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

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Leica 21mm Lens ReviewLeica’s latest 21mm ultra-wide-angle lens for full-frame Leica M-series digital and 35mm film cameras has a heritage dating back to the legendary 21mm f/3.4 Leitz Super-Angulon of the 1960s, a landmark lens based on the renowned Schneider Super-Angulon formula. However, this 8-element 7-group lens is an entirely new design that includes two aspheric surfaces and many other optical refinements not present in the original and is claimed to deliver far superior optical performance, especially at the widest apertures. Typical of current Leica lenses, it is gorgeously finished in satin black with flawlessly engraved, highly legible white-on-black scales for the apertures (f/3.4-16 with half-stop detents from f/4-16), metric distances (0.7m to infinity), and a very comprehensive depth-of-field scale. Only the footage scale is a tad less visible in orange. The focusing action is buttery smooth and well damped, with a silken precision, as well it should be on a moderate aperture prime lens that carries a price tag of $2,995, which includes an excellent screw-in lens hood, and 6-bit coding for the Leica M9.
If you think that’s expensive, consider the alternatives.

Fortunately, the very best attribute of this moderate- aperture 21mm is its imaging performance, which is simply spectacular. In terms of crispness, sharpness, and its ability to capture exquisite detail, it is simply unsurpassed and may very well be unequalled—even by the 21mm f/1.4 Summilux-M, an astonishing lens n its own right. If extreme sharpness is what you’re after, you’ll get it at any aperture you choose, and this level of performance is maintained across the entire imaging field even to the extreme corners. There is virtually no color fringing or flare and linear distortion is, for all practical purposes, non-existent. In conclusion, while this remarkable lens is certainly at the upper end of the price spectrum, what it delivers may well be priceless, and that’s what makes it an excellent value for those who demand the very best…

Read the full review and see some amazing photos taken with the Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Elmar-M lens here >>>

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