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Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm ASPH User Review

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Hello everyone,

 

I published today my user review of the Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm ASPH. Enjoy!

 

https://vieribottazzini.com/2017/11/leica-24-90mm-f2-8-4-vario-elmarit-sl-asph-user-review.html

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

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Thanks for your report and detailed point of view as a landscape fotographer, reading this review in this forum may be like carrying coals to newcastle but in addition to your report this 24-90 is a perfect allrounder for many users (like me) with different photographic domains.

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Nice article, and a clear point of view (for example, not discussing performance wide open if you seldom use a lens that way).

 

One quibble, however.  You quite sensibly avoid having a discussion of the costs or advantages of software correction for distortion and lateral chromatic aberration, by saying "and on the SL in-camera lens correction cannot be turned off, it is simply an integral part of the resulting image.That's true with the jpegs, and true in LightRoom, but not true working with the DNG files more generally.  In CaptureOne, for instance, I can reduce or turn off the embedded corrections, which are quite strong with this lens at its 24mm end.  The result is a slight sharpening of fine detail, which can be nice where there are no straight objects near the edges of the frame.  The LCA correction is simply a slightly different distortion correction for each color, so turning off distortion correction turns this off as well.  Letting both happen as the designers intended is always a reasonable choice.

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Regarding the output from the SL 24-90 at 24mm and wide open: For astro-photography with relatively short shutter speeds (a few sec) and pin-sharp stars, the SL 24-90 is at top of the lenses I have tested; essentially no coma and a very even focus plane. For comparison, the lens is on par with or better than the classical Nikon 14-24mm f2.8G lens that many use for this kind of photography. (For wider focal lengths, I have ended up with a Sigma ART 14mm f1.8 - after trying several copies of the lens, varying from hopeless to fine sharpness across the image frame...).

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Bravo!

 

Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

 

Thanks for your report and detailed point of view as a landscape fotographer, reading this review in this forum may be like carrying coals to newcastle but in addition to your report this 24-90 is a perfect allrounder for many users (like me) with different photographic domains.

 

Thank very much Jörn, I am glad you enjoyed it! That's also correct, the Vario-Elmarit is a great all-rounder, thank you for pointing that out. Since I don't use it much for that (and don't have sample images), however, I preferred to not talk about that in the report

 

Nice article, and a clear point of view (for example, not discussing performance wide open if you seldom use a lens that way).

 

One quibble, however.  You quite sensibly avoid having a discussion of the costs or advantages of software correction for distortion and lateral chromatic aberration, by saying "and on the SL in-camera lens correction cannot be turned off, it is simply an integral part of the resulting image.That's true with the jpegs, and true in LightRoom, but not true working with the DNG files more generally.  In CaptureOne, for instance, I can reduce or turn off the embedded corrections, which are quite strong with this lens at its 24mm end.  The result is a slight sharpening of fine detail, which can be nice where there are no straight objects near the edges of the frame.  The LCA correction is simply a slightly different distortion correction for each color, so turning off distortion correction turns this off as well.  Letting both happen as the designers intended is always a reasonable choice.

 

Hello Scott, that is correct; you might have noticed that I said "in-camera"...

I didn't want to go into the plus and minus of playing with lens correction in C1, which IMHO is not worth it: as you said, letting it happen as the designer intended is very reasonable. I found that the slight detail that you gain near the edges of the frame is so minor that it can be achieved easily in post, whereas distortion is something I often don't need. One quibble on my part, LCA, is created by different colours being focussed on the sensor plane at slightly different distances from one other, I wouldn't define that as distortion but I am curious in hearing why you would call it that.

 

Regarding the output from the SL 24-90 at 24mm and wide open: For astro-photography with relatively short shutter speeds (a few sec) and pin-sharp stars, the SL 24-90 is at top of the lenses I have tested; essentially no coma and a very even focus plane. For comparison, the lens is on par with or better than the classical Nikon 14-24mm f2.8G lens that many use for this kind of photography. (For wider focal lengths, I have ended up with a Sigma ART 14mm f1.8 - after trying several copies of the lens, varying from hopeless to fine sharpness across the image frame...).

 

Thank you very much for pointing this out. I am starting to do more night photography, and didn't want to talk about it in the review before having enough experience about this kind of photography. For what I have seen so far, though, the 24-90mm is a very strong performer for this kind of shooting.

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

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Sorry, I do not understand, but I cannot open the website. Any idea why ?

 

Not sure - the website works, and I just tried the link in my first post and it works perfectly. Let me paste it here as well for you:

 

https://vieribottazzini.com/2017/11/leica-24-90mm-f2-8-4-vario-elmarit-sl-asph-user-review.html

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

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I appreciate the review from the landscape perspective. I took the SL and 24-90 on a Yellowstone trip last year and I found the lens to be just about perfect in that application as well.

 

Weather sealing, zoom range, IQ were all fantastic. I shot with Lee 100mm kit and the EVF was great with the ND filters.

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Hello Scott,          

.... distortion is something I often don't need. One quibble on my part, LCA, is created by different colours being focussed on the sensor plane at slightly different distances from one other, I wouldn't define that as distortion but I am curious in hearing why you would call it that.

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

 

Focusing different colors at different distances makes the image different sizes in each color, by a small amount.  The way this is corrected in a DNG is that a distortion function mapping the pixel image obtained into the locations from which the light actually came is given as four "WarpRectangular" parameters for each of the three colors, and used in a standard way to shift the image so that lines come out straight.

 

At the same time, it makes the three colors that define an edge or an object come to the same location in the final image.  Sort of a software apochromatic correction. I've read out the corrections, out of curiosity, and they are quite different for the three colors, so I also think it is best to leave the corrections in.   However, since undoing barrel distortion gives you a larger image, Capture One offers to trim the edges of the corrected image to the original 24 MPx.  I sometimes find that I can increase the frame to include extra detail at frame edges.

Edited by scott kirkpatrick

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Focusing different colors at different distances makes the image different sizes in each color, by a small amount.  The way this is corrected in a DNG is that a distortion function mapping the pixel image obtained into the locations from which the light actually came is given as four "WarpRectangular" parameters for each of the three colors, and used in a standard way to shift the image so that lines come out straight.

 

At the same time, it makes the three colors that define an edge or an object come to the same location in the final image.  Sort of a software apochromatic correction. I've read out the corrections, out of curiosity, and they are quite different for the three colors, so I also think it is best to leave the corrections in.   However, since undoing barrel distortion gives you a larger image, Capture One offers to trim the edges of the corrected image to the original 24 MPx.  I sometimes find that I can increase the frame to include extra detail at frame edges.

 

So, it is really a shift-resize over the general distortion correction, rather than a proper distortion correction. Which makes sense since there is no way that different colour will distort in different ways at macro level. It makes lot of sense that corrections are different for each colour though, which - again - makes it very sensible to just leave the correction in.

 

This reminds me of people trying to code a non-Leica M lens with the profile of any random one to try and get rid of colour cast. This never made any sense to me. You might get rid of colour cast, perhaps, but lens profiles do much more than that: they fix distortion, for instance, so you very often ended up with a lens without colour cast but with extremely strange distortion patterns added in as a bonus. To me, the best way to profile a non-Leica M lens is using said lens' profiles in your software of choice, i.e. Camera Raw or C1 (which sadly has much less choice): this works without adding strange stuff in your images.

 

 

The general point is probably this: why we humans feel the need to break the toy to see how it works, rather than just letting the people that know what they are doing do their job, and just enjoy the results?

 

 

Best regards,

 

Vieri

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Focusing different colors at different distances makes the image different sizes in each color, by a small amount.  The way this is corrected in a DNG is that a distortion function mapping the pixel image obtained into the locations from which the light actually came is given as four "WarpRectangular" parameters for each of the three colors, and used in a standard way to shift the image so that lines come out straight.

 

At the same time, it makes the three colors that define an edge or an object come to the same location in the final image.  Sort of a software apochromatic correction. I've read out the corrections, out of curiosity, and they are quite different for the three colors, so I also think it is best to leave the corrections in.   However, since undoing barrel distortion gives you a larger image, Capture One offers to trim the edges of the corrected image to the original 24 MPx.  I sometimes find that I can increase the frame to include extra detail at frame edges.

 

 

So if I understand this correctly, this correction has to be applied to the separate Red-Green-Blue channels coming from the sensor, before the data is combined into the final color of each pixel.  Does a DNG file keep the three RGB channel data separate ? If so this correction could happen in camera or in post-processing. Are the "WarpRectangular" parameters part of a DNG file's metadata ?

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So if I understand this correctly, this correction has to be applied to the separate Red-Green-Blue channels coming from the sensor, before the data is combined into the final color of each pixel.  Does a DNG file keep the three RGB channel data separate ? If so this correction could happen in camera or in post-processing. Are the "WarpRectangular" parameters part of a DNG file's metadata ?

The WarpRectangular parameters are DNG metadata, defined in Adobe's spec.  The DNG files contain intensity data labelled by their Bayer filter colors for each original location in the sensor array.  There are most likely corrections applied in camera when the DNG is output, e.g. for luminance vignetting.  But this information has to be de-mosaiced, leading to R, G, and B planes of data for each of the 24 M points in the output image (or JPEG).  It is this RGB image to which the WarpRectangular transform can be applied.  It can be done in-camera if the camera is creating a jpeg, but in postprocessing outside the camera it is a late step.  That's why some of the raw file developing tools can choose to apply it, reduce it, or ignore it.

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Great review and love your photos. May I ask which ND filter do you use? And do you have any photos with stars or Milky Way. Thanks again.

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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