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WATE or wait?

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I do like my wide angle M mount lenses that cover the 15-35mm range, but quite often I would find a zoom much more convenient for more precise framing. (Avoids the need to change lenses in the dark or dusty environments, etc)

 

The prospective 16-35mm variable aperture zoom would be convenient for that purpose, but it seems likely to be bulky.  AF would be useful, although I don't know how reliable it will be on such a wide, slow lens.

 

The WATE would be an obvious alternative, although it would be either poorer at the edges of the frame, or slower, than existing wide angle lenses that I have.  I assume that the SL 16-35mm will perform at least as well as the WATE.

 

How do others that have used the WATE and/or 16-35mm lenses in other systems feel?

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I don't own the SL or the WATE, but I've thought about this issue since I'm considering purchase of a system complementary to the M for use of wider/longer lenses. I think I'd lean toward native SL lenses for their better weather sealing, not just AF.

 

Of course timing is a potential issue....if the need is now, the answer is clear... get something else and sell/trade it later. I'm not in a rush. And maybe Leica will announce a forthcoming wide prime or two in the meantime, which may just add to the dilemma.

 

I'll also be considering the Fuji GFX, which will offer a nice range of sealed lenses early on. In any case, Fuji or Leica, my assessment will include hands-on experience with all options... making pics and prints with my own workflow... my only effective way to decide.

 

Jeff

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I have the WATE as well as Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5 and Elmarit-R 19mm f/2.8 lenses. The WATE is sharper than either of the R lenses at corners and edges. (I don't know why you assume it is poorer performing at the edges of the frame: it outperforms all the other 14 to 21mm lenses I've owned, in general, and the Canon 16-35L lens in particular.) Its f/4 maximum aperture doesn't seem much of a limitation, and it's the smaller of all these lenses by far.

 

The R lenses are bulky but have more suitable control ergonomics on the SL body. The SER15 in particular is amazingly easy to snap in and out of focus; although it is not quite as sharp at the corners and edges, it's my favorite of the trio. 

 

But I look forward to the SL16-35 lens. It will probably replace the WATE and the R ultrawides in my kit. 

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The WATE performs very well on the SL. And personally I am less concerned with AF with a wide lens.

 

The other thing for me is that 16-35 seems like an odd lens, if you already own the 24-90. Half the 16-35mm range is already covered, very well, by the other lens. A 14-24 or even 12-24 would have me drooling for one but this lens has me thinking I'll keep my WATE on the SL. The alternatives like the Canon 11-24 are also very attractive.

 

If Leica had used a 24-70 and 70-200 option than a 16-35, 50 and 70-200 makes sense. But not so much with a 90-280. I would have loved to have seen a 14-24, 24-90 and 90-280 trio of optically spectacular zooms.

 

Gordon

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The WATE performs very well on the SL. And personally I am less concerned with AF with a wide lens.

 

The other thing for me is that 16-35 seems like an odd lens, if you already own the 24-90. Half the 16-35mm range is already covered, very well, by the other lens. A 14-24 or even 12-24 would have me drooling for one but this lens has me thinking I'll keep my WATE on the SL. The alternatives like the Canon 11-24 are also very attractive.

 

If Leica had used a 24-70 and 70-200 option than a 16-35, 50 and 70-200 makes sense. But not so much with a 90-280. I would have loved to have seen a 14-24, 24-90 and 90-280 trio of optically spectacular zooms.

 

Gordon

 ...... mmmm ... you may well think that ..... but the SL zooms are in many ways equivalent to the 11-23 and 18-56 for the T ...... and when I used the T extensively before the SL the 11-23 w/a was my 'go to' lens for general holiday and landscape use. 

 

I suspect it will be one of those lenses that once on the camera will only come off when there is a specific need ...... 

 

the WATE is fine, but is a bit of a fiddle to use and in many ways is actually TOO SMALL to use comfortably on the SL. If the SL w/a zoom is as good as the T version I suspect it will get a lot of use and the WATE will find itself left at home.

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I'm also looking forward to the 16-35 for the SL.  I have not worked with the 24-90, but do now have the 90-280.  In the 24-90's range, there are wonderful R short teles (80 SX-R, 90 SC-R and the APO-Macro 100).  The bravura SX 50-M feels right on the SL, too.  With wide angles, there is a lot to be said for a zoom, since it is hard to anticipate the exact focal length needed when shooting tight quarters or at strange angles.  I have the 21-35 R.  It's nice, but less contrasty than the M lenses that it overlaps.  The Olympus 7-14 M43 and the 11-22 4/3 lenses are good examples of wide angle zooms that cover a lot of the situations that do come up.

 

scott 

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I also think the SL 16-35 will be one of the most useful lenses for me. As was/is the Nikon 2.8/17-35 on the Nikon bodies (and sometimes adapted on SL).

Unfortunately all lenses in that range that I tried (16 or 17 to 35 from CaNikon) have quite a lot of flaws. The WATE is optically much better, but has a limited range. So it will be crucial how well the SL 16-35 will be corrected. IF it is on par with the 90-280 zoom it will be my most valuable lens. Especially the quality of the 28mm and 35 mm focal lengths will be very important (usually not too great for these zooms). Wonderful if they were at "prime" level.

 

By the way, what is the IQ of the 11-23 ? Maybe this could give an indication what is to be expected.

Regarding size, it is actually a temptation - in many cases 10 MP would offer enough quality for newspapers or web publishing.

 

A 12-24 is for specialists, while the 16-35 can be regarded as a universal lens (if IQ is "prime-like" at 28 and 35mm). So I am glad Leica decided for the 16-35.

16-35, 75 or 90 and 90-280 are my dream team (completed by one or two macro lenses and a 1.7x tele converter))

 

Currently the WATE is also optically excellent, no reason to complain. No need to replace it, just that I would prefer to have additionally 28 and 35 mm. 

 

It may sound strange, but for me UWA is no problem (there is a wide choice of zooms and primes), but rather the 28mm. The M 28mm are optically phantastic, but do not focus closely - in R there is no Summicron or Summilux. So I need to go to other coasts: The Otus is phantastic and a great pleasure to see results - but too heavy/big. A Summicron SL 28mm could be a solution (in a few years ?). (Occasionally use a Contax in the meantime).

(And no the 24-90 is not for me. It is even heavier/bigger than the Otus 

 .)

(The R 21-35 has an useful range, but is optically also not without flaws - maybe I am wrong ?)

(The Sigma Art 24-35 is also a temptation - especially since I heard it is working fine with the Novoflex AF adapter. AND very fast aperture. But somehow I am reluctant regarding its IQ. Anybody in the mood to test it on the SL ? Aperture 2.0 would be great, if it is really a "usable" aperture.

Correction, It is probably the Art 18-35 that works with the AF adapter. Careful !      f/1.8 , but cropped.)

Edited by steppenw0lf

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The 11-23 T lens is finding an interesting niche as an almost-all-purpose lens for video on the SL.  4K video can provide long tonal and color range, but is drawn from only the super 35 (slightly smaller than APS-C) portion of the chip.  The results can be seen on the reddot forum (David Farkas' showcase).  

 

scott 

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I have the WATE and SL; I think the WATE has become my favourite lens on the SL; there is such depth of field that focussing is never an issue, and it is sharp corner to corner. I use it primarily for landscapes, and can't recommend the lens enough.  I also have the SL 24-90 and half regret buying it; it is a beast of lens, the biggest heaviest lens I have ever owned.  I very much doubt I will be getting the 16-35mm, but time will tell - it could be superb landscape lens covering most focal lengths that I use.  

 

Pete

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The 11-23 T lens is finding an interesting niche as an almost-all-purpose lens for video on the SL.  4K video can provide long tonal and color range, but is drawn from only the super 35 (slightly smaller than APS-C) portion of the chip.  The results can be seen on the reddot forum (David Farkas' showcase).  

 

scott 

 

Hello Scott.

thanks for the hint, but I could not find the report you mentioned - actually I found too many reports from Farkas.

Is it the one about the 11-23 from Jan 2015 ? Could you add a link or make the description more detailed ?

Thanks.

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Guest VVJ

Hello Scott.

thanks for the hint, but I could not find the report you mentioned - actually I found too many reports from Farkas.

Is it the one about the 11-23 from Jan 2015 ? Could you add a link or make the description more detailed ?

Thanks.

 

The actual review is from Josh Lehrer:

http://www.reddotforum.com/content/2015/01/going-wide-leica-super-vario-elmar-t-11-23mm-lens-review/

Besides that David Farkas uses the TL 11-23mm (and the TL 35mm) frequently in videos and that is usually mentioned in the videos.

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WATE is wonderfully good on the SL. Check with Jono Slack for his opinion too 

 

Wide open is excellent, but f/5.6 cleans things up to perfection.

 

Honestly, not sure how you could improve this lens. Color rendering is remarkable for an extreme WA. No brainer.

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For the last home interior I shot for a local Albuquerque broker, I brought three cameras and three lenses (along with flashes, light stands, umbrellas and Radiopopper triggers) - EOS 5D mk IV and 17mm f/4L TS-E, EOS 5D mk II and 24mm f/3.5L TS-E v1, and Leica M10 with Visoflex 020 EVF and 16-18-21mm f/4 Tri-Elmar ASPH, aka WATE.

 

I previously used Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/2.8L v1 with the 24mm TS-E for real estate. The 16-35mm’s distortion drove me nuts. After an inheritance put some money in my pocket, I went shopping for replacements. The WATE is far smaller and lighter than the EF 16-35mm, with easily-correctable distortion and good corner rendition on the M10. Vignetting is relatively low, and there’s no corner smearing or cyan drift on the M10. F/4 is plenty fast in low light with ISO 3200 or 6400. The 0.5m close-focusing is a plus combined with huge depth of field for short focal lengths. And the wide field at 16mm gives me plenty of coverage for perspective correction in Lightroom if I don’t get it quite right in the camera. The IQ at 21mm is at least as good as (if not better than) the 21mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH I sold. The WATE also worked well for the slot canyons at New Mexico’s Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. The only thing you don’t get is DOF isolation, unusual anyway for ultra-wides - unless you’re using Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 Art. The Sigma 14mm is also a good night-sky starfield lens, albeit with some coma at the edges. But I digress...

 

Godfrey’s (Remarren’s) posts persuaded me to look into an SL as a second camera. I once sold him a Minolta 16 II camera, and trust his judgement. Sean Reid’s reviews of M-lenses on the SL also influenced me. My bargain-condition SL (featuring heavy brassing) arrives on Wednesday from KEH. It’ll be interesting to see how the WATE, Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 Biogon T* (0.5m close-focus) and Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton VM II (also 0.5m close-focus) do on it. Those last two are inexpensive alternatives, especially if you want to go to 19 inches.

Edited by lecycliste

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I do like my wide angle M mount lenses that cover the 15-35mm range, but quite often I would find a zoom much more convenient for more precise framing. (Avoids the need to change lenses in the dark or dusty environments, etc)

 

The prospective 16-35mm variable aperture zoom would be convenient for that purpose, but it seems likely to be bulky.  AF would be useful, although I don't know how reliable it will be on such a wide, slow lens.

 

The WATE would be an obvious alternative, although it would be either poorer at the edges of the frame, or slower, than existing wide angle lenses that I have.  I assume that the SL 16-35mm will perform at least as well as the WATE.

 

How do others that have used the WATE and/or 16-35mm lenses in other systems feel?

If you want more precise framing the WATE might not be your solution because it’s 3 times fixed

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If you want more precise framing the WATE might not be your solution because it’s 3 times fixed

 

No. The WATE is a zoom. It has click stops but functions properly between click stops.

 

The MATE is a three fixed lens arrangement.

 

Also the WATE can actually focus to 0.5m. Another click stop you can work around.

 

Gordon

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No. The WATE is a zoom. It has click stops but functions properly between click stops.

 

The MATE is a three fixed lens arrangement.

 

Gordon

The MATE also is a zoom with clicks and strange zooming action. You can use it at intermediate focal lengths between the clicks. I did this with a second version MATE 15 years ago. It zooms the way it does for proper mechanical frame selection on M-cameras.

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The MATE also is a zoom with clicks and strange zooming action. You can use it at intermediate focal lengths between the clicks. I did this with a second version MATE 15 years ago. It zooms the way it does for proper mechanical frame selection on M-cameras.

But focus will not be accurate without use of EVF or LV. The WATE functions as a true zoom.

 

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/217852-tri-elmar-28-35-50-question/

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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But focus will not be accurate without use of EVF or LV. The WATE functions as a true zoom.https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/217852-tri-elmar-28-35-50-question/

Jeff

*Focus* will be accurate - the rangefinder will be unaffected. Viewing more precisely what you’ll get on pixels or film is where the EVF is required, and you can guess / approximate field of view without it.

 

That’s what I got accidentally with M6 TTL and MATE. Pictures taken slightly off click-stopped FL were in focus.

Edited by lecycliste

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