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Leica 180mm f/3.5 APO Elmar-S

Leica 180mm f/3.5 APO-Elmar-S

The Leica 180mm f/3.5 APO Elmar-S is the “longest” lens for the Leica S2, equivalent to a 144mm lens on a full-frame 36X24mm DSLR. It is almost exactly the same weight as the 120mm f/2.5 macro, but is almost 1" longer in length.

The 180/3.4 is capable of considerable background blur and subject isolation, great for certain types of portraiture or fashion photography.

Its performance according to its MTF chart is phenomenally good, and something only the very best super telephotos for 35mm DSLRs might approach. The 120mm f/2.5 APO-Macro-Summarit-S might be marginally better overall, but the distinction is minor.

The reproduction ratio of 1:7 means this lens gets reasonably close, and could be used for a fairly close “head shot”.

Standard 72mm filters are possible.


Nominal, per Leica.

Specifications for Leica 180mm f/3.4 APO Elmar-S
Item Value
Focal length 180mm (nominal), equivalent to 144mm in 35mm terms
Lens construction 9 elements in 7 groups with floating element and internal focusing
Focusing range: focuses to 59" = 150cm
Smallest object field: 1:7 reproduction ratio
Item Angle of view 17°, 14°, 9.5°
Diaphragm: f/3.5 - f/32
Filters: 72mm
Dimensions 88mm long X 151mm
3.46 in X 5.94 in
Weight 1150g / 40.5 oz (1300g / 45.8 oz for CS version)


Wide open at f/3.4, performance is outstanding over the entire frame. A lens this good would be the envy of many a 35mm DSLR shooter.

Stopping down to f/5.6 actually reduces central sharpness, while improving the outer areas only a little, so stop down for depth of field only. Perhaps f/4 is the optimal (not shown). The “wave” in the MTF for the 40 line pairs/mm is likely a trace of field curvature, but it’s of minor importance, because the performance is already so high.

Mouse over to compare f/5.6.

MTF for Leica 180mm f/2.5 APO-Macro-Summarit-S

Learning more

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