Leica M 240 with Summilux f/1.4 50mm asph.
Leica M 240 with Macro-Elmar f/4 90mm.
Every time there is a new Leica camera being released it’s the same story, a huge expectation followed by a lot of complains by Leica lovers and haters. Leica M users, are always looking for a new M rangefinder, demanding a better sensor, EVF, etc. Haters are mostly complaining about the price.
With the release of the wonderful Leica Q, many Leica users were left lusting for a M mount version of that camera, myself included.
The idea of using my Leica M lenses with that high resolution, big, bright, fast EVF from the Leica Q, without the need of adapters and with a new Leica full frame sensor looks promissing, imagine all of that in a Leica Q sized body.
This time, however, with the release of the Leica SL, I was impressed on how photographers and reviewers that I admire, specially because of their enthusiasm, were so skeptical and negative about this camera.
Leica isn’t a big company, it hasn’t a huge user base and there’s no doubt, their executives wish to extend the company’s reach to other niches of photography. That’s clear the goal of the Leica SL.
There is a huge market of pro and enthusiasts photographers that work in studios, covering sports, weddings, etc that are stuck to their DSLRs for a long time and bored to death with the lack of innovation of these cameras. For these people, the Leica SL may have an appeal.
I sincerely wish Leica success with this new camera. It is expensive no doubt, but it is a top level product, manufactured with high quality standards, by people with six weeks vacations per year instead of wage slaves under poor work conditions.
This camera is the innovation many photographers were waiting for a long time. Leica M users (myself included) this time have to wait a little more for a new M mount iteration.
I’m glad to hear that some renowned reviewers are finally changing their minds. After some rant written in a previous article, Steve Huff published this week a hands on with the Leica SL where he describes this camera from more positive point of view.
Sean Reid, which has been testing the Leica SL for some time, even before the official release, has also a very interesting and fair article with his thoughts about the Leica SL on Luminous Landscape.
I’ve been looking for a Leica Tri-Elmar 16-18-21 lens for some time already. Despite of the fact this is not fast a fast lens (f/4 – f/22), it’s expensive when compared with other Leica lens with similar aperture range and is one of the reasons this lens is not so popular, which can be a good thing since it may reduce its used price.
Once my Tri-Elmar arrived last week I remembered why Leica lens are so praised by it’s owners. The build quality is something you don’t see matched by other manufactures saving a very few exceptions and, despite of the wide angle capability of this lens, the size is relatively small. It’s truly a piece of great engineering work.
Despite of the fact that this lens can be technically considered a zoom, it was designed to be used with an optical external viewfinder where 3 specific focal lengths (16-18-21) are available. It can be adjusted by an additional ring next to the aperture ring. You will notice that the focal length is set with a click, the same way as the aperture ring does.
If you use a camera with an EVF, however, it is possible to stop the focal ring between the clicks, this would give ou a “zoom like” experience. Maybe Leica will to remove these clicks on future iterations of this lens, who knows.
Angle of view (diagonal, horizontal, vertical)
at 16 mm: 107°, 97°, 74°
at 18 mm: 100°, 90°, 67°
at 21 mm: 92°, 81°, 60°
Length: 62/72 mm (with/without lens hood)
Diameter: 54 mm (53 x 58 mm with lens hood)
Weight: 335 g
Universal Wide-Angle Viewfinder
Due to the very wide angle of the Leica Tri-Elmar 16-18-21, the standard viewfinder from a Leica M camera can’t be used. Leica M240 shooters can, however, use the electronic view finder or set the camera to live view mode.
If you don’t use a Leica M 240 or neither want to use the EVF nor live view, this lens can be bought together with an universal view finder with a discount.
In my case I have opted to buy the Tri-Elmar without the view finder.
To use filters with the Tri-Elmar, a filter holder, which is sold separatelly is needed. Unless there is a big camera store in your town, it will probably necessary to order one since it is usually not in stock.The official Leica price for a new filter holder is € 85,- (Product code 14473).
***Filters with 67mm will fit into this holder***
The quality of the images you can get with this lens is great and the results from my first images didn’t disappoint in any aspect. One can use the images taken with this lens without any correction or further post processing if wanted.
The images below were processed with Lightroom 5 using the built-in lens correction profile.
Leica M 240 with Tri-Elmar f/4 16-18-21mm asph.
Leica M 240 with Tri-Elmar f/4 16-18-21mm asph.
I didn’t regret even a bit about the acquisition of this lens, it greatly covers my wide angle photography requirements. I can say I am very satisfied and looking forward to create more images with it.