Now testing this lens on the Leica SL, with the Leica R-L adapter.
Some Sample images, please click for a larger version:
- Order nos. – 11258 – 11329
- Production era – 1990-2009, 5,900+ lenses
- Variants – ROM version after 1996
- Angle of view diagonal, horizontal, vertical – 97°, 87°, 65°
- Bayonet – LEICA R quick-change bayonet for LEICA R3 to LEICA R9 with mechanical, and, for LEICA R8/R9, additional electronic exposure control
- Filter (type) – Built-in turret with 4 filters: NDx1 (neutral density), yellow-green YG, orange OR, and blue (conversion filter KB12)
- Lens hood – 12546 separate, rectangular, clip-on type, lockable
- Number of elements / groups – 12 / 10
- Focal length – 19.4 mm
- Entrance pupil – 23.3 mm (related to the first lens surface in light direction)
- Focusing range – 0.3 m / 1 ft < Infinity
- Scale – Combined meter/feet-increments
- Smallest object field – 264 mm x 396 mm
- Highest reproduction ratio – 1:11
- Setting / Type – Preset diaphragm with clickstops (including half values), Fully automatic diaphragm
- Aperture range – f/2.8 – f/22
- Length – 60 mm / 2.36 in
- Largest diameter – 71 mm / 2.8 in
- Weight – approx. 560 g / 19.8 oz and with the hood – 574g / 20oz
- Designer – Walter Mandler
This is a solid lens, all metal and from a time when absolute quality was the order of the day. Build quality is right up there with the best Leica lenses, this thing is a tank. A true workhorse lens, designed for day to day use reliably. The hood is a clip on variety, and it does seem to stay put. There is no provision for a screw in filter, so using the hood is advised.
The lens pays homage to film with three built in filters for black and white use.
You can expect 1 stop of vignetting, which will persist even as the lens is stopped down. On the vertical image down below you can see the vignetting is most pronounced in the corners. Some of my images did display cyan bleed along the edges of the images. I found this rather disconcerting, as this lens was designed for full frame film. It could be a sensor interaction with the Leica SL. Since I only had the lens for a limited time, I was unable to explore this further. The hood does seem to contribute to this.
The lens is soft in the corners wide open at F/2.8, there I said it! Lets not forget its F/2.8, not F/3.4 or F/4 like so many other manufacturers. Its also an early 1990’s computation, todays lens designers have much more computing power available to them. Also it was designed for film, not digital sensors with their micron level flatness. So with all of these caveat’s what do we have?
Its a wide angle lens with a very pleasing rendering. It will give the Leica look wide open at close distances. Stop it down and it will achieve maximum sharpness at F/8.0.
This lens is quite unique, is it as sharp as todays wide angle lenses – no. The SEM 18mm easily out classes this lens when it comes to sharpness and field curvature. So why is the Leica R 19mm lens still desired? It has a look that is unlike any other wide angle lens. I attribute this to Dr. Mandler, he has somehow managed to install his legendary magic into this wide angle lens.