Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Posts
    1,280
    Post Thanks / Like

    Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    There's some appreciative discussion over in the Sony 7r threads about the late model (1990 - 2006) Elmarit-R 19 mm lens, and examples shot with it look pretty nice. It's a thoroughly retrofocus lens, doesn't cause problems in the corners on the Sony (or with a Nikon D800E). But for the M[240] there are other options. The 16 and 18 mm range of the 2006 WATE appear from the technical specifications (MTF and distortion curves which max at 3% about 2/3 of the way to the edge of the frame) to be very similar to the older but faster R design. The newer (2008) SEM 18/3.8 would seem to render a little differently from the other two designs, sharper over a wider circle and with a different set of distortion characteristics. More like the very sharp (2011) SEM 21/3.4 from the same design group. Curiously, the prices of all three of the 16 to 19 mm superwide options seem to be about the same these days.

    Has anyone got evidence or strong opinions on how differently each of these render? Not outdoors in Kodachrome country but indoors in complex well-lighted scenes, like the one Guy M exhibited in the Sony thread.

    scott

  2. #2
    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    770
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    250

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    I think you already gave a good rundown on the differences. I don’t see how you could go wrong with any of these lenses on the M.
    One consideration is that the Elmarit-R on the R-M adapter is quite a hefty lump, the Super-Elmar is beautifully compact.
    JAAP
    http://www.jaapvphotography.eu
    The colours of my generation are black and white.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    I had the 19mm R lens, and while it is a VERY good lens, I preferred the performance of the 18mm ZM lens. I think you will be much happier with the size and performance of that or the 18mm Super-Elmar, especially since you will be using it on an M camera. You should consider the Zeiss too if money is an issue, as that lens has superb performance, is native m mount, and is priced very reasonably.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Posts
    1,280
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    I looked back into the M8 days for some reviews of the ZM 18, found a Sean Reid article (subscription site, but useful) comparing it with the WATE at 18 mm. He found it sharper on center than the WATE, softer in the outer parts of the (M8 reduced) field, a difference that remained at each f-stop. The ZM also required some care to get the right frame lugs so that it could be recognized as something that an M8/9/240 would handle gently, and of course it needs to be coded, covering a screw head. The SEM 18, if it can be found for a good price, sounds like a better bet. But I am still curious about how the look of images with the Elmarit-R 19 differs from these modern SEMs.

    scott

  5. #5
    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    770
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    250

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Actually I shot the ZM 18 against the SE 18 on the M9 before deciding for the Leica lens. Technically I could not see much of a difference between them, but the rendering of the Leica was far more attractive to me. More “transparent”.
    JAAP
    http://www.jaapvphotography.eu
    The colours of my generation are black and white.

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    Actually I shot the ZM 18 against the SE 18 on the M9 before deciding for the Leica lens. Technically I could not see much of a difference between them, but the rendering of the Leica was far more attractive to me. More “transparent”.
    Japp, I would agree with your assessment regarding the ZM18mm vs the Leica 18mm except for the readily recognizable waveform (mustache) type distortion thats readily evident in the Leica. If photographing a fair number of subjects with straight lines (especially horizontal), I personally would opt for the Zeiss. The Leica though has the edge in outer zone (read edge) sharpness by a small amount. Two very fine lenses.

    Dave (D&A)

  7. #7
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    If I wanted to use such a lens on the M I would much prefer a rangefinder lens because it would be more balanced in handling plus I personally also like to use the rangefinder.
    Choosing between Zeiss and Leica options I would probably prefer a Leica option because of the coding and because I would think its more safe to have color corrected result.
    I used a 19mm on the DMR some years ago and really liked it.
    I cant comment on the 18mm choices because my UWA of choice is the 21/3.4 Leica which I find to be a fantastic lens.

  8. #8
    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    770
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    250

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Japp, I would agree with your assessment regarding the ZM18mm vs the Leica 18mm except for the readily recognizable waveform (mustache) type distortion thats readily evident in the Leica. If photographing a fair number of subjects with straight lines (especially horizontal), I personally would opt for the Zeiss. The Leica though has the edge in outer zone (read edge) sharpness by a small amount. Two very fine lenses.

    Dave (D&A)
    Yes, that depends on your habitual subject matter, I think. For me it is less relevant, but I can quite see how this would be of importance for photographers who shoot architecture or even just in an urban environment.
    JAAP
    http://www.jaapvphotography.eu
    The colours of my generation are black and white.

  9. #9
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    HI Scott (and others)
    I can't comment on these, but I still love my WATE on the M - flexible, small and really good. It's a 'real zoom' as well.

    Just this guy you know

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    I never noticed any problems with the resolution of the 18mm ZM, but I only used it on the M9 and film. 18mm is not really a focal length that I use all that often, so putting all that money into a Leica version did not make much sense in my case. I just had John Milich put a custom bayonet on it, and the coding problem was solved...at the time I bought it, there was no super elmar, so it is coded as a WATE. This worked fine even for the M8 with IR filters, which I was using at the time.
    Either way, I would definitely suggest either of the 18mm lenses or the WATE over the 19mm R...it's not that it is not a good lens, but I honestly don't think it is any better than either of those two, and it is certainly a lot bigger and not rangefinder coupled...
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Posts
    1,280
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Scott (and others)
    I can't comment on these, but I still love my WATE on the M - flexible, small and really good. It's a 'real zoom' as well.
    I thought about the WATE in the M8 era, but the size of the Frankenfinder and the cost of the WATE put me off. On the M8 the Voightlaender 15 and my ancient Canon LTM mount 19mm sorta worked, but neither of those is salvageable on full frame digital except for hallucinogenic effects. On an M2 and Tri-X it is a different story.

    Now The Frankenfinder can be replaced with live view -- no more dialing in the parallax corrections, in fact, no parallax. And when you look at the technical data sheets, the WATE at 16 and 18 mm behaves a lot like the ZM 18 and the late model 19 R (at f/4 and above). Well, actually the WATE and the ZM 18 both outclass the 19 R in the outer parts of the image. The article from 2008 that I found showed the WATE at 18 mm to be sharper than the ZM 18 in the outer parts of the image at all f-stops. The SE 18 is still crisper than the WATE, since it doesn't have to be three lenses in one. And the newest design, the SE 21/3.4, puts them all to shame.

    As far as I can figure it out, the "moustache" distortion results from the fact that the greatest distortion occurs in these lenses at a radius corresponding to the width of the frame. Distortion then reduces rapidly as the radius increases to that of the corners of the frame. For example, the Elmarit-R 19 has -2.5 % distortion at the sides of the frame but only -1 % distortion at the corners. The WATE at 18 mm is almost the same (-2.4 % reducing to -0.8 at the corners). The SE 18 shows -1.9% distortion at the sides, decreasing to -0.5% at the corners. The SE 21 is better, -1.4 % at the sides, -0.6% at the corners. The ZM 18 is the best of the group, with distortion of -1 % at the sides, -0.5 % at the corners. These all sound small, but the effects can be seen in images that should be straight-edged. Of course the low distortion trophy is held by the original Biogon, the Zeiss 38/4.5 found in the Hasselblad SWC. No more than -0.3% distortion at any radius.

    scott

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Hi Scott,

    It's not an absolute, but generally when a lens manufacturers increases resolution in an ultrawide angle lens during the design phase, it often comes at a price...namely distortion. A classic example is seen during the development of the Samayang 14mm SLR lens. Their prototype was moderately sharp but not competitively sharp but had respectable distortion numbers...but when they went to re-compute and tweak it's optical output, they were able to achieve the notable level of respectable sharpness we see in the lens today. Of course the penalty paid was the introduction of a very healthy does of barrel distortion. Manufacturer's feel more comfortable doing that these days, figuring with the advent of digital post processing, some if not all distortion can be easily corrected for.

    That's probably why the Zeiss Zm18 gives up some ultimate sharpness, especially towards the sides/edges of the frame to the Leica 18mm...in the name of keeping distortion levels considerably lower and the differences with many subjects shot can be readily seen. Therefore each of these two lenses have their strengths and weaknesses and one picks one on their basis of needs and what they shoot. Additionally #'s don't always tell the whole story and one has to shoot with a lens vs. another to make an ultimate determination.

    Dave (D&A)

  13. #13
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Distortion can be fixed in post but a unsharp lens is a unsharp lens. Pick your poison.

    I love the 19mm version II myself. How it compares to M lenss that wide I don't know but the WATE was pretty clinical looking when I had it. The 19mm has a nicer look IMHO
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Jerusalem, Israel
    Posts
    1,280
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Distortion can be fixed in post but a unsharp lens is a unsharp lens. Pick your poison.

    I love the 19mm version II myself. How it compares to M lenss that wide I don't know but the WATE was pretty clinical looking when I had it. The 19mm has a nicer look IMHO
    Ordered the SEM 18. A little better than the WATE for one focal length and half the price. Also rangefinder coupled, and I kinda prefer "clinical" for indoor crowded settings like your industrial shoot examples. If there are lines parallel to the upper edge of the frame I can always retreat to the SEM 21. Now if Leica would only support the VF4 so that I can see what I am doing...

    scott

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    281
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Leica Elmarit 19-R or Super-Elmar 18-M on the M240?

    I am not sure how this happened but, I have owned all of the lenses that you are asking about. The WATE is best at 16mm, then 21mm and at it's worst at 18mm. The 18mm SEM is a superb lens with very good rendering. The ZM is also very good, but it has a different look. I would say that the WATE @16mm and the SEM are tied for resolution, with the 18mm SEM having a shade more of the Leica look.

    The Leica R 19mm is a good lens, and has the advantage of being useable on a DSLR as well. It is not as good as any of the above lenses. It does bring the Leica look to my Canon though.

    Andrew
    Home page: www.aphotovid.com

    Check out my gear blog!

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

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