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Would love advice on which Leica R wide lenses I should get?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:28 am    Post subject: Would love advice on which Leica R wide lenses I should get? Reply with quote

So I just purchased the Leica R 35mm f/1.4 Summilux E67 and I plan on getting the 80mm Summilux f/1.4 E67 soon.

I was just wondering which of the Leica R wide angle lenses are best? I know the 28mm f/2.8 is popular but since I have the 35mm, I'm asking about lenses like the 24mm f/2.8 and wider.

I found this list: https://www.apotelyt.com/photo-lens/leica-r-catalog
There are so many wide angle R lenses and I just don't know which focal length and which versions are the best.

If you had to recommend only one wide angle lens? Which one would it be?

The 19mm f/2.8 version I or II?
The 21mm f/3.4 or f/4?
The 24mm f/2.8?

How is the 15mm f/3.5 (The f/2.8 is apparently $8000)? That might be a little too wide for my tastes, but I might as well ask.

Also, not entirely related, but which 35-70mm is the one to own? The f/3.5 or the f/4?

Thank you for your response!


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Would love advice on which Leica R wide lenses I should Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
So I just purchased the Leica R 35mm f/1.4 Summilux E67 and I plan on getting the 80mm Summilux f/1.4 E67 soon.

I was just wondering which of the Leica R wide angle lenses are best? I know the 28mm f/2.8 is popular but since I have the 35mm, I'm asking about lenses like the 24mm f/2.8 and wider.

I found this list: https://www.apotelyt.com/photo-lens/leica-r-catalog
There are so many wide angle R lenses and I just don't know which focal length and which versions are the best.

If you had to recommend only one wide angle lens? Which one would it be?

The 19mm f/2.8 version I or II?
The 21mm f/3.4 or f/4?
The 24mm f/2.8?

How is the 15mm f/3.5 (The f/2.8 is apparently $8000)? That might be a little too wide for my tastes, but I might as well ask.

Also, not entirely related, but which 35-70mm is the one to own? The f/3.5 or the f/4?

Thank you for your response!

19 version II, I wasn't happy with v1 and sold it.
I never tried the 21.
The 24 is ok by Leica standards, it's basically a good copy of the Minolta MD 24/2.8 in a different body.
The 28/2.8 v1 is also ok, actually quite good, but not as good as v2 which is one of the best 28's
The 35-70/3.4 is another Minolta lens, I like mine, it's sharp and nice colour, but far MFD, the f4 gets more love from the leicaphiles, but it feels plasticy to me.
I love my 90/2 APO Asph (M mount, but same glass), I tried out an 80 LUX, I preferred my 90
The 100/2.8 APO Macro is great, as is the 180/3.4 APO
I want the 50 Cron in both R and M mount
The 60/2.8 Macro is awesome all round lens, sharp at all focus distances.
I was disappointed in my 135/2.8 v1 and sold it.

Here's a good reference https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/R_Lenses_x_Focal_Length


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First thing to say is that you'll want to get the focal lengths that best suit your photographic interests IF you're interested in making pictures, rather than just exploring the technicalities of the lenses. 19mm is a LOT wider than 24mm . . .

There are no "bad" Leica R lenses but they are all relatively costly and the later wide angles will usually be better than the earlier ones dating from when Leitz were still coming to terms with retrofocus designs. Erwin Puts' Leica Compendium goes into great details about the technical aspects of the R lenses but it's now out of print (I believe) and very expensive. However, it is objective in its analysis (if you will excuse the pun) unlike a good deal of the opinionated and unreliable ranting one finds on some internet sites.

So, get the lens or lenses that best suit your photographic interests, and go for the latest versions if you want to maximise image quality Smile


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering how much Leica R wide angles cost, they are not a good investment for the simple reason that wide angles are one area where leaps and bounds have been made in recent decades.

For instance, even my humble Tokina AF 3.5-4.5/20-35 from the mid 90s outperforms all of the 24mm and wider manual lenses I have including very highly regarded ones like the Nikkor 2.8/24, Hexanon 2.8/24, Yashica ML 2.8/24, Minolta MD 2.8/24, Hexanon 4/21 etc.

You'd get far greater IQ-dollar ratio from a modern wide angle. What camera are you using?


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
Considering how much Leica R wide angles cost, they are not a good investment for the simple reason that wide angles are one area where leaps and bounds have been made in recent decades.

For instance, even my humble Tokina AF 3.5-4.5/20-35 from the mid 90s outperforms all of the 24mm and wider manual lenses I have including very highly regarded ones like the Nikkor 2.8/24, Hexanon 2.8/24, Yashica ML 2.8/24, Minolta MD 2.8/24, Hexanon 4/21 etc.

You'd get far greater IQ-dollar ratio from a modern wide angle. What camera are you using?


I'm currently playing around with 35mm film photography as I recently purchased a Leica R8 film camera while on vacation. While I probably will use the Leica Rs for a digital work from time to time, I have an entirely different set of lenses and camera for that.

I know there are amazing modern wide angles out there like the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art, Zeiss 15mm f/2.8, etc., that probably have way better IQ, but I'm just looking for a wide angle Leica R lens to use for 35mm film stills on my R8.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scsambrook wrote:
First thing to say is that you'll want to get the focal lengths that best suit your photographic interests IF you're interested in making pictures, rather than just exploring the technicalities of the lenses. 19mm is a LOT wider than 24mm . . .

There are no "bad" Leica R lenses but they are all relatively costly and the later wide angles will usually be better than the earlier ones dating from when Leitz were still coming to terms with retrofocus designs. Erwin Puts' Leica Compendium goes into great details about the technical aspects of the R lenses but it's now out of print (I believe) and very expensive. However, it is objective in its analysis (if you will excuse the pun) unlike a good deal of the opinionated and unreliable ranting one finds on some internet sites.

So, get the lens or lenses that best suit your photographic interests, and go for the latest versions if you want to maximise image quality Smile


I basically just want one wide angle R lens for landscape film stills on my R8. In which case a focal length like 19mm would probably suit me best, but I just wanted to get some advice on which of the Leica R wide angles are the ones to go for.


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Would love advice on which Leica R wide lenses I should Reply with quote

Lightshow wrote:
bigbuddha319 wrote:
So I just purchased the Leica R 35mm f/1.4 Summilux E67 and I plan on getting the 80mm Summilux f/1.4 E67 soon.

I was just wondering which of the Leica R wide angle lenses are best? I know the 28mm f/2.8 is popular but since I have the 35mm, I'm asking about lenses like the 24mm f/2.8 and wider.

I found this list: https://www.apotelyt.com/photo-lens/leica-r-catalog
There are so many wide angle R lenses and I just don't know which focal length and which versions are the best.

If you had to recommend only one wide angle lens? Which one would it be?

The 19mm f/2.8 version I or II?
The 21mm f/3.4 or f/4?
The 24mm f/2.8?

How is the 15mm f/3.5 (The f/2.8 is apparently $8000)? That might be a little too wide for my tastes, but I might as well ask.

Also, not entirely related, but which 35-70mm is the one to own? The f/3.5 or the f/4?

Thank you for your response!

19 version II, I wasn't happy with v1 and sold it.
I never tried the 21.
The 24 is ok by Leica standards, it's basically a good copy of the Minolta MD 24/2.8 in a different body.
The 28/2.8 v1 is also ok, actually quite good, but not as good as v2 which is one of the best 28's
The 35-70/3.4 is another Minolta lens, I like mine, it's sharp and nice colour, but far MFD, the f4 gets more love from the leicaphiles, but it feels plasticy to me.
I love my 90/2 APO Asph (M mount, but same glass), I tried out an 80 LUX, I preferred my 90
The 100/2.8 APO Macro is great, as is the 180/3.4 APO
I want the 50 Cron in both R and M mount
The 60/2.8 Macro is awesome all round lens, sharp at all focus distances.
I was disappointed in my 135/2.8 v1 and sold it.

Here's a good reference https://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-wiki.en/index.php/R_Lenses_x_Focal_Length


Awesome, thanks for the response!


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Would love advice on which Leica R wide lenses I should Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
...which 35-70mm is the one to own? The f/3.5 or the f/4?


About the 35-70mm f/4 zoom Erwin Puts writes in his "Leica R-Lenses" book:

"The LEICA VARIO-ELMAR-R 35-70 mm f/4 may be the right
tool to stimulate one's reflection about the state of the art of
Leica R photography.
It offers excellent image quality, the range from 35 mm to 70
mm is just wide enough to stimulate the visual exploration of
a scene of interest and the photographer can restrict
him/herself to one lens."

The 35-70 mm f/3.5 is a Leica-Minolta lens. Erwin Puts:
"Leitz cooperated with Minolta and offered from
1983 the LEICA VARIO-ELMAR-R 35-70 mm f/3.5 as a Leica
branded lens"

"The Minolta design was not the best on the market and in its original Minolta
version showed some manufacturing defects. The Leitz quality control ensured that
only the lenses within Leitz tolerances were accepted. At the 35mm position at full
aperture we have a high overall contrast and light fall off of 1.3 stops. Performance is
quite even over the picture area, with a strong drop in the corners. Fine to very fine
detail is defined with soft edges, becoming blurred in the outer zones. Stopping
down to 5.6 and 1:8 brings slight improvements, as the definition of very fine detail
crispens on axis, but in the field there is a visible blurring of this detail level"


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erwin Puts about the 19 mm Elmarit R lenses:
"2.8/19, Elmarit-R, 1975
Leitz Canada computed the Elmarit-R 1:2.8/19mm , which arrived on the market in
1975. At full aperture contrast is low to medium, definition of coarse detail is very
good, and very fine detail is rendered with slightly fuzzy edges in the centre of the
image. In the outer zones performance drops as astigmatism is used to balance field
curvature. Stopping down does improve contrast (which becomes high) and on axis
performance, while the image quality in the field improves very reluctantly. At 1:5.6
and 1:8 performance is good with a crisp rendition of fine detail on axis and a quite
soft reproduction of small detail in the field. Vignetting is high with 2.5 stops and
distortion quite visible in the periphery and at close distances. The distortion type is a
bit weaving and its changes direction abruptly. Close-up performance is not so good,
as this design has no floating element. You need to stop down to 1: 11 to get an even
performance over the whole image field. At the middle apertures this lens is better
than the Super-Angulon-R 1:4/21, with less field curvature, visibly improved
rendition of fine detail in the outer zones and corners and better close-up
performance. The lens is flare sensitive, as is the Super-Angulon. The large front lens
of both these retro-focus designs does contribute to the occurrence of this
phenomenon. In general picture taking situations, this 19mm lens offers good
imagery.

2.8/19,Elmarit-R, 1990
The new version of the 19mm does include a floating element (rear lens focusing!)for
improved close-up performance as this was one of the weaker points of the previous
version The mechanical construction of a floating element is demanding. As
example: the lens moves only 0.7mm from infinity to .5 meter. From 3 to 2 meter the
lens moves 0.05mm! The mechanical movements are very small and need a high
precision construction to function properly after many years of use. Between this
version and the older one, there is a time span of 15 years.
And a change in generation of designers. The new one has at full aperture high
contrast and outstanding performance on axis with a clear and crisp rendition of very
fine details. In the field the performance drops gradually to weak, with fine detail
now recorded very soft and with blurred edges. At full aperture the new is as good as
the previous one at 1 :4 to 1 :5.6. And at 1 :5.6 the current 19mm version reaches its
own optimum with outstanding imagery over the whole image field. This lens shows
the progress the Leica designers have made with retro-focus type of lenses."


About 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R, 1974:
"Elmarit-R 1:2.8/24mm is often referred to as a Minolta lens. The true background is
a bit more complicated. The original design is a Minolta computation with Minolta
glass and glass from other manufacturers. The computation had been adopted by
Leitz. The lens is completely built in Germany.

This lens has a medium overall contrast with clean rendition of the fine details on
axis (image area of 6-9mm). In the outer zones the performance drops and now
coma and flare become quite visible. Coma will always soften the details and lower
the contrast. Most users assume that coma is only operative when strong light
sources are present, but that is not true. Stopping down to 1:4 evens up performance
to the edges, but the fine textural details stay soft, due to a strong presence of
astigmatism and field curvature. At 1:5.6 the contrast in the outer zones improves a
bit and this level of quality is available at 1:8 too. At the level of reproduction of
coarse to fine details this lens offers commendable image quality, but stopping down
does not reduce the residuals enough to bring high edge contrast to the really fine
details. Vignetting is 2 stops, but distortion is pronounced. At the middle apertures
the R-24 is better than the Angulon 4/21 or the first R-28mm. Performance is always
relative. The R-24 employs a floating element, which brings excellent image quality to
the close focus range"


PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dan_ wrote:
Erwin Puts about the 19 mm Elmarit R lenses:
"2.8/19, Elmarit-R, 1975
Leitz Canada computed the Elmarit-R 1:2.8/19mm , which arrived on the market in
1975. At full aperture contrast is low to medium, definition of coarse detail is very
good, and very fine detail is rendered with slightly fuzzy edges in the centre of the
image. In the outer zones performance drops as astigmatism is used to balance field
curvature. Stopping down does improve contrast (which becomes high) and on axis
performance, while the image quality in the field improves very reluctantly. At 1:5.6
and 1:8 performance is good with a crisp rendition of fine detail on axis and a quite
soft reproduction of small detail in the field. Vignetting is high with 2.5 stops and
distortion quite visible in the periphery and at close distances. The distortion type is a
bit weaving and its changes direction abruptly. Close-up performance is not so good,
as this design has no floating element. You need to stop down to 1: 11 to get an even
performance over the whole image field. At the middle apertures this lens is better
than the Super-Angulon-R 1:4/21, with less field curvature, visibly improved
rendition of fine detail in the outer zones and corners and better close-up
performance. The lens is flare sensitive, as is the Super-Angulon. The large front lens
of both these retro-focus designs does contribute to the occurrence of this
phenomenon. In general picture taking situations, this 19mm lens offers good
imagery.

2.8/19,Elmarit-R, 1990
The new version of the 19mm does include a floating element (rear lens focusing!)for
improved close-up performance as this was one of the weaker points of the previous
version The mechanical construction of a floating element is demanding. As
example: the lens moves only 0.7mm from infinity to .5 meter. From 3 to 2 meter the
lens moves 0.05mm! The mechanical movements are very small and need a high
precision construction to function properly after many years of use. Between this
version and the older one, there is a time span of 15 years.
And a change in generation of designers. The new one has at full aperture high
contrast and outstanding performance on axis with a clear and crisp rendition of very
fine details. In the field the performance drops gradually to weak, with fine detail
now recorded very soft and with blurred edges. At full aperture the new is as good as
the previous one at 1 :4 to 1 :5.6. And at 1 :5.6 the current 19mm version reaches its
own optimum with outstanding imagery over the whole image field. This lens shows
the progress the Leica designers have made with retro-focus type of lenses."


About 24mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R, 1974:
"Elmarit-R 1:2.8/24mm is often referred to as a Minolta lens. The true background is
a bit more complicated. The original design is a Minolta computation with Minolta
glass and glass from other manufacturers. The computation had been adopted by
Leitz. The lens is completely built in Germany.

This lens has a medium overall contrast with clean rendition of the fine details on
axis (image area of 6-9mm). In the outer zones the performance drops and now
coma and flare become quite visible. Coma will always soften the details and lower
the contrast. Most users assume that coma is only operative when strong light
sources are present, but that is not true. Stopping down to 1:4 evens up performance
to the edges, but the fine textural details stay soft, due to a strong presence of
astigmatism and field curvature. At 1:5.6 the contrast in the outer zones improves a
bit and this level of quality is available at 1:8 too. At the level of reproduction of
coarse to fine details this lens offers commendable image quality, but stopping down
does not reduce the residuals enough to bring high edge contrast to the really fine
details. Vignetting is 2 stops, but distortion is pronounced. At the middle apertures
the R-24 is better than the Angulon 4/21 or the first R-28mm. Performance is always
relative. The R-24 employs a floating element, which brings excellent image quality to
the close focus range"


Perfect, thank you! Sounds like the 19mm version 2 is the way to go


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:


Perfect, thank you! Sounds like the 19mm version 2 is the way to go


The 24mm seems rather criticised as being less than other Leica lenses and maybe it really is, but it's still an excellent lens.
I shot these 3 at F6.7 and I just checked the uploaded files against the originals at same file resolution and it seems there is still a lot of compression by the forum... hence the details don't seem fine and the backgrounds look blurry but it is actually all there.

http://forum.mflenses.com/mangrove-sunset-minolta-24mm-f2-8-srt-102-ektar-100-t77095.html

They are definitely some of the sharpest images I've taken on film. My only complaints about this lens are that the lens hood is too short, and it's quite prone to flaring so I wouldn't get it for any indoor work with bright windows. And there was CA across most of the frame but it was minor and not visible at full-size however it made the image look a bit... 'colour-shifted', so I corrected it. I suspect those 3 characteristics are quite common among wide-angles of the period.

If the Leica 24 has the better build quality and tolerances then it's surely a better lens than mine.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bigbuddha319 wrote:
Perfect, thank you! Sounds like the 19mm version 2 is the way to go


As your next wide angel lens is 35mm maybe the 19mm will be a little bit too extreme. I would rather go for the 24mm one. For me the 24mm lens was always my most favorite wide angle lens in the old film times; i.e. on 24x36 format. However, it's also a matter of taste and your personal preferences.
Just my 2 cents.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scsambrook wrote:
There are no "bad" Leica R lenses but they are all relatively costly and the later wide angles will usually be better than the earlier ones dating from when Leitz were still coming to terms with retrofocus designs. Erwin Puts' Leica Compendium goes into great details about the technical aspects of the R lenses but it's now out of print (I believe) and very expensive. However, it is objective in its analysis (if you will excuse the pun) unlike a good deal of the opinionated and unreliable ranting one finds on some internet sites.

You can download an older version of Puts' Leica Compendium as well as many other interesting pieces there: https://www.apotelyt.com/photo-download/leica-literature

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very useful links, Abbazz.
Thanks!
I've posted here a link to a pdf of the Puts' "Leica R - Lenses" book, too :
http://forum.mflenses.com/leica-r-lenses-by-erwin-puts-t77840.html

I hope I don't violate any copyright.