Leica M9 and Zeiss Hologon 16/8: any users here?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by pensacolaphoto, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. Hi,
    I am looking for experience based advice on hot to best use the Hologon 16/8 on Leica M9.
  2. I have read a lot of posted material about the Hologon and the alternative choices, such as the Leica 21/3.4 or the CV 15/4.5 III. It seems that the Hologon will give a "vintage look", and while some swear by its lack of distortion, others recommend not to buy it. I am curious about this lens, and I want to try it and see if I like using it.
  3. It's overpriced, because it is rare and was famous as the first and only >21 mm lens that would fit on the M for many years. I can't imagine how a "vintage look" would look on an ultrawide (there is virtually no bokeh, for example, with an f8 16mm lens). If you are a collector and have disposable income: then of course you can try one, but IMO a sensible person would go for the Heliar 12 or 15mm, Zeiss Biogon 15/2.8, Leica 18mm, or even the Tri-Elmar, all of which I suspect are better performers than the 1960s designed Hologon. But, of course, I have not tried one, although I did look at one and put it on my M3 on a few occasions in a store. I think it cost c.2000 GBP in 1984. I haven't tracked the price since then.
  4. I'd expect strange color casts at the sides of the image, because the nodal point of the non-retrfocus lens is so close to the sensor. Look at the problems people have with the CV 12mm and 15mm lenses on the M9, they're all really film-only lenses.
    Robin Smith likes this.
  5. I agree with Robin 100%.
  6. I understand the CV 12 & 15, and lately a 10mm have all been re-tweaked for digital camera use. I haven't tried them.
    I use a centre darkened ND filter made for large format on my old CV 12mm and get quite good results, with sometimes a little bit of 'Italian flag' colour distortion each side. The old 15mm CV is a complete loss with M9. It may be OK on B&W?
    Whatever their shortcomings, each of my 12 & 15 CV lenses seem astoundingly sharp into the corners
  7. I realize that I have taken a risk with buying a Hologon, but I can also use it on film cameras if the images come out with unacceptable colors or vignetting on digital cameras. It is for the fun of trying this out and taking photos with such a lens.
  8. Can’t argue eith the fun-factor. I recently purchased the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 III, which has been optimized for the digital M and works a treat on my M262.
  9. Hi Greg, I wondered how good the the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 III was. Do you have to use a particular Leica lens code?
  10. I just leave it uncoded on the M262 and make my own corrections in Abobe Camera raw. The corrections do not include anything for color edge cast adjustments like previous versions of that lens. There’s some vignetting wide open, otherwise just the regular “stuff” you’d do with any other raw file.
  11. Here are some examples of the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 III on the M262..




    jctay and arthur_gottschalk like this.
  12. ph.


    If asking about the very rare 15mm Hologon with M bayonet, I have only used it on film . Interesting perspective. entirely distortion free, reasonable contrast but not all that sharp in the corners Vignetting is taken care of by the concentrically graduated "Verlauffilter" accompanying it together with the special viewfinder..

    The more common 16mm Hologon was made for the Contax G and does not have an M bayonet, but on some copies surgery has apparently been performed replacing the Gmount with an M mount. With the very short focus the mount needs to be extremely precise.

    No experience with digital use, but I would presume that Leicas sensor would be more forgiving than sensors not adapted to light from the rear element coming in at a steep angle.

  13. I meant the Zeiss 16/8 in G mount, and then have it professionally adapted to Leica M mount. The conversion is permanent, even though there exists online an adapter that could be used for a non-permanent conversion.
  14. The lens with the camera look very cool.
  15. Apart from the mild and correctable vignetting, that looks like a winner to me.
  16. Yep, that version III of the 15mm f4.5 is a very nice little lens. I recall playing with the slider in Adobe Camera raw before saving the dng file to jpeg.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021

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