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The Leica 180/2.8 APO-Elmarit-R shows what is possible, with performance wide open that barely improves by stopping down, except to improve contrast slightly, and to provide more even illumination (vignetting) across the field. This is as good as it gets with diffraction quickly being the limiting factor.

The Leica 180/2.8 exhibits a clarity lacking with the other lenses. It’s a lens that will perform on 40-60 megapixel cameras with grace, and when the going gets tough (flat light, subtle tones, color, etc), it’s likely to excel in ways one can’t see on a test chart.

The price of the Leica 180/2.8 APO-Summicron-R is out of reach for most photographers, but used samples can sometimes be found for much less. The sample tested here was tested using the Leitax converter; conversion takes about 10 minutes with a screwdriver—very easy.

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.

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