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EXCERPT page containing first few paragraphs. 2023-03-29 05:47:51

Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH

Aperture Series: 21/3.4 — Tile Rooftops Aerial (M9)

This aperture series examines sharpness with the 21/3.4 Super-Elmar-M ASPH.

The MTF chart tells us that we should see exceptionally high contrast over the central 3/4 of the frame, with a graceful dropoff to the edges (some loss of contrast and sharpness), and with corners that are slightly soft as compared to center. Behavior varies little between apertures, and should be nearly optimal wide open, excepting the edges and far corners.

21mm optical design

A 21mm lens is a ultra-wide lens, and is a major design challenge, regardless of aperture. We can look at the 28mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M ASPH and see that at f/5.6 its far corner performance is actually better than that of the 21/3.4 Super-Elmar-M. But it is a 28mm lens, not a 21mm lens! Also, the 21/3.4 has a flat field (no field curvature) and superior performance wide open and at f/4 at the edges and corners; it does not require stopping down to f/5.6 to achieve near-optimal performance. Everything is a tradeoff with lens design. Finally, the 21/3.4 outperforms all other Leica 21mm designs, and it is also free of the color aberrations of the 21/1.4 Summilux.

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Diglloyd Guide to LEICA contains in-depth coverage of Leica M system cameras and lenses, with additional coverage of Leica M Monochrom, Leica Q.

Special emphasis is placed on Leica M lenses and certain Zeiss ZM lenses.

  • Make better images by learning how to get the best results right away.
  • Save money by choosing the right lens for your needs the first time, particularly the Summilux/Summicron/Elmarit choice and/or Zeiss ZM.
  • Make better images, a sort of “cheat sheet” saving yourself months or years of ad-hoc learning. Processing parameters are discussed and shown.
  • Jaw-dropping image quality found nowhere else utilizing Retina-grade images up to full camera resolution, plus large crops [past 2 years or so].
  • Real world examples with insights found nowhere else. Make sharper images just by understanding lens behavior you won’t read about elsewhere.
  • Aperture series from wide open through stopped down, showing the full range of lens performance and bokeh.
  • Optical quality analysis of field curvature, focus shift, sharpness, flare, distortion, and performance in the field.

Want a preview? Click on any page below to see an excerpt as well as extensive blog coverage, for example on Leica.

Aperture series 3.4, 4, 4.8, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 available in full article

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