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18mm Super-Elmar


IWC Doppel
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When I added Leica to my life in 2011 (I am a Canon shooter) I purchased my lenses in a "DSLR mindset." I added a 35mm, a 24mm Elmarit and an 18mm Super Elmar. For many months I thought that maybe it was a mistake to have 2 lenses, the 24mm and the 18mm, so close to each other. For a long time I was thinking about selling both and buying a 21mm. However, I have found what others here on the forum have know for years, that each Leica lens has it's own signature. The key is to USE these lenses a lot and to learn about them. The 24mm is so amazingly sharp and pleasantly contrasty. The 18mm has very little distortion. I love both.

Mark

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I'm interested in how much use people get with this lens and if users of 24 and 21 find it a useful addition

 

I am enjoying going wider again after thinking of selling my 21 !

 

I have the three focal lengths: 18, 21 and 24.

 

These 3 focal lengths are very different.

 

The 3 mm gap between 18 and 21 means increasing 18 by 1/6th.

The 3 mm gap between 21 and 24 means increasing 21 by 1/7th.

 

That's nearly the same leap. In the very wide angle range that's a lot!

 

If your 24 is the 3,8 by Leica, I would not sell it. It's an absolutely 1st class lens.

 

And if your 21 is the 3,4, again by Leica, I would also keep it.

 

You can buy the 18/4 by Zeiss: it's much cheaper, but also a stellar lens, with even less distortion than the Leica one.

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I have a Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21 mm Asph and recently added a Super-Elmar-M 18 mm Asph to my (way too wide already) lens collection, to see if it would add something in terms of sharpness or character. I found the Super-Elmar sure is a great lens, but—no greater than the Tri-Elmar at 18 mm is. It is better than the Tri-Elmar in some aspects but worse in others ... so all things considered, it is an alternative but no clear improvement. I guess I shall keep the Tri-Elmar and sell the Super-Elmar in the near future.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Totally subjective imo. I shot them side by side prior to buying the Super Elmar. The quality differences were minimal in my eyes, but I liked the "look"of the Leica a lot more.

Edited by jaapv
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I have had the 24mm SEM for a few years and love it. This year I added the 18mm SEM and really like the field of view. As long as it is horizontal the distortion is very limited (see here). When it is not horizontal the distortion - especially with people in the image, is significant (see here). I am still on the learning curve with the 18mm SEM, but do recommend it.

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Is there a real reason to own the sem over the zeiss? What is the difference between the two lenses?

 

I used both and kept the leica.

To me the big advantages of the leica are:

 

1: Smaller size

2: Focus knob

3: 6 bit coded

 

The zeiss advantages are:

 

1: more standard filter size

2: cheaper

 

Further they are quite similar in picture quality.

I took the leica because of its advantages, but also because i liked its pictures better.

They are quite similar in quality, but the leica has more the leica look while the zeiss can be more hars and with more contrast.

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thanks all ..... i went down to the camera store and tried the zeiss and leica, wanted 18 over 21, had 21 and traded it in for a 28 elmarit and it is more than fine. anyway, i tried both and decided i liked the shots and the feel of the leica better so i bought at. just took some shots tonight on the way home and i really like this fov more than the 21. just opinion. anyway, here is a shot of a shake shake in madison sq park. converted to b&w because i like it better for this shot, but trust me the colors are fantastic! very happy with this lens, looks like it is going to be fun.

 

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I sold the 18SEM as for me it was just too close in look to the 21SEM (which I prefer). Now when I need something wider than the 21 I grab the CV 15 Heliar.

Now that's a thought. Instead of upgrading from the CV21 to the SEM 21, is to purchase the Heliar 15. Gives me anther lens choice. Would corner fix be needed for all shots?

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thanks all ..... i went down to the camera store and tried the zeiss and leica, wanted 18 over 21, had 21 and traded it in for a 28 elmarit and it is more than fine. anyway, i tried both and decided i liked the shots and the feel of the leica better so i bought at.

So SBlitz, you bought a 28 Elmarit?

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