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Elmarit 2.8/28 versions?


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Contrast, as it is defined by lens designers, refers to its ability to differentiate tones along the grayscale.  A high contrast lens tends to see into shadows and highlights with finer detail, whereas a low contrast lens tends to do the reverse.  It is completely the opposite when speaking of high and low contrast film, which is one reason it was totally backwards logic that prompted many people to believe that low contrast lenses somehow added DNR to high-contrast film, when in fact it does just the opposite.

interesting, and consistent with the manner in which Puts speaks of the virtues of the high contrast nature of a lens.  However, I believe that some of this does get lost in translation as the "high contrast" nature of the elmarit ASPH is noted as one of the drawbacks of that lens, particularly relative to the summicron.   "High contrast" in this particular context does not mean the same thing as what you and Erwin Puts speak of.

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To me, photographic "contrast" (with no other qualifier) is contrast. A "high-contrast" lens is like "high-contrast" paper or "high-contrast" film - it turns the world in chalk and charcoal, rather than a continuum of tones. In the small world of lens designers, "contrast" may have a different meaning - but out here in the real world where I take pictures, I'd submit that my definition is more useful.   Let's consider the attached picture, made (on-topic) with the 28 Elmarit v. 3 (M4-P, Pan F

Five:   - (v.1) symmetrical 28 Elmarit 1965-1972 (low distortion). Rear element comes very close to the shutter/film/sensor plane. Will damage the metering arms of M5/CL cameras unless it has a modified mount to keep the metering arm in its well (no metering). Will not damage post-1978 cameras, but will block metering light path in M6/7/digital cameras**, so requires hand-held or estimated light metering on those. 48mm filters. Will produce some color stains around the edges on full-color digi

This has come up before. If a lens could deliver the contrast of the scene being imaged (greyscale or whatever) perfectly, it would deliver 100% contrast. Actual lenses can't - there is always some veiling flare which impinges on the deepest shadows. So a high contrast lens can deliver more of the shadow detail onto the film/sensor than a low contrast one can. Quite simple. High contrast lenses are preferable because they provide more tonal information, however there are innumerable other attrib

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This has come up before. If a lens could deliver the contrast of the scene being imaged (greyscale or whatever) perfectly, it would deliver 100% contrast. Actual lenses can't - there is always some veiling flare which impinges on the deepest shadows. So a high contrast lens can deliver more of the shadow detail onto the film/sensor than a low contrast one can. Quite simple. High contrast lenses are preferable because they provide more tonal information, however there are innumerable other attributes to a lens (resolving power for example) which make them more or less desirable too.

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I thank Bocaburger and Paul for enlightening me on this topic.  A little off topic, but I will confess that I always thought that my 75mm summilux was a low contrast lens.  Now I am learning that it is actually an extremely high contrast lens in light it captures fine shadow details in an amazingly crisp manner...

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Here's a shot taken today with my 28mm v.2 lens at about f/11 on my M8. Not at all bad for an old and not too well thought of lens on a digital camera with issues (no UVIR filter either and obviously the lens is uncoded). Its pretty sharp, right into the (1.3 crop factor) corners and with a bit of PP both contrast and colour balance are reasonable enough. Considering its cost it will do nicely!

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28 Elmarit Asph is the fantastic lens in my opinion, it's very light, tiny and beautiful with my M9 for many years, but now, I've got another lens that makes me feel more impressive than 28 Asph, it is the Elmar-M 24/3.8 Asph, it's very very sharp edge to edge, more wider and low distortion, that makes me very confusing to choose it and would like to ask for any suggestion too.

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[...] I've got another lens that makes me feel more impressive than 28 Asph, it is the Elmar-M 24/3.8 Asph, it's very very sharp edge to edge, more wider and low distortion, that makes me very confusing to choose it and would like to ask for any suggestion too.

 

I have both lenses and would not say that the 24/3.8 is sharper edge to edge than the 28/2.8 asph. I can't get significant sharpness in the corners below f/5.6 with the 24 whilst the 28  is sharper there at f/4, as far as my lenses are concerned at least. Both lenses are very sharp in the center at all apertures though. Distortion wise both lenses look close but that of the 24 is slighty moustache shaped and can be less easy to adjust in PP. Don't get me wrong the 24/3.8 asph is a very good lens, the best 24 i've ever used in fact, but if you need to go wider than 28 i would prefer the 21/3.4 asph personally. An advantage of the 24 is that it fits the 24mm frame lines of the M8 though. 

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I bought a used V3 and the first day the front of it came unscrewed and all the aperture blades fell out.  Sent it back in exchange for another copy with no hassle (KEH is great to deal with) which I used for a few years until I got a CV Ultron f/1.9 for $199 and it performed so much better than the V3 Elmarit I immediately sold it on.   Then maybe a year later I was looking seriously at the 28 ASPH for it's small size, and at the time I could get one for around $1200 mint.  But a V4 came along that had a faint 1mm hairline coating scratch about midway along the radius, and I couldn't resist it for $600.  The only effect the scratch has is on price, and the V4 sans hood (which honestly the V4 doesn't really need, it may be the most flareproof W/A lens Leica ever made) is not that much bigger than the ASPH with hood (which that lens does need as it can flare). 

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To me, photographic "contrast" (with no other qualifier) is contrast. A "high-contrast" lens is like "high-contrast" paper or "high-contrast" film - it turns the world in chalk and charcoal, rather than a continuum of tones. In the small world of lens designers, "contrast" may have a different meaning - but out here in the real world where I take pictures, I'd submit that my definition is more useful.

 

Let's consider the attached picture, made (on-topic) with the 28 Elmarit v. 3 (M4-P, Pan F film in Ilford DD-X). This is what I would call a "moderate-contrast" lens. And that has nothing to do with the definition of tonal edges (which I would refer to, for clarity, as "micro" or "edge" contrast). It refers to the overall or "macro" contrast - the ability to hold detail across a very wide range of scene brightness without blocking up whites or shadows.

 

In this shot I was able to hold a very wide brightness range - almost capturing the disk of the sun and definitely the water splashes against the sky, while also keeping shaded caucasian skin tones reasonably bright, and holding some tone even in the black trousers of the silhouetted man at left.

 

I could not have captured this particular scene with the ASPH 28s (I've used them both) - their macro-contrast would have either left me with fewer shadow tones to work with, had I exposed to hold the highlights - or, had I exposed for usable shadow detail, would have blown the sun, sky, and fountains over the horizon.

 

I would say that this "moderate contrast" lens did a much better job of "differentiating tones" than would a high-macro-contrast lens, which would have resulted in far more "undifferentiated" pure black or white, and less ability to "see into" both the highlights and shadows. It gave me more tonal range even on negative film - and helps even more with the limited dynamic range of slide films or digital.

 

I suppose one could call this a "high-dynamic-range" lens, rather than "moderate contrast" - since it takes the "100% scene contrast" that pgk mentions, and compresses it into a brightness range that films (or sensors) can handle. But HDR already has another meaning.

 

It is precisely the moderate overall contrast of the Mandler-era lenses that drew me to Leica and away from the contrasty Contax/Zeiss lenses of the G system. The Summicrons and Elmarits captured more of a given lighting situation as differentiated tones instead of detailess black or white. I didn't pay much attention to edge- or micro-contrast, except as it was subsumed into "sharpness" (alongside resolution) - how many pickets can you discern in the fence? Which was "pretty darn good" from either brand.

 

Bottom line - if I want the maximum amount of shadow and highlight detail, I'll pick a "lower-contrast" lens. If it has good micro-contrast to define tonal edges as well, that's a plus.

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Bottom line - if I want the maximum amount of shadow and highlight detail, I'll pick a "lower-contrast" lens.

So how does this work then? See my post 22. As far as I am aware, you can't increase usable contrast (i.e. have maximum amount of shadow and highlight detail) when a lens delivers an image 'pre-fogged' with some degree of veiling flare. A 'high contrast lens' will always deliver better overall tonality and shadow detail. In my examples from the v2 lens above, I had to adjust considerably to get the images to look good and even so shadow detail is not wondrous. 

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 A "high-contrast" lens is like "high-contrast" paper or "high-contrast" film - it turns the world in chalk and charcoal, rather than a continuum of tones. In the small world of lens designers, "contrast" may have a different meaning - but out here in the real world where I take pictures, I'd submit that my definition is more useful.

Lol and "in the small world of doctors"  hypertension is defined as high blood pressure, but in the real world I think the definition of 'very tense' is a more useful one

 
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Indeed, the old Erwin Puts review of the 28mm lenses does describe the 4th version of the lens as an "extremely high contrast" lens.   However, in the same breathe, he says the lens exhibits "extremely fine details crisply rendered over much of the picture field."  When I think of "extremely high contrast," I think of the loss of "crisp fine details."  So I think that Erwin's characterization has some context to it that is needed to understand the true meaning of the term "high contrast."  He is describing the lens in relation to the older versions and using the term "high contrast" as a positive attribute illustrating the improvements in the 4th version specifically, the ability to capture "fine textural details" relative to the earlier versions.  Erwin also suggests that the first two versions of the 28mm elmarit render similar to many older designs, which include "low to medium overall contrast."  He then cites the old 28mm summaron f5.6 as an example of such as older lens.  I, however, also own and extensively use my 28mm summaron and find it quite contrasty and w/o as crisp of a rendition of fine details as my 4th version elmarit.  So after using both the 4th version elmarit and summaron VERY extensively, my assessment is that the summaron is much more of a high contrast lens in the conventional sense and the 4th version of the elmarit is "high contrast" in the sense of that term being indicative of a superior overall crisply detailed rendition relative to the older elmarits.

 

Hi Adam, there is another passionate proponent from Munich for this wonderderful lens!

 

 

LEICA III MOD. F (BLACKPAINT) · PORTRA 400 SELF · SUMMARON 28 5.6

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I'm with Andy Piper on this, not only because I know him as an accomplished and knowledgeable photographer, but from shooting both the 28 asph and 3rd version 28 Elmarit-M extensively myself.

 

I don't recall much of a problem blowing highlights with the asph on an M8, but it's happened now with the M240 in bright sunlight on light colored buildings as an example, and exposures have to be handled very carefully.  Then one can end up with very dark shadows, which can be alright or not, depending on your preferences.  I shot both lenses on the M8, and while the asph was very good, the 3rd version rendered a grey scale with b&w conversions that I was extremely fond of with a character I had never before seen with photographs from a digital sensor.  

 

I've had the asph for several years and have been happy with it shooting film, but now with its brightness in sunlight with the M240, I'm going back for the third time to pick up the 3rd version Elmarit to see if it will allow me to revisit the lovely grey scale it produced in combination with the M8, this time with the M240.  The only drawbacks in my experience with the lens is its size and the fact it tends to flare when shot into the light, but that's not something I do that often anyway.  If I keep the asph as well, it will be the first time I've kept two lenses of the same focal length.  Nothing wrong at all with the asph in softer light and for those times you want something more compact.

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Quote:P ...I don't recall much of a problem blowing highlights with the asph on an M8, but it's happened now with the M240 in bright sunlight on light colored buildings as an example,...Unquote

 

I guess this is more likely due to exposure determination rather than a lens characteristic.

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After considering the 2.8 vs the 2 I opted for the latter and it arrived this morning. It vignettes A LOT! But having a nice wide angle lens is lovely. My M-E's new body I think. And not that big really...

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