I had the Zeiss 25mm F2.8 Zm lens in my possession during the last year but eventually sold the lens as I did not used it much nor did I like using an external viewfinder. Sometimes when I looked back at the images it produced that I regretted selling it and I am eager to get another wide angle lens. Following the announcement of the newly designed Leica 21mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH lens last year, I decided to get my hands on this lens. It took me awhile to find one since the lens was relatively new in Leica's line-up. Here is a simple review of the lens and its practical useage.
Build Quality & The Feel
The Leica 21mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH lens is a superbly constructed lens like all other Leica M lens, its build quality is typical Leica standard. The size and weight of the lens is about as perfect as it gets, not too big and not too heavy, when mounting on the Leica M9/MP it felt well balanced.
This lens is renowned for its insane sharpness and it does not disappoint. The images produced from this lens are sharp from corner to corner and when zoom-in to 100% crop the details are amazingly retained. It is probably up there with Leica's sharpest lenses if not the sharpest.
The rendering of this lens has tendency to the warm side and the colour images coming out of this lens are vivid. This lens also produces astonishing sharp and punchy Black and white images.
Although I am not a big fan of external viewfinders but an external viewfinder is necessary for accurate framing. There are two genuine options for a 21mm external viewfinder: Zeiss and Leica. Other options are available such as voigtlander but they are difficult to find or match cosmetically with the lens setup. The Zeiss viewfinder is bigger and brighter than the Leica one, it also costs a few hundred bucks lens. The Zeiss 21mm viewfinder coming at nearly $500 isn't cheap but the Leica one even costs more. I bought the Zeiss 21mm viewfinder myself and it is a real enjoyment to view through it since it looks even better than my M9 or MP rangefinder viewfinder.
If you are looking for an ultra sharp wide angle lens for the Leica M body that balances well and not too big or heavy then do not look further, this is the lens to get!