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Einst_Stein

A Zoom that a serious photographer will never use: 18-56mm

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Many photographers have been educated by the crappy standard zooms offered by many camera vendors. A standard zoom is equal to a place holder if not a junk. All serious photographers would replace it with a standard prime. For a HF, it would be 35mm f1.4 or similar.

 

It seems Leica T 18-56mm is suffering for this reputation.

 

But more and more I use the Leica TL system, the more It becomes my true standard lens. I dont know what to complain other than the slower f stop. But even that is not a rsal problem. Today’s sensor is so fast, I rarely need that for speed. For selective depth of focus? Sometimes, but I also feel the bokeh is a way way over abused terms. Many pictures on the webs are shooting blindly for bokeh for bokeh, while a more proper depth of focus should be more advantageous. I found when I shot with T 18-56mm, there is far less risk to fall into such trap.

 

Also, after crazy about the super wide angle, now I find the challenging perspective (not really a distorsion) of 16mm (24mm equivalent in FF) makes me want to stay with 18-56mm (roughly 28-85mm in FF) most of the time. Now I am much more caucious to use super wide. It is really useful with the proper topics, but again, I would avoid shooting super wide just for super wide, only if it really makes sense. And normally (in my taste), it should be less common compared to 18-56mm.

 

I donot have T 35mm f1.4, but I have M 35 f2 and ZM 25mm. I find myself use them less and less.

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Many photographers have been educated by the crappy standard zooms offered by many camera vendors. A standard zoom is equal to a place holder if not a junk. All serious photographers would replace it with a standard prime. For a HF, it would be 35mm f1.4 or similar.

 

It seems Leica T 18-56mm is suffering for this reputation.

 

Agree 100%

 

I bought the 18-56mm as a kit with my second CL. I thought it might be useful from time to time, as a walk around lens, and I have to admit, I was not expecting much. This was the TL lens I bought last, after buying all the other ones... Well, according to my lens usage statistics, it turns out it is now one my most used lens. It is just great.

 

Alain.

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There are a lot of modern and old zooms that are excellent. A lot depends on the kit you may be travelling with, and the easy use of a zoom vs primes. Personally i prefer a 50 or a 35 prime, and nothing else...i dont want to be bothered with dithering my mind or my hands. There's always an image out-of-reach, even if one carries all lenses.

 

I have an old Nikkor Zoom 28-50 mm f3.5 which is beaut, I'm using on an M-P. Pretty good actually even for it's age. And does v good close-up.

 

The earliest zoom lenses were invented by Voigtlander, 36-82 mm, in the late 50's. Acceptable, for the convenience in those days. I have a zoom Nikkor same range...it's pretty bad. Now know why it was given to me.

 

 

...

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Hard to justify a slow equiv. 28-85 for me unless it gives significantly better results than the fast equiv. 24-75 of my LX100, Panasonic clone to the D-Lux 109. The EVF of the CL is much superior though.

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It does give far better results than the 12-60 by

Panasonic (although it s not a bad lens, I use it on a GX7.)

Especially microcontrast and corner sharpness are significantly better. And it has an incredilble flare resistance.

Of course the CL sensor outperforms the MFT sensor in the microcontrast and smoothness of transitions as well.

I would imagine it will leave the LX 100 far behind - smaller sensor again.

 

I would have to compare MTF curves etc -difficult on different formats- , I'll leave that to the reviewers, however, I would say the TL lenses are not far behind the SL ones.

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I haven't really used my CL and 18-56mm in anger yet.  Hopefully that will change this weekend.  However, the results I have had so far certainly echo Einst's sentiments.  I am very impressed with the image quality.

Now, Jono, please stop extolling the virtues of the 55-135!  My bank balance could do with a bit of a break! 

Edited by Mark Pope

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Haha !

I bought this lens for my wife.

Last week we made a 4 days trip and we fought for this lens !

I had 11-23mm, 23mm f2, 55-135mm and this 18-56mm.

At first I thought I would juste use the 11-23mm as my main lens but soon found the 18-56 is much more versatile.

My wife had the 23mm f2 and felt the same after trying the 18-56mm...

Now...we have another trip next mont and we have a trip to Peru in April...so we need a 2nd 18-56mmm

no more fights !

I am planning to bring 18-56mm and 55-13tmm for the trip.

 

Best

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I have an old Nikkor Zoom 28-50 mm f3.5 which is beaut, I'm using on an M-P. Pretty good actually even for it's age. And does v good close-up.

 

Try the cheap 35-70 (3.5~4.5 I think) AF Nikkor which can be had for £30 or so. I've just let a friend have one which I no longer needed - he's actually quite impressed with it on his 35MPixel (ish) Nikon ......

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So many people assume kit zooms are crappy because they're cheap or 'free' with the camera.

 

The fact is they're cheap because they're usually relatively slow, and because they're made in huge quantities, and discounted by the manufacturers when bundled with a camera body (usually).

 

Most of them are pretty damn good, especially stopped down a couple of stops. A while ago I compared a Canon 18-55 zoom to an L lens and mostly you really couldn't tell them apart from f5.6. 

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I don't believe Leica is having the 18-55 made in huge quantities, by the standards of the Far East.  There are quotes from Peter Karbe around in which he muses that designing a zoom at moderate apertures it is actually possible to offer high quality and moderate cost.  He also says that a constant aperture zoom has simply thrown away the wider aperture that would have been possible at one end of its range.  All three of the CL's zooms fit this description.  But the competition from available primes is simply much tougher in the range that the 18-55 covers.

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Are we back in the 1970's?

 

It's been 30 years since the "shitty" standard zoom was a thing. In todays world, not only does every manufacturer make at least one pretty great standard zoom, (and even the "bad" ones are actually OK)  no one dumps them in favour of a fast 35 or 50. A fast prime is far less likeley to be in a photographer bag than a standard zoom.

 

Regardless of the system almost every "serious" photographer relies on their standard zoom as their workhorse and has done for decades, especially working photographers. A great standard zoom is so much the norm that their now becoming expected in all new systems including "larger than 35", which was the last holdout for a prime only kit. The only holdout is the M system and even those in that zoom free bubble have wanted a replacement of the tri-elmar for the convenience.

 

The 18-55 is a great lens, for sure but so is every other standard zoom in that price range. And every brand has one. And the vast majority of serious photographers own one and have it as their most used lens.

 

Gordon

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Mmhh, and I thought I was done with lens buying. A mix of TL 18, 23, 55-135 and m-lenses did it so far. Maybe I should give the convenience of a 18-55 a try.

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I don't believe Leica is having the 18-55 made in huge quantities, by the standards of the Far East.

 

Just to clarify I was talking about such lenses in general, not specifically Leica, in response to the OP's comments.

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This is just a partial hunch but I suspect the design or performance characteristics of the 18-56 zoom is quite similar, although not identical) to the zoom lens employed on the X-vario...which is superb at all focal lengths and apertures.  I had the chance to do some casual comparisions at 100% (actual pixels) of raw files from both cameras with these respective lenses and found near identical performance at respective focal lengths between 28 to 70mm (equiv.), and wide open and stopped down.  A very fine performer to say the least.

 

Dave (D&A)

Edited by DandA

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Actually, Canon 18-55 IS STM is much more improved lens. But it is not Leica. 

  

Also, I don't know who HF mentioned in OP is, but to me 35mm and similar sucks on crop. Too narrow for serious photog. I prefer 24mm. 

  

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. . And for your next trick Einst

The 55-135 is a real corker of a lens as well

Much better than it’s size and variable aperture would suggest.

Best

 

Just got 55-135mm as a gift for my eldest kid. I have to agree.

 

Among the three T zooms that I am less appreciated is the 11-23mm. Not that it is no good, but I am becoming more picky about the challenging perspective. I am not good in handling the super wide end.

 

18-56mm and 55-135mm are more intuitively manageable.

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Just got 55-135mm as a gift for my eldest kid. I have to agree.

 

Among the three T zooms that I am less appreciated is the 11-23mm. Not that it is no good, but I am becoming more picky about the challenging perspective. I am not good in handling the super wide end.

 

18-56mm and 55-135mm are more intuitively manageable.

 

Ultra wides are definitely very challenging to shoot with.  Lots of care required in positioning the camera in order to not generate unwanted perspective distortion and in order to incorporate exactly the elements you want in the composition.  Hard to get a "focused" image with an ultra wide.  By that I mean an image that isn't just busy or weird.  The 11-23 is very rewarding if you take some care, but at the 11mm end you won't be very happy if you are trying to use it for snapshots.

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