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Thread: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

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    Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    Considering this lens for the 800e. Anyone with experience with it on a dslr? Thanks.....Peter

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    Would also like to know.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    I got a good deal on one and snapped it up while waiting for my d800 (Schneider version with Nikon mount). I've had a chance to test it a on a dx format camera and on a borrowed d700.

    My cautious impression is that it's a great lens unshifted, a terrible lens with a lot of shift, and good to very good lens with moderate shift. I'm suspecting I'll find it useful shifted 6mm or less, but only the d800 will tell for sure.

    I've talked to a lot of people who have used this lens, including professional architcture photographers who relied on it heavily. The range of impressions has been ... impressive. Everything from one of the best lenses they've used to utter garbage. I don't know if this speaks to sample variation (which would be strange for Schneider ... I've used their large format optics for decades) or differences in expectations.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    Thanks Paul, interesting. What problems did the large shift produce? Was it color artifacts? Do you think the problem with large shifting has to do with the digital sensors or the lens itself, although since I'd be using it on the 800 it doesn't really matter! If it can't be used at high quality throughout it's shift, I'll likely pass.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    No color artifacts besides chromatic aberration, which is mostly fixable (trickier in a shifted lens than in a centered one). The corners just get soft. In cases where it's just sky or the equivalent in the corners it won't matter, so how far you can go will be contextual.

    It's a lens you have to learn your way around. Aperture is important, and the sharpest aperture will depend on the degree of shift and the degree of important detail in the corners. In a worst case situation, with over 6mm shift and detail across the image circle, I find f16 to give the best results. In other cases it looks great at f5.6 to f8.

    As an unshifted lens, the sharpness and overall look are spectacular. Better than any other wide angle lens I've used in small format (I have not used the Nikkor 24 1.4g). There's nothing special about out-of-focus rendering. I don't care, but bokkeh people probably won't be impressed.

    It's a slow lens in practice. Manual everything, including aperture stop down. Easy to forget until you get used to it. Very limited automatic modes in the camera. I just use it in manual exposure and focus in live view.

    The build quality is as nice as anything I've used in any format. Better than any Nikkor I've used.

    I believe that Leica commissioned this lens from Schneider, who simply recycled the 28mm f2.8 digitar they already had lying around. They just created the shift mechanism, and added a floating element for close focussing (a curious choice ... would make more sense to me in something like their 85mm tilt/shift lens that's designed for studio use). I don't think this design was ever considered a world class performer in MF, but was possibly the only retrofocus design Schneider had ... necessary for sticking it on a dslr.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    Thanks very much Paul, that was extremely helpful and most appreciated. best....Peter

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    I've spent a couple of days working with the Schneider on the d800. My project is photographing the interiors of raw industrial spaces, uninhabited lofts, etc.. So far my impressions are extremely positive. As I suggested earlier, if you use it without regard for its limitations the quality can go to pieces. But I'm finding the limitations to be mostly inconsequential for this work. The most I've had to shift is 6mm ... just outside the range that seems to be the lens's sweet spot. And depth of field issues have required me to stop down to f11 or f16, so corner softness at wide apertures is irrelelvant. The lens is sharp Really sharp. I don't see any significant distortions. There's a lot of chromatic aberration when shifted, but Lightroom 4 makes short work of it (earlier versions had a harder time with this lens). Nikon would have to come out with something amazing to convince me to upgrade. The current 24PC is not it.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    The only other issue I'm seeing is flare, but in all cases it's been from bright light sources (skylights) within the frame. I can post samples if anyone's interested.

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    I've used the Schneider 28mm PC for years and unshifted it's a spectaculary good lens optically when used in any mount. Upon shifing though things deteriorated beyond 4-5mm and fall off was noticable. It wasn't just flair , although that was also an issue under certain lighting conditions, but a general flalloff in sharpenss across the frame, especially the sides and corners. Exactly as Paul descibed.

    I suspect and hope in time Nikon will catch up with Canon in the shift lens depeartment.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Leica 28/2.8 PC?

    Some samples and some 100% crops









    (cobwebs from the top of the first one)


    (far top right corner of the 2nd one)




    These were all shifted 5-6mm, at f11-16. If I end up using these, I'll work on the flair on the top two in photoshop with local hue and saturation adjustments, and probably tweak the colors overall.

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