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Thread: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

  1. #1
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Hey guys,

    hope every one is enjoying his M9

    Well, I'm kind of hovering around, exploring my options and so on

    So i decided to include a rangefinder in my future new camera system.

    I'm gonna get the 50mm 1.4 for sure

    but i'm confused regarding the wide angle option for landscapes

    so my question is about the performance of the tri-elmar vs lenses with single focal length, is it same as the 35mm systems where fixed prime wide angle lenses are mostly better than zoom ones ?

    how is the 18mm 3.8 ?? is it sharper than the tri-elmar @ 18mm ?

    if you were to choose between the tri-elmar and 21mm 1.4, what would be you first option ?

    your input will be really appreciated

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Senior Subscriber Member Mike Hatam's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    In terms of sharpness and image quality, all three options are excellent. The WATE (wide angle tri-elmar) is not like a typical SLR zoome lens that suffers compared to fixed-focal length options. The Leica WATE lens is a remarkable lens with fantastic image quality that blends excellently with the M9.

    The main trade-offs here are price and speed. The 21 f1.4 (summilux) is a special lens, and priced accordingly. That one will run around $5,000 (used), while the WATE will run around $3,500 (used). The 18 f3.8 is also a good performer - and significantly cheaper than the other two lenses. But it's not as "special" - it lacks the versatility of the WATE and the speed of the 21 summilux.

    Start by asking yourself how important it is to have the versatility of the WATE (16-18-21). If you are fine with a single focal length in that range, then move on to the other options.

    Do you really need f1.4 speed? If so, and you can afford it, then your decision is made. If not, and budget is a concern, then the 18 f3.8 may be a good choice.

    You didn't list the Leica 21 Elmarit (f2.8). That would be another good option to consider. Less expensive than the WATE, a stop faster, and excellent image quality.

    Mike
    Mike Hatam
    Sony A99, RX1, RX100

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    In terms of sharpness and image quality, all three options are excellent. The WATE (wide angle tri-elmar) is not like a typical SLR zoome lens that suffers compared to fixed-focal length options. The Leica WATE lens is a remarkable lens with fantastic image quality that blends excellently with the M9.

    The main trade-offs here are price and speed. The 21 f1.4 (summilux) is a special lens, and priced accordingly. That one will run around $5,000 (used), while the WATE will run around $3,500 (used). The 18 f3.8 is also a good performer - and significantly cheaper than the other two lenses. But it's not as "special" - it lacks the versatility of the WATE and the speed of the 21 summilux.

    Start by asking yourself how important it is to have the versatility of the WATE (16-18-21). If you are fine with a single focal length in that range, then move on to the other options.

    Do you really need f1.4 speed? If so, and you can afford it, then your decision is made. If not, and budget is a concern, then the 18 f3.8 may be a good choice.

    You didn't list the Leica 21 Elmarit (f2.8). That would be another good option to consider. Less expensive than the WATE, a stop faster, and excellent image quality.

    Mike

    Thank you so much Mike, i really appreciate your valuable input, it was very enlightening for me cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  4. #4
    Mango
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Hi Mohammad,

    (1) If you are using a full frame camera, a digital M9, or any of the film options, then you might find the WATE 16-18-21 to be too wide for most uses. On the M8, with the 1.33 crop factor, the 16-18-21 becomes an effective 21-24-28 lens, which is more versatile. So your choice of body should be a factor in making your decision.

    (2) The WATE is a f4.0 lens, vs. the 21mm f1.4 lens. For indoor shooting, the f1.4 can be used in all sorts of lighting conditions, including near darkness; but the f4.0 of the WATE would limit its use to outdoor daylight shooting for the most part. Anyone who has used Leicas for some time will realize that there is a need for a f1.4 lens in the stable, as that way you don't need a flash for indoor photography, and also, some would say more importantly, the out-of-focus renderings (bokeh) of the f1.4 lens, when shot at f1.4, is creamy smooth, and gives a painterly look to photographs. With f4.0, everything is in focus, and you cannot get that look, even though the lens might be superb.

    (3) Are you a wide angle shooter? I have the 21mm f2.8 Asph, but don't use it as often as the 35mm or 50mm options.

    (4) A lot of people are currently mesmerized by the 21mm f1.4, but once the novelty wears off, they will start to consider the size of the lens, and might regret carrying such a bulky piece of glass. Leica was originally renowned for producing the best lenses in the SMALLEST package. Lately, the lenses have become larger and larger, and the pocketability and discreetness of the original Leica intent seems to have disappeared. The need for f1.4 or faster speed seems to be the dominant mantra for today's lenses. Most of the classic Leica photographs were produced during the era when f2.0 was the fastest lens. There is something to be said about lenses with a filter size of 39mm. The 60mm filter size, though small by DSLR standards, is huge for a Leica, but seems to have been embraced by the converted. Leica photography has changed.

    (5) Examine your own photography, and what and where (subjects and lighting conditions) you mostly shoot. If it's mostly in daylight, then a f1.4 might be overkill. As Mike suggested, the 21mm f2.8 might be fine, and it's a slightly smaller lens.

    - - - - - - - -

    A compulsion to try every lens that's out there sometimes manifests, for each lens has a unique characteristic, and chasing the best look becomes an overriding neurosis. There are some people who have dozens of 50mm lenses (yes, just one focal length). For example, the older lenses, designed by Walter Mandler, have a more artistic and dreamy look about them. The modern lenses are more clinical in their rendering. You can see the list of Mandler designed lenses here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Mandler

    My apologies if I have digressed and added confusion to your thinking process.

    Best wishes,
    Mango

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    I havent done direct comparison but own tri-elmar and 21/2.8 and 24/1.4
    I would say all are plenty sharp and great IQ and that choice comes down to a) f-stop, focal length, flexibility, size weight.
    Of the three lenses mentioned above my most used right now is the 24/1.4, I believe that f1.4 vs f2.8 really makes a difference in look, much more than the difference between f2.8 and f4.0
    I dont use the WATE much one the M9 because for 99% 21mm is as wide as I would go.
    The 21 and 24 Summilux are bigger than the 21/24 Elmarit BUT these are not big lenses compare to any DSLR lens. Frankly I dont see any size problem with the 24/1.4.
    The 21 and 24 Lux are really expensive, but IMO they offer another style of images which re not possible with the Elmarits or the f4 lenses.
    If shallow DOF is not important for you I am pretty sure all modern Leica wide angle offer superb IQ, so choose the focal length you like most.
    If you want flexibility and like shooting real wide the WATE is interesting.
    My personal foavorti is the 24 Lux and I do not believe that this will change after a few months.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    Hi Mohammad,

    (1) If you are using a full frame camera, a digital M9, or any of the film options, then you might find the WATE 16-18-21 to be too wide for most uses. On the M8, with the 1.33 crop factor, the 16-18-21 becomes an effective 21-24-28 lens, which is more versatile. So your choice of body should be a factor in making your decision.

    (2) The WATE is a f4.0 lens, vs. the 21mm f1.4 lens. For indoor shooting, the f1.4 can be used in all sorts of lighting conditions, including near darkness; but the f4.0 of the WATE would limit its use to outdoor daylight shooting for the most part. Anyone who has used Leicas for some time will realize that there is a need for a f1.4 lens in the stable, as that way you don't need a flash for indoor photography, and also, some would say more importantly, the out-of-focus renderings (bokeh) of the f1.4 lens, when shot at f1.4, is creamy smooth, and gives a painterly look to photographs. With f4.0, everything is in focus, and you cannot get that look, even though the lens might be superb.

    (3) Are you a wide angle shooter? I have the 21mm f2.8 Asph, but don't use it as often as the 35mm or 50mm options.

    (4) A lot of people are currently mesmerized by the 21mm f1.4, but once the novelty wears off, they will start to consider the size of the lens, and might regret carrying such a bulky piece of glass. Leica was originally renowned for producing the best lenses in the SMALLEST package. Lately, the lenses have become larger and larger, and the pocketability and discreetness of the original Leica intent seems to have disappeared. The need for f1.4 or faster speed seems to be the dominant mantra for today's lenses. Most of the classic Leica photographs were produced during the era when f2.0 was the fastest lens. There is something to be said about lenses with a filter size of 39mm. The 60mm filter size, though small by DSLR standards, is huge for a Leica, but seems to have been embraced by the converted. Leica photography has changed.

    (5) Examine your own photography, and what and where (subjects and lighting conditions) you mostly shoot. If it's mostly in daylight, then a f1.4 might be overkill. As Mike suggested, the 21mm f2.8 might be fine, and it's a slightly smaller lens.

    - - - - - - - -

    A compulsion to try every lens that's out there sometimes manifests, for each lens has a unique characteristic, and chasing the best look becomes an overriding neurosis. There are some people who have dozens of 50mm lenses (yes, just one focal length). For example, the older lenses, designed by Walter Mandler, have a more artistic and dreamy look about them. The modern lenses are more clinical in their rendering. You can see the list of Mandler designed lenses here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Mandler

    My apologies if I have digressed and added confusion to your thinking process.

    Best wishes,
    Mango
    Thank you so much Mango, i really appreciate your enlightening insight

    yes I'm a wide angle shooter, i like shooting Landscapes, Architecture, and Street.

    and i think i should be between 24 , 35 and 50mm range
    the tri-elmar is not for me

    now ! I'm stuck between faster vs smaller lighter lenses

    so my question is : is speed the only advantage of the lux lenses or there are other technical aspects that makes them superior over other lenses issues like CA or Flare etc... ??
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  7. #7
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I havent done direct comparison but own tri-elmar and 21/2.8 and 24/1.4
    I would say all are plenty sharp and great IQ and that choice comes down to a) f-stop, focal length, flexibility, size weight.
    Of the three lenses mentioned above my most used right now is the 24/1.4, I believe that f1.4 vs f2.8 really makes a difference in look, much more than the difference between f2.8 and f4.0
    I dont use the WATE much one the M9 because for 99% 21mm is as wide as I would go.
    The 21 and 24 Summilux are bigger than the 21/24 Elmarit BUT these are not big lenses compare to any DSLR lens. Frankly I dont see any size problem with the 24/1.4.
    The 21 and 24 Lux are really expensive, but IMO they offer another style of images which re not possible with the Elmarits or the f4 lenses.
    If shallow DOF is not important for you I am pretty sure all modern Leica wide angle offer superb IQ, so choose the focal length you like most.
    If you want flexibility and like shooting real wide the WATE is interesting.
    My personal foavorti is the 24 Lux and I do not believe that this will change after a few months.
    Streng,

    thank you so much for the tips, i agree, so far based on the results of many photographers, i find the lux 24 is just amazing

    my initial thought is to buy the M9+24 lux , then maybe proceed for more later on !!

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Streng,

    thank you so much for the tips, i agree, so far based on the results of many photographers, i find the lux 24 is just amazing

    my initial thought is to buy the M9+24 lux , then maybe proceed for more later on !!

    cheers!

    M
    I have to add one thing:
    Due to shallow DOF it is not easy to shoot the 24/1.4 wide open for anything but static subjects. The fact that one needs an external viewfinder for accurate framing doesnt help. Hyperfocal shooting doesnt work at shorter distances when shooting wide open.

    What I try to say the effect on e can generate wide open is great for my taste, but it is not easy to achieve with a manual focus camera for anything that is moving.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    so my question is : is speed the only advantage of the lux lenses or there are other technical aspects that makes them superior over other lenses issues like CA or Flare etc... ??
    I would assume that speed is the main advantage of the Luxes, and maybe a different rendering.
    I would think corner to corner sharpness and CA etc. the Luxes have maybe a small disadvantage, however nothing I am worried about.

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I would assume that speed is the main advantage of the Luxes, and maybe a different rendering.
    I would think corner to corner sharpness and CA etc. the Luxes have maybe a small disadvantage, however nothing I am worried about.
    Thank you so much Streng, but what's the small disadvantage ?

    are you implying that the elmerit are better in some way, but with unnoticeable or substantial difference??

    cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    If you are looking for an excellent 24mm then I'd highly recommend the 24/2.8 Elmarit. A very sharp and easy to use lens.

    The 21/24 'luxes are special lenses but you probably have to ask yourself what you are looking for in a super wide. As mentioned, the f/1.4 does provide a special look and that's what attracted me to the 21 'lux but at the expense of my Noctilux and 24/2.8.

    I used to shoot the WATE with my M8 and I was very close to buying another for my M9. In the end I came to the conclusion that the 16-21 range was too wide for the use I wanted it for and so decided to go with the 24 or 21 Summilux. I initially chose the 24 'lux but quickly decided that the 21 had more utility for me. I'd love to have both - who wouldn't?

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    As a WATE lover, I will have to stick up for it here - I liked it on the M8, but I like it more on the M9 - I've always felt that 24mm is a bit of a 'blah' focal length on full frame anyway, so that the combination of the WATE and the 28 cron is (for me) a perfect couple.

    The 24 'lux is clearly a wonderful lens . . . if you want to shoot it wide open . . if you don't then it's expensive and heavy (IMHO of course).

    Incidentally - kudos to everyone, so many good responses here.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Never mentioned in the discussion of wide lenses that I have read, is the bubble level visible through the frankenfinder. Although intended for use with the excellent WATE lens, one might also use the monster with other WA lenses. BTW I love the WATE but hate the frankenfinder's size.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    I love the WATE but hate the frankenfinder's size.
    Hi Tom . . . . it's big, but not as big as the 24 1.4!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Tom . . . . it's big, but not as big as the 24 1.4!
    Yes, but much uglier than the 24/1.4 and gives the camera a strange size IMO.
    I have the Frankenfinder but allways when I talk myself into using it I take it off the camera after 10 minutes.

    The other thing is distorsion, where I dont find the Frankenfinder great.
    The great thing is the flexibility it delievers, but thats about it IMO.

    I dont know why but in my case I dont see any problem with the 24/1.4 size.
    It dont think it feels much different than a fast 50mm or a 75 or 90mm lens on the M9.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    I have owned all three and decided to keep the 18/3.4 for its sharpness and compact size.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Currently I don't have an M9, only film bodies and M8's, but I've shot with the WATE and 21 Summilux as well as the Elmarit on the M9. I have tried the 18 on the M9.

    When the 21 Elmarit ASPH came out, I got one of the first ones and have used it a lot; it largely replaced my Super Angulon. As my 'bonus' lens with the M8 I got the WATE which has served me well in that capacity, and after I saw the 21 Summilux at last Photokina I ordered one the day I came home.

    I do architectural photography and wideangles are what I use most of the time. 21mm is an importan focal length for me. 24 on M's is of no interest.

    In practice, the Elmarit is extremely close to the Summilux stopped down, and while the weight is more the size difference isn't that great, at least in my use. Stop it down one more stop and you have the performance of the WATE. Yes, there are slight differences, as in the Elmarit having more vignetting at f/2.8 than the Summilux, but overall the only differences are weight, size (to a lesser degree) and cost. And versatility and speed.

    As far as the usage goes, I really only use the WATE at 16 or 21. The 18 has a very slight advantage in performance over the WATE, but it is slight, and the versatility of the WATE makes it much more appealing.

    As others have mentioned, you should only get the 21 Summilux if you are really sure you need the speed, because once you stop down to f/2.8, or even more so f/4 you'll have a hard time noticing the difference in a print.

    At the moment I still have the S-A, the CV 21 and the three lenses mentioned. I'll be selling the Elmarit and probably the CV, because even though it's tiny that's not enough to entice me to take it along most days as it's just not as good. The S-A has a special look that I have gotten used to and I will continue to use it on film bodies with Tri-X. Of the WATE and the Summilux, the 'lux gets the most use but the WATE comes along when there's more light. Sometimes I take both.

    Henning

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Graham, Jono, Tom, Streng, brad, and henning, thank you so much

    i really appreciate your responsiveness, your thoughts and opinions , they were really helping in my decision.

    with regard to the 50mm i think i will need the 1.4 lux

    with regard to wide angles, i think the elmerit will do just fine, i never use wide angles at larger aperture, even at 2.8, my usual apertures is from 3.5 up to 16, thus the lux 1.4 wide angles will not add any thing to my work.

    now if wanna stitch for panoramas, think the 24 will do a better job than 21, am i right !! and the 35mm will even do better !! but i still need a wide angle for single shots !!

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Another question !

    does the 6bit digit coded lenses makes a difference with the M9 ?

    for example 50 cron vs 50 lux 6bit coded lets say at F/2.8 , will be there any noticeable differences ?

    thank you so much

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    HI M
    With respect to coding - just do it, it may not always be necessary, but life gets very confusing and error-prone if you have some coded lenses and some which aren't . . . on the other hand, you can easily use a coding kit to code lenses manually - it needs refreshing every few weeks, but if you get into the habit of keeping a sharpie and checking it really isn't a bother.

    I quite agree about the 50 f1.4 - I often carry just that and the WATE with me.

    as for Panoramas - 24 is (IMHO of course) too wide for stitching - I usually use a 35mm (or a 28), often held vertically for landscapes - here is one taken a week or so back using 35mm on the MATE (28,35,50 tri-elmar) - 5 shot (I think) no tripod, I was on skis:



    all the best

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  21. #21
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI M
    With respect to coding - just do it, it may not always be necessary, but life gets very confusing and error-prone if you have some coded lenses and some which aren't . . . on the other hand, you can easily use a coding kit to code lenses manually - it needs refreshing every few weeks, but if you get into the habit of keeping a sharpie and checking it really isn't a bother.

    I quite agree about the 50 f1.4 - I often carry just that and the WATE with me.

    as for Panoramas - 24 is (IMHO of course) too wide for stitching - I usually use a 35mm (or a 28), often held vertically for landscapes - here is one taken a week or so back using 35mm on the MATE (28,35,50 tri-elmar) - 5 shot (I think) no tripod, I was on skis:



    all the best
    thank you so much Jono, that was really helpful, the shot is amazing, the handheld panorama is just perfect , i think the 35mm is a must have for panoramas

    cheers my friend
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  22. #22
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Another question !

    does the 6bit digit coded lenses makes a difference with the M9 ?

    for example 50 cron vs 50 lux 6bit coded lets say at F/2.8 , will be there any noticeable differences ?

    thank you so much

    cheers!

    M
    For wides I would say definatly yes.
    For 50mm I am not sure. My 50/1.4asph is coded and I havent tried without.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI M
    With respect to coding - just do it, it may not always be necessary, but life gets very confusing and error-prone if you have some coded lenses and some which aren't . . . on the other hand, you can easily use a coding kit to code lenses manually - it needs refreshing every few weeks, but if you get into the habit of keeping a sharpie and checking it really isn't a bother.

    I quite agree about the 50 f1.4 - I often carry just that and the WATE with me.

    as for Panoramas - 24 is (IMHO of course) too wide for stitching - I usually use a 35mm (or a 28), often held vertically for landscapes - here is one taken a week or so back using 35mm on the MATE (28,35,50 tri-elmar) - 5 shot (I think) no tripod, I was on skis:



    all the best

    Jono - that pano is STUNNING! Well done!

  24. #24
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Hey guys,

    hope every one is enjoying his M9

    Well, I'm kind of hovering around, exploring my options and so on

    So i decided to include a rangefinder in my future new camera system.

    I'm gonna get the 50mm 1.4 for sure

    but i'm confused regarding the wide angle option for landscapes

    so my question is about the performance of the tri-elmar vs lenses with single focal length, is it same as the 35mm systems where fixed prime wide angle lenses are mostly better than zoom ones ?

    how is the 18mm 3.8 ?? is it sharper than the tri-elmar @ 18mm ?

    if you were to choose between the tri-elmar and 21mm 1.4, what would be you first option ?

    your input will be really appreciated

    cheers!

    M
    I'd presume that if you are shooting W/A landscapes you'd be stopping down a bit anyway ... so a WATE seems the likely choice. It is an awesome optic, quite an achievement in design and performance. The Frankenfinder isn't my favorite Leica item but it sure works.

    As to any other choices, it depends on one's use and applications.

    I make my living with photography, mostly shooting people, and the M9 plays a big role in that ... so I have a lot of lenses for various paying applications. Two M9s and a 21/1.4, 24/1.4, 28/2, 35/1.4, 50/0.95, 75/1.4, and a 90/2.8 Portrait lens ... in addition to the WATE.

    They are all factory coded so I can see the Exif info and "sort by lens" when processing ... which allows for easier batch corrections.

    Each M9 is set up to be dedicated to 1) wide angle, or 2) 35mm and above. The WA M9 has a 1.25X mag and a 21/24/28 finder ... the other M9 has a Thumbs Up and will sport a 1.4X mag as soon as I get it (currently have a 1.15X on it). Most work includes lower available light which is why my concentration is on the faster optics. While bigger and heavier than more demure/slower M lenses, the fast aperture M kit fits in a bag that barely can hold a Pro Canon DSLR with a 85/1.2 alone.

    When I travel it's the WATE, 28/2 or 35/1.4 for aperture speed, and the little 90/2.8. That is a very small kit in comparison.

    -Marc

    (Here's My WA dedicated M9 & 21/1.4 ASPH with the 21/24/28 "Bullet Finder" that I prefer to swapping out smaller individual finders while shooing on the run. I like the looks of it, sort of retro).

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Marc, thank you so much for the recommendation, it seems that you are having lots of fun with Leica M gear i really appreciate your input, you have added lots of considerations in my future project. cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Spectacular pano Jono!. Really inspires me to delve into this world. Marc- How are you liking the 21 lux? To the OP original question, I can't hope to come up with more useful advise than you have gotten, so 'll just tell my story. I had a 24 elmarit (now sold) that I used a LOT on the M8. On the M9 less so, and the 28 cron took it's place in that range. I wanted a truly wide alternative, and considered the WATE vs 21 lux a long while, eventually choosing the 21 lux. I felt I would not use the 16 or 18 FL that much, and because I do a lot of indoor and low light work, I wanted the speed of the lux. I still wrestled with the 21 lux vs 24 lux, (I like Marc's solution!), and felt the 28/2 would cover enough of what the 24/1.4 would, (not really but close), and I wanted a true wide angle to work with. The 21 lux is a terrific lens, so no regrets. best....Peter

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by innerimager View Post
    Spectacular pano Jono!. Really inspires me to delve into this world. Marc- How are you liking the 21 lux? To the OP original question, I can't hope to come up with more useful advise than you have gotten, so 'll just tell my story. I had a 24 elmarit (now sold) that I used a LOT on the M8. On the M9 less so, and the 28 cron took it's place in that range. I wanted a truly wide alternative, and considered the WATE vs 21 lux a long while, eventually choosing the 21 lux. I felt I would not use the 16 or 18 FL that much, and because I do a lot of indoor and low light work, I wanted the speed of the lux. I still wrestled with the 21 lux vs 24 lux, (I like Marc's solution!), and felt the 28/2 would cover enough of what the 24/1.4 would, (not really but close), and I wanted a true wide angle to work with. The 21 lux is a terrific lens, so no regrets. best....Peter
    thanks peter, i really appreciate the advice, i think the 21mm lux is an excellent option together with 50mm lux, i won't find a better combination, hope to get hold of the M9 sooner than later, i'm so excited !!!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    You're welcome Mohammad- You are absolutely correct, the 21 and 50 lux asphericals make an unbeatable 2 lens kit. If I had to keep only 2 of mine, (please no), they would be the 2 for the M9 hands down. Looking forward to seeing your images. best....Peter

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    I have owned all three and decided to keep the 18/3.4 for its sharpness and compact size.
    yes, the 18/3.4 is very sharp, even wide open and corner-to corner. in this respect it easily beats the WATE (i didn't even like it on the m8 sharpness wise). the biggest disatvantage of the 18mm super elmar is the moustache type distosion which -for me- makes it impossible to use it for architecture. even seascapes become funny, with moustache type sea-sky interface. the WATE is even worse in this respect. and the 24 LUX -otherwise a great lens- has bad distorsion, too.
    my new favourit WA lens is the zeiss biogon 21mm f2.8. with the new M9 firmware there is hardly any red angle problem and distorsion is well controlled.
    peter

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    yes, the 18/3.4 is very sharp, even wide open and corner-to corner. in this respect it easily beats the WATE (i didn't even like it on the m8 sharpness wise). the biggest disatvantage of the 18mm super elmar is the moustache type distosion which -for me- makes it impossible to use it for architecture. even seascapes become funny, with moustache type sea-sky interface. the WATE is even worse in this respect. and the 24 LUX -otherwise a great lens- has bad distorsion, too.
    my new favourit WA lens is the zeiss biogon 21mm f2.8. with the new M9 firmware there is hardly any red angle problem and distorsion is well controlled.
    peter
    i agree with you peter, the 21 is the best for ultra wide angle, going more is not practical.

    now! lets say that i don't need to shoot fast.
    what your input about the following

    both 50 f/2 cron and 21 f/2.8 elmarit are sharper, lighter, cheaper, and more compact than 50 and 21 lux

    thank you guys, i really appreciate your input and advice, cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    yes, the 18/3.4 is very sharp, even wide open and corner-to corner. in this respect it easily beats the WATE (i didn't even like it on the m8 sharpness wise). the biggest disatvantage of the 18mm super elmar is the moustache type distosion which -for me- makes it impossible to use it for architecture. even seascapes become funny, with moustache type sea-sky interface. the WATE is even worse in this respect. and the 24 LUX -otherwise a great lens- has bad distorsion, too.
    my new favourit WA lens is the zeiss biogon 21mm f2.8. with the new M9 firmware there is hardly any red angle problem and distorsion is well controlled.
    peter
    My experience with the WATE and the 24 lux is quite different.

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    I agree with you Woody regarding the WATE.

    Peter, from my experience of testing out two samples of the WATE against both the Leica 18mm as well as the Zeiss 18mm, the WATe for all intended purposes held it's own regarding sharpness...even at 100% crop. Sounds like maybe you might have used a sub par sample.

    I completely though agree with you regarding the moustache type distortion with the leica 18mm. For some critical uses it is close to un-usable and cannot be delt with in post processing. The Zeiss is much better in this regard and in terms of shapness, holds it's own against the Leica. The Zeiss may actually be a bit sharper in the central part of the frame with Leica holding an edge in the corners....the Zeiss having better control over distortion. Just my shooting experience with these lenses.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    I concur with Peter that the 18/3.8 and 24 lux have distortion that is at times disturbing; on the other hand the 21/2.8 Biogon still has over 1% which is definitely noticeable. The 21/4.5 Biogon is really the one to get for excellent distortion correction.

    On the other hand, for architectural work there are other tools that are generally more suitable, although I used an f/3.4 SA and a 15/8 Hologon many years in this field.

    With regard to 'sharpness' all these lenses are excellent, and I have no qualms in using my WATE and 21 lux at whatever aperture is most suitable. My pictures might suffer from all sorts of faults, but they are not dragged down by lack of sharpness.

    BTW, panotools and its descendants deals with all types of distortion, including moustache distortion very well. It's just another step in processing.

    Henning

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    My experience with the WATE and the 24 lux is quite different.
    +1.

    -Marc

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    dave,
    even the MTF graphs of the WATE tell a great deal of the story as far as corner contrast is concerned. well, and i have to admit i am a pixel peeper and i do analyse images on a scientific level (local contrast and frequency analysis and so on). of course, prints tend to equalize...
    i am very dillusioned about the distorsion of the WA leica glass.
    peter


    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    I agree with you Woody regarding the WATE.

    Peter, from my experience of testing out two samples of the WATE against both the Leica 18mm as well as the Zeiss 18mm, the WATe for all intended purposes held it's own regarding sharpness...even at 100% crop. Sounds like maybe you might have used a sub par sample.

    I completely though agree with you regarding the moustache type distortion with the leica 18mm. For some critical uses it is close to un-usable and cannot be delt with in post processing. The Zeiss is much better in this regard and in terms of shapness, holds it's own against the Leica. The Zeiss may actually be a bit sharper in the central part of the frame with Leica holding an edge in the corners....the Zeiss having better control over distortion. Just my shooting experience with these lenses.

    Dave (D&A)

  36. #36
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    henning,
    agreed on the zeiss 21mm offerings but the f4.5 gives very bad colored angles.
    and yes, panotools is quite nice.
    peter

    Quote Originally Posted by henningw View Post
    I concur with Peter that the 18/3.8 and 24 lux have distortion that is at times disturbing; on the other hand the 21/2.8 Biogon still has over 1% which is definitely noticeable. The 21/4.5 Biogon is really the one to get for excellent distortion correction.

    On the other hand, for architectural work there are other tools that are generally more suitable, although I used an f/3.4 SA and a 15/8 Hologon many years in this field.

    With regard to 'sharpness' all these lenses are excellent, and I have no qualms in using my WATE and 21 lux at whatever aperture is most suitable. My pictures might suffer from all sorts of faults, but they are not dragged down by lack of sharpness.

    BTW, panotools and its descendants deals with all types of distortion, including moustache distortion very well. It's just another step in processing.

    Henning

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    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Peter what is your thought on the following ?

    now! lets say that i don't need to shoot fast ( i don't need the 1.4)

    both 50 f/2 cron and 21 f/2.8 elmarit are sharper, lighter, cheaper, and more compact than 50 and 21 lux
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  38. #38
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Hi Mohammed,

    Based on your past and current usage..what fls dominate?

    All leica lenses are very very good.use the frame lever to find out which one
    you feel comfortable with. Borrow a lens of the fl required if possible and
    see how it works for you.

    My landscapes are predominantly with longer fls! 28mm is for me uber wide!

    Good luck and let us know how you fare.
    Last edited by rayyan; 4th April 2010 at 04:37. Reason: spelling

  39. #39
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by rayyan View Post
    Hi Mohammed,

    Based on your past and current usage..what fls dominate?

    All leica lenses are very very good.use the frame lever to find out which one
    you feel comfortable with. Borrow a lens of the fl required if possible and
    see how it works for you.

    My landscapes are predominantly with longer fls! 28mm is for me uber wide!

    Good luck and let us know how you fare.
    Thanks Rayyan, i really appreciate your advice, yap i agree, perhaps i should do that !! cheers!
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  40. #40
    vanhulsenbeek
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    .......................

    as for Panoramas - 24 is (IMHO of course) too wide for stitching - I usually use a 35mm (or a 28), often held vertically for landscapes - here is one taken a week or so back using 35mm on the MATE (28,35,50 tri-elmar) - 5 shot (I think) no tripod, I was on skis:.................
    I respectfully beg to differ. I find 35mm Panorama's with the M9 too restricted in height.

    I have published several of my very recent New Zealand pano's on Zenfolio (see for a quick slidehow here: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/ ) and most are shot with the WATE at 16-21mm. The New Zealand Pano's are in this Group of Gelleries: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/f52853875
    For the connoisseur: many of these are pictures made on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks

    This item: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/p301833...db6b#h3276db6b in the South Island Gallery, is for me a typical 35mm: too long and narrow.

    Also I should state here that the WATE, together with PTGui, produces excellent Pano's and distortion does not come into the game at all, with me that is
    Last edited by vanhulsenbeek; 4th April 2010 at 10:52.

  41. #41
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vanhulsenbeek View Post
    I respectfully beg to differ. I find 35mm Panorama's with the M9 too restricted in height.
    No need for respect . I actually haven't tried panoramas with the WATE . . .your's have inspired me to give it a go.

    Just this guy you know

  42. #42
    vanhulsenbeek
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    No need for respect . I actually haven't tried panoramas with the WATE . . .your's have inspired me to give it a go.
    You will not be disappointed: I had them printed: great!

  43. #43
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Peter what is your thought on the following ?

    now! lets say that i don't need to shoot fast ( i don't need the 1.4)

    both 50 f/2 cron and 21 f/2.8 elmarit are sharper, lighter, cheaper, and more compact than 50 and 21 lux
    mohammad,
    i do not have the 21 LUX and the MTFs are not convincing. i tried the leica 21 f2.8 and i do prefer the zeiss biogon 21 f2.8.
    50mm....my LUX is sharp at all apertures, chromatic aberration well controlled, almost no distorsion....a wonderful lens. i can hardly believe that the CRON is sharper.
    peter

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    vanhulsenbeek,

    very nice panos!

    are you shooting 3 or 4 portrait panels with the WATE, or 2 in landscape?

  45. #45
    vanhulsenbeek
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Ah, good question!

    I always shoot portrait panels, never landscape.
    Landscape leads to long narrow 'stringy' panoramas.
    And always with lots of overlap, so at least 10 to 15. Costs nothing anyway.
    My Nodal Ninja 3MKII pano head ( http://www.nodalninja.com/products/p...dalninja3.html )
    has a clickstop mechanism. Very convenient.

  46. #46
    Senior Member mAlKhamis's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by vanhulsenbeek View Post
    I respectfully beg to differ. I find 35mm Panorama's with the M9 too restricted in height.

    I have published several of my very recent New Zealand pano's on Zenfolio (see for a quick slidehow here: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/ ) and most are shot with the WATE at 16-21mm. The New Zealand Pano's are in this Group of Gelleries: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/f52853875
    For the connoisseur: many of these are pictures made on the Milford and Routeburn Tracks

    This item: http://sanderva.zenfolio.com/p301833...db6b#h3276db6b in the South Island Gallery, is for me a typical 35mm: too long and narrow.

    Also I should state here that the WATE, together with PTGui, produces excellent Pano's and distortion does not come into the game at all, with me that is
    Sander my hat is down for your amazing inspiring work !!! just add me as a a new humble fan to your list, well done !!!! i love your panoramas, and it seems that you are really enjoying your WATE.
    I'm just wondering if i can do something similar if i choose the WATE mounted on an Arca swiss cube 1

    cheers! and thank you for your response
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  47. #47
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by markowich View Post
    mohammad,
    i do not have the 21 LUX and the MTFs are not convincing. i tried the leica 21 f2.8 and i do prefer the zeiss biogon 21 f2.8.
    50mm....my LUX is sharp at all apertures, chromatic aberration well controlled, almost no distorsion....a wonderful lens. i can hardly believe that the CRON is sharper.
    peter
    Thank you so much peter, but why do you prefer the zeiss biogon 21 f2.8 over the elmerit 21mm ?

    cheers!

    M
    Mohammad Al-Khamis

  48. #48
    vanhulsenbeek
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    ...................
    I'm just wondering if i can do something similar if i choose the WATE mounted on an Arca swiss cube 1

    cheers! and thank you for your response
    Mohammad,

    Thanks! About the Arca Cube: I read this on their website:

    "The C1 Cube ...... places the camera inside of a sphere. It is almost as if the x/y axes meet at a point upon the image plane itself, with all the camera rotating around a stationary image plane."

    But with pano's - especially when you get glose to the subject, or when some subject matter is close, like in interior shots - you want to rotate the lens around the nodal point, of that lens. For that you use a pano head.

    Read here, copied from the Nodal Ninja site: " A pano head is designed in such a manner so as to position a camera/lens so that it rotates about the no parallax point (NPP) axis of a lens. In the head and eyeball analogy above if you your able to somehow position your head so your eyeball was centered over your neck you would not see your thumb move when your head moved left to right. This is what pano head does. Without getting into technical jargon basically the NPP of a lens is the point inside the lens where the light is reversed before moving onto the camera sensor. Commonly call the nodal point but technically called the entrance pupil – they are all the same – this is the no parallax point (NPP) of a lens. You must rotate the entire camera and lens around this NPP axis to achieve a parallax free image. It is the primary purpose of a pano head."

    Reading this, I am not sure if the Arca Cube can do this. If it can, you are OK though.

    I, however, use the Nodal Ninja 3MKII, http://www.nodalninja.com/product_selector.html
    which is excellently suited for M type camera's. The heavier NN5 or the much more expensive Novoflex setup are for heavier camera's IMHO

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by vanhulsenbeek; 5th April 2010 at 05:52.

  49. #49
    Member markowich's Avatar
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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    Quote Originally Posted by mAlKhamis View Post
    Thank you so much peter, but why do you prefer the zeiss biogon 21 f2.8 over the elmerit 21mm ?

    cheers!

    M
    less distorsion, at least as sharp and much less expensive.
    p

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    Re: 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar vs 21mm 1.4 or 18mm 3.8

    >>>PETER WROTE----> dave,
    even the MTF graphs of the WATE tell a great deal of the story as far as corner contrast is concerned. well, and i have to admit i am a pixel peeper and i do analyse images on a scientific level (local contrast and frequency analysis and so on). of course, prints tend to equalize...
    i am very dillusioned about the distorsion of the WA leica glass.
    peter>>>

    Hi Peter,

    Like yourself I too analize files and optical performance of lenses in great depth. The WATE has a some compromises as does some of Leica's other wide angle offerings, but it's impressive overall, in my opinion. I completely concur that Leica's wide angle lenses fall short regarding distortion for certain applications. I've often felt that wide angles (wider than 24mm) we're Leica's weak point in terms of certain optical paramters, whereas Zeiss had a somehwat better handle on this. In the telephoto range, I personally think its just the reverse. Again it's very much "intent specific" and how a lens is going to be used, as to whether it's shortcomings is going to be an issue or not for the shooter. It's all relative. Thanks.

    Dave (D&A)

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