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Old 10/02/12, 18:25   #1 (permalink)
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Default Super-Elmar Demo

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There have been some doubts about the Super-Elmar-M 1:3.4/21mm ASPH (to give it its full solemn name). The winter has not been very inducive to outdoor photography, to be sure. Today however we had some decent though cold weather here in Stockholm, so I took the lens and my M9 out for a walk.

This is just one picture: Full frame, and then cropped. F:8, focus on the statue, and the sun is just behind it.

I used that lens in the subway, along the icy waters and inside the Museum of Modern Art, where I enjoyed an exhibition of the photo collection. Where else can you see within a few minutes Robert Capa's D-Day landing picture, Ansel Adams' Moon and Half-dome, August Sander's fat pastry cook and Julia Margaret Cameron's Mountain Nymph, all in original prints? Not in too many places. But it all boils down to a confirmation of what I knew already: This is one hell of a lens. Period.

The old man from the Age of the Contax 21mm Biogon
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Last edited by lars_bergquist; 10/02/12 at 18:33.
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Old 10/02/12, 18:38   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super-Elmar Demo

Every time I hear doubts about a modern Leica lens, I don't really understand it. At their 'worst', I'd still rather have Leica glass and design than any other...

If you cropped your photo to 800% you could probably come close to making out beaks and eyes on the ducks between yourself and the boat.
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Old 10/02/12, 20:09   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super-Elmar Demo

^ Agreed, K!

Doubts? Nope.
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Old 11/02/12, 03:45   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super-Elmar Demo

That's amazing.
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Old 11/02/12, 05:38   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super-Elmar Demo

I lost my doubts when my tests showed the 75mm Summarit outresolved my Summicron and the 24mm Elmar f3.8 Elmar M is just about perfect in every way.
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Old 11/02/12, 08:55   #6 (permalink)
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All right, more of the same.

A 1:3.4 21mm lens can be an indoor lens too; the old Super-Angulon too was one, even with the slow films of that generation (remember Tri-X rated at ASA 200?) This one is from the subway.

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Old 11/02/12, 14:18   #7 (permalink)
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Lars,

if I may join your 3.4/21 SEM ASPH love-fest with a few test photos shot this evening, mainly into the sun (and hopefully ,not get in trouble from the moderators for posting photos here)....

"Today however we had some decent though warm weather here in Sydney, so I also took the lens and my M9 out for a walk..."
first time I've used the SEM...

Lovely rendering (reminds me of my 2.0/28 Summicron ASPH), and very flare resistant whilst holding contrast well (although I did manage to force it to flare a little with the sun coming into the side in #5)

Very reassuring to know this lens works well in warm and cold weather, and even upside down in the Antipodes
"This is indeed one hell of a lens. Period."

the younger man from the warmer climate


Rose Bay, Sydney Harbour
M9, 3.4/21 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Rose Bay 2.jpg


Rose Bay 3.jpg


Rose Bay 1.jpg


Rose Bay 4.jpg


Rose Bay 5.jpg

Last edited by MarkP; 11/02/12 at 14:25.
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Old 11/02/12, 22:59   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Super-Elmar Demo

Those are well made photographs, Mark You've taken care to use your foregrounds well too. Fine examples.
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Old 12/02/12, 02:24   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting these images everybody. I've been intrigued by this lens - definitely looks like a nice choice. I keep thinking I should give it a try, but it's not a focal length I use often.

In addition, I own one of the alternatives: the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8.

This is one of my favourites, and I own plenty of Leica glass. Feels somehow "hollow" (i.e., not as substantial) in the hand relative to the Leica-built lenses, but I can't argue with the results.

If you're not a believer, have a look at some of the images I've taken with it:

Zeiss ZM 21mm f/2.8

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Old 12/02/12, 04:07   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosophos View Post
Thanks for posting these images everybody. I've been intrigued by this lens - definitely looks like a nice choice. I keep thinking I should give it a try, but it's not a focal length I use often.

In addition, I own one of the alternatives: the Zeiss ZM 21/2.8.

This is one of my favourites, and I own plenty of Leica glass. Feels somehow "hollow" (i.e., not as substantial) in the hand relative to the Leica-built lenses, but I can't argue with the results.

If you're not a believer, have a look at some of the images I've taken with it:

Zeiss ZM 21mm f/2.8

Regards,

Peter.
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Peter,

nice 21 Biogon photos.
I'm a ZM believer, see my recent 4.5/21 Biogon photos:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...australia.html
http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...australia.html

I'm in the same situation as you: lots of Leica glass but I'm keeping my 1.5/50 Sonnar and 2.8/25 Biogon. With somewhat mixed feelings I'm selling the 4.5/21 Biogon to offset the 3.4/21 SEM purchase (and as I also have a 21 Summilux more than two 21s is way over the top).

Mark

Last edited by MarkP; 12/02/12 at 04:10.
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Old 12/02/12, 05:09   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Peter,

nice 21 Biogon photos.
I'm a ZM believer, see my recent 4.5/21 Biogon photos:

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...australia.html
http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...australia.html

I'm in the same situation as you: lots of Leica glass but I'm keeping my 1.5/50 Sonnar and 2.8/25 Biogon. With somewhat mixed feelings I'm selling the 4.5/21 Biogon to offset the 3.4/21 SEM purchase (and as I also have a 21 Summilux more than two 21s is way over the top).

Mark
Hi Mark, thanks.

Looking at your 4.5/21 images, I must say they are lovely. I think you may regret parting with it... maybe you should reconsider... sorry to add to your over-the-top-angst

Peter.
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Old 12/02/12, 07:40   #12 (permalink)
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I think you may regret parting with it... maybe you should reconsider... sorry to add to your over-the-top-angst

Peter.


Last edited by MarkP; 12/02/12 at 08:05.
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Old 12/02/12, 08:31   #13 (permalink)
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One common theme here seems to be how well the lens handles subjects of extreme contrast without flare or internal reflections. As I never tire of pointing out, this is very important to RF photographers, as we do not see the damage done until it's too late. Chimp? Well, then the subject may be gone. Not in the pictures published here, but often enough.

The old man from the Age of the 21mm Contax Biogon
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Old 12/02/12, 13:09   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkP View Post
Sorry for the awkward wording.

I meant to say that you may regret selling it, even if you have a plethora of 21mm lenses available. From what I see, and your example images certainly verify, is that it's an excellent performing lens... also, its small size is a nice bonus.

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Old 12/02/12, 20:38   #15 (permalink)
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Hi Peter,

I knew exactly what you meant and agree. The symbols weren't having a go at you, but implying my frustration that you may be right and I'm having to reconsider my decision about 4.5/21 C- Biogon. Bad communication on my part.

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Old 13/02/12, 00:45   #16 (permalink)
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the Super-Elmar-M 1:3.4/21mm ASPH.
Why does this lens have such a small largest aperture?
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Old 13/02/12, 03:19   #17 (permalink)
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Why does this lens have such a small largest aperture?
Because otherwise it would be considerably larger and heavier, cost twice as much, and use the name Summilux. Oh wait, that lens already exists!!!

The 21/3.4 Super Elmar-M is a fantastic combination of size, price and speed in a lens that has very little distortion, is not prone to flare, and is as sharp in the corners wide open as stopped down. In short, it's a winner!!!

Nothing wrong with the 21 Summilux ASPH, but that's a different animal entirely.
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Old 13/02/12, 09:34   #18 (permalink)
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I agree that it is too easy to sit in your armchair fantasizing about lens specifications in abstracto. But we live in a real world, and there's somthing like practicality. Some of it is expressed in the price dimension, but not all. A 21mm Summilux, or a 50mm Noctilux, would not be practical lenses to me, even if I could have them for free. To me, the core of the Leica ethos is that it is a small, handy and flexible camera to capture life as it happens around us. That was what behind the Leica success story in the past century, and that ethos is not obsolete now.

L.B.
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Old 13/02/12, 10:43   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lars_bergquist View Post
I agree that it is too easy to sit in your armchair fantasizing about lens specifications in abstracto. But we live in a real world, and there's somthing like practicality. Some of it is expressed in the price dimension, but not all. A 21mm Summilux, or a 50mm Noctilux, would not be practical lenses to me, even if I could have them for free. To me, the core of the Leica ethos is that it is a small, handy and flexible camera to capture life as it happens around us. That was what behind the Leica success story in the past century, and that ethos is not obsolete now.

L.B.
Well I wasn't so much fantasizing as being curious. I know next to nothing about lens design but I guess there's got to be some sort of construction/design-related reason for the 21mm being f3.4 and the 24 and 28 Elmarits being 2.8 and so much smaller than the 21mm.

I certainly agree with the last part, the practicality aspect. I've got pretty strong shoulders and back but they still thank me every day I use my Leica stuff rather than an unesthetically large SLR.
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Old 13/02/12, 11:25   #20 (permalink)
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This lens is just a winner. Here's an image from today, first full frame and then cropped to show detail. B&W conversion in Silver Efex Pro 2.

LUF_Seafurydriver_21SEM_LaifengTemple.jpg

LUF_Seafurydriver_21SEM_LaifengTempleCrop.jpg
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