Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/12/15

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Subject: Re: [Leica] M & R lens differences
From: "Henning J. Wulff" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 09:57:37 -0800

Christoph Blaue wrote:

>A german magazine recently rated the M 2.8/21 Asph the best wide angle lens
>they ever tested.

Unless they had a completely different version of the 21/2.8 ASPH than I
have, I would strongly object to that. The 21 ASPH is the best _retrofocus_
lens of 21mm or wider I have ever used, but unless eveness of illumination
is more important to them than sharpness and lack of distortion, I can't
see how they could come to that conclusion. The Elmarit ASPH is an
excellent lens, and a definite improvement over the previous 21/2.8, but it
is no Super Angulon 3.4, or Biogon 4.5 for that matter.

My 21 ASPH is the lens that gets 90 percent of the use, but the 21 SA is
the one I use when critical sharpness and total lack of distortion is

As always, try out the lenses for the type of shooting you do, preferably
side by side. If you can see the differences, decide whether or not they
are important for you. If there are differences which you feel are
important, then for you one lens will be better under your shooting
conditions than another. If you can't see differences, or the differences
don't matter to you, the lenses are effectively equivalent.

For my shooting, in 90 percent of the shots, I wouldn't notice whether I
had taken the shot with the 21 ASPH or the SA, so I go with the convenience
of the ASPH when used with the M6, and I am very happy with the results. In
the other 10 percent of the shots, I might be disappointed with the results
from the ASPH, so I use the SA. That's the theory, anyways. Sometimes, of
course, I don't have the right lens with me (I never carry both), and
sometimes I really should have used the 72mm SA on 4x5 :-).

   *            Henning J. Wulff
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