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My feelings on having bought a Zeiss Hologon 16/8
Old 10-17-2018   #1
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My feelings on having bought a Zeiss Hologon 16/8

I bought this year a Zeiss Hologon 16/8 in Zeiss G mount and in unused condition. I reviewed many images online that were taken with such a lens and I obtained feedback from photographers online on whetehr they would in 2018 still buy this lens or not. The overwhelming view was not to buy it unless you use it with a film camera since digital cameras will display color smears and vignetting due to the closeness of the rear glass to the sensor. I felt like accepepting a challenge hgere, so I bought the Hologon and I asked Don Goldman to adapt it to M mount. Total cost in the end was less than $2000 for a "new looking" 16/8.

The first few images from the lens were very disappointing to my eyes, but with more use and additional results I was able to see some possibilities with this lens. I found out that using some software, such as Cornerfix, can reduce greatly any color smearing or vignetting, but I have not gone into such software use yet.

Using the Hologon on the M8 have convenient images in colr and without blemishes with a 21mm crop. Using the M9 with this lens required some extra care. The purple "smear" in the lower edges can be reduced with careful PP. Even the vignetting (with the special ND filter) was heavy, and in PP it is possible to add some light to the edges. "results are not that bad".

I did not spend $2000 to get results that were not that bad.

In the end, I am more and more getting fond of this lens. I like the B&W images from it when used on the M9. There is no distortion, but I learned that I should not use ISO 160 (as I am used to with other lenses) when using this lens. I now regularly use ISO 1000.

I could have bought a CV 15mm III that is highly corrected for digital cameras for "nice looking wonderful color images witthout color blemishes or vignetting" but I have other wide angle lenses that work well too. I want to use the Hologon. It is a special lens.

So, did I waste my $2000 on this lens or not? This may be a question that different photographers would answer differently. I have this lens in my camera bag for ready use each week. With it is a 50mm/1.4 Planar lens and a second camera. I like using pairs of lenses.

I hope that I have conveyed how I feel about buying this lens.

Links:

With M9:
https://raid.smugmug.com/Europe2018Hologon/
https://raid.smugmug.com/New-M9-Hologon/

With M8:
https://raid.smugmug.com/HologonM8-HurricaneGordon/
https://raid.smugmug.com/HologonM8-HurricaneGordon/

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Old 10-17-2018   #2
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The lens is a fixed aperture 8.0 lens, which with the ND filter is a lens with fixed aperture 16. It has a lot of depth of field.
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Old 10-17-2018   #3
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So: "Did you waste your money?" Only you can be the judge of that.

In the sets of photos you presented, not much of the color work appeals to me, but some of the B&W work is truly excellent.

I had one of the Hologon 16/8 T* when I had the Contax G2 camera. I see this adapted to Leica mount in the same way I see my Color-Skopar 28mm f/3.5: Outstanding on film, quirky and difficult on digital. The Hologon's ultra wide FoV presents additional difficulty in use. Used to your satisfaction, it's a kick to get really nice photos with it. Used sloppily and you don't get anything worth showing.

Nothing wrong with quirky and difficult as long as you're willing to work the issues and enjoy it. Keep making those photos that sing, and everyone will tell you it was worth every penny.

G
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Old 10-17-2018   #4
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If you lost the money and lost the lens, which would you miss more?

There is your answer...
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Old 10-17-2018   #5
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Money comes and leaves, but happiness remains.
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Old 10-17-2018   #6
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I like that last image you took with the Holo as well as some others..
A lens like this needs to stay put..even if you don't use it for periods of time..as there will always be a time to put it on the cam in the spur of the moment..and go for it..!
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Old 10-17-2018   #7
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Emile: I have had thoughts of removing this lens from the camera and to use the Rigid Summicron or the pre-asph Summilux instead. It is lens that may work best on my M3 or M6 with film in the end. We shall see what develops.

............................. [a few minutes later]:

In fact, I have just removed the Hologon off my M9, and I replaced it with my pre-asph V2 Summilux 35/1.4. Once I get back my M8 from New Jersey, I will put the rigid Summicron on the M8 and I will set aside my M 4/3. I now have a good feel for when the Hologon could be used effectively for good looking results. I can quickly grab this lens when needed.
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Old 10-17-2018   #8
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Me thinks You crazy Raid ... 😋

Love that one b&w photo posted above
Beautiful & Atmospheric , yummy good !
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Old 10-17-2018   #9
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Hello Helen,
Why does Helen think me crazy?
Would you keep on using the Hologon with film?
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Old 10-17-2018   #10
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It is interesting project to spend money on. I would never have this much available for it, so it is nice you did it.
Pictures don't feel extremely wide.
As for me, I have three times less expensive, AF, three times faster SLR lens. No heavy vignetting or distortions. 16-35 f2.8 L.
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Old 10-17-2018   #11
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"In the end, I am more and more getting fond of this lens."

I am with you Raid....I like quirky lenses. (Though maybe not $2000 quirky though )

This lens was THE thing about 20 years ago and I recall my camera guy trying to sell me one. But I seldom go this wide and passed on it. I would be interested to see more of your images.
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Old 10-17-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
It is interesting project to spend money on. I would never have this much available for it, so it is nice you did it.
Pictures don't feel extremely wide.
As for me, I have three times less expensive, AF, three times faster SLR lens. No heavy vignetting or distortions. 16-35 f2.8 L.
I could do it, and I wanted this lens, so I got it. It is a unique lens.
It is a 16mm lens without distortion. It is a very tiny lens. How large is your 16-35/2.8? Is it tiny and light? Does it have zero distortion?
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Old 10-17-2018   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
"In the end, I am more and more getting fond of this lens."

I am with you Raid....I like quirky lenses. (Though maybe not $2000 quirky though )

This lens was THE thing about 20 years ago and I recall my camera guy trying to sell me one. But I seldom go this wide and passed on it. I would be interested to see more of your images.
Yes, it is an old design lens, but it is unique, Peter. I have so many other lens, so it is not replacing any lens that I have. It is a special applications lens that is challenging to use with a digital camera.
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Old 10-17-2018   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
So: "Did you waste your money?" Only you can be the judge of that.

In the sets of photos you presented, not much of the color work appeals to me, but some of the B&W work is truly excellent.

I had one of the Hologon 16/8 T* when I had the Contax G2 camera. I see this adapted to Leica mount in the same way I see my Color-Skopar 28mm f/3.5: Outstanding on film, quirky and difficult on digital. The Hologon's ultra wide FoV presents additional difficulty in use. Used to your satisfaction, it's a kick to get really nice photos with it. Used sloppily and you don't get anything worth showing.

Nothing wrong with quirky and difficult as long as you're willing to work the issues and enjoy it. Keep making those photos that sing, and everyone will tell you it was worth every penny.

G
I still have two Contax G1 cameras with 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses.
Yes, it is a very expensive quirky lens, but it costs less than some Leica wide angle lenses.
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Old 10-17-2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I could do it, and I wanted this lens, so I got it. It is a unique lens.
It is a 16mm lens without distortion. It is a very tiny lens. How large is your 16-35/2.8? Is it tiny and light? Does it have zero distortion?
It is 16, 21, 24, 28 and 35 all f2.8 lenses in one. If you put those as primes on one bag it is not going to be tiny, nor light.

Mine at 16mm and f2.8 isn't much fisheye:










But would I take this lens on the trip? No, I would go with M-E and as small as possible lens. More I take pictures with Leica and SLRs, more I realize what here is no practical reason to chaise quality with Leica. It is achievable more effectively with anything else.
But Leica gives something else. Would it be street or travel or just goofing around. I'm thinking of selling some less used gear (this how I get money for new gear) and get couple of pancakes for my rangefinders. Minitar and one of MS Optical one. I've been thinking about it for sometime now...
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Old 10-17-2018   #16
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This is a very interesting lens that you have. Is it a Leica lens with 5 focal lengths?
There is no distortion that I can detect in your posted images here.
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Old 10-17-2018   #17
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Not Leica, it is underdog of these days. Professional Canon L series lens. Used is now under $800 lens.
Rockwell shows its distortions at 16mm right . Far from zero.
https://kenrockwell.com/canon/lenses/16-35mm-ii.htm
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Old 10-17-2018   #18
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"The distortion of the Canon 16-35mm II is typical for any ultrawide zoom: complex barrel distortion at the widest end and pincushion at the longer end."
It is a Canon SLR lens, so it cannot provide a Leica M experience as the Hologon does.
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Old 10-17-2018   #19
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Raid, modern digital cameras fix simple distortion in-camera (or via RAW editing). So the manufacturers design the lenses without worrying about it. Consider the Leica Q that has hard vignetting in the corners, not to mention distortion, before Leica's in-camera "software" fix.

You know my opinion already but I will say your first image is good. The fall-off at the periphery makes it work. I would print it in the darkroom if I were you and if it was on film...

I do still think the Voigtlander 15mm provides basically identical performance without nearly as much cost or the speed penalty - the better choice for most users. The older I and II models are still very small.
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Old 10-17-2018   #20
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Corran, I read about the CV 15/4.5 III being an excellent lens. Believe it or not, but I am not a fan of wide angle lenses. I find the Hologon to be an intriguing lens. Its clout as a unique lens from the past was the main attraction for me. I don't care much for modern lenses. I like old lenses.

M9 and color:


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Old 10-17-2018   #21
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I've never used the III model of the Voigtlander. I have the rare Nikon F mount version which I can use on my Nikon RF cameras or LTM/M cameras.

I have used it on the M9 and it works fairly well with the automatic corrections from the camera set to the Tri-Elmar 16mm setting. The Hologon has many more issues as shown by your images.

Personally I don't think the Hologon (or any 15mm) works great for street images. Perhaps in rare instances. Instead, your first image plays to its strengths.

Wide-angle lenses (really wide) are my thing, and my most-used lenses on my rangefinders are often the 15mm, 21mm, or 25mm. My requirements and preferences are only towards film nowadays (working on trading my M9 for another film camera). I often use a 38mm lens on 6x9 which is like a 15mm on 35mm - I really like that range. The Voigtlander isn't a sterile or ultra-modern lens IMO. But, this isn't really about that lens. I'm just pointing out that for most people, it would be the preferred option, for various reasons.
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Old 10-17-2018   #22
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I luv the ultra wides..esp in unusual circumstances..
Started out with the Brooks Veriwide 47mm on 6x10 MF...
then...the Voightlander 15mm ver 1..that thing is so tiny...
Then went for a 7mm to 14mm zoom for the Lumix 4/3rds..wonderful lens..
Now have the WATE for the Leicas..another versatile WA..
I also have some WA's for LF/ULF too..but don't use them much as digital has taken over..
The 210mm XL comes to mind here as well as the Protars..
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Old 10-17-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
I still have two Contax G1 cameras with 28mm, 45mm, and 90mm lenses.
Yes, it is a very expensive quirky lens, but it costs less than some Leica wide angle lenses.
Some? I think "nearly all" is a better estimation.

I bought the Hologon new when I had it, it was what I did with an unexpected windfall bonus. It was a bit more than $2000 then.

My current ultra-ultra wides:
  • The Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 ASPH, or WATE as it's called. It is a terrific lens on both the M-D and the CL bodies, with very little distortion and a focusing mount that allows scale focusing down to 12" (and very accurate TTL focusing with the CL).
  • The Leica Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5 ... essentially, the Zeiss Distagon 15mm built for Leica R cameras to Leica's specification by Zeiss. Another fabulous performer.
  • The Leica Elmarit-R 19mm f/2.8 v1 ... A unique Walter Mandler lens design with Walter's signature take on the Leica look and feel to its rendering.
Ultra-wide lenses in this class are fascinating things, and all the good ones are quite expensive. They generally don't get used a whole heck of a lot, but produce unique imaging when they are.
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Old 10-18-2018   #24
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Originally Posted by Corran View Post
I've never used the III model of the Voigtlander. I have the rare Nikon F mount version which I can use on my Nikon RF cameras or LTM/M cameras.

I have used it on the M9 and it works fairly well with the automatic corrections from the camera set to the Tri-Elmar 16mm setting. The Hologon has many more issues as shown by your images.

Personally I don't think the Hologon (or any 15mm) works great for street images. Perhaps in rare instances. Instead, your first image plays to its strengths.

Wide-angle lenses (really wide) are my thing, and my most-used lenses on my rangefinders are often the 15mm, 21mm, or 25mm. My requirements and preferences are only towards film nowadays (working on trading my M9 for another film camera). I often use a 38mm lens on 6x9 which is like a 15mm on 35mm - I really like that range. The Voigtlander isn't a sterile or ultra-modern lens IMO. But, this isn't really about that lens. I'm just pointing out that for most people, it would be the preferred option, for various reasons.
I have a CV 21mm lens for the Nikon RF system, but I have been told not to try to mount in on the M9 with an adapter since there is some obstruction that will not allow it.
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Old 10-18-2018   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
I luv the ultra wides..esp in unusual circumstances..
Started out with the Brooks Veriwide 47mm on 6x10 MF...
then...the Voightlander 15mm ver 1..that thing is so tiny...
Then went for a 7mm to 14mm zoom for the Lumix 4/3rds..wonderful lens..
Now have the WATE for the Leicas..another versatile WA..
I also have some WA's for LF/ULF too..but don't use them much as digital has taken over..
The 210mm XL comes to mind here as well as the Protars..
I started out with the same 47mm lens, but I have it on a Graflex XLSW wide camera.
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Old 10-18-2018   #26
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Quote:
I started out with the same 47mm lens, but I have it on a Graflex XLSW wide camera
That camera really produces beautiful results at large print sizes..only downfall is it is slow at F8 wide open..but the Veriwide Brooks is not much bigger than a Leica M..
One of my fave cams of all time..but not w/o its issues either..
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Old 10-18-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Some? I think "nearly all" is a better estimation.

I bought the Hologon new when I had it, it was what I did with an unexpected windfall bonus. It was a bit more than $2000 then.

My current ultra-ultra wides:
  • The Leica Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 ASPH, or WATE as it's called. It is a terrific lens on both the M-D and the CL bodies, with very little distortion and a focusing mount that allows scale focusing down to 12" (and very accurate TTL focusing with the CL).
  • The Leica Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5 ... essentially, the Zeiss Distagon 15mm built for Leica R cameras to Leica's specification by Zeiss. Another fabulous performer.
  • The Leica Elmarit-R 19mm f/2.8 v1 ... A unique Walter Mandler lens design with Walter's signature take on the Leica look and feel to its rendering.
Ultra-wide lenses in this class are fascinating things, and all the good ones are quite expensive. They generally don't get used a whole heck of a lot, but produce unique imaging when they are.
Yes, all Leica wide angle lenses cost more than what I have paid for my Hologon. My widest Leica lenses are the 35mm focal length Summicron and Summilux.
Your WATE sounds very interesting, but it is also costly.
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Old 10-18-2018   #28
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Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
That camera really produces beautiful results at large print sizes..only downfall is it is slow at F8 wide open..but the Veriwide Brooks is not much bigger than a Leica M..
One of my fave cams of all time..but not w/o its issues either..
I got the XLSW years before I got into RF photography with Leica cameras. I then had a Koni-Omega with its 50mm lens, which was a good way to work out and build up muscles! The XLSW was in comparison like a baby camera. I used to carry with me a Fujica 690BL and the XLSW for landscape photography. Each camera had its special charms.
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Old 10-18-2018   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
Yes, all Leica wide angle lenses cost more than what I have paid for my Hologon. My widest Leica lenses are the 35mm focal length Summicron and Summilux.
Your WATE sounds very interesting, but it is also costly.
Indeed! I bought a mint condition one second-hand, and traded my Elmar-M 24mm in the process, and it still cost a bunch. But it was certainly worth it.


Leica SL + Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm f/4 (WATE)
ISO 400 @ f/4 @ 1/20 @ 16mm
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Old 10-18-2018   #30
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Raid, I can easily understand your attachment to this lens. I feel the same way about my 15mm f/3.5 Nikkor!
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Old 10-18-2018   #31
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Raid, I can easily understand your attachment to this lens. I feel the same way about my 15mm f/3.5 Nikkor!
It is an attachment to a unique lens, and since I don't own many unique lenses, this lens becomes special to me. Was it logical to buy this lens? Maybe not. Your Nikkor 15/3.5 also costs a bunch, Rob.
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Old 10-18-2018   #32
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Indeed! I bought a mint condition one second-hand, and traded my Elmar-M 24mm in the process, and it still cost a bunch. But it was certainly worth it.
I was after the "zero distortion" claim by owners of the Hologon. I may for the fun of it use the lens on a film Leica to see what I can get then.
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Old 10-18-2018   #33
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I have a CV 21mm lens for the Nikon RF system, but I have been told not to try to mount in on the M9 with an adapter since there is some obstruction that will not allow it.
You've got to machine down the rear end piece, and it will work. I did this and use it on my Leica M6 a lot. Almost all of my Nikon RF lenses work on my Leica cameras. I own only 3 Leica lenses - all of them old: 50mm Elmar, 50mm Summitar, and 90mm Elmar. I use Nikkor, Voigtlander, and Zeiss lenses instead.

Quote:
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Ultra-wide lenses in this class are fascinating things, and all the good ones are quite expensive.
Not anymore. Modern lens design and manufacture has made the impossible possible.

Since we are talking about other ultrawides, The Voigtlander 12mm is of course amazing, and I have been really loving it for architectural images:



Speaking of different formats, the Schneider 47mm f/5.6 XL is one of my favorite lenses on 4x5. It's hard to find the right composition though. The 58mm XL is a bit easier (which is equivalent, roughly, to that 15mm on 35mm film). This is the 47mm XL, used on a 3D-printed camera that cost me $200:

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Old 10-18-2018   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corran View Post
...
Not anymore. Modern lens design and manufacture has made the impossible possible.

Since we are talking about other ultrawides, The Voigtlander 12mm is of course amazing, and I have been really loving it for architectural images:

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/pho...nta-0734ss.jpg

Speaking of different formats, the Schneider 47mm f/5.6 XL is one of my favorite lenses on 4x5. It's hard to find the right composition though. The 58mm XL is a bit easier (which is equivalent, roughly, to that 15mm on 35mm film). This is the 47mm XL, used on a 3D-printed camera that cost me $200:

http://www.garrisaudiovisual.com/pho...ast-0889ss.jpg
Lovely photos!

I'm glad you consider a $900 lens as not expensive.

It's true that the Voigtländer UW lenses are an excellent deal for the money. I had and compared the Heliar 16mm Aspherical I to the Hologon 16mm back in the day and there was no comparison then .. the Hologon was a far far better performer. That said, the Heliar was both a lot easier and more fun to shoot with. The later Voigtländer lenses have improved enormously, of course. But they're still pricey. The Voigtländer 16 type III and the WATE @16mm are very closely matched for some uses, but with the WATE you're getting multiple focal lengths, smaller size, and even better build quality for the extra money. So it's a bit of a toss up.

My favorite ultrawide remains the Hasselblad SWC with its Biogon 38mm f/4.5 T* lens, but of course that delivers best results only on 6x6 format film. Each of my other UWs delivers its unique qualities that satisfy me, so I can't complain.
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Old 10-18-2018   #35
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You'll have to tell me which Voigtlander 16mm lens you are referring to that is $900 .

I don't know what the older I and II models of the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar sold for when introduced. I know now they can be purchased used for $300-350. I see the Leica WATE is currently $6300. It's hard to compare when there is such a vast chasm between the two in price. At 1/20th the price, it would probably be "good for the money" even if it imaged like a coke bottle. But being very sharp with virtually no distortion, I think it is better than "good for the money" and more like, very clearly illustrates what the Leica branding costs.

Please elaborate on how the Hologon was better than the Voigtlander. I am eager to hear it. I don't have one, and don't plan on getting one, when the Voigtlander is so good. It equals or beats my Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, which of course is a very different lens, but is/was considered one of the best full-frame ultrawides ever. I am genuinely curious, because generally the only thing I have seen online is that the Hologon has zero distortion while the Voigtlander might have the barest hint of barrel distortion. But like, the barest hint that would only be seen on a scientific test.

I don't have a 38mm Biogon but I do have a 75mm f/4.5 Biogon for 4x5. A favorite, except for the weight...
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Old 10-18-2018   #36
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The Hasselblad SWC has a super lens. I agree.
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Old 10-19-2018   #37
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Originally Posted by Corran View Post
You'll have to tell me which Voigtlander 16mm lens you are referring to that is $900 .

I don't know what the older I and II models of the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 Heliar sold for when introduced. I know now they can be purchased used for $300-350. I see the Leica WATE is currently $6300. It's hard to compare when there is such a vast chasm between the two in price. At 1/20th the price, it would probably be "good for the money" even if it imaged like a coke bottle. But being very sharp with virtually no distortion, I think it is better than "good for the money" and more like, very clearly illustrates what the Leica branding costs.

Please elaborate on how the Hologon was better than the Voigtlander. I am eager to hear it. I don't have one, and don't plan on getting one, when the Voigtlander is so good. It equals or beats my Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8, which of course is a very different lens, but is/was considered one of the best full-frame ultrawides ever. I am genuinely curious, because generally the only thing I have seen online is that the Hologon has zero distortion while the Voigtlander might have the barest hint of barrel distortion. But like, the barest hint that would only be seen on a scientific test.

I don't have a 38mm Biogon but I do have a 75mm f/4.5 Biogon for 4x5. A favorite, except for the weight...
Okay:

Current NEW prices from BHPhoto $800 for the 15mm (I meant 15mm, 16mm was a typo) alone, just over $1000 for the 15mm plus its viewfinder.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...m_for_4_5.html :: $799

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...for_15_mm.html :: $209

or $900 for the 12mm alone, $1250 for the 12mm plus its viewfinder.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._6.html?sts=pi :: $899

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...der_Black.html :: $344

When the Voigtländer Heliar 15mm lens was introduced, in 1996 or 1997, it cost me about $600 sans viewfinder IIRC; that would be a little over $900 in todays money. So its price hasn't changed by much.

When I bought the Zeiss Hologon 16mm f/8 T* (new, in 1998, including differential ND filter, viewfinder, and leather lens box), it cost me $2700. That would be $4200 in today's money. (Raid said he paid about $2000 for it, including the conversion cost ... A very good deal.)

A new WATE today costs $6300 when purchased with the Leica Universal Wide-Angle Finder. I paid $2900 for mine plus $500 for the finder, both used. So it was roughly about three times as expensive as your Voigtländer 12mm + finder is. That said, it's really three lenses for that price ...

When I tested the Hologon 16 on the Contax G2 vs the Heliar on the Leica CL in 1998, the differences were quite clear: the Hologon produced clear, excellently gradated, well defined image details right to the corners of the frame where the Heliar images seriously lacked definition past the 2/3-way distance from the optical center, and even on center the Hologon was substantially sharper with more contrast. The Heliar could not take a filter without adapting a filter holder and there is/was no matched ND filter to even out the illumination across the frame, whereas with the Hologon the matched differentially graded ND (2 stop) filter gave nearly perfect illumination across the entire frame. (BTW, that was the best of three Heliar 15s I'm reporting on: I returned two of them as being inadequately centered.)

I had no measure of rectilinear distortion to use, but it was obvious when I overlaid the photos of the same building with a grid-like pattern of windows that the Hologon produced truer parallels both vertically and horizontally. (The Hasselblad SWC is probably the king of distortion free ultra-wides..)

That said, the Heliar 15 outperformed both the Nikkor 15mm and the Canon 14mm lenses, available at the time, by a good bit; they weren't inexpensive either. And they made the Sigma 14mm of that era look like a Coke bottle bottom. That gives you an idea how good the Hologon was then... it was incredible, if limited use with an f/16 aperture when fitted with the ND filter.
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Old 10-19-2018   #38
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I should note that both my 12mm and 15mm Voigtlanders are the Nikon F-mount versions. I did have a 12mm LTM as well, which I sold after finding the Nikon version. It seems like that lens had slightly less contrast than the F-mount one, but I am unsure if that's just my feeling as I never shot them comparatively.

I have no issues with my 15mm Heliar, with regard to sharpness across the frame. I do have to wonder about sample variations, or differences between the versions. Heck, even between cameras, there could be variability from exceedingly slight differences in left-to-right parallelism. Your findings regarding unsharpness 2/3 of the way out sounds almost like what I see with my 4x5 ultrawides if the standards aren't exactly parallel. I wonder if the mount on your CL was ever so slightly tilted.

If anyone is interested, I uploaded a full 6000 DPI scan of a negative here. Shot with a Bessa L, 15mm Heliar w/ F-LTM adapter, on T-Max dev'd in FX-39. It's not a perfect test as I did have the lens focused in a bit from infinty, shot handheld at probably f/11, and excuse the dust. I just opened up the raw scan and uploaded it. Scanned on a Cezanne.
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Old 10-19-2018   #39
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PS: If someone wants to send me a Hologon I'll waste a roll of T-Max and shoot the same subjects with the Hologon, Heliar, and any other 15mm lenses I have around here, and scan them with my Cezanne at 6000 DPI. I don't normally bother with such tests, but why not.
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Old 10-19-2018   #40
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...Your findings regarding unsharpness 2/3 of the way out sounds almost like what I see with my 4x5 ultrawides if the standards aren't exactly parallel. I wonder if the mount on your CL was ever so slightly tilted. ...
Nope. I had the CL body CLA'ed and checked when I bought it. And none of my other lenses showed any such issues, including the Leica Elmarit-M 21mm f/2.8 ASPH.

It was long ago and far away now, my negatives from those testing sessions are long gone or I'd supply the data for you. But it remains true that the best quality UW lenses come at a high price.
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