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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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