Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/05/24

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Subject: Re: [Leica] sharpness discussion
From: Eric Welch <>
Date: Sun, 24 May 1998 16:14:20 -0500

At 02:06 PM 5/24/98 -0400, you wrote:

>As an example, my 85mm and 105mm Nikon lenses
>are outstanding.  Yet most (if not all) of the 35mm Nikon
>lenses (any of the versions) are not stellar performers.
>Of course, the Leica 35mm lenses (to varying degrees
>depending on the particular model) are all great units.
>Does this "theory" hold technical merit?

It used to. But talk to those who know optics and they seem to mostly say
that used to be the truth. But now, with modern computer design and special
glasses, there is no reason the difference is going to be noticeable. 

My 19 Elmarit seems to bear out that point. It's a stellar performer. I've
seen stuff from the previous 19 as well as some 20 (Canon, Nikon, Pentax,
etc) lenses, and the Leica R 21, and it (the new 19 ) is head and shoulders
above them. Leica 21mm lenses for the M as well (I haven't seen all of
them, but the latest pre-ASPH and the f/4 Angulon) don't show any better
performance. I'd imagine the 21 ASPH might, but how much better could it
possibly be? 

The new Leica 28s are super. Nikon's 24 2.8 is a superb lens. Better than
Leica's R 24. I think modern lens building techniques are putting to rest
that old idea that retrofocus is inferior. I suppose that someone could
take the advantages of the non-retrofocus lenses and apply it to the same
lens building techniques, and come up with even better lenses that are not
retro-focus. But then the M6 wouldn't be able to meter. And I believe
someone here has stated that non-retrofocus lenses have their problems too.
- --


Eric Welch
St. Joseph, MO

Perspective is in the eye of the beholder.