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Thread: 18mm Zeiss questions...

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    18mm Zeiss questions...

    Folks,

    I'm a thinking about getting an 18mm Zeiss lens for the M9, but I had a few questions before I go that route (I really can't justify the coin for the Leica SE!).

    I know about the distortion and the red edge issues... but I don't know about the lens mount. Does the mount come correctly machined to allow it to be coded as an 18mm or as the 21mm pre-ASPH? Do I need to be getting a different mount so that the framelines are set to the 'correct' setting? What is the correct setting for the 18mm?

    I think that's it. The archives have a lot of GREAT info on this lens vs. the SE, so most other questions have been answered.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Comes with the flange to allow coding as a WATE. 28/90 framelines.
    The 18mm Elmar brings up 35/135 framelines.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    My Zeiss 18mm f/4 had almost no red edge or vignetting on my M9 when coded as a WATE 18mm. It is bitingly sharp and virtually distortion free. A great lens.
    Rich

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Thrice,

    So this is the question, because I am unsure how this should be approached... if I wanted to code it as a 21mm pre-ASPH, would I need a different mount?

    I think I recall you have yours coded as an 18mm WATE, but I know that a lot of others have had good success with the 21mm pre-ASPH, so I am a little unsure what I need to be asking for when I purchase.


    rcerick, Thanks for the info. I'd prefer to code as an 18mm so at least that nugget of information is correct on the EXIF...


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    This is actually why I was/am confused...

    http://whimster-photography.com/leic...des/index.html

    That page implies that the 18mm Zeiss uses the 50/75 framelines, so I was thinking that I might need to get a special mount for the lens.

    That site does seem to indicate that with the exception of the 18mm SE, the lenses wider than 24 all use the 28/90 framelines, so coding as the 21mm or the 18 WATE should be OK.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Mine brings up 28/90. I just double checked.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    What distortion?? If its there, it is certainly not bothersome.
    Mine does have the red edge, regardless of how coded. It is not extremely bad, but it is definitely and visibly there. Cornerfix would be worth the time and effort for any photos that would be printed or shared in an discerning way.
    I used to use mine on the M8 and lived in New York, so I went to see John Milich and he machined me a new brass mount with WATE coding. If you can handle the red edge and the width -- it is a REALLY wide lens on full frame, it is unlikely to disappoint. It is very well made, super sharp and low distortion.
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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    What is bothersome distortion is a matter of personal preference and degrees, as is the issue with red edge.

    For many subject matter, the distortion will not be an issue, but for others, it will, and if you don't shoot those subjects, you won't find it to be a problem, I'm sure.

    If, however, you shoot a lot of architectural subjects, as I do, you may find it to be more than you would like. It's about 1% from the data I've seen:

    http://diglloyd.com/articles/LeicaM/...issZM18f4.html

    Note that it has a slight recurve out towards the edges, characteristic of 'mustache' distortion that can be hard to correct.

    Now look at the 18mm SE distortion...

    http://diglloyd.com/articles/LeicaM/...ica18f3_8.html

    It has double the distortion, and a much stronger recurve at the corners, making it much more difficult to correct.

    It's not going to be a problem in landscape shooting, but what a mess to correct in architectural subject matter.

    There was a time when RF lenses were mostly symmetrical (that is, not designed to be retrofocus), and had very little to no distortion. Those days are gone, and those lenses are of little utility on a digital cameras (the red edge found in the 21mm f4 Zeiss is an example).

    If you've never shot with large format gear, you probably just don't see the distortion in most cases. In lenses shorter than 35mm, I see it everywhere.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Daniel has some amazing images taken with this lens. I have just started to explore the possibilities, and hope to present some experience when I have it....
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Right you are Ashwin. Thrice has a clear mastery of his equipment for sure.

    I'd like to see what you are doing with the lens as well, as you have produced some most excellent images with other lenses.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    I just purchased a used one for 1000.00
    Should have it in a few days can't wait to try it out on my M9
    What is the latest consensus on what to code the lens as?

    Steven
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Hi Steven,

    The Zeiss is usually found with one of two posssible lens mounts (each bringing up a different pair of framelines). The versions I tried could be coded either as a WATE (18mm) or a 21mm f2.8 Pre ASPH. Coding as the latter was the best at eliminating any potential red edge and many have confirmed this. Samples do vary as to the amount of red edge they exhibit as does certain Leica samples. It also appears theer is some varience of red edge exhibited by individual samples of M9 bodies...so it's a two fold issue. Do you know what framelines your Zeiss will bring up Steven?

    mjm6 is exactly correct...both lenses (the Leica and Zeiss) have distortion but the Leica I have found is much worse. Oter than that they are equally capable lenses with very similar performance (other than distortion).

    Dave (D&A)

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by thrice View Post
    Comes with the flange to allow coding as a WATE. 28/90 framelines.
    The 18mm Elmar brings up 35/135 framelines.
    Just to correct myself here, the 18mm Elmar brings up the 50/75 framelines.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Hmm, I just got my zm 18mm in the mail today, it brings up the 50/75 mm frame lines on my M9 not the 28/90 frame lines.
    I tried coding it 18mm wate and 21mm pre asph those are my only two options.
    This red edge everyone talks about, I don't think I have red edge but I do have some red going on in the bottom left corner of the image when there is snow in the foreground when coded as a 18mm wate, but not as bad when coded as a 21mm pre asph lens gives me better results.

    Steven
    this one set at 21mm non asph


    this one set at 18mm WATE
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Steven,

    That is the 'red edge' effect that people are talking about. In the images you have posted, it is evident on the entire height of the image, but is much stronger on the 18 WATE version.

    It is fairly easily 'fixed' using Cornerfix, or possibly can be programmed into your RAW conversion software (depending on what you are using).

    The other problem (that I believe you were thinking is called 'red edge') is called color fringing. It's normally purple/reddish, and shows up most easily on high contrast edges, often with larger apertures. Here's an example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ch..._1_14_2009.jpg

    I'm not aware whether the 18mm Zeiss suffers from great amounts of color fringing, but it probably does exhibit some at larger apertures. Some of this is 'fixable' as well, depending on your RAW software.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Michael when you say "entire hight of the image" i am not sure what you mean
    Are you talking about from top to bottom on the left hand side?

    The person I purchased the lens from swears by coding the lens as a Super Elmar 18, which requires physically coding the lens sharpie, cokder kit etc. I suck at doing this.

    Steven
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Steven,

    Yes, the whole height of the image. Look carefully at the blueish-gray of the building and up into the sky, there is a color drift toward red in the last 5% of the image for the top one, and maybe about the last 10% of the bottom.

    The easiest way to spot it in the top image is to look at the clouds to the left of the Aspen behind the building, and then look at the clouds to the right of the Aspen. Use a color-picker if you are in Photoshop or your Raw software to see the difference in the red levels between the two, or if in PS, you could also copy a piece of the clouds from one spot the the other and you'll see the difference right away.

    It's likely that they are actually about the same drift width, but the magnitude makes it apparent further into the image on the bottom one.

    Also note that the aperture you choose will affect the red edge effect, so some people make multiple correction templates. I'm not sure if this lens exhibits a substantial change in the effect with aperture, though.

    I've got an 18mm on the way, so I'll be trying all this out myself soon.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    I am the one who sold the ZM 18 to Steven. I am in communication with him to help him out and I have also offered him a refund if he decides to return it. I just wanted to pop in and add a few comments in this thread in the hope it helps others looking to get this lens to use on a M9.

    The ZM 18mm lens is one lens that has the most conflicting and contradicting set of statements written about when you Google it. I personally favor this lens over my Leica SE 18mm. I was absolutely fascinated by the pictures posted by thrice (Daniel Kennedy) - so I had to have one. I had to go through the agony of sorting through solutions to stop all this red line issues when I purchased mine.

    I have hand coded my copy for Leica SE 18mm and on my M9, it shows very little red line edges. I never critically compared it to what would happen if I coded it as Elmarit 21mm pre-ASPH. I also shoot some film and I never bothered with red line edges on a Zeiss Ikon body I have for obvious reason. I also wanted to keep the code as SE 18mm so that the exif data recorded on a M9 stays as a 18mm. Keep in mind also that you cannot manually select any lens as a SE 18mm on M9 since Leica decided that was redundant since all SE 18s were born with 6-bit codes at the factory. This makes it a little trickier when a new buyer gets a Zeiss ZM 18mm lens that brings up 50/75 framelines.

    It seems that the ZM 18mm lens has different effect on different bodies as many have pointed out. It also seems that some ZM 18s originally come with 50/75 and some others come with 28/90 framelines (particularly those sold by Popflash). My advice to any one buying this lens is to first determine what framelines its brings up. Test it out with different codes (SE 18mm vs Elmarit 21mm pre-ASPH) and see which provides the least red edge effect. Keep in mind that to code it as a SE 18mm lens you need a flange that brings up 50/75 framelines and to code it as an Elmarit 21mm pre-ASPH you need a flange that brings up the 28/90 framelines. If you decide on a particular coding you like, I suggest getting the corresponding flange (50/75 or 28/90) with 6-bit grooves machined from John Milich and install that on the lens. Paint the grooves to the code of your liking and you are good to go.

    The ZM 18 is one of the best super wides available for M and its a shame not being able to enjoy it on a M9.

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    OK, so I think I finally have an understanding of the issues with the 18mm Zeiss lens...

    Before the Leica SE lens came out, the Zeiss used a mount to bring up the 28/90 frames in the cameras. When the 12mm SE came out, Zeiss changed the mount to match the 50/75 framelines of the Leica Lens.

    That means there are two different mounts out there.

    If you have one that has the 28/90 mount, you can code the mount for the 21mm pre-ASPH or the WATE and both can be effective according to some people's experience.

    If you have the 50/75 mount, you can code the lens mount as the 18mm SE, which works well for people as well.

    If you have an M9, you can only get the 18SE code through the lens mount, so you won't be able to try that option unless you have the 50/75 mount. You can manually assign a lens in the GUI, so you can try the others even if you don't have the 28/90 mount. However, you will not be able to code the mount for the 21mm pre-ASPH or the WATE for auto lens detection, because the camera uses the framelines partially to define the lens, and uses the 6-bit code for the rest (the mount framelines must match the info stored in the database for the 6-bit code read for the camera to recognize the lens correctly)

    If you have an M8, you cannot manually code the lenses through the camera, so you will have to code it through the mount. That is the reason that choosing the 'correct' mount is important for M8 users. I think that the 'special' mount lenses that Popflash was/is selling is now the standard 50/75 mount that would allow the lens to be coded as an 18mm SE.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Michael,
    Everything you said is correct and thanks for clarifying a few things. I may be wrong but the Zeiss 18mm lens that Popflash sells come with a flange that brings up the 28/90 framelines. I believe most people have been happy with coding it as Elmarit 21mm pre-ASPH and hence the need/push for 28/90 framelines.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    kmalik,

    That could be... If the M8 firmware doesn't know about the existence of the 18mm SE, then this would make perfect sense.

    I'm looking forward to trying out the lens tomorrow...

    Regardless of Leica's implementation of the lens coding system (which I think could have been done better), there may be a little red edge, but I think that is fairly easily corrected in the RAW software or in CornerFix, so I think it'll be a great lens to work with.

    ---Michael
    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    I still cornerfix my 18mm files if they have shades of grey in the scene. For landscapes I would often just use a cyan graduated filter in lightroom if the shift was noticeable in a particular shot.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Very interested in this lens myself ... I've been shooting with 28/50/85 ZM glass again with my M9 and I'm very very pleased with the results. The 18 or 21/2.8 are calling me at the moment.

    Btw, have any of you tried using the LCC feature of C1 Pro with this lens? It should also remove the colour cast along the edge if you correct using an LCC capture.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Graham,

    I haven't tried C1, so I cannot help you with that. I know that LR can create profiles as well, so I am going to go after that approach once the lens arrives. Hopefully today!


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Hmmm,

    OK, so I got the lens, and it has the modern mount with the groove for coding, but it brings up the 28/90 framelines. It is brand new, from a large dealer, so I suspect that it is what Zeiss is currently delivering. So, I think that I have misspoken somewhere.

    I had said that Zeiss changed to 50/75 when the 18SE came out but that may not be the case.

    Regardless, the lens works with coding for the WATE and the 21mm. It looks like the 21mm setting works better on my camera. I'll test the 18mm SE setting tonight by fooling the camera with a manual framelines setting to read the 18SE code. If it works better than the 21mm setting, I'll consider adjusting the mount to bring up the 50/75 framelines and code it as the 18SE.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Michael, you may be better off leaving the 28/90 framelines as is and coding the lens as Elmarit 21mm pre-ASPH. At least thats what everyone says produces the least amount of red edge. But experiment it out.

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    I've posted here on getdpi and elsewhere, that I too have found with the M9 multiple samples of this lens, that the coding for the Leica 21mm f2.8 pre asph was superior to the coding for the WATE. Interestinly, probably due to the M8.2 crop factor, coding as a 18mm WATE was suffient on that camera, but not the M9.

    Regarding choosing between the Zeiss 21 f2.8 and Zeiss 18mm f4 probably depends on which focal length fits one style of shooting more than anything else. Both are exceptionally good performers, the 21mm being impecable while the Zeiss may give up a sligtlu in resolution in resolution and exhibit more distortion, but has the advantage of going wider.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Dave,

    I think you are right about the 21mm pre-ASPH working best, so that's probably how I'll use it. I'll need to test it out a little more this weekend to be sure. It may be over correcting a little into the corners for falloff, so that makes me a little concerned.

    I'd rather slightly undercorrect a little and then correct more in Post if needed. I often end up burning into the corners/edges, so over correcting and then burning back down could start to cause problems with the file information blocking up a little here and there.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 18mm Zeiss questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Dave,

    I think you are right about the 21mm pre-ASPH working best, so that's probably how I'll use it. I'll need to test it out a little more this weekend to be sure. It may be over correcting a little into the corners for falloff, so that makes me a little concerned.

    I'd rather slightly undercorrect a little and then correct more in Post if needed. I often end up burning into the corners/edges, so over correcting and then burning back down could start to cause problems with the file information blocking up a little here and there.

    ---Michael
    Hi Michael,

    I completely agree with what you expressed about the desirability of under vs over correction. Keep in mind it all depends on the individual sample of the Zeiss 18mm being used and also occasionally even the specific M9 body combined with that specific 18mm. This will all determine which way to eventually go when coding. In most circumstances, the 21mm pre asph coding did turn out to be best. Let us know.

    Dave (D&A)

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