Leica WATE 16-18-21mm F4 Tri-Elmar-M ASPHERICAL Lens

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The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M also known as WATE (Wide Angel Tri Elmar) is an unique lens with special capabilities. The WATE is one of the best wide angle lens and it is Leica’s best attempt at zoom lenses which includes both the 16-18-21mm “WATE” and 28-35-50mm “MATE” lens. Those lenses are not essentially a zoom but offers capacity for three focal lengths selection within a single lens.

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has Two Aspherical Elements incorporated within the lens design which helps to reduce barrel distortion especially at the widest focal length of 16mm. The WATE lens is a stellar optical performer and can be used at close proximity with its subject due to its minimum focusing distance. The Lens performs exceedingly well in areas such as Architecture and Landscape.

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Image Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M has amazing optical performance delivering stellar sharpness even wide open and sharpness increases arriving its peak at around f8. The lens offers superb colour rendition and excellent contrast.

There is noticeable distortion especially at its widest focal length of 16mm. However, the lens design with two aspherical elements has reduced this barrel distortion significantly to acceptable standards. The distortion reduces dramatically at selection of other two focal lengths of 18mm and 21mm. The lens exhibits minimal chromatic aberration and vignetting even at wide open. Overall, the WATE is a stellar wide angle lens at all focal lengths.

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Build Quality

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is well designed and constructed.  The lens feels extremely well-built and solid in the hands. It is easy to use and has very smooth focusing and focal length adjustments. There is essentially no finder blockage from either the hood or the 67mm filter adapter when the Universal finder is used.

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Specifications

Lens Code: 11 642

 

Production Year: 2006 - Present

 

Construction: 10 Elements / 7 Groups

 

Design Features:  Two Aspherical Elements, Floating Elements System and Internal Focusing Design

 

Maximum / Minimum Aperture:  F4 - F22

 

Closet Focusing Distance: 50cm

 

Filter Size: Optional 67mm Filter Holder

 

Dimensions (Diameter x Length): 54mm x 62mm

 

Weight: 335g

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Practical Use

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M is a compact and lightweight lens. The lens is one of the sharpest Leica wide angle lens and stellar performer at all three focal lengths. During practical use, the lens feel very balanced when mounting on Leica M cameras. It can be used with the Leica universal finder which offers all tri-focal viewfinder coverage and there is essentially no viewfinder blockage. Alternatively, Leica electronic viewfinder or Liveview function can be utilised on newer Leica M digital cameras.

 

Conclusion

The Leica 16-18-21mm F4 ASPH Tri-Elmar-M lens is configured for ultra-wide photography with an M-mount rangefinder camera. The lens is compact, sharp, contrasty, rangefinder-coupled and unique.

It is the perfect travel companion packing all three focal lengths into a single lens and with its unique application shines in Landscape, Architecture and B&W Photography.

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