DPR Forum

Welcome to the Friendly Aisles!
Register now and use your old dpreview username.
Enjoy this modern, easy to use software. Look also at our Reviews & Gallery!

180mm f4 ElmarR lens



The 180/4's lack of speed and lack of sexy optics made it the 'cinderella' of Leica's 180mm lenses. However, it does have some strong points and appeals to many people.

Firstly, it's a compact and lightweight lens that is easy to carry around and to use for hand-held shots. Its size is not much greater than the 135mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R and it's nearly 200 grams lighter.

Secondly, its optical performance is very good throughout its focusing range, which is from infinity down to 1.8 meters. This gives it an advantage over the more exotic and heavier f/3.4 APO-Telyt-R, which has a rather restricting minimum focus of 2.5 meters. While the APO-Telyt performs extremly well at the long distances for which it was optimized, it doesn't perform so well at near distances.

Thirdly, it takes the popular E55 threaded filters, in common with many other Leica-R lenses, including the latest versions of 28mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, 35mm Elmarit, 50mm Summicron, 60mm Macro-Elmarit and 90mm Elmarit. It also has a built-in retractable shade, which should always be extended when in use, to minimize flare.

The 180/4 Elmar-R is no longer in production, having been discontinued about 7 years ago. However, there are still plenty of good ex&les to be found on the used market, at low prices. If you can live with its limited speed, this lens makes a very good addition to a Leica R kit.


I used this lens for a while and I concur with everything Ray wrote. The light weight, compact size and good minimum focus distance make it a very handy lens and the optical performance is quite good. It can also be used with ELPRO 3 and 4 close-up lenses to extend the near-focus limit. I also found the bokeh to be excellent.

The 2 things I did not like about this lens were the tendancy to flare any time sunlight was on the front element, and I found myself wishing for something faster than f/4 on several occasions. Otherwise a delightful lens.