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Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear

  
 
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


Hello,
I am seeking advice from those who have experience with lenses in the 70-200 or 100-400 class of optics.
I have recently decided to build an Leica SL kit for landscapes and nature abstracts. The gear will not be used for wildlife unless it is something serendipitous. I already have a comprehensive Nikon Wildlife/Nature kit that includes the Z9, Z8, 24-120, 100-400S, 400 f2.8TC and Z1.4x converter. I have no intentions of using the Leica I stuff I own for wildlife focused trips and will rely on my Nikons for serendipitous landscape opportunities.

I decided to buy into the Leica SL system partly out of nostalgia for gear I owned in the 90's and partly for the simple elegance of the SL-series cameras. The introduction of the SL3 has led to a flood of SL2 and SL2-s bodies at bargain-basement prices. Furthermore, the bodies are built like a tank and very capable of handling extreme climate conditions. With a pair of winter landscapes trips planned (one to Iceland and another to Japan), I decided to buy an SL2 ($2600) and SL2-S ($2700). In addition, I acquired a Leica SL (branded) 14-24 f2.8 from trades and a Leica SL (branded) 24-70 f/2.8 on the FM board. The build of the Leica lenses are everything I'd expect from Leica, and this has me wanting the 3rd lens in the Sigma/Leica series.

So, again, with winter landscape photography and its corresponding harsh conditions in mind, I am looking for a telephoto zoom to complete my kit. While I'd love to get the APO Vario-Elmar 90-280mm lens, I am not interested in spending that type of money on a lens. I already have some very expensive Nikon gear, and my recent Leica "investments" leave me skittish about spending $4000 on another lens. As such, I am considering three lenses... the Leica SL (branded) 100-400 for its build that matches my other lenses, the Sigma (branded) 100-400 DG DN L-Mount, or the Sigma (branded) 70-200 f2.8 Sport L-Mount.

While I know Panasonic has a pair of lenses in this group and I could opt for adapted Canon or Leica R glass, weather sealing, consistent ergonomics like zoom/focus direction, and AF compatablility are as important to me as raw optical quality.

Knowing that the lens would be used for landscapes to compress or isolate subjects, and would be shot at f8 to f16 for 85% of the photography I do, what lens would you suggest and why.

Thanks and regards,
bruce



May 12, 2024 at 01:20 PM
flash
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


The Sigma and Leica 100-400 are made in the same place and have identical optical performance. The main difference is build. The Sigma is a contemporary lens so has limited weather sealing while the Leica has more comprehensive build and weather sealing. The SIgma is noticeably lighter but you need to purchase the tripod collar separately. The SIgma has external buttons and switches. There is some sample variation in both lenses. I had to swap out my first Leica copy so be aware of this. My current copies (one of each brand) are both excellent. I have the Canon 100-500L and Sony 100-400 GM to compare to and they are as good optically. I always say I'm going to carry the Sigma because of the weight but always take the Leica because of the build.

I have only used the Sigma 70-200 for an hour in a shop so I won't comment except to say the zoom ring takes a few minutes to get used to. And that I took a 70-200 to Iceland in December and really wished for something longer.

Your 14-24 and 24-70's are clones of the Sigma versions. In build and optics. The only difference in the 24-70's is the 82mm filter for the Leica. The Sigma variants are Art lenses so are also fully weather sealed. The 14-24, especially is excellent and apart from the lack of easy filter use has few flaws. It's good wide open and only improves a bit stopped down. It also does better than it should with CA. The 24-70 is already excellent at f4 and peaks around 5.6-8. Most of the improvements are in the corners.

For my summer Iceland kit this August I will be taking 2 x SL3's, 14-24, 24-90 and 100-400 plus a Leica TC (identical to the Sigma), just in case we run into Puffins. My Q3 and a 50mm of some type will find its way into the bag as well. If I built the same kit in Sony A7R5's it'd be about 700 grams lighter. So a bottle of water. I'm happy with that trade off for the improved user interface better build and slightly better IQ.

I've travelled all over the world with SL's and while the AFC can be somewhat behind, it's always been good enough for travel and adventure shooting. I have a Sony A1 for the extreme stuff.

Gordon



May 12, 2024 at 03:38 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


flash wrote:
The Sigma and Leica 100-400 are made in the same place and have identical optical performance....
...For my summer Iceland kit this August I will be taking 2 x SL3's, 14-24, 24-90 and 100-400 plus a Leica TC (identical to the Sigma), just in case we run into Puffins. My Q3 and a 50mm of some type will find its way into the bag as well. If I built the same kit in Sony A7R5's it'd be about 700 grams lighter. So a bottle of water. I'm happy with that trade off for the improved user interface better build and slightly
...Show more

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience. This will be my third trip to Iceland, but my first during winter. I've been shooting winters for the last 34 years or so, as I lived in Minnesota. Furthermore, I spent a chunk of this past January in Hokkaido, Japan and know that I value weather resistance as highly as image quality. I'm predominantly a Nikon shooter and have not experienced a weather failure with that gear. I do not protect my gear with wraps or weather jackets, as I find that these thing both increase the humidity and make controlling the camera very difficult. I tend to let rain and snow happen and dry the equipment when I am done.
While the Sigma Sport 70-200 f2.8 is a bit short, it has an internal zoom design and supposedly works well with the 1.4x.
Still not sure what I will do...

cheers,
bruce



May 12, 2024 at 06:07 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


One nice thing about going with the Leica-branded 100-400 is that it shares filter size with your 24-70/2.8.

Otherwise, I think all the advantages are in the Sigma-branded. Yes, you have to buy the foot and ring assembly, which is small, but effective and dove-tailed, and weighs less than the removable foot on the Leica. And I feel like the foot on the Leica branded is a huge design miss. It's way too close to the bloated body to be at all comfortable if you use the focus ring for anything. Yes, it is better built than the Sigma. I don't think it justifies the bloat. And having finished a tour of Oslo, Svalbard, and Belfast where the rain and wind just seemed to follow us, I will never again question the heartiness of my Sigma C's. Tiny, lightweight champions, every single one.



May 12, 2024 at 11:25 PM
OwlsEyes
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


freaklikeme wrote:
One nice thing about going with the Leica-branded 100-400 is that it shares filter size with your 24-70/2.8.

Otherwise, I think all the advantages are in the Sigma-branded. Yes, you have to buy the foot and ring assembly, which is small, but effective and dove-tailed, and weighs less than the removable foot on the Leica. And I feel like the foot on the Leica branded is a huge design miss. It's way too close to the bloated body to be at all comfortable if you use the focus ring for anything. Yes, it is better built than the Sigma. I don't
...Show more

So, just to clarify, you brought the Sigma branded 100-400 on your trip, am I correct? I do not object to saving some money on this lens, as it will be shot at f/8 to f/16 for landscape work. My application of it for wildlife would be opportunistic, as I have other gear relegated to that purpose.

I think if the Sport 70-200 f2.8 had an 82mm filter thread, that would be a slam dunk, as it would be compatible with the 24-70 that I use. The Leica 100-400 is appealing for its 82mm thread and integrated tripod ring, as these tend to lock down better and be far smoother when rotating between horizontal and vertical positions.

I'd love to see some sample pictures you made w/ your lens during your travels.
regards,
bruce

Edited on May 13, 2024 at 11:25 AM · View previous versions



May 13, 2024 at 08:53 AM
 


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stgrove
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


OP

I have the Leica branded 100-400 and the Leica 1.4x. I chose this combo for many reasons, but mainly an assurance of high quality inside and out as well as the ability to extend the Leica warranty to 3 years once entered into my Leica gear account. Even if you sell you can de-register your gear without penalty. Love the 90 degree detents on the 100-400.

I also have the Panny 70-200 f4 which I like as it has internal focusing. I used both of these lenses on my SL2S this past winter on 2 occasions and both performed to my expectations which is mainly high quality. One trip to Monument Valley and the other camping out in Death Valley. So all gear performed extremely well in those harsh environments

I also used the 24-90 Leica lens which as some have said has almost APO quality in performance.

I now have an SL3 along with my SL2S and find myself using the SL3 MUCH more than the SLS which is also a terrific camera as you now know.

I recently acquired the Panny 14-28 lens which is a terrific addition to their lineup and performed very well on the SL3 even out to the far corners and edges. It weighs less than a pound and takes a front filter which the recent Leica wide zoom does not. I want filter availability on all my lenses.

All my friends who have had Sigma lenses say they are very good, but are beasts to carry around.

My 2 cents.



May 13, 2024 at 09:54 AM
flash
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


With magnetic filters maintaining a same filter size is less important.

Gordon



May 13, 2024 at 03:16 PM
Abuttolph
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


Totally agree with stgrove about the quality of the Leica 24-90. That lens can be pure magic.

I purchased the 100-400mm and the 1.4x last December. I have the 90-280 and like it more, but of course it is limited to 280mm.

I am including a shot that I took when testing out the 100-400mm lens and teleconverter. The image itself is nothing special, but the results are pleasing and I was happy with the details at such a long distance (4-5 miles). Editing involved some small tonal adjustments, LR noise reduction, and a bit of sharpening.




  LEICA SL2    VARIO-ELMAR SL 1:5-6,3 / 100-400 | Extender L 1.4x lens    464mm    f/10.0    1/1000s    3200 ISO    -0.3 EV  




May 13, 2024 at 03:26 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


OwlsEyes wrote:
So, just to clarify, you brought the Sigma branded 100-400 on your trip, am I correct? I do not object to saving some money on this lens, as it will be shot at f/8 to f/16 for landscape work. My application of it for wildlife would be opportunistic, as I have other gear relegated to that purpose.

I think if the Sport 70-200 f2.8 had an 82mm filter thread, that would be a slam dunk, as it would be compatible with the 24-70 that I use. The Leica 100-400 is appealing for its 82mm thread and integrated tripod ring, as these
...Show more

Not me. Shooting Sony, I wanted a 100-400 that could take a TC, so the GM's my only option. But I did gear up my S-shooter guy with an SL3 and the Sigma 35/2, 65/2, 100-400 and 500/5.6 +1.4x for the Svalbard leg. He wasn't thrilled with being dragged to "frozen hell," as he put it, but, once he got acclimated, he really enjoyed the kit and decided to keep it. I did have my e-mount 10-18/2.8, 35/2, and 90/2.8 with me. The 90 saw some use on the boat, but the other two were my default lenses when the wildlife opportunities were gone. My feeling now is, if "frozen hell" can't kill them, the C's are more solidly built than the price implies. We just got back, so everything's waiting to be processed, but I'll see if he's got anything he's willing to share.

I've tested out the 70-200 Sport on Sony (so no TC) and found it excellent. I'm surprised we haven't seen a Leica-branded version of it yet, which, I assume, would get the 82mm filter. Flash does make a good point- magnetic filters can simplify things.



May 13, 2024 at 05:46 PM
stgrove
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Tele-zoom for Landscapes, Leica SL gear


Owlseyes
FWIW, finally had time to look for an SL2S shot with Leica 100-400+Leica 1,4x. This one 560mm, one color and one B&W conversion. ISO400, 1/1000, f13, cab't remember if tripod or handheld. I found I mainly do not need a tripod while shooting with an SL.














May 18, 2024 at 02:10 PM







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