Leica Elmarit 28mm Version 3 Review

By | 11/10/2022

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LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ASPH

ELMARIT-Thou (2006-today)

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Leica 28mm f/2.8 ASPH

LEICA ELMARIT-M 1:2,8 28mm f/ii.8 ASPH

(39mm filters, 6.107 oz./173.18g, near $ii,297). bigger. This is the original typ 11606 version with plastic hood; today I’d go the new typ 11677 version with metallic hood at Adorama, at B&H or at Amazon.

Y’all can get the one-time version shown hither with the plastic hood at Amazon or used at eBay for about $1,500 if you know How to Win at eBay). Both versions have the aforementioned optics, they only vary in the kind of hood.

This ad-free website’s biggest source of support is when you lot use those or any of these links to approved sources when you go
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October 2017

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Sample Images

Yosemite in Springtime
May 2011

Death Valley
January 2009

Optics:
Mechanics:
Ergonomics:
Usefulness:
Availability:
Overall:



Introduction

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Intro
   Specs   Performance

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The LEICA 28mm f/ii.eight ASPH is LEICA’s newest 28mm lens for its timeless M series of rangefinder cameras. It started shipping in October 2006.

It works on every picture show and digital LEICA Grand fabricated, from the moving picture LEICA M3 of 1954 through today’s M7 and digital LEICA M9-P, M240 and M10.

The reasons I bought this lens new are unproblematic:

1.) It’s the smallest K lens LEICA has ever made. Information technology’s their first 28mm which doesn’t arrive the manner of the viewfinder. It uses standard 39mm filters, which are the same size as LEICA’southward other compact lenses. Other 28mm lenses are bigger, and therefore block the lower correct portion of your viewfinder!

two.) Zero distortion and ridiculous sharpness. It’southward got less distortion than the bigger 28mm f/2 ASPH, which would block the viewfinder.

Whiners always moan that “they don’t make them like they used to,” merely this LEICA lens looks and feels at least as well made every bit every other LEICA lens I’ve used, fabricated since 1954. It’s certainly nicer than the budget Summarit-M series.

The typ 11606 version shown hither was made from 2006~2016. The newer typ 11677 version has been fabricated from Jan 2016~, it uses the same optics and is the same size and weight and differs only in that it takes a metal hood instead of the plastic one of this lens.

Leica Elmarit-M 28/2.8

LEICA 28/2.8 ELMARIT-M, many times larger than life.
overstate more than.

Leica 28mm o an M7

The LEICA 28mm f/2.8 on a

LEICA M7
.
enlarge.

LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ASPH on LEICA M3

LEICA 28mm f/2.eight ASPH

on LEICA M3 mit LEICAMETER MR-iv.

bigger.



Specifications

     height

Intro
   Specs   Performance    Recommendations

Leica 28/2.8

LEICA 28mm/two.8 ASPH ready to f/5.6. enlarge.


Proper name

LEICA calls this the LEICA ELMARIT-M i:ii,8/28 ASPH.

ELMARIT means an f/ii.8 lens.

-One thousand was added to ELMARITs for LEICA M in the 1970s to differentiate them from the LEICA R SLR lenses.


Eyes

8 elements in 6 groups.

Ane aspheric surface.


Actual (Design) Focal Length

28.5mm.

(Used on the half-frame M8, its angle of view corresponds only to what a 38mm lens would run across on a real LEICA.)


Diaphragm

x blades.

Straight at f/4, condign inwardly-curved from f/5.6 ~ f/11, and directly again from f/16 ~ f/22.

Uniform half-stop clicks.

Stops down to f/22.


Filter Thread

E39: 39mm 10 0.5mm thread pitch.

This has been the standard pitch for 39mm since at to the lowest degree the 1950s, and it matches LEICA’s other 39mm thread lenses and standard Hoya filters I’ve tried since 1954.

The Germans say “E39,” which just means screw-in 39mm.


Close Focus

2.3 feet (28″ or 0.7 meters).


Maximum Reproduction Ratio

1:22.


Hood

Clip-on rectangular plastic, included.

Hood Office Number: 12 526.

Designed for full-frame use; not the half-frame M8.

Size: 42mm slip-over (A42 in German).

The front snap-on mount matches my 50mm f/2 from 1970 and the 90mm f/2.8 Tele-ELMARIT-M from 1974-1990.

The hood’southward design is flawed: at that place is no vent through which the camera’s viewfinder can see. Use the hood, and you lot’ll meet information technology as a black spot roofing the lower correct of your camera’s finder.

Half-frame shooters probably won’t see this with the M8, since the M8 throws away half the lens’ image.

Rear, Leica Elmarit-M 28mm

Rear, LEICA ELMARIT-M 28mm 1:2.eight ASPH at f/5.vi.
overstate.


Lens Caps

Comes with three caps:

Standard M rear cap 14 269.

Slip-on metal front end cap 14 038 (for use without hood).

Floppy (like shooting fish in a barrel to lose) rectangular plastic encompass for the hood (cap office number fourteen 043).

Older Thousand rear caps from normal and tele lenses won’t work because they’re not deep enough. Use the current 14269 cap, which is deep enough.


Instance

Comes with a very dainty 18-carat nappa leather instance, order number 439-606.052-000.

This leather instance is used only when placing the ELMARIT-Grand ASPH in your safe; not when yous’re out shooting with it.


Size

2.05″ diameter ten 1.18″ long (52 x 30mm), without hood.

Hood makes the length 1.81″ (46mm).


Weight

6.107 oz. (173.18g) measured without caps or hood.

6.970 oz (197.55g) measured with hood and both relevant caps.

LEICA specifies “approximately 6.35 oz. (180g).”


6-Bit Encoding

Six-dot code

Vi-dot lawmaking.

What LEICA tries to market place as “six-bit encoding” is simply six white or black dots ground into the lens mount.

LEICA says “half dozen-bit coding” to go far sound like some sort of advanced digital image processing algorithm. It’south non: it’south just a few colored dots.

The M8 and M9 reads these with LEDs to effigy out what lens it is, so the can put the focal length information in the M8’s EXIF. These is no aperture communication, so I doubt the M8 can do much of a decent job of encoding the ready aperture value.

A bit is a unproblematic yes-no or 1-0 value, in this case, marked with either white or black in vi places. Large bargain.


LEICA Production Numbers

Lens, consummate boxed organisation with accessories:
xi 606.

Hood:
12 526.

Hood Cap:
14 043.

Rear Cap:
14 269.


Shipping since

Oct 2006.


Toll, USA

October 2017

$2,297 for the newer version with metal hood;

Near $1,500 used for this version if you know How to Win at eBay.

Oct 2011

$2,000.

January 2009

$i,800, and with $300 mail service-in rebate it was effectively $1,500.

February 2007

$one,495.


Performance

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Intro
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My tests are on Fuji Velvia 50 on an M7, and on the LEICA M9.

When I got my test slides back, all I could utter was “those crazy Germans.” This lens doesn’t know how to flare, doesn’t know how to misconstrue and doesn’t know how to exist unsharp.

All the LEICA 28mm f/two.8 ASPH knows is how etch your film with perfection.


Sharpness

For sharpness, y’all tin can shoot it wide open and become results much amend than whatever SLR or rangefinder lens I’ve ever shot on Nikon.

Unlike the Nikon lenses, this LEICA lens doesn’t know how to go soft in the corners, even at large apertures.

If you’re looking closely, like under 40x magnification of a Nikon Alphapot laboratory microscope, the farthest corners become just a hair less precipitous at f/2.8 than they are at every other aperture, merely they are withal excellent.

At f/ii.8 in the far corners of the full 35mm film frame, way beyond the edges of the M8.2’s half-frame sensor, sharpness is merely excellent.

At every other discontinuity, or anyplace else in the full-frame other than the farthest corners at f/2.8, the sharpness is just crazy.

I’m amused at how LEICA tries to brand people who buy this $1,800 lens feel unworthy, calling it but an “introduction” to the LEICA arrangement. LEICA is trying to taunt you into ownership the 28mm f/2 ASPH, just if you purchase i for $four,000, yous’ll accept some of your viewfinder obscured because it’s bigger, y’all’ll get three times the distortion of straight lines, and you’ll have to employ larger 46mm filters.


Flare and Ghosts

I can’t see any, fifty-fifty with the sun in my prototype. Be conscientious not to burn your shutter curtains trying this foolishness.


Sunstars

Leica 28/2.8 Sunstar

Sunstar at f/ix.5, ingather from 4 x three foot (130 ten 85cm) print.

The ten-bladed diaphragm begets sharp 10-ponted sunstars.


Distortion

Monterey Aquarium

Monterey Aquarium, 28 August 2011
(LEICA M9). Straight enough? bigger.

In that location is no visible baloney of straight lines.

For critical use when shot at infinity, use a value of +0.5 in Photoshop’due south Lens Baloney Tool to right the tiny corporeality of remainder butt distortion in scans from film.

Shot at 6 feet or three anxiety (2 meters or i meter), there is no distortion, visible or otherwise.


Color Remainder

I wasn’t specifically looking for it, simply when compared to the Contax K 28mm, it seems much warmer, maybe half an 81A or an A1. I’ll have to investigate further.


Coma

There is no blackout, which is when bright points of lite in the corners turn into blobs. Coma is common in broad and in fast lenses.

This lack of coma is superb, and far improve than whatsoever SLR lens I’ve ever used.

Night

LEICA 28mm f/2.8 Aspherical broad-open at two minutes on Fuji Velvia 50.

Cropped

Crop from lower left corner.

I run across no coma, and this ingather is the same as a crop from a huge 48 x 32″ (120 x 80cm) impress.


Falloff

(darkened corners)

I never noticed whatever in existent shooting, even at f/ii.eight.

If I did expect for it, it has some at f/2.8, much less at f/4, and it’s all gone by f/five.half-dozen ~ 8.

Recall: darker corners are skillful for keeping your viewer’s optics from wandering out of the photo and keeping their attending in your photograph where information technology belongs.


Diaphragm Linearity

My M7 agreed exactly every bit I tried every half-stop.

Bottom lenses oft become inaccurate at smaller apertures.

This isn’t of import on cameras which meter through-the-lens at taking aperture, like most mod LEICAs, but will lead to inaccurate exposures if you’re using an external meter.

Equally far as I can measure, this lens is perfect.


Mechanics and Structure

The LEICA 28mm f/two.8 ASPH is made besides equally anything popular today, but not quite as nice as Nikon’south AI-s manual-focus lenses.

Caps

Medium-soft plastic.

Hood

Plastic with metal catches.

Barrel

Black anodized aluminum.

Focus Ring

Black anodized aluminum.

Focus Tab

Plastic.

Discontinuity Band

Blackness anodized aluminum.

Finish

Black anodized aluminum.

(Nikon AI-s lenses add together a layer of enamel over the anodization.)

Focus Helicoids

Aluminum and contumely.

Other Internals

Metal.

Mountain

Tiresome chromed contumely.

Mounting Index Dot

Red plastic.

Markings

Engraved and filled with pigment.

Quality

Made IN Deutschland.


Viewfinder Blockage


Leica 28mm on an M7, top view

LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ASPH on an M7, elevation view.
enlarge.

The lower right of the viewfinders of my M4-P and M7 just barely run across the tip of the lens. With a naked lens, there’s no apoplexy.

If you add together a filter, at that place’s a tiny bit of blockage, but nada I’d worry about.

If you employ the included hood, there is some blockage of the lower correct.

If you employ a 39mm -> 58mm step-upwardly band to utilise larger and stacked filters, you’ll lose a good chunk of the corner of your finder, about equivalent to the corner of where a frame for a 65mm lens would go.

LEICA has this problem because today’s M7 still puts the lens and viewfinder in the same place every bit 1954’south original M3. The M3 came out before 28mm lenses were popular and before whatsoever photographic camera’due south viewfinder could handle what were the “ultrawide” lenses of the 1950s. In the early 1950s, crazy people who used such wide lenses had to utilise external shoe-mounted finders.


Ergonomics

Leica 28 on an M7

LEICA 28mm f/2.8 ASPH on an M7, side view.
enlarge.

You lot focus this tiny thing with a finger lever. At that place isn’t much of a focus ring.

The aperture ring is perfect. It’south piece of cake to accommodate with a fingertip.

The 28mm f/2.8 is so small that there’s no big identify to grab the barrel for mounting and unmounting. Your all-time bet is the tiny sliver of ring at the very base of the lens, the function with the cherry dot.

The f/stop alphabetize is recessed inside the grooves which serve to align the hood, making information technology harder to see the f/end alphabetize if y’all’re not using the hood.

If you apply the hood, in that location are new indices on the tabs of the hood which make full the grooves, making it much easier to see.

Leica 28/2.8

LEICA 28/2.eight M Aspherical.
overstate.



Recommendations

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Intro
   Specs   Performance

Recommendations
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I use one of these because it’southward tiny and excellent.

In the lab, the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 28mm f/2 ASPH tin be slightly sharper, but it’south likewise bigger, takes a larger 46mm filter, blocks my viewfinder, and has slightly more distortion.

Lenses are always a skillful investment; there’s every reason to believe that this lens will be as useful 55 years from today every bit it is on my 55-year-quondam LEICA M3.

I too compared this LEICA 28mm f/two.8 ASPH to the extraordinary Zeiss-for-Contax-G 28mm f/2.8. I found them equally excellent, and each far better than anything I’ve ever used on an SLR.

As rangefinder lenses, these lenses are designed without the optical restrictions imposed by having to avoid the reflex mirror of SLR cameras.

The 1950’s Nikon 2.8cm (28mm) f/3.v lens for Nikon rangefinder cameras is poor. It’s simply nowhere most as sharp equally either the Zeiss-for-Contax or this LEICA 28mm.

28mm is a much more than applied lens than 24mm on the LEICA. Information technology makes no difference on SLRs, but on nearly LEICAs, you lot probably have a 28mm viewfinder built into your photographic camera. With a 24mm lens, you have to use a ridiculous shoe-mounted external finder. An external finder is more hassle than you tin imagine.

An external finder requires you to peer through ane pigsty to meter and focus, and some other to compose. God assist y’all if you use the wrong hole. Not only is using an external finder a hurting and more junk to carry, forget using wink considering it just took over your hot shoe.

24mm doesn’t see enough differently for me to warrant the use of an external finder. If I want to mess with a finder, I’ll shoot a 21mm or wider lens.

Therefore, 28mm is the widest easy-to-utilise lens für LEICA. If I desire employ an external finder, I’ll utilize one for a 21mm lens.

Don’t cheap-out with a Voigtländer lens for your LEICA. Come across also Cosina, Voigtländer and other lenses for LEICA.


Use on the LEICA M3

There may be a tiny chip of interference between the lens’ red plastic mounting index ball and the small ring surrounding the LEICA M3’s lens release push button.

If this happens, a fiddling bit of strength volition work it out, and it then should mount and unmount well as the brawl will now arrange to your M3.


Deployment

I employ a 39mm 81A B+W brand filter for slide film.

I’d utilize any 39mm B+W make yellow filter for B&Westward film outdoors, or a 39mm LEICA brand 13 131 UV filter indoors.

I’d use a 39mm LEICA make 13 131 UV filter for color print motion-picture show, but why would anyone shoot color print film in a LEICA?

For the LEICA M9 and LEICA M9-P, use a 39mm LEICA make 13 131 UV filter or become commando.

For the wretchedly obsolete LEICA M8, employ a LEICA brand 39mm UV/IR filter thirteen 410 (or a B+W brand 39mm UV/IR filter) to correct for a blueprint flaw in the M8’s sensor system design.

More Information

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Popular Photography reviewed the LEICA 28mm f/2.eight ASPH in their February 2007 issue.

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