View Full Version : Leica 19mm R on Nikon D800E

Guy Mancuso
2nd June 2013, 16:31
I'm sure most of you know I picked one of these up. Did the grinding for the fitting on the D800E and along in the process I broke the inside focusing arm on the lens. It was repaired and all is well and today I finally got a chance to test it. First impressions are extremely good. Its a Leica alright with a nice look to the files and I do remember this lens from bolting it on my Canons years ago. Anyway I remembered that the hood vignettes and I picked up on it today. Ill run another test with and without just to be sure. But I do remember modifying the hood back than. Looks to be the case again. But what I am also noticing is the very far corners do smear a little but better than what I remember and I will get into the whole series of tests but this one here shot at F11 you can clearly see the vignetting. Its also a very sharp lens and I am excited to have this back in my hands again.

Now I left Phoenix this morning but before I did I went to my cowboy town where I do all my testing. For me its great because there is a bunch of detail in the wood and such plus I have tested everything here so I get a really good idea whats going on. First off I'm pretty damn impressed . I have a bunch of images to process but I'm on my laptop so I will get to most of that when I get home as I have 2 days of shooting up here which takes precedence on my time. Okay drinking and gambling play a role too. LOL

Anyway this is a ongoing report but so far I'm smiling.

Here is a shot at F11 and you can see the vignetting in both top corners and the lower right for sure. Lets assume its the hood as even though I have a terrible memory I do remember modifying the hood on my Canons.


Guy Mancuso
2nd June 2013, 16:40
Here is a 100 percent 1200x1200 wide center crop


Now given that I am focused clearly on the building where the center crop is and all i have here in the lower left is DOF carrying over this is damn impressive


Now on my straight on wall shots which I will post later the corners look really good even at F4 but by 5.6 really good. I will get to them when I get home since its pretty involved showing that whole series.

Guy Mancuso
2nd June 2013, 16:41
All these shots are done with Live view with a hoodman loupe focused wide open.

Guy Mancuso
2nd June 2013, 16:52
Once again you can see clearly the vignetting from the hood. This is at F8. I will certainly be testing this to confirm it.


Guy Mancuso
2nd June 2013, 16:57


sergio lovisolo
3rd June 2013, 08:50
What I told you about vignetting.LOL. ( but probably I confused it with natural vignetting, as I mostly use the lens full or nearly full open)
You'll notice yourself, but as with every other high performance Leica lens, especially APO, the central part of the field of the elmarit 19 is diffraction limited from 2,8
and so center is a little sharper and crispier full open than stopped down, while corners get better. This is confirmed by MTF.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7362/8937655989_12ae685d0c_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8937655989/)
elmarit 19 mtf (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8937655989/) by sergio lovisolo (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Glad that everything went well with DAG.

Waiting for the results of your tests.

3rd June 2013, 10:52
Guy, they seem to have a structure, richness, 3-D, and "fatness", and wealthy tones that Nikkors, and samyang and perhaps also the Sigma seems to miss(?)

3rd June 2013, 14:05

It is a great lens. And FYI, you are sick.


Guy Mancuso
3rd June 2013, 16:23

But you knew that

4th June 2013, 09:47
Damn, I wish this lens wasn't so nice

4th June 2013, 10:06
Impressive sharpness, DOF and overall look. Seems to be a keeper. Thanks for providing these great examples.

4th June 2013, 12:13
I think it sucks eggs. Look at those butt-ugly corners. Guy should sell it ASAP -- to me of course, cause I don't care about corners that much.

Guy Mancuso
4th June 2013, 18:11
Na I think I have a keeper. Just got home from my gigs in Vegas. Ill process put some more test images from the other day. Also the hood I need to grind a little which maybe cutting a little sharpness out before the extreme corner. I'm viewing this lens as a 20 or 21 I knew that going in. I mentioned this in another thread but I believe it beats both the Zeiss 18 and 21. Which is exactly what I did several years ago was sell the Z21 for the Leica 19. Not selling this one.

5th June 2013, 05:48
I have always thought the Leica 19mm is hard to beat. It seems to work very well with the D800E sensor.

Since I don't have my DMR anymore, I haven't shot the 19mm lately, but if I remember correctly, the lens is best shot at either f5.6 or f8. It may be different on the D800E, but I suspect it will have the same sweet spot.

5th June 2013, 06:23
Not selling this one.

Not even when Sigma releases it's new 19mm f1.9 high performance series lens later this summer (love to start rumors), that's optimized for best edge to edge performance wide open with resolution that makes their current 35mm f1.4 seem like shooting out of the bottom of a coke bottle? :ROTFL:

Guy, with that info, your 19mm should already be on it's way to me...LOL

By the way, great test shot examples posted...much appreciated!

Dave (D&A)

5th June 2013, 08:01
My Tamron 17mm 3.5 SP adaptall lens is fantastic on my D2x, but I suppose that the D800e that you guys use would exploit any flaws it might have. Has built in filters as well.


Guy Mancuso
5th June 2013, 19:55
Ill process the rest of the test in morning but I did make the small modification on the inside of the hood and the vignetting from the hood appears to be all gone. The worst was at about F11 to be the most noticeable. I shot the sky before and after at F11 and it cleaned up. Not going to reshoot my test and just go with the hard vignetting images that I shot Sunday morning.

I also did a comparable image in studio with my 85 1.8 G lens and my Nikon 135 F2 DC lens and I will start a thread on that as well. Eventually I will move both threads to the review section for future reference.

5th June 2013, 21:47
Thanks Guy, this will be helpful ( not to my pocket though )

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:33
Lets start this test with just few details so we understand this process very well. First shot on the D800E locked down on tripod and everything level ISO 100. Now we all know with wide angles running tests on corners is next to impossible because if we used the bottom corners on a subject that is 30 ft away the bottom corners are in reality maybe 5 ft so your really counting on a DOF scale which is not accurate. In this scene you see exactly why that is. So I set this up to be the top corners as it is exactly on the same focus point as my center. Image circle is the image circle so the top or bottom are identical when it comes to corners.

Okay two little issues with wide angles one here natural lens aperture vignetting. We all know every lens wide open has some vignetting when it comes to wide. So at 2.8 I corrected the vignetting which was BTW about a stop and also at F4 about a half a stop. Reason being there is nothing worse than seeing different exposures when evaluating this stuff side by side so, I balanced that all out exposure wise to evaluate better. I know you love me for this because it makes it so much easier to view. The other issue is field curvature which will obviously play a role in which F stop produces the sharpest corners to match your center.

I have one more issue that specific to this lens ONLY and that is a hard vignetting coming from the hood. I have since modified the Leica 19mm hood to eliminate this but in this test it was shot with the unmodified hood.So the very very extreme corners is not going to be as accurate because it most likely outside of extreme darkness it is also softening that area since a hard plastic is softening it up. So just be aware of that but even without that issue I still view this lens as a 20mm or 21mm and I knew that from my past usage of this lens. I owned the Zeiss 21mm lens years ago on my Canons but the distortion was not easy to deal with and I bought the Leica 19mm to replace maybe one of the finest wides around. I always considered the Leica 19mm the better lens and still do. Why I bought the darn thing again and made the modifications to bolt it on my Nikon as i think it is still better than the modern day Zeiss 18mm and 21mm.

Okay shot of the full image at 5.6 to start. Im going to run all the upper right hand corner shots first than run all the centers after that so you can see it much better viewing this.

And yes that is your neighborhood friendly ding bat in the frame


Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:38
Okay the upper right corners going from 2.8 to f11 clearly marked






6th June 2013, 08:40
Yup, those corners suck. You need to dump that POS lens.


And since I don't care about corners, I'll take it off your hands, cause it's a nice focal for me.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:42
Even with the hard vignetting which I know is softening things up there at 5.6 it looks really good and F8 just about as good as it gets. F11 looks very good but I think diffraction is setting in. If you look real close at the knot in the wood in the upper center of the shot the know looks better at F8. I know we are all looking at the extreme corners and honestly im not trusting it from the hard vignetting of the hood. I may casually repeat this test now with the hood modified but regardless we get a good idea of whats going on.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:42
Yup, those corners suck. You need to dump that POS lens.


And since I don't care about corners, I'll take it off your hands, cause it's a nice focal for me.

You dont have enough money dude. LOL

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:44
Jack in my thinking and you tell me your thoughts on the hood vignetting being a piece of plastic is in the path do you think it is softening up that extreme corner. It seems very logical to me that it is.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:47
Lets move on to the center crops





Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 08:48
Here at F4 it already looks very very good. 5.6 and F8 just drain every drop out of it.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:03
Another image shot at F8



Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:06


6th June 2013, 09:09
Wonderful, thanks for the samples and all the work. I assume the market value of these will rise by 20-30% after this test...

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:11


Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:13
Wonderful, thanks for the samples and all the work. I assume the market value of these will rise by 20-30% after this test...

It may just do that. They are pretty expensive and hard to find as it is. BTW this is the Version II model and the one you want, if your looking.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:17
Last one in this series



6th June 2013, 09:21
Jack in my thinking and you tell me your thoughts on the hood vignetting being a piece of plastic is in the path do you think it is softening up that extreme corner. It seems very logical to me that it is.

Probably not. Any aberrations caused by the hood edge in the frame would be limited to a few pixels wide beyond the edge of the hood. We can see the hood edge is visible in the frame stopped down with lens at infinity, but it prolly isn't causing significant corner disruption much beyond it's fuzz edge.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:31
Thanks bud. Yea I was only thinking a very small amount. Not something that is going to bug me. I'm figuring when its really critical it's a 20 or 21. I took the Drexel to the hood yesterday so its gone now anyway

6th June 2013, 09:34
Yep, that's about right -- and IIRC, what we decided way back when we did this conversion for our 1Ds MKII's ;) I suspect you are at the optical limits of the lens at that vignette point.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:36
Yup probably so

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 09:39
I have another issue that's needs my attention. Shooting strobes my sync limit is 1/160 as anything higher I'm getting shading from the shutter. It's not my strobes at any power not my PW. Something with the body menus I think.

6th June 2013, 10:06
Does it happen if you connect a PC cord directly from the camera to your strobes? My guess is it's a triggering delay set into the PW's.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 10:16
Im good at 1/200 than I get a slight shading at 1/250. It happened Tuesday when shooting some fashion in the studio tethered. Here see the right side at 1/250 with the 135 DC lens.
Ill try the PC cord but going to call Pocket Wizard. Its rated at 1/250. Also I read something this morning its the Nikon flipping shutter speeds on its own. But I need to confirm that is real and not something else


Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 10:19
PW Plus X

Sync Speed
Ultra-fast microprocessors allow for reliable sync speeds of 1/250 for focal plane shutters and 1/500 for leaf shutters.

PocketWizard Compatible
The PlusX is compatible with all PocketWizard transmitters and receivers including PocketWizard-enabled photo gear from Profoto, Dynalite, Norman, Photogenic and Sekonic light meters. The PocketWizard Wireless System allows for total flexibility with whatever lights or cameras you may be working with.

6th June 2013, 10:23
R19 is great lens. I have had two in the past. however, the new Zeiss 15 will out perform it without needing the grinding :) I know it's a little wider but not by much. I would definitely recommend the 15 which will knock your socks off. However, you are already invested with the 19.

Guy Mancuso
6th June 2013, 16:23
The Zeiss 15 is a nice lens but there is a pretty big difference even at 4mm when it comes to wides. It's also a lens I would not use often enough to justify its cost. Now the Samyang 14mm has its charm very wide tons of distortion which you can correct and at F8 really good. For the rare times I need it 400 dollars is a pretty good deal. I also like the look of the Leica glass. But yes the Z15 is very nice no question.

7th June 2013, 05:49
R19 is great lens. I have had two in the past. however, the new Zeiss 15 will out perform it without needing the grinding :) I know it's a little wider but not by much. I would definitely recommend the 15 which will knock your socks off. However, you are already invested with the 19.

Agree about the Zeiss 15mm. Had a chance to test one and it's level of performance is noteworthy. Issues are that it's quite a little behemoth, aside from being pricy.

Dave (D&A)

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 07:14
Okay I'm anal and went and reshot the test images with the modified hood. From LCD they look better. Ill post them in a little while. I also tested my Nikon 28 as well.

7th June 2013, 07:33
I also tested my Nikon 28 as well.

Oh, the 1.8g? Would be very interested in your thoughts/test shots. If it is O/T here, feel free to add to my (our) 28mm for d800e thread.

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 07:36
I was thinking of adding that to the 28 thread. Thanks

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 08:38
Okay I went back to my test area and reshot I think exactly the same scene. This time though the hood vignetting is no longer the issue since i modified the hood. I think I got better results as well. Bottom line you need to modify the hood regardless.

Full Image at 5.6







Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 08:43
Frankly I should just delete the first ones but its good to leave so folks can see the hood issue but I think I am even sharper all around on the second test. Lets compare the 5.6 from old and new and yes i am slightly off in framing but even so it just looks a lot cleaner with the second test. Bottom line killer lens



Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 08:54
Wish I could make some money off this next test since you all will run out and buy it now. This is a little scary. This is a center and field curvature test. First here is the center and there is no need to even go past 5.6 here as it is brilliant even wide open.

Full Image





Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 08:56
Safe to say here F4 is almost perfect and 5.6 is perfect.

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 09:12
Lets look at the right boarder now. I have some Purple fringing at 2.8 which I corrected and will put that at the end





2.8 with Purple fringing corrections


Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 09:20
Couple corrected images with keystoning and such. I think both at F8



testing now complete

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 16:17
Wanted to add to this review here which I will move to the review section later as a resource for others. First off I'm a lens whore and there is just not doubt about it and pretty darn picky when i use a lens for commercial type work or work i really care about. PR work I don't need the resolution but with a lens like the 19mm i want everything out of it I can draw. I had this lens years ago and really liked it but it was off my radar screen until I saw a member post one for sale and my wheels started spinning. In the end the money spent and modifications it seems it is well worth the expense, which these days I really have to watch my bottom line. So it has to be stellar for me to jump. I can say without pause I really like this lens and I will keep it as long as I can and make good use out of it. Yea I know I switch lenses around like drinking a glass of water in the desert which BTW today is 112 freaking blazing hot degrees but I want to make this a keeper.

Anyway thanks for looking and please post any questions and such. I am going to look at PT lens and other programs to control the distortion which is not really that bad on this lens.

7th June 2013, 19:11
Thanks for the great tests Guy - it reinforces my excitement for this lens all over again. I never modified the hood though, somehow I don't notice it.

Guy Mancuso
7th June 2013, 19:57
Yea the hood is not hard to do. I took the plastic hood part off the ring. Than ran the grinder on the plastic maybe a 1/16 of a inch than reattached

9th June 2013, 06:05

9th June 2013, 07:12
Yea the hood is not hard to do. I took the plastic hood part off the ring. Than ran the grinder on the plastic maybe a 1/16 of a inch than reattached
Can you kindly post a pic of the modified hood? Try to figure out which part of the plastic you grind off. The top and bottom straight portions?

Guy Mancuso
9th June 2013, 09:41
Will do .

Guy Mancuso
9th June 2013, 09:42

You want it lens whore. Lol

9th June 2013, 10:57
I don't understand why you/or anyone are fascinated with this lens and would prefer it over the fabulous Nikon 14-24/2.8? :confused:

9th June 2013, 11:10
I don't understand why you/or anyone are fascinated with this lens and would prefer it over the fabulous Nikon 14-24/2.8? :confused:

I use my 19R as part of my travel/street shooting kit ....so consider it in that context .

1. Size and form ...the 19 is about the same size as a 50R . In daylight I often leave the hood off and with the D800E (no grip ) its small enough to look like a travel camera .

2. Rendering quality and consistency ...I don t need sharper ..I want consistency in color , midtone contrast and a clean bokeh . The R lenses have good consistency in each of these attributes . The 19 also seems to have a decent control over distortion .

I had the 14-24/2.8 for several years and always found a reason not to take it almost exclusively based on the size and huge front element .

Other applications would most certainly create different priorities and the 14-24/2.8 is a world class lens as well .

Guy Mancuso
9th June 2013, 11:16
My 14-24 had focus shift to beat the band. It's also big and you can't filter it easy. I also like primes.

9th June 2013, 11:42
The 14-24 also can be used in manual focus mode albeit manual focus of an AFS lens is no joy.

Size/heft is a problem but for landscapes and such it does not show this much of a CA. The CA from the Leica 19 and the corrected samples showing glow is very noticeable.

sergio lovisolo
9th June 2013, 12:02
numbers, numbers...
Leica 237cc, Nikon 1017cc, 4,19 times the volume
Leica 560 grams, Nikon 1000 grams, 1,78 times the weight
Leica 60 mm, Nikon 135,5 mm, 2,05 times the length.

But real reason for me is the transparent, light , clear and delicate
color rendition, bok, look and sharpness perfectly blended.

(not to consider what could happen in case of a (forced)future sale)

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8207/8171720557_c141d63720_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8171720557/)
_DSC1409 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/8171720557/) by sergio lovisolo (http://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

9th June 2013, 13:21
Wonderful, thanks for the samples and all the work. I assume the market value of these will rise by 20-30% after this test...

I would say 50% :)

Guy Mancuso
10th June 2013, 08:01
I moved this thread to the lens review section. For distortion control with PT lens I will have to go shoot a image to upload to there server and than they can give us a proper profile for this lens. In Camera Raw if you choose to use that raw processing program they do have a profile built in and I hear Lightroom does as well. Neither program I use as my raw processing is done in C1. I did try it in Camera Raw and it worked very nice but than I tried to save as a DNG and DNG does not work as well in C1 as compared to the NEF file.

10th June 2013, 15:42
hmm, The grinding requirement of the Leica R 19mm is for the second gen of that lens right?

I have the gen 1 attached to my Canon 5D and it does not have rear protruding element.

Guy Mancuso
10th June 2013, 19:54
This is Version 2 of this lens.

Guy Mancuso
11th June 2013, 10:23
Working on PT lens profile for this lens . This is one image showing in red the distortion on this lens.


Guy Mancuso
11th June 2013, 11:20

Tom from PT lens already calibrated the 19mm for me. I highly recommend this plug in or stand alone product for lens profiles.

Here is the before . Notice the metal railing


after profile applied


Guy Mancuso
11th June 2013, 11:22
This image once again with my marks on it



Here is another one corrected. I sent about 4 images to him so he had a choice on which one to work with


Guy Mancuso
11th June 2013, 11:27
Tom updated the software and you can buy it here or current customers can update.

PTLens | Download (http://epaperpress.com/ptlens/download.html)

Lets support folks like Tom that really help the industry. 25 dollars is the cost.

11th June 2013, 11:37
That lens should go in the unloved-toys cabinet

Guy Mancuso
11th June 2013, 11:43
No it wants to play. LOL

11th June 2013, 15:02
That lens should go in the unloved-toys cabinet

It was the Leica 19mm that I suggested years ago when Guy started a thread about alternative wides on the original Canon 1D. I was still shooting Leica film and the 19mm was one of those lenses that made the slides just pop off the light table. I still have the same lens.

3rd July 2013, 12:28
Does anybody here have a direct comparison between the 18mm zeiss and this 19mm leica lens on the d800(e) ?

Would be interesting. I would guess the 19mm wins. Damn I want to marry this lens at f 11. How can it be so good.

Guy Mancuso
14th August 2013, 09:44
Well got some real working time with the 19mm on a industrial type shoot that I thought I would post. I'm on a scissor lift for most of these and i did correct the key stoning effect on the first 3 images here. I shot these at ISO 200 as i needed just a little extra speed given i'm on a moving lift and if you breath it will sway some. Plus i got a operator that like to talk on the lift. LOL

I'm about 1/4th of a second on most of these and F8. So you will see movement of people which is fine for these shots, I actually like it.





Guy Mancuso
14th August 2013, 09:45
I did not fix the key stone on the above image

Guy Mancuso
14th August 2013, 09:50
Another long exposure with key stoning fixed



Than this one I was on the ground with a small flash to balance the room lighting. I used the green filter supplied with the SB 910 and balanced this out. Again focus wide open stop down to working aperture and bam its in the can. Really a easy lens to work with even in the stop down method. This is becoming one of my favorite lenses in my arsenal along with the Sigma 35 1.4 and my new Zeiss 135mm F2. Im feeling comfortable now that I have 3 kick *** lenses in my bag to reach for when it counts.



14th January 2014, 20:55
Guy, some time back you said that you would post something on modifying the hood. Is it still coming? I've just got mine Leitax'd and would love to see how you've done it.

Guy Mancuso
11th February 2014, 02:44
Jeff, I got rid of the hood and made a special screw thread on the rear. I'll post this in the Sony forum and put a link here. I'll do that today