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Alternatives

Leica offered two other medium telephoto primes in its SLR lineup. These are APO Summicron-R 90mm f/2 and APO Macro Elmarit-R 100mm f/2.8 (with the second one also being a 1:2 macro). Both of these lenses offer exceptional image quality and typical of Leica lenses build quality, matched by (also typical) high price. A previous model of Summicron-R 90mm f/2 in E55 thread is a pretty good overall performer that would not break your bank account and is probably going to be suitable for most users. In addition to these two models, Leica used to manufacture slightly slower Elmarit-R 90mm f/2.8 and Elmarit-R 135mm f/2.8, but both were discontinued in mid to late 90s. The latest revisions of these two lenses offer very solid image performance, so both are quire popular on used markets. Outside of the Leica lineup (assuming you're entertaining the idea of mounting an alternative lens to your camera body), you might want to consider Carl Zeiss lineup of lenses (both old and new), including Carl Zeiss T* Planar 85mm f/1.4, Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 85mm f/2.8, Carl Zeiss Planar T* 100mm f/2 and Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 100mm f/2.8 all in Contax/Yashica mount. Or their newest revisions Carl Zeiss Planar T* 85mm f/1.4 in ZF/ZK mounts and Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 100mm f/2 also in ZF/ZK mounts.

 

Recommendation

Leica Summilux-R 80mm f/1.4 (E67) is a very interesting medium tele lens. The lens does show somewhat of a 'dual' personality, with somewhat lower resolution and contrast at wider apertures, which is not that untypical for fast lenses. Vignetting, CA and flare, while not strictly speaking minimal for a lens in this focal length, are not particularly bad either, and can be either avoided or corrected during post processing. Price is obviously always a concern with Leica lenses, but other then that its a pretty solid telephoto prime.

 

Sample Images