Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/01

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Subject: Vs: [Leica] A very wide view!
From: "Raimo Korhonen" <>
Date: Fri, 1 Sep 2000 22:12:49 +0200

Hi Tom!
Seems like it is an interesting lens. BTW do you know anything about the new SL version of 2.5/75 mm - in their site it looks much smaller than the previous version.
All the best!
photos at

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Päivä: 01. syyskuuta 2000 3:25
Aihe: [Leica] A very wide view!

> I have been shooting with the new 12/5,6 Ultra-Wide Heliar for the last 24 
>hours. My test sample arrived yesterday and it makes the 15 Heliar seem like 
>a "normal" lens. So far I have only processed one roll, but I will have some 
>more to run over the weekend. The results are very promising, under a 30-time 
>magnifier it looks sharp and "snappy". The lens is very well made, feels more 
>solid than the Heliar 15mm and the "lens hood" is a nicely machined 
>crackle-finished ring with two "ears" on it and it is mounted on a rotating 
>ring so that you can align it yourself. The finder is spectacular, very 
>bright and also quite large. It looks like a small Sony TV for a doll's 
>house! Nice crackle finish on the back part and a crome surround on the 
>front. The glass on the front has a considerable curvature to it and, as with 
>the 15 Heliar finder, it shows strong curvature in the corners. The lens 
>itself is rectilinear and that is some accomplishment for a lens with 120 
>degrees or more coverage! It focusses to 0,3 meter (12") and has click-stops 
>at 0,5meter and 1meter settings. It is a smallish lens; size of a 35/2 Asph 
>and the finder is almost as big. It will meter with a M6 without having to 
>correct for the intrusion of the rear element. 
> It certainly gives you new view of things, as well as a slightly different 
>view of your knuckles, toes and stomach. In the future we will be able to 
>identify 12/5,6 users by the convoluted stance they adopt. Fingers gingerly 
>holding the camera by its short sides, leaning forward and sucking in the 
>stomach for verticals. Depth of field is amazing, at 5,6 it extends from 
>4feet to infinity and at f22 it probably extends from quite a bit behind you 
>to wherever you can see and beyond.
> The lens has a focussing lever similar to the one fitted on the 25/4 
>Snapshot Skopar and you just click it into place, 0,5 meter for a head and 
>torso shot and 1 meter for a full figure shot!
> As with any ultra-wide angle, it is not a lens for everyone and it deserves 
>(and demands) respect to use it well. It is easy to get way too much 
>foreground and it also requires that you hold it straight. There is 
>supposedly a bubble-level accessory coming and that would be a "good thing". 
>You tilt it and the world tilts with you! Just like the 15 finder, it shows 
>slightly less than what shows up on the negative (about 93-95%) and if you 
>move your eye off center on the finder, the image in the finder is blurred. 
> I don't know, but I suspect that this lens is the widest 35mm rectilinear 
>lens made. Nikon used to produce the 13/5,6 on special order (I don't know if 
>it is still being made) and Cosina has bettered that by 1mm. Talk about 
>pushing the optical envelope, particularly as the Cosina/Voigtlander lens is 
>going to be sold at around US$1100 versus the Nikons $8000+ 13/5,6.
> It obviously has provisions for using filters, according to the instructions 
>included. A special filter holder, using 77mm filters will be available.
> It is of course screwmount, although at the moment I am using it on a M6 
>with an adapter. I will try it out on the Bessa-R and Bessa-L over the 
> You also will develop a steady hand in cutting negs. The angle of the lens 
>is so steep that it creeps under the filmgate and the space between the negs 
>is very narrow, just like the 15/4,5 and the 21/3,4 Super-Angulon. You also 
>will have to keep a close eye on the meter, the lens picks up a lot of sky 
>and it can throw the meter off by a fair margin. I will switch to a 
>non-metered camera and use a handheld meter once I am through with the 4th 
>roll of Delta 100 in the M6.
> Of course, this would make a great medium wide-angle on a digital back on an 
>M camera! The chip could be ½ film size and you still get the angle of a 
>24-25mm lens. Does Cosina know something we don't know?
>With stomach sucked in, knuckles shaved and held close to the camera body, a 
>very wide view of the world!
>Tom A