• #3490

    I am looking into jumping into the S system. I've read information on the lenses, but wanted to get some feedback from some users. Which would be better to invest in first? The 120mm or 180mm. The 120mm semms like it'd be more versatile.

  • #3491
    Josh Lehrer


    I've moved your post to a new thread within the S forum so that more users will see it.

    There are some key differences between the S-120mm and 180mm lenses. The 120mm is an f/2.5 lens and the 180mm is f/3.5. The 120mm is also a macro that focuses down to about 20 inches.

    The 180mm is great for landscape, wildlife, and any time you need to get close to the action. It's difficult to use hand held at shutter speeds slower than 1/500th and is not ideal for close-up portraits or low light (unless you are on a tripod).

    The 120mm is an amazing portrait lens and does great macro work as well. You can hand hold it at around 1/250th and be OK. It does focus slower than the 180mm due to the larger focal distance range that the lens elements have to travel, so if you are shooting any moving subjects, the 180mm is better suited to the task.

    Both lenses are superb, sharp wide open, and can be had for the same price. You need to decide what you plan on using the S system for. In fact I am sure many users here can chime in on their experiences with the two lenses in question. If you can share what you plan on photographing we can help you pick the right lens setup to start with.

  • #3492
    Jack MacD

    The easiest way to answer your question is to first ask you what lenses you shoot with most in your current system?

    I have the 120mm and use it extensively. I have shot with the 180mm, but I rarely shot a 135mm in 35mm format, so I rarely would use the 180 even if I had it. Secondly, there is so much resolution to spare, I can crop down to the 180 POV rather safely.

  • #3494
    David K

    I do a fair amount of beauty/glamour shooting and find myself using the 70mm and 120mm lens frequently. This past week I decided to remind myself what the 180mm was capable of…I liked the results and will try to incorporate it into future shoots more frequently. Studio lighting, base ISO, and the 180mm at f/6.8

    Attached files

  • #3495
    David K

    Here's another with the 120mm also at f/6.8. Don't think you can go wrong with either lens…or either girl 🙂

    Attached files

  • #3498

    I was not blown away by the 180S. That's not the same as saying it is a bad lens, just that I found it underwhelming given the price tag. In hindsight, for my uses, the 120S probably would have been a more practical choice.

    I also used the Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO on the S2 via the Leica S / 645M adapter. I think the Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO is a better lens with a more distinctive fingerprint. The Mamiya could easily go head to head with the 180S in a sharpness comparison at any aperture.

    I think I would have enjoyed the Leica 180S more if it had either a faster aperture or more reach. The Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO won't be everyone's cup of tea either; it's a fully manual lens on the S2, meaning manual focus and stop down metering. If auto focus and exposure are key features (for you), then the Mamiya is a non-starter.

    The 180S would probably make a very nice pairing with the new 30-90S and travel duo, but that really would depending on one's shooting style, preferences, etc. If you want to read more about the Mamiya 200mm F2.8 APO, here's a review.

  • #3499
    Pete Walentin

    Very nice review. Thanks.

  • #3516

    it is always difficult to give an advice without knowing for what a lens would be used.

    If you make makro, well, then the choice is simple. For fashion and portrait I prefer the 180, but you will need light for short shutter speeds, or flash or CS or both. I prefer the rendering and bokeh of the 180 (didn't test the Elpro thoug, as I'm waiting for it for some time now). if you make wildlife the extra mm will help you as well.

    Btw I'm more than happy with the Hasselblad HC 100 for portrait work.

    For all those lenses and focal lentgh on the S2 AF is crucial (IMHO), so a non AF-lens is not an option (for me of course).

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