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18mm Super-Elmar


IWC Doppel
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Is there a real reason to own the Leica Super-Elmar-M 18 mm Asph over the

Zeiss Distagon T* 18 mm ZM? What is the difference between the two lenses?

 

 

I went down to the camera store and tried the Zeiss and Leica, wanted 18 mm over 21 mm [...]. Anyway, I tried both and decided I liked the shots and the feel of the Leica better so I bought it. [...] Very happy with this lens, looks like it is going to be fun.

Congratulations to your new lens! That was quick decision-making :cool:

 

Seems now it's you who is the forum expert to answer your own question from yesterday. So—could you please elaborate a little more on how and why exactly you liked the Super-Elmar better than the Distagon? Is it possible to put it in words?

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two things..... i often like taking pictures with wides with a strong foreground on the side (think horizontal) and the zeiss seemed to be flatter, bit more distortion on the edge. also, the quality of the picture seemed better with the sem. like comparing the summicron 28 (18 sem) vs 28 elmarit (zeiss) -- and i like the elmarit a lot (own it). just felt the18 is such a lens dependent photo i wanted one marginally better. lastly, and admittedly not the best reason, the sem just felt better on the m9 in terms of balance, ergonomics, and quality. if i was stretched for cash, i would buy the zeiss without hesitation -- we are really talking about differences on the margin and in lens world marginal differences cost a lot of money. so i thought for this lens i would push my bank account to the margin as well.........one other thing, with the latest software in the m9 i did not see red edge or vignetting with either lens (coded the zeiss same as the sem, worked fine).

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  • 3 months later...

Congratulation - the 18 SEM is an absolute wonderful lens. That is valid on the M 9 (P), where I used it before and on the M, where I need no extra finder any more. My other M lenses are: 28/2.8, 50/1,4 and 90/4.0 (all the last models) - and that is all I need together with a R Macro Elmar for real macros.

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Congrats IWC! Didn't see thread or would have posted to encourage you to get the 18. I also have the 24 which was my widest lens since 2000 year. Got 18 in 2011.

 

When travel usually take the 18 and this year it was great shooting night shots of the coliseum in Rome and at the Vatican. Also helpful in paris, Mougins, San Marino, Urbino and in Firenze.

 

The 24 (2.8) is still used depending on situation and love that lens too.

 

Get to know the 18 like keeping level and including subjects in the foreground and it will reward you in unexpected ways. It's color and sharpness are tops.

 

Ed

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I have been enjoying the 18mm, my first impressions, very tricky to get the perspective right and its very unforgiving of angles. Lovely and sharp, whilst you can pixel peek to see small improvements at f5.6, it's as good IMO at f3.8. I have also struggled using my 21/25 viewfinder and guessing round the edges. The DOF is amazing !!! I tried to see if I could make it flare, not a chance but a small reflection on Olives' leg pointing directly at the sun, incredible for resisting flare. Taking pictures in very close proximity is amazing too, much to Olive's dismay I pictured her whilst walking n holding the lead and whilst Jane put a plaster on outside the chemist. I have purposely not cropped any so you can see the distortion at edges with uneven angles (Jane has size 5 feet not 10 !)

 

A few shots from the weekend in Bath with Jane and Olive having fun :)

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Love them, especially the fourth one with the dog and ball and building in background. Believe you are getting the hang of it, as you learn to get closer to subject than ever before.

 

Keep shooting. It's definitely a learning experience. I use the Leica 18-24 finder as it supports my18 and 24 lenses. Using a 21 or 25 seems like a stretch. Another reason for the M as won't need any finders.

 

Ed

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Interesting, thanks for posting these. There are one or two that I'd definitely say are successful, and others where its clear that you're experimenting and trying things out. It looks very promising indeed.

 

Would you say you feel a big difference between using the 18 and the 21?

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Peter, hi

 

Yes experimenting and enjoying it. The 18 looks a similar step on from the 21 again as the 21 was from the 24, if you find pictures demonstrating focal lengths overlaid on the same picture. But in practice feels a lot more, at least to me. My 24 feels encompassing and wide or perhaps broad and most images feel and look like a normal lens with extra range, the 21 feels wide and expansive, needs a bit more thought and if you get low most work. I have not really had a problem with distortion if things aren't 'square' and true but the 18 is just that a problem. I am prone to shooting slightly left hand down, I've got better but if I adjust the horizontals it's a few degrees clockwise and alls good, I was not sure where to start with some of these !

 

Take the first one, the top line is close, the bottom all over the place. The ground was flat !

 

Moving on to your important question, it does feel a big difference to the 21, I think I'll learn something when I get to grips with it and I also suspect it will be very creative as a lens. I also recognise that ill need to understand the lens better before I can get to grips with it.

 

Very glad I've bought it actually, I've started to read about wide angle shooting and vanishing points which I never have before !

Edited by IWC Doppel
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I have not really had a problem with distortion if things aren't 'square' and true but the 18 is just that a problem. I am prone to shooting slightly left hand down, I've got better but if I adjust the horizontals it's a few degrees clockwise and alls good, I was not sure where to start with some of these !

 

Take the first one, the top line is close, the bottom all over the place. The ground was flat !

 

Number 3 is critical in terms of perspective distortion.

My favorite is number 6, the landscape with shadows.

 

I have the 12mm on a GXR, giving 18mm too.

Jan

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Peter, thanks (I am okay with critism, infact I like it tbh)

 

I hope to do a few more, learning from my first go and with new (secondhand 18mm viewfnder in hand !, Thanks FFordes), I'll also avoid posting any cropped or heavily adjusted images at this stage as it is probably more helpful if I don't.

 

It's early days, but I am impressed by the lens :)

Edited by IWC Doppel
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Hi all,

 

I'm after some advice and help. Well I'm having fun with my 18mm and have managed to source a Leica 18mm viewfinder. This solves the guessing problem with my 21/25 which was in the too difficult box..

 

But I just haven't been overly impressed with the viewfinder. I have to be really careful with the position of my eye as slightly off centre and the image becomes blurred. It also flares terribly and I am finding it disappointing to use in comparison to my Voigtlander 21/25.

 

I'm wondering if there might be a problem with my secondhand viewfinder. When I'm back from hols ill head into London and pop into Mayfair but any thoughts would be appreciated

 

I remember months back trying the viewfinder and thought it was really nice when I tried it in Mayfair

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I sold this lens as I just wasn't using it enough. Instead I rely on the 21SEM and CV15/4.5 Heliar combo, or as Rick would say, "The Poor Man's WATE" ;)

 

I think the CV15 f4.5 is a fine lens and will use it with my 24 mm Elmar f3.8 on my recently acquired Leica M 240. For the relatively few occasions I want ultra-wide I cannot personally justify having an expensive lens, so the CV 15 f4.5 fits the bill. As I am in the habit of cropping about 5-10% off the sides of my images for printing either A4 or A3 size, I am sure I can get rid of any Italian flag edge effects and effectively use it as about an 18 mm lens.

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