Leica 28mm f/2.8 Asp

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by richard jepsen, May 27, 2009.

  1. Can anyone comment on subject lens (code 11606) image finger print with B&W film like Tri-X or FP-4. Is the earlier 28mm versions (#3 or #4) better with B&W?
    At the current prices $1400- 1500 this optic is the least expensive of the current lenses. What gives, a 28mm used to be more expensive? Why the big price jump between the 28/2.8 Asp and a 35/2 Asp?
  2. Leica wanted to sell a cheaper standard lens to go with the M8 to help increase sales. The 28/2.8 ASPH is cheap so that people buying an M8 can get a true Leica lens at a lower cost than their other lenses. It is a very good lens, and Leica hopes that people who buy it will be convinced to pay the extra money for more Leica lenses.
    I have not used this particular lens, but I have read reviews of it and seen sample images. So take this with a grain of salt. It appears to be higher contrast than most of the earlier 28mm lenses. It also appears to have been optimized for the M8, so the performance is very high in the center, but not quite as sharp in the corners as the previous version of the elmarit. On films like Tri-X or FP-4, I don't think you will really notice much difference between this lens and the earlier versions -- their tonal range is so long, that any difference in contrast will be masked by the negative's characteristics. Maybe you will need to print a half grade lower, but I doubt it. If you were shooting slide film, you might notice more of a difference. Basically, I would buy whichever 28mm lens you can find the best deal on. The 28 asph is compelling though, since it is new, coded for the M8, and much smaller and lighter than the earlier 28mm lenses. That said, the version 3 and version 4 28mm elmarits are fantastic lenses with great performance. I don't think you would be unhappy with any of them.
  3. This lens is ok, it is tiny, well made, almost distortion free, sharp and fairly flare resistant. I have tested it against the 28/2.8 Biogon and the Biogon is sharper in the center, but not as sharp in the corners. If you just want a competent lens, go for it. However, to me this lens does not say anything: the rendering is impersonal, rather sleek, without much microcontrast, and the bokeh is not as pleasant as that of the Zeiss ZM lenses I use. The search for a perfect 28mm lens is difficult. Summicron is optically the best, but for me it is out of the question because of the ridiculous hood. I am trying now the CV 28/2 Ultron to see how it compares. i have also seen some people opinions praising highly the latest pre asph Elmarit or the M Hexanon (that one can have ungluing problems though) a lens universally liked, but only f3.5 seems to be the CV Color Skopar. You can see some of my shots done with the 28?2.8 ASPH on various films here:
    http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=elmarit asph&w=59177039@N00
    They are all tagged with the film name and developer.
  4. Marek-
    Good post. I've wished they'd make a 75mm Elmarit-M. Would you see any use for it? It could be quite small; perhaps collapsible. Would be a good pairing with the 28/2.8.
  5. Frank, there is a 75mm Summarit, which is inexpensive and very very good. Oh, and slightly faster :)
  6. It's a few stages beyond being a "competent" lens, at least the one I have.
  7. I bit the bullet and bought a mint 28/2.8 Asp. Last night I enlarged a couple of images to 8x12. The film was FP-4, EI of 80, souped in D-76 1:1. Negative contrast was higher than negatives shot with 1970s Minolta Rokkor-X glass. I lowered filtration by .5 to 1 grade.
    Handling: Focus adjustment is accomplished using the tab and left index finger. You adjust the aperture with the thumb. However, focused at 3 to 4 feet, the tab is located the 6:30 position forcing you to switch fingers and focus with the thumb vs the index finger. This will feel more natural with practice. Focus is butter smooth. There is low resistance when changing the aperture. The aperture ergonomics feel less substantial than my Minolta CLE 40mm or Tele-Elmarit but better than the 35mm v2 Cron I once had. Low resistance aids adjusting the f-stop with your thumb. The lens size is small, 30/46 mm (with/without lens hood). The Zeiss 28/2.8 length is 52mm without hood. However, the Leica hood blocks about 15% of the lower left field of view. Not an issue. The rectangular shade is locked in place and its cap a soft rubber. Very convenient.
    Image Quality: There was no flare in conditions where my SLR 28mm would have flared. I did not notice vigneting or a harsh out-of-focus fingerprint. Printed B&W images were shot at f/2.8 with subject focused at 4.3 ft.
    Test Results: I notice the 28/2.8 Asp has better numbers vs the new more expensive 35/2.8. At f/5.6 the numbers are similar between the two lenses. Bottom line the 28/2.8 appears to be a great buy.
  8. jja


    Marek, you have crazy high standards! I happily clicked through your flickr set and really enjoyed it. Just based on your photos I would go out and get a 28/2.8 asph. By the way, I'm shooting with a Voigtlander 28/3.5 and I'm very happy with it.
  9. "This lens is ok, it is tiny, well made, almost distortion free, sharp and fairly flare resistant. I have tested it against the 28/2.8 Biogon and the Biogon is sharper in the center, but not as sharp in the corners."
    This is odd in that its opposite to my tests and most reviews I have read of the lens. The new ASPH Elmarit's strength is in the center being geared for an M8 crop factor and its at the corners that it is weaker than than the Biogon. In fact the Version 4 Elmarit is also superior in the corners than the new ASPH version. Its one of the compromises for price and size.
  10. One of the things that I really like about the lens is that the focus touch is really light, so it's the easiest to focus while holding a cigarette in my left fingers.
    It seems a tad clinical, much like the 90 Elmarit-M. But I like it for it's size and focal lenght. As far as corner sharpness goes, I've never noticed really obvious faults, it is dang cheese slicing sharp in the middle.
    The hood cap is a floozy, in National Forest, the third time I bumped it and it fell off, I didn't bother to pick it up.

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