Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/07/12

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Subject: [Leica] Super Elmarit 15/2.8+Superia 1600
From: krieger at (Martin Krieger)
Date: Tue Jul 12 20:29:32 2005

I had a loaner Super-Elmarit 2.8, 15mm for the Leica R, and took it to my 
favorite foundry in downtown LA. (Ordinarily I use the 19mm R 2.8.)  I used 
Provia 400F at 640 pushed one stop, and also Superia 1600 negative film at 
its rating. Some observations:

1. While there is sufficient ambient light from the windows and the 
fixtures, the blackness of the place means there is much less reflected 
light than one might expect. Blackness is due to the sand for casting. I am 
almost always shooting at 2.8, maybe 1/45th but more usually 1/12th or 
1/24th, and sometimes 1/6th, sometimes 1/3rd.
2. The Provia does fine. There is almost-visible grain in the 8x magnifier 
but not really a problem.
3. The Superia does more than fine. The grain is big to be sure, but in a 
5x7 print it is not at all objectionable. The latitude is what is wonderful. 
Shadows are filled in better and the bright parts not quite so blown out as 
with Provia. And the Provia has snappier color. All of this is obvious I 
suspect, but in practice what is important is that the Superia 1600's speed 
is really valuable here. That is, I am perhaps better off with all the 
grain, to gain two real stops of speed--in part the latitude is an extra 
plus, but the shutter speed is also fast enough now. Of course, it would be 
better to have f/2 or f/1.5, but at 19mm or 15mm that is not what is 
4. As for the 15mm, the images are very fine indeed. Sharp to the corners, 
the vignetting in prints or in the slides (recall that the corners here are 
often dark corners of the site) not at all a problem. I don't feel at all 
wide-angled since what I am trying to do is to get it all in, rather than 
have a foreground that dominates in some way. I will probably go back to the 
19mm, since at six or seven thousand dollars, the Super Elmarit is a bit 
pricey (but I suspect it is worth it). But I did not feel that the extra 
width was a problem, even with horizontal and vertical perspective. In part 
I am not at all doing architecture here, in part I am careful about lining 
things up.
    I had bought the Heliar 4.5 15mm with Bessa L (total less than $450). 
Again, I did not feel it was too wide. The stop and half speed gain with the 
Super Elmarit matters when I was in the foundry, I would imagine. I will 
have to try it. Also, I can tell how the definition holds up in practice in 
this sort of tough environment.

Martin Krieger

What else do I use: the 21mm Biogon on the Contax G2, the 38mm Biogon on the 
Hasselblad SWC/M.