?

  • From: "Neil Gould" <neil@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <leicareflex@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 08:59:42 -0600

Hi Ed (& Steve),

> Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2007 11:30:09 -0800 (PST)
> From: Ed Willoughby <ed_willoughby@xxxxxxxxx>
> I had the same question a few months ago.  Here is what I found on
> Google.
>   Hope this helps.  Ed.
Thanks for compiling this set of opinions regarding these lenses. Although
interesting, I still believe they are not conclusive about why one should
choose the 11277 over the 11364 because of a lack of detail about the
optical differences (what does "better" mean, a difference in contrast or
resolution or what?) and application (a 35mm is not equivalent to a 28mm).

I have the 28-70 (11364), which I purchased along with my R5 a few years
back. It is my first and only zoom lens, so my opinion of it is based on
comparison to my other Leica lenses (100mm APO f2,8 & 180mm f2,8), and
lenses of other manufacture (Olympus Zuiko 28mm & 85mm). Using the
Vario-Elmar has made me curious about the 35-70 f4 lens, but so far I
haven't had the opportunity to directly compare the two.

Having used the 28mm Zuiko since the mid '70s, I am comforatable with its
angle of view, and I would probably find a 35mm to be limiting. If one
needs 28mm and doesn't wish to carry an extra lens, the choice is easy.
Notably, at 28mm the Vario-Elmar has a touch more barrel distortion than
the Zuiko, and that might negatively impact some images. I am somewhat
curious as to whether Leica's fixed-length 28mm is better in this regard.

The 28-70's variable aperture is a non-issue for me in most uses, as even
an f3,5 lens lacks a shallow DOF. At the 70mm end, the Vario-Elmar's image
is decent though not nearly as sharp as my 100mm APO (surprised?). My uses
of a 70mm are usually close enough to the 100mm that I seldom carry both
lenses, and do so only if I think macro would also be useful, which
explains my curiosity about the 11277. If that single focal length is
sufficient for the shooting at hand, I leave the zoom at home. Using this
lens with a polarizer is a bit of a pain due to its fixed lens shade, but
as both lenses share the same mechanical build, this issue is likely to be

Even given the great strides in optical design over the last few decades,
my experiences with the Vario-Elmar convince me that fixed-length lenses
are still better optically, and that a zoom lens is mainly a matter of
convenience. So, my uses of the Vario-Elmar are typically restricted to
shooting indoors or at gatherings where I might want to take group and
individual shots. In the end, I'm rather skeptical that I would appreciate
the difference in image quality between the 28-70 and 35-70, and I'd have
to be shown a very good reason to swap a shorter zoom range for the longer

Best regards,


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