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I've been using a 21 mm F2.8 pre ASPH on my M8 for a couple of years ( love the lens) for scenic/landscape and architectural photography. I shoot primarily in B&W and do a lot of IR work in B&W with the Leitz and Hoya IR filters. Recently I've been in a lot of situations where I need a little more angle of view than the 21 offers and have been looking at the following in order of lust:

1. Leitz 18 mm F3.8 Super Elmar which sells for $2895 through B&H and they include a Leitz UV/IR and the filter holder attachment. The lens also has a $200 rebate through Leica.

2. The Zeiss 18 mm F4 about $1109.

3. The Voigtlander 15 mm F4.5 Color Heliar $549 through Camera Quest.

If I buy the Leitz then I need an additional 77 mm Hoya IR filter for around $300 and an external 24 viewfinder but I've seen the images from this lens and they are superb.

The Zeiss lens is a temptation because I've heard positive things about the images and the build quality and a 58 mm IR is a lot cheaper but I would still need a 24 viewfinder.

I've owned Voigtlander lenses in the past and personally haven't liked the "look" of the B&W's as they seem flat in contrast, less tonal range and less detail retained in shadow/highlights and the QC seems erratic at times, BUT I've seen some images with the new M mount that are impressive, it is a lot less money and a 52 IR is not a lot of money. I also have a 21 viewfinder for it.

I've been on the brink of buying each of these lenses for the last week and every time it comes to the PAY button I get cold feet. Maybe its old age making me so indecisive because I'm usually not like that and don't come to forums to make up my mind but this time I'm going to ask this forum for suggestions as I've seen some people on here get some very good advice. So, suggestions, comments all are appreciated.

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I have the screw mount version of the CV15, and really like it. The nice thing is that it's so small, you leave it in the bag all the time. I posted some images in a previous thread: Indy Library. Your other options are not as wide, and the lenses are bulkier. Something to think about.

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I can't give up the f/2.8 aperture, so the 18s available so far don't grab me. I just use a 15 c/v when FoV is more important, and my 21 pre when f/2.8 is more important. And a Canon 20 f/2.8 on a 5D when both are more imporant than absolute image quality.

 

If Leica ever does get around to a 24 x 36 sensor, I want my 21 pre to be the first lens on the camera - so I'm hanging on to it.

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I ve been working on the same problem. The 21/2.8asph has been by most used lens over the last year...I should primariliy street/travel and always use 2 M8s ...this is only important because you can go a little wider with a longer lens on the other body..which for me is the 50 pre asph.

 

The finder is pretty easy ..get a zeiss 25/28 ..this gives you both the 18 (24) and the 21(28).

 

Just tried comparing the zeiss 18 and the 21 /2.8 asph shooting for a week in NYC. The zeiss has more macro contrast and produces incredibly sharp images . The 21 asph as you must know is a supeb lens with a very well rounded performance as do all the asph wide angles ....great color,micro contrast ,sharpness wide open. IQ the 21asph is complete .

 

The biggest difference was the FOV and the speed. If I could shoot at ISO 640 or below the M8 produces the IQ expected above that IMHO not so good...I try to stay at 160 as much as possible.

 

The 18 (24 FOV) was easy to adapt to as I am used to the 21(28). After a day or two I adapted and liked it a lot . It opened up some familiar shooting locations (Brooklyn Bridge,Grand Central Terminal ,Times Square ,Wall Street) .....but it was too slow . Even with care and timing you need 1/60 to keep shots with people from looking like abstracts of blur. When I could find enough light ..it was great.

 

The other issue is the distortion that comes from the camera angle ...the 21 is pretty easy ..the 18 starts to show if you aren t aligned perfectly. This is important in street work because I shoot many times without looking thru the finder (low and high angles).

 

For my type shooting I went with the 21 1.4 for the speed and will keep the 18/4zm .

 

The zeiss 18 does handle really well on the M8 ...with the zeiss finder its a fun lens to shoot with. I don t have any experience with the Leica 18 .

Edited by glenerrolrd
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The Zeiss Distagon 18mm is built like a tank and optically excellent. I doubt very much that you will take enough pictures with a very wide lens like this one to amortize the amazing price differential with the Leica item, however good it is.

 

The lens is now available with a bayonet that keys in the proper 28/90 finder frames, and it has a slight groove that makes Sharpie-coding a more realistic proposition. See that you get this new 'for Leica' version.

 

The old man from the Age of the Hologon

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The Zeiss Distagon 18mm is built like a tank and optically excellent. I doubt very much that you will take enough pictures with a very wide lens like this one to amortize the amazing price differential with the Leica item, however good it is.

 

The lens is now available with a bayonet that keys in the proper 28/90 finder frames, and it has a slight groove that makes Sharpie-coding a more realistic proposition. See that you get this new 'for Leica' version.

 

The old man from the Age of the Hologon

How is the lens coded as a 24 mm F2.8 pre ASPH, ASPH or 24 mm F3.8?

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The lens, it seems, should be coded as what it is -- a 18mm lens. I bought mine a year ago, when it was necessary to buy a separate bayonet for 28/90 frames, so I had John Milich mill it for coding. At that time the only option was to code it as a WATE, which does work very well -- the WATE menu comes up with 18mm as the default value, so I just give the SET button a peck to confirm this, and shoot away. Today of course the Super-Elmar is a possibility, but I have no info on that. You have to use a B+W 486 filter or another independent brand -- Leica does not supply 58mm filters -- so the Super-Elmar coding could be off in any case. But the WATE coding works very well with this filter.

 

The old man from the Age of the Hologon

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The lens, it seems, should be coded as what it is -- a 18mm lens. I bought mine a year ago, when it was necessary to buy a separate bayonet for 28/90 frames, so I had John Milich mill it for coding. At that time the only option was to code it as a WATE, which does work very well -- the WATE menu comes up with 18mm as the default value, so I just give the SET button a peck to confirm this, and shoot away. Today of course the Super-Elmar is a possibility, but I have no info on that. You have to use a B+W 486 filter or another independent brand -- Leica does not supply 58mm filters -- so the Super-Elmar coding could be off in any case. But the WATE coding works very well with this filter.

 

The old man from the Age of the Hologon

Thanks for all the info Lars. FYI Tony Rose at Popflash is saying a 58-55 step down ring can be used for the 55 mm UV/IR filters, of which I have one for my 21, without vignetting.

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Hey -- it seems that the Super-Elmarit keys in the 50/75 finder frames. So this is what the bayonet of the Zeiss Distagon should do if you are to code it as one. In other words, the version intended for the Zeiss Ikon camera! If you buy it with 28/90 frames you must code it as a WATE.

 

Jaap -- the code of the Super-Elmar is 110100, with the coding at 12 o'clock and 1 being black and 0 white, of course.

 

The old man from the Age of Screwdrivers

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