Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/03/26

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Subject: [Leica] RE: R 21 -35 mm zoom ASPH
From: fmaturana at (Félix López de Maturana)
Date: Fri Mar 26 15:29:26 2004

>Is anyone familiar with this lens...? Have you 
>used it...?   Your thoughts,   opinions  regarding 
>it, and its quality and capabilities are 
>thanks,  Steve

Hi Steve

It's the lens that is always in my R8. 80% of the pictures from this camera
are shooted with it. You have still some pictures in 

It's the best wide zoom I've seen in my life. But that does not mean it's a
perfect lens at all. As any wide zoom has some issues. It has bigger
distortion than corresponding primes but is very well corrected mainly by
the choice of a rather restricted range (21-35); excellent color rendition
in my slides, and very, very sharp. In fact sharpness is at the true level
of the primes. More prone to flare and bigger vigneting that primes.

It's not a speed lens but it has a reasonable size and weight. I'm really
happy with it and it makes a good combo with the 35-70 and 80-200 zooms if
you like the comfort ability of such a kind of lenses.

And compared to? I own, and use, similar zooms from Canon (16-35mm f2.8) and
Nikon (17-35mm f2.8). They are bigger lenses and with more weight but have a
wider range and are more open, but distortion, mainly at wider position, is
bigger and they are softer, mainly at corners. Closing at 5.6 both do the
work in similar way than Leica. I had, for a while, the Contax N1 but I
didn't like the camera and gave it back so I couldn't get and cannot speak
about the Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar 17-35mm f2.8 but it seems to me that it's
something between the best (Leica) and the worse (Canon). The N1 could have
been the best of all worlds -Carl Zeiss lenses and a modern autofocus
camera- but in fact was a disaster by the poor faith in it of Kyocera
manufacturer. The Contax Digital was, merely, a Kyocera business total

If you use very often a Leica R, and I believe you do Steve, it's a very
comfortable lens. In my experience, however, nothing beats an M lens and,
therefore I'm waiting with curiosity the new Epson digital. I have no strong
faith in the new M digital, nor, generally speaking, in the future digital
R&D of Leica firm. I hope this help.