So I joined up with Leica D.C. to take part in a street photography shoot. I was using my own M8, but I took the opportunity to use a lens I have long been eyeing. The Leica 18mm Super Elmar Aspherical. This lens is small, WIDE, and sharp. It holds true to Leica’s roots. Massive quality in a tiny package. In fact, if you set your camera to F/8…even F/5.6, you get virtually a point and shoot camera. So much is in focus! However, its not about having everything in focus even wide open…its about how everything looks when it is in focus that is the real difference here.
I was not using an IR filter, but I had set my M8 to correct for the lens in general. The lens is small and light but has the usual solid Leica feel. I used an accessory viewfinder to compose more accurately. Using zone focusing and F/11 or F/16, you can get even objects just inches away in focus with this lens. Something that is not the usual on a rangefinder!
Overall I have to say I am extremely impressed. The lens does have some light barrel distortion, but Lightroom corrects for this lens extremely well. Vignetting and aberrations are nothing to worry about. On the M8 you get a 24mm equivalent field of view with the 18mm lens. 24mm is one of my favorite focal lens for subject relationships. You can really create a strong fore, middle, and background separation.
Overall I found the drawing to be detailed, yet very smooth. The images drew me into them. In fact, I find this lens to be my favorite wide angle I have used so far. It totally surpasses any SLR wide angle i’ve used. I look forward to trying this on an M9 and seeing the full resolution in the corners as well. On the M8 however, this is a fantastic lens. Below are a few examples with the lens.