Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2015/10/24

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Subject: [Leica] BIG new Leica
From: mark at (Mark Rabiner)
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2015 16:11:48 -0400

It sounds like you are juggling a truckload of glass adding up to serious
money which will not make up for the fact that you are using an M9 Leicas
CCD first out full frame digital M and not a current CMOS M.
Speed considerations (and people do use tripods) are a thing of the past in
digital photography nowadays with a normal cruising speed of 64,000 two
stops over 16,000 and that's just getting warmed up.
Unless you happen to be shooting a technical anomaly like an M9.
The plus side Leica is still in business and its finally got it right
digitally with the current CMOS M. (240) which lets you use the  iso' s the
rest of the serious photog world are using on their DSLR's.
I'd kill to be able to shoot with a SUPER ELMAR-M 1:3,4/21mm ASPH  which I
belive is the epitome of wide angle lens design period. It's a reason to be
shooting with a Leica M. You could hate rangefinder cameras but be shooting
with an M to enable you to be shooting with a that lens.
Why is the lens so good ? Because they didn't let the marketing department
dictate what a great wide angle should be by jacking up the speed to
leapfrog some other companies latest offering.

Leica traditionally offered in its catalog three options for every focal
Slow (cheap and light), Medium (medium). Fast (pricey, and flair prone)
The trick answer is that the slow cheap option often gave the best results.
So for once in our lives we get to get our cake and eat it too. Smaller,
lighter and cheaper equals better results. Another example of that kind of
thing happening is what? I can't think of an example.

And as I said with digital speed is was more so no longer an issue but
especially with landscape shooting where tripods are the default.
Tripod use now is not the tripod use of days gone by.
They are resin coated light and friendly and the heads are ball head
variations which leave your hands on the camera its the interface between
your camera and tripod and makes all the difference. Tripod use is much less
clunky than it was before.  Its not all all clunky now. Get a nice little
tripod case with strap to sling over your back like Robin Hood you won't
even know its there. And wear green! And steal from the rich and give to the

On 10/24/15 3:23 PM, "Paul Roark" <roark.paul at> wrote:

> I added the SUPER ELMAR-M 1:3,4/21mm ASPH to the comparison stack, below:
> No doubt the SEM is the sharpest and smallest modern 21.  I have the 
> 24 mm f/3.8 ASPH, which I use as my "reference" wide angle on an M9.  The
> Loxia, at f/2.8, however is faster and has a good 3/4 stop less
> vignetting/light falloff.
> I used the Biogon C 21mm on the M9 -- for B&W.  (It is not appropriate for
> color shooting due to bad magenta color at the edges.)  It's sharp, but the
> vignetting was significant -- about like the SEM 21.  I found heavily "red
> filtered" (in Photoshop) blue skies got noticeably more grainy at the edges
> with the M9.  So, that light falloff issue is a relevant factor in the
> calculus.
> The WATE is my only good superwide that will fit on the Sony.  More speed
> and better wide open performance is what I'm interested in with the Loxia
> 21.  We'll see.  If it's a turkey, it'll be returned.  It will not be
> shipped until December.
> Paul
> On Sat, Oct 24, 2015 at 11:58 AM, Frank Filippone <red735i at>
> wrote:
>> In my use of the lenses, the 50 ASPH Lux is the best. Period.  I can see
>> the
>> difference.
>> The 21 and 24 SEM are VERY close to each other.
>> The WATE is about as good as the 21, side by side, and offers the ability
>> to
>> have wider if you want/need.  Great for stitched Panoramas.
>> Then again, YMMV, and this is all on a M9 body.
>> I do not use a 28.. too close to the 35 in angle of view for me.  So no
>> comment on the 28's, ASPH or not.
>> The 28 Cron was wonderful on the M8.... but that body is gone too.
>> I had a 35 ASPH Cron and did not cotton to the lens.  I have friends who
>> love it..
>> The 21 and 24 ASPH Elmarits are all to big physically (BIG front elements)
>> for travel purposes, given the choice of the SEMs.
>> Faster, yes, but you need to make it all fit in a small camera bag....
>> If someone is in the mood to buy a 24 ASPH Elmarit, please contact me....
>> Frank Filippone
>> Red735i at
>> I think the Leica 21mm Super-Elmar-M f/ 3.4 ASPH Lens is better!
>> On 10/23/15 5:44 PM, "Frank Filippone" <red735i at> wrote:
>>> The 21 and 24 SEM are similar to the 50 ASPH Lux (and the WATE!).  I
>>> can pick out images from those lenses from others in my stable....
>>> It may be that the optical characteristics of the most modern lenses
>>> are similar.... design tools?  Intentional design compromises?  Purely
>> chance?
>>> Frank Filippone
>>> Red735i at
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: LUG [ at] On
>>> Behalf Of John McMaster
>>> Sent: Friday, October 23, 2015 2:40 PM
>>> To: 'Leica Users Group'
>>> Subject: Re: [Leica] BIG new Leica
>>> The 21mm SEM beats the Elmarit asph in all areas IMO. I would say that
>>> the S range is Leica's still lens showcase range ;-)
>>> john
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> ?Yes, everything is a whole set of compromises.  I assume Leica and
>>> Zeiss will both continue to make optics that also cater to those who
>>> value
>> compactness.
>>> The M line is Leica's current showcase of what it can do.  It may be
>>> that the Loxia line for the Sony is representative of what Zeiss can
>>> do for that platform.
>>> Since wide angle optics are the main area of my concern regarding the
>>> Sony line, I was curious just how much of a penalty that platform will
>>> pay.  To show this, I made a Tiff file with a cutout of the Leica v.
>>> Zeiss Loxia 21mm
>>> f/2.8 entries into this competition shown on different layers.  The
>>> images are adjusted to equalize size and distance from the sensor/film.
>>> Some might find looking at the two similar optics interesting.
>>> Download the Tiff from
>>> As to relative sharpness, all we have are MTF curves that are not
>>> necessarily comparable.  If they are to be believed, the Zeiss wins by
>>> a hair.  My experience is that Leica is more conservative in these, and
>> in
>>> the real world Leica might well win by a hair.   The main and more
>>> objective measure of performance that could be important is that,
>>> consistent with the performances we see in other wide angle lenses,
>>> the more retrofocus optic has less vignetting. Zeiss is claiming light
>>> falloff at f/2.8 that is equal to the Leica at f/8.
>>> Paul
>> _______________________________________________
>> Leica Users Group.
>> See for more information
>> _______________________________________________
>> Leica Users Group.
>> See for more information
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Mark William Rabiner

Replies: Reply from red735i at (Frank Filippone) ([Leica] BIG new Leica)
Reply from john at (John McMaster) ([Leica] BIG new Leica)
In reply to: Message from roark.paul at (Paul Roark) ([Leica] BIG new Leica)