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Thread: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

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    Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Hi all!
    Does any one here use Leica 21mm Elmarit f/2.8 ASPH lens on Leica M (240)? How does it perform compared to the 21mm Super Elmar f/3.4?
    Thank you in advance!

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    No, but I have a Voigtlander 21/1.8, which I have used an a M9. Very pleased with it - it's a bargain.

    All the wide shots in this gallery were shot with the 21/1.8 CV last week.
    Charlie Chan | Wilko Johnson - Still Kickin' - Cambridge Junction

    There's a comprehensive review by Steve Huff here on the Voigt 21 1.8 and by Ron Scheffler on all the 21s from Voigt, Leica and Zeiss 21 lenses.
    The Voigtlander 21 1.8 Lens Review by Steve Huff | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS
    http://www.ronscheffler.com/techtalk/?page_id=130

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    The 21mm f3.4 will be smaller, lighter and most likely sharper across the frame at f3.4.

    I do not own either of these, so I will stand corrected, but every review I have read on the 21mm f2.8 asph suggests that it is a relatively weak performer a f2.8 and off centre compared to other asph designs, such as the 24mm f2.8 Elmarit asph. It seems to need a solid one stop down to f4, where performance is dramatically improved. In contrast, I understand the 21mm f3.4 is remarkable from that aperture onwards.

    Super Elmar may have a touch more contrast too.

    With that large hood in place the f2.8 may also intrude into the hotshoe finder a little more, if you intend to use one.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    what do you mean by "off center"?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    what do you mean by "off center"?
    He means at the edge and corners of the frame.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I've never used the Elmarit but what I can say is for me the deciding factor for buying into the M system was based on the performance of the Super-Elmar.

    Terrific lens!

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Thanks! I am also interested in color differences, as well as distortion and drawing character between the two. Let's exclude the 21mm Elmarit pre-ASPH.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    IMHO the 21SEM is a much better lens. I don't only mean technically. It also has a good amount of color realism and pop. Almost like a Zeiss lens with Leica refinements and a Leica color palette. The ergonomics of the lens are also good.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I own both.
    Used the 21/2.8asph on the M6, M8 and M9...I never saw any problem with the 21/2.8.
    Lately I have used the 21 SEM a lot, I really like the size.
    I don't have direct comparisons but overall my impression is the following:
    21/3.4 is very sharp over the frame even wide open, and quite contrasty.
    The 21/2.8asph draws a little ore organic with a little less contrast and slightly softer corners. (I don't mean soft but less sharp)

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Thank you very much! So when do you think the corners become comparable? f4 or beyond?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Thank you very much! So when do you think the corners become comparable? f4 or beyond?
    I can try to shoot some images at the weekend with the M.
    I never was missing anything with the 21/2.8, however the 21/3.4 is impressing me all the time, it has the smaller size and weight, and the price for the 21/3.4 is OK IMO.

    Do you allready own one of the lenses or you try to decide between them?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Wow, if you could shoot comparison images would be amazing!
    I decided for the 21mm, but still not sure about the Elmarit or the Elmar.
    Also the Elmarit is available in silver, and I love chromed lenses

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Wow, if you could shoot comparison images would be amazing!
    I decided for the 21mm, but still not sure about the Elmarit or the Elmar.
    Also the Elmarit is available in silver, and I love chromed lenses
    I will try to find the time. Can you pm me your email address?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    The 18 SEM, 21 SEM, and 24 Elmar-M are incredibly good optics, and the form factor of the 21 and 24 is nearly perfect (for me anyway). Due, I guess, to their relatively slow apertures, they're also relative bargains compared to their faster counterparts. Can't imagine not choosing one of them. If you don't like clarity and pop, well that's what the Clarity slider is meant for ...
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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I do have the Elmar-M 24/3.8 ASPH and can highly recommend that lens. It is a great little lens that I have used with my M9 and M film cameras. Great resolution and clarity across the whole frame. Just love this lens. I do know a couple of photographers who have the 21 SEM and they love that lens.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Last edited by seakayaker; 13th March 2015 at 17:43.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I shot a long project (a building that took five years to complete construction) with an M9 and the 21 Summilux, switching to the 21 SEM when it became available in the last year of the project. Although the SEM has a reputation for being incredibly sharp across the frame starting at its maximum aperture, I found that I was using it at f/4 or f/5.6 to ensure the maximum crispness. The 21SX is huge and unbalanced, very sharp in the center and a bit prone to purple fringing around thin objects at the edges of the frame, but wonderful in low light. I've also been shooting lately on an M[240] with the 18 SEM, which is a slightly older, bulkier design than the 21 and 24SEMs. Here are some examples -- first the 21 SX:



    then the 21 SEM:



    and here's an example of what the 18 SEM can do:



    I also have a Zeiss 21/2.8, which I used as an effective 28 mm lens on my M8. Haven't tried it for a while, but it is preferred by some to the 21 Elmarit.

    scott

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I will try to find the time. Can you pm me your email address?
    PM sent, thanks!

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by scott kirkpatrick View Post

    then the 21 SEM:



    scott
    Awesome, thanks.
    What aperture did you use for the SX and SEM shots? Looks like the lower left corner of the SEM is a bit unsharp..maybe was wide open?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Awesome, thanks.
    What aperture did you use for the SX and SEM shots? Looks like the lower left corner of the SEM is a bit unsharp..maybe was wide open?
    Probably f/5.6, which is my standard setting in good light.

    scott

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I will post some images next week but I did shoot some comparisons today.
    To me it looks like up to f4.0 the difference in corners is quite obvious, the 21/2.8 being more mushy and the 21 SEM being quite sharp.
    At 5.6 the 21/2.8asph seems nearly as good as the SEM at getting good corners.
    I didnt think the difference at wider f-stops to be that obvious.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Great info! Thanks for your kindness.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    I can whole heartedly recomment the 24 Elmar as well... Especially paired with a Monochrom.

    To answer your question I've tried both lenses and preferred the Elmarit personally but as Paratom says it has a more "organic" rendering and I mostly shoot people candidly and rarely pixel peep corners (landscape is not my primary photographic subject so it's usually an afterthought to be honest.)

    I eventually settled on a 21/1.8 Ultron and that's not to say it's a better lens than either but it was good enough for me (actually it's excellent out to mid ranges but lack some microcontrast in comparison to say - the 21SE or 21Lux at infinity) at mid and closer ranges and offered the benefit of a lager aperture (important on the M9 based bodies.)
    Last edited by iiiNelson; 15th March 2015 at 14:17.
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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I can whole heartedly recomment the 24 Elmar as well... Especially paired with a Monochrom.

    To answer your question I've tried both lenses and preferred the Elmarit personally but as Paratom says it has a more "organic" rendering and I mostly shoot people candidly and rarely pixel peep corners (landscape is not my primary photographic subject so it's usually an afterthought to be honest.)

    I eventually settled on a 21/1.8 Ultron and that's not to say it's a better lens than either but it was good enough for me (actually it's excellent out to mid ranges but lack some microcontrast in comparison to say - the 21SE or 21Lux at infinity) at mid and closer ranges and offered the benefit of a lager aperture (important on the M9 based bodies.)
    Thats a good point. I would say if you shoot people or subjects with shallower DOF the 21/2.8asph can be great.

    If you shoot subjects where you want sharpness all over the frame into the corners, even wide open, the SEM should be your choice.

    The SEM is more perfect but also a bit more clinical, the 21 Elamrit is not as perfect but still a very nice lens.

    In my case...I prefer the 21 SEM.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    focus is on the fence behind the "bird house"

    21 Elmarit asph at f3.4:
    L1009297 by paratom511, on Flickr

    21 SEM at f3.4
    L1009291 by paratom511, on Flickr

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Elmarit asph f5.6
    L1009299 by paratom511, on Flickr

    SEM f5.6
    L1009293 by paratom511, on Flickr

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    You can find another scene and images with both lenses at f(2.8),3.4,4.0, 5.6 in the flickr album.
    I hope it helps.
    The SEM has sharper corners until f5.6 and even then slightly better.
    The SEM also shows clearly less vignetting.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Thank you very much for these samples. At 1200 pixel it's difficult to evaluate corner sharpness, but I trust you!
    Vignetting is a l little more on the Elmarit, and the distortion is comparable.
    Angle of field looks a bit wider on the Elmarit.
    It is strange though the brightness of the 4th picture, the SEM at 6.8, that looks brighter than the 3rd one, Elmarit at 5.6. Did you post the jpg with some post production?

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Thank you very much for these samples. At 1200 pixel it's difficult to evaluate corner sharpness, but I trust you!
    Vignetting is a l little more on the Elmarit, and the distortion is comparable.
    Angle of field looks a bit wider on the Elmarit.
    It is strange though the brightness of the 4th picture, the SEM at 6.8, that looks brighter than the 3rd one, Elmarit at 5.6. Did you post the jpg with some post production?
    I did some vignetting correction (more to the Elmarit images).
    I did another conversion without any correction/modification in full size. I will send you the link.
    The Exif are not correct. They seem to be correct f-stop for the Elmarit but 1/2 off for the SEM.

    Also-dont forget these are my samples of the 2 lenses, other samples might behave different.
    Last edited by Paratom; 16th March 2015 at 07:16.

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Thank you very much for your effort. I checked the Hires you sent, and the SEM is sharp from f/3,4, while the Elmarit catches up from f/5,6.
    I love the look of the Elmarit at f/2.8, it has that dreamy look at the edges that might be useful with people. The SEM is very analytical, perfect for landscapes, less appealing with people I think.
    They are equally sharp at f/8, with the Elmarit having a hint of purple fringing at the far edges until f/8, while the SEM stops fringing from f/5.6.
    Those pictures were really helpful, and I think I'll look for a Silver Elmarit (chrome addiction..), as my work is mostly people. Thank you again!

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    Re: Leica 21mm Elmarit or 21mm Super Elmar

    Quote Originally Posted by doctorfab View Post
    Thank you very much for your effort. I checked the Hires you sent, and the SEM is sharp from f/3,4, while the Elmarit catches up from f/5,6.
    I love the look of the Elmarit at f/2.8, it has that dreamy look at the edges that might be useful with people. The SEM is very analytical, perfect for landscapes, less appealing with people I think.
    They are equally sharp at f/8, with the Elmarit having a hint of purple fringing at the far edges until f/8, while the SEM stops fringing from f/5.6.
    Those pictures were really helpful, and I think I'll look for a Silver Elmarit (chrome addiction..), as my work is mostly people. Thank you again!
    I think for people it is a god choice. And formladscapes its normally not a problemmto stopmdown.
    For the last 2 years I seem to prefer 'neutral' lense ( some may say clinical) but I fully undestand those prefering the lenses which have an own
    I hope you find a nic e sample and enjoy using it!

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