It’s been less than a year since I ditched all of my nice R glass in favor of SL gear. The SL stuff seemed like the more practical option at the time. And the R glass wasn’t getting any newer, even though I was still satisfied with the image quality I was getting.
Now the SL glass is gone, replaced by some much lighter M gear, which gives me equally satisfying image quality. But M glass goes only up to 135mm, and sometimes I want the option to shoot longer on Leica, depending on where I’m walking.
The Mandler-designed 180mm f/3.4 APO-Telyt-R is a lens I’ve wanted to try. I spotted a very new-looking copy on the local market a few weeks ago, but couldn’t justify pulling the trigger. Then an APO 2X Extender ROM passed right under my nose yesterday, and I couldn’t resist.
I suspect it was never my intention to completely abandon R mount for eternity, as I still have the R-L, M-L, and two copies of the R-M (one with foot attached and one without).
For 1/7 the current market on the f/2.8 APO lens, other than half a stop and a longer MFD, the f/3.4 lens concedes nothing to the f/2.8. It is just as sharp, lighter and more compact, and the focusing knurl is nicely damped. A problem I had with the f/2.8 lens is that both copies I owned had almost no damping on the focus. I had to focus, change my left hand grip, then press the shutter button.
I know what you’re thinking: anything to justify, right? Well, maybe you’re right. Let’s just hope that APO 2X didn’t open up the flood gates . . .