Leica 21mm has been the widest focal length that offered for M bodies until the 18mm came out, which is the first time in over 50 years that Leica has expanded its focal length range for their M Cameras. I have had the pleasure owning both the 18mm and Leica 21mm Super-Elmar ASPH lenses so that I can conclude both lenses feel similar yet very different in practical use.
The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH is a compact lens despite its very large angle of view. It offers stellar imaging quality, vignetting and distortion are invisible with the lens in practical use.
The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar utilizes one double sided aspherical element to reduce spherical aberrations and distortion for improved sharpness and clarity throughout the aperture range.
The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar is a well built lens and feels solid in the hands. It is compact and easy to use in practice, as the aspherical element contributes to the compact form factor and the manual focusing design allows 0.7m minimum focusing distance close to the subject.
This lens is also equipped with a rectangular lens hood that contributes substantially to the compact dimensions.
Lens Code: 11 649
Production Year: 2009 - Present
Construction: 8 Elements / 7 Groups
Diaphragm: 9 Blades
Design Features: One Aspherical Element with Two Aspheric Surfaces
Maximum / Minimum Aperture: F3.8 - F16
Closet Focusing Distance: 0.7m
Filter Size: Optional 77mm Filter Holder
The Leica 18mm F3.8 Super-Elmar is a relatively small and compact wide angle lens. Although it isn't the fastest lens, its wide field of view means that it can be handheld at shutter speeds as low as 1/20 second with still subjects. Even shot wide open the lens offers an even depth of field from 0.7m to infinity, which makes it ideal for candid street photography and landscape photography.
On Leica film cameras, the 18mm can be used with outstanding results and the extremely short focal length offers fascinating new creativities in image composition.
The Leica 18mm F3.4 Super-Elmar ASPH excels at candid street photography, landscape and architectural photography that can be used unrestrictedly wide open as image renderings are excellent. The lens is very sharp also light to carry for everyday use, which making it the perfect wide angle lens.