Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

  1. #1
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    I just posted a review of the Leica 16-18-21mm Tri-Elmar used at 16mm tested against the Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL. The new Voigtlander surprised me with an incredible performance at infinity all over the frame - and no colour casts to be seen.

    To read the article, click on the link below:

    LEICA 16-18-21MM TRI-ELMAR VS VOIGTLANDER 15MM SUPER WIDE-HELIAR III REVIEW ON THE LEICA SL

    Enjoy. Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS
    Thanks 2 Member(s) thanked for this post
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,605
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    I just posted a review of the Leica 16-18-21mm Tri-Elmar used at 16mm tested against the Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL. The new Voigtlander surprised me with an incredible performance at infinity all over the frame - and no colour casts to be seen. ...
    Sounds good, Vieri!

    One thing in your test I question: you said in your report ".. focusing both lenses at infinity using their infinity stop .."

    I know that with an ultra wide 15-16mm lens that it's very difficult to see the migration of focus at/near infinity, but I've found that with my Tri-Elmar 16-18-21mm the sharpest "infinity" setting is when the focusing mount has been turned about 3mm off the infinity mark. Like many lenses on adapters, it seems to focus just very slightly beyond infinity per the registration index. There's a chance that the slightly better performance of the Voigtländer 15mm is due to it being actually just a hair closer to its true infinity when at the infinity mark on the mount adapter.

    My WATE has the same focusing step between the RF and scale-only, but is just as smooth to turn in the scale only segment. It just take a tiny bit more force to turn it. Overall, like I find with other M lenses on the SL, focusing with it works better on the M than on the SL for me.

    I have both the Tri-Elmar and the Super-Elmar-R 15mm. They are both fabulous lenses. I find the SER15 produces results I like a bit more and is easier to focus. It has a more pronounced case of focusing past infinity, but focuses much closer than the WATE. The WATE is slightly sharper at corners and edges; but I somehow prefer the image rendering on the SER15.

    Of course, I bought the WATE because it very usable on both M and SL, where the SER15 is clumsy on the M due to its size and weight. I use the WATE mostly at 21mm on the M, and mostly at 16mm on the SL. :-)

    G

  3. #3
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    k-hawinkler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    The "Land of Enchantment"
    Posts
    2,617
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    I just posted a review of the Leica 16-18-21mm Tri-Elmar used at 16mm tested against the Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL. The new Voigtlander surprised me with an incredible performance at infinity all over the frame - and no colour casts to be seen.

    To read the article, click on the link below:

    LEICA 16-18-21MM TRI-ELMAR VS VOIGTLANDER 15MM SUPER WIDE-HELIAR III REVIEW ON THE LEICA SL

    Enjoy. Best,

    Vieri

    Many thanks Vieri. It looks like you got a good copy of the Voigtländer 15/4.5 III and avoided the problems described here http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1425842/0.

    BTW, I find my WATE exhibits more geometrical distortion than my 15/4.5 III, referred to as Choppy in the above reference.
    With best regards, K-H.
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    No CA
    Posts
    696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Many many thanks, Vieri, for such a thorough review. I have Joe Colson's old WATE and it behaves just as you say. For landscapes I almost always focus it at 3m or 5m, and DOF takes care of the rest; so the issue of infinity focus never comes up for me in practice.

    My copy isn't quite as sharp in corners at 16mm as at 18 or 21, so my guess is that it would match/surpass CV and some other lenses at its two other focal lengths.

    I never acquired Leica M lenses below 24. For widest angles I relied on ZM. The WATE rendering, warmer and less of the 'C-word,' is more to my liking than ZMs.

    IMO there are two sides to the issue of weight - the greater weight of the WATE comprises three focal lengths, so it, a 24 and a MATE are a 3-lens landscape kit with 7 focal lengths for those who shoot wide and, for weight, aim low.

    With used M lenses apparently selling for less, this isn't even as expensive a kit as you'd think, if you add up the primes.

    Thx again,

    Kirk

    PS, I find the WATE's Frankenfinder indispensable for deciding in the first place between 16-18, etc.
    Last edited by thompsonkirk; 18th July 2016 at 00:06.
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

  5. #5
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Sounds good, Vieri!

    One thing in your test I question: you said in your report ".. focusing both lenses at infinity using their infinity stop .."

    I know that with an ultra wide 15-16mm lens that it's very difficult to see the migration of focus at/near infinity, but I've found that with my Tri-Elmar 16-18-21mm the sharpest "infinity" setting is when the focusing mount has been turned about 3mm off the infinity mark. Like many lenses on adapters, it seems to focus just very slightly beyond infinity per the registration index. There's a chance that the slightly better performance of the Voigtländer 15mm is due to it being actually just a hair closer to its true infinity when at the infinity mark on the mount adapter.

    My WATE has the same focusing step between the RF and scale-only, but is just as smooth to turn in the scale only segment. It just take a tiny bit more force to turn it. Overall, like I find with other M lenses on the SL, focusing with it works better on the M than on the SL for me.

    I have both the Tri-Elmar and the Super-Elmar-R 15mm. They are both fabulous lenses. I find the SER15 produces results I like a bit more and is easier to focus. It has a more pronounced case of focusing past infinity, but focuses much closer than the WATE. The WATE is slightly sharper at corners and edges; but I somehow prefer the image rendering on the SER15.

    Of course, I bought the WATE because it very usable on both M and SL, where the SER15 is clumsy on the M due to its size and weight. I use the WATE mostly at 21mm on the M, and mostly at 16mm on the SL. :-)

    G
    Hello Godfrey,

    thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed it. As far as the thing you question, I think that when testing lenses I have to "level the field" as much as possible between the lenses I test. Same adapter, same infinity position on the lens; if the results are different due to the optical design of the lens, i.e. one is better than the other by design, so to speak, then the test will show it. If one looks worse than the other because its hard infinity stop is not exactly where it should be, and there is a workaround that makes it perform better, well - it would not have been fair to test it in the "corrected" position, IMHO, since if there is an infinity stop on a lens I expect it to be at infinity where it is supposed to be at infinity, not somewhere else. Especially for a Leica lens, which I expect to be the pinnacle not only of optical design but also of construction and precision - and I pay for that excellence, princely, so I have the right to expect it. To me, if the problem is caused by the infinity stop being off, well - this too is part of a test result. More, suppose for a second that rather than being off on the side of infinity that you report, the lens were off on the other side: in that case, there wouldn't be any possibility of getting perfect focus at infinity... so, I think that my methodology is correct (as possible, we all are humans of course), and if you are right then Leica should pay better attention during their QC.

    About focus past 0.7 m, that's not a big issue; I think it's actually helpful if you focus the lens on a M, but since I was testing both lenses on the SL I do prefer the Voigtlander seamless focusing action on the SL compared to the Tri-Elmar.

    Generally speaking, I think I am on the opposite side of the focusing fence: I rather prefer to use WA under 28mm on the SL than on the M. I find the focus magnification a godsend, making it extremely easy to focus a WA and Ultra-WA lens perfectly and no matter where you intend to focus it, getting rid of all the focus-and-recompose focusing errors that moving a camera creates (and that Hasselblad tried to fix in their MF cameras).

    About the 15mm R, I heard only great things about, and if I will ever find a good copy you can be sure I'll get it immediately

    Best regards,

    Vieri
    Last edited by vieri; 19th July 2016 at 10:57.
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS

  6. #6
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    Many thanks Vieri. It looks like you got a good copy of the Voigtländer 15/4.5 III and avoided the problems described here http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1425842/0.

    BTW, I find my WATE exhibits more geometrical distortion than my 15/4.5 III, referred to as Choppy in the above reference.
    You are very welcome, K-H, glad you enjoyed it. Yes, my copy (a VM copy, not E) seems to work perfectly. About distortion, my WATE - as you can see from the test images - is very well corrected, and so is the 15 CV III.

    Best regards,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS

  7. #7
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonkirk View Post
    Many many thanks, Vieri, for such a thorough review. I have Joe Colson's old WATE and it behaves just as you say. For landscapes I almost always focus it at 3m or 5m, and DOF takes care of the rest; so the issue of infinity focus never comes up for me in practice.

    My copy isn't quite as sharp in corners at 16mm as at 18 or 21, so my guess is that it would match/surpass CV and some other lenses at its two other focal lengths.

    I never acquired Leica M lenses below 24. For widest angles I relied on ZM. The WATE rendering, warmer and less of the 'C-word,' is more to my liking than ZMs.

    IMO there are two sides to the issue of weight - the greater weight of the WATE comprises three focal lengths, so it, a 24 and a MATE are a 3-lens landscape kit with 7 focal lengths for those who shoot wide and, for weight, aim low.

    With used M lenses apparently selling for less, this isn't even as expensive a kit as you'd think, if you add up the primes.

    Thx again,

    Kirk

    PS, I find the WATE's Frankenfinder indispensable for deciding in the first place between 16-18, etc.
    Hello Kirk,

    thank you for your message, I am glad you enjoyed it. Yes, you can work around the infinity problem; however, I found it correct to point it out in my review. I also agree that the WATE is better at 18 and 21mm in the extreme corners.

    About weight, the difference between the lenses is not that big; 90 gr is not much, and if you add a slow 21mm to it you have to add 136 gr for the Voigtlander or 279 gr for the slightly faster Leica; so, considering a kit of 15-21 to replace the WATE, you'll be adding 40 gr or 190 gr, which in the big scale of things is not a big deal. This, of course, without covering 18mm as well (which, honestly, I don't think is paramount if you have 15 and 21 covered).

    If possible, I will test the WATE at 21mm against the CV 21mm skopar and the Leica 21m f/3.4, but not anytime soon I guess. I will be curious to see how they compare.

    Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS
    Thanks 1 Member(s) thanked for this post

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    No CA
    Posts
    696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Don't hurry to do that on my behalf - I'll just stick with the WATE even if you test and find something a little bit technically better!

    Have always admired your landscape posts,

    Kirk

  9. #9
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by thompsonkirk View Post
    Don't hurry to do that on my behalf - I'll just stick with the WATE even if you test and find something a little bit technically better!

    Have always admired your landscape posts,

    Kirk
    Thank you Kirk, I already planned to do it, no worries just don't know when I'll have a chance to do it.

    Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS

  10. #10
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,605
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    ...
    ... I think that when testing lenses I have to "level the field" as much as possible between the lenses I test. Same adapter, same infinity position on the lens; if the results are different due to the optical design of the lens, i.e. one is better than the other by design, so to speak, then the test will show it. If one looks worse than the other because its hard infinity stop is not exactly where it should be, and there is a workaround that makes it perform better, well - it would not have been fair to test it in the "corrected" position ...

    About focus past 0.7 m, that's not a big issue; I think it's actually helpful if you focus the lens on a M, but since I was testing both lenses on the SL I do prefer the Voigtlander seamless focusing action on the SL compared to the Tri-Elmar.

    .. About the 15mm R, I heard only great things about, and if I will ever find a good copy you can be sure I'll get it immediately
    (bolded 1) I understand, but I disagree. You are working with adapted lenses. Mount adapters, even Leica mount adapters, are manufactured a little bit short in order to ensure that every lens fitted to them can reach infinity, regardless of age and manufacture. This is done on purpose: since you are focusing through the lens on the SL, a lens mount that focuses a hair past infinity is not a big deal to work with, it just costs a little close-up distance.

    If precise registration of infinity focus is essential to your working methodology, you have to calibrate the mount adapter and be sure it works with all the lenses you are going to use with it. On another list, someone said they fitted a 0.09mm thick shim in the M Adapter T in order to absolutely calibrate infinity focus.

    The same applies to the CV15iii; it just happens that your example might align to infinity on the adapter a little closer than the WATE does. I expect (from previous experience with the CV lenses) that they are actually quite a bit more variable than the Leica lenses both in absolute focus calibration and in performance. That said, I've been using my Nokton and Color Skopar lenses for quite a while; they make beautiful photographs.

    (bolded 2) I am sure I'd appreciate the Voigtländer's focusing ring over the WATE's ring for the SL too. The WATE's ergonomics simply work more comfortably on the M than on the SL.

    (bolded 3) There are two 15mm R lenses. Mine is the older one, 15mm f/3.5, which is a Zeiss Distagon 15mm f/3.5 T* lens built in the R mount and with lens and filter coatings tuned to Leica specifications. It is an outstanding performer. The later model Super-Elmarit-R 15mm f/2.8 (manufactured by Schneider for Leica) is an even better performer, particularly at edges and corners, and saves a bit on weight and bulk. (But I still love the Zeiss lens ... :-)

    The WATE is significantly smaller and lighter than the Super-Elmar-R 15mm. They're approximately the same length, but the WATE is about 30% smaller in diameter compared to the SER15's widest point. The WATE measures 330g on my kitchen scale, the SER15 a whopping 947g (both with caps fitted). But the SER15's bulk balances beautifully on the SL body, and the generously sized focusing ring makes it wonderfully ergonomic to focus.

    G

    G

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    20
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by vieri View Post
    Hello Godfrey,

    thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed it. As far as the thing you question, I think that when testing lenses I have to "level the field" as much as possible between the lenses I test. Same adapter, same infinity position on the lens; if the results are different due to the optical design of the lens, i.e. one is better than the other by design, so to speak, then the test will show it. If one looks worse than the other because its hard infinity stop is not exactly where it should be, and there is a workaround that makes it perform better, well - it would not have been fair to test it in the "corrected" position, IMHO, since if there is an infinity stop on a lens I expect it to be at infinity where it is supposed to be at infinity, not somewhere else. Especially for a Leica lens, which I expect to be the pinnacle not only of optical design but also of construction and precision - and I pay for that excellence, princely, so I have the right to expect it. To me, if the problem is caused by the infinity stop being off, well - this too is part of a test result. More, suppose for a second that rather than being off on the side of infinity that you report, the lens were off on the other side: in that case, there wouldn't be any possibility of getting perfect focus at infinity... so, I think that my methodology is correct (as possible, we all are humans of course), and if you are right then Leica should pay better attention during their QC.

    About focus past 0.7 m, that's not a big issue; I think it's actually helpful if you focus the lens on a M, but since I was testing both lenses on the SL I do prefer the Voigtlander seamless focusing action on the SL compared to the Tri-Elmar.

    Generally speaking, I think I am on the opposite side of the focusing fence: I rather prefer to use WA under 28mm on the SL than on the M. I find the focus magnification a godsend, making it extremely easy to focus a WA and Ultra-WA lens perfectly and no matter where you intend to focus it, getting rid of all the focus-and-recompose focusing errors that moving a camera creates (and that Hasselblad tried to fix in their MF cameras).

    About the 15mm R, I heard only great things about, and if I will ever find a good copy you can be sure I'll get it immediately

    Best regards,

    Vieri
    Vieri,
    Two things:
    1) This weekend I traded in a mint (bought new, virtually never used) R15 f2.8 at the San Francisco Leica Store. (Ask for Myles). Traded it in because the WATE is nearly as good for my purpose and has rarely disappointed. And I needed to fund a TL 90-280 if/when the next batch ships.

    2) I am so vastly impressed with your work, that I'll be signing up for one of your workshops next year. As far as I can tell, most are either in Scotland or the US Southwest, correct? Anything in Italy? Is your website up to date?

    Tanti auguri,

    Ron Weissman
    San Francisco, CA

  12. #12
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Tri-Elmar vs Voigtlander 15mm Super Wide-Heliar III on the Leica SL

    Quote Originally Posted by rweissman View Post
    Vieri,
    Two things:
    1) This weekend I traded in a mint (bought new, virtually never used) R15 f2.8 at the San Francisco Leica Store. (Ask for Myles). Traded it in because the WATE is nearly as good for my purpose and has rarely disappointed. And I needed to fund a TL 90-280 if/when the next batch ships.

    2) I am so vastly impressed with your work, that I'll be signing up for one of your workshops next year. As far as I can tell, most are either in Scotland or the US Southwest, correct? Anything in Italy? Is your website up to date?

    Tanti auguri,

    Ron Weissman
    San Francisco, CA
    Ron,

    thank you for your message. The WATE is a great lens, even if yours is not correct at infinity in real world use that wouldn't pose a problem.

    About my WS, thank you very much for your interest, I'll write you in PM to keep that conversation separate.

    Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS

  13. #13
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Ginesio, Italy
    Posts
    888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Review extended, more tests and images added

    Upon the observation made by various members here and on other forums, I decided to expand my review adding a couple of new sections dealing with the adapter problem; as well, I added a new series of images taken manually focusing both lenses on the SL. More, while I was at it, I added a new section quickly testing both lens on the M-P (Typ 240), again focused both manually and using the lenses' infinity hard stop, again with new images to go with it. While I was at it, I checked out wording and fixed a couple of spelling mistakes etc - no matter how careful you are, these crawl in by the millions!

    I can now say that the review is complete, thank you to everyone that pointed out the adapter-related issues to me.

    You can find the review here:

    LEICA 16-18-21MM TRI-ELMAR VS VOIGTLANDER 15MM SUPER WIDE-HELIAR III REVIEW ON THE LEICA SL

    I hope that my results will be useful to everyone wondering about getting anyone of these lenses. Best,

    Vieri
    Vieri Bottazzini | Leica Ambassador | ABIPP EP
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI PHOTOGRAPHER
    VIERI BOTTAZZINI WORKSHOPS
    Thanks 2 Member(s) thanked for this post
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •