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Leica 28mm F2.8 Elmarit

The Leica 28mm F2.8 Elmarit is not one of the most expensive (Leica) lenses, but sure is one of the best performing at the wide end. Its Aspherical! As with a lot of my gear reviews, the photo samples in this are available in full res to check out. A lot of my photos are taken at night or on film. For full colour digital shots (and another great review) of this lens, check out this review from Street Silhouettes.

The 2016 revision has made this special lens even more special. It’s sharper, almost no corner darkening or distortion even at F2.8!!!

The Specifications

  • 28mm wide
  • 39mm Filter
  • Screw on Hood
  • 70cm Minimum focussing distance
  • Awesome rubber cap
  • 75° Field of View

It comes with a bigger hood than the previous version, larger in fact that the detachable hood now has a viewer hole on it so that it doesn’t block too much of your framing. On framing, the 28mm takes up almost the entire viewfinder. Closest focusing distance is 70cm.

The larger hood comes with a new lens cover. It’s a rubber/plastic square cover that slides down onto it with the traditional Leica logo on the front. I actually think it is really cool.

Because the 28mm Elmarit is Aspherical, care needs to be taken as the rear element sticks out quite a long way and you do not want to risk damaging it on anything. The leather case you get with it for free huge.

The lens has a traditional focusing tab for your finger. I like that. The aperture ring to me seems slimmer than other Leica lenses but no lens reliable, firm but smooth. My personal 28mm Elmarit seems to be looser or focuses easier than my other Leica lenses, but it still stays in place just fine. Gotta love those German engineers.

I wish I could try the 28mm F2 Summicron. By try I mean afford, but, I went with the Elmarit because I spend most of my time shooting at 35 or 50mm (which I have Summicrons of) and just don’t need a 28mm that much for the type of photos I like to take.

That said, in the latter months of 2016 I have used my 28mm Elmarit a lot more. Not on digital, but on a film MP. I’ve discovered its sharpness on film. Amazing. It’s contrast and graduation. Stunning. What a good Leica lens should be. Now I have taken some digital images with it (they are the colour ones on this review) but I’m finding a certain joy in shooting this lens on film at F2.8. And yes, it is possible to get a nice depth look in your shots.

For wide open landscapes, at higher apertures, this lens performs. In natural or low light, this lens takes in the graduation and the contrast is nice.

For me, this lens represents great value. Other than being brighter than F2.8, I can’t see how it can be any better. It’s easy to focus, it’s sharp, no distortion, performs well. Lightweight, and, when not using the hood, is one of the smallest, if not the world’s smallest, 28mm lenses for a 35mm frame.

Most of these samples (the ones in black and white) where shot on my MP 35mm film Leica using Ilford 125. Note the corner darkening on the portrait was introduced in Lightroom.

I love the contrast I’m getting in in this lens.

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