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Thread: Leica 16-35mm not sharp to the edges?

  1. #1
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    Leica 16-35mm not sharp to the edges?

    Hello. I am using SL and other lenses on my Panasonic S1. I recently bought a used Leica 16-35mm SL lens but returned it when I noticed it was blurry on the sides, even when shot at f/10 (my subject was quite far away and the center was sharp). I thought it might just be my copy, but then saw that Lloyd at Diglloyd found the exact same thing (I wonder if I bought the same copy he may have returned to B&H?).


    Anyway, for those of you with the 16-35mm, can you let me know whether you are finding it truly sharp to the edges when shooting at a distance, and what camera you are shooting it on? There could be severe field curvature in the design of the lens - Iím not sure.


    Thanks very much,

    peter

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 16-35mm not sharp to the edges?

    Peter

    My first question would be ...have you been able to read the full report at DL and evaluate the detailed images ? When the test first came out I read it in detail and decided against the 16-35 primarily because the performance was best at the long end 35 and weakest at 16 . I bought the 35/2 SL sum micron and its as good as it gets everywhere .

    Leica doesn t make BAD lenses ....Peter Karbe the head of lens design can made pretty much any lens he wants ..but they all involve trade offs . The 16-35 was not designed for landscape ..its not exceptional at infinity nor in edge to edge resolution . In fact its performance actually peaks near wide open . This is a lens designed for a photojournalist . Very sharp at 28/35MM , mid range and wide open but has the ability to take a wider field of view when needed .

    It would seem your requirements are more of landscape photographer ......infinity and f10 . Try the 35/2 and you will not be disappointed .

    Roger
    Roger Dunham
    http://rogerdunham.com/
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    Re: Leica 16-35mm not sharp to the edges?

    I just "tested" the 16-35 today (to compare it vs the 11-23 on CL) and found that it performs quite well wide open in the corners even at the wide end (I tested at medium distance).
    I also tested at short distance at 35mm and really liked what I saw.
    Also compared to 21/3.4 M lens and overall my 16-35 seems to deliver.
    If you have mushy corners I would compare it to another sample or let Leica check it.
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    Re: Leica 16-35mm not sharp to the edges?

    Sounds like the 30-90 for the S. I tested the 24-90 on the S1 and similarly felt that the edges were not up to my standard compared to the primes. It seems as though Leica lets edges suffer a bit in order to enhance the rest of the performance. Or perhaps that is just inherent in zoom lenses in general. Either way, if edge to edge landscape sharpness is what you want, you might prefer a prime. With the 30-90, it is not so much that it performs poorly, more that there is an obvious fall off in quality from center to edge that makes it hard to enlarge past a certain point.
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