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The shot you are looking for is romantically titled SFCoit3Int15mm, which translates (and stretches) out to: San Francisco, Coit Tower, 3rd shot, Interior, 15mm.
I have had this lens since just after they came out - what's that, 3-odd years now. I am mostly a 50/75/90mm user. I have a 35mm Summucron but I don't "see" in 35mm. When I want to go wide, I want to go W-I-D-E and the 15mm is ideal; small, sharp and with good colour rendition. It is not built as well as a Solms product, but then what is? It is not an everyday lens; I use it for the wideangle effect, rather than to cram everything in. Like all extreme wideangles you either have to do as I do, or make sure you have foreground interest - everything resolves as a dot in the diatance otherwise.
I have used the lens on my M6TTL. It works fine, but one word of caution...don't use it with an M motor drive. The right hand grip on the motor drive sticks on far enough that when you grip it with your right hand, you get images with fingers in it; VERY DISCONCERTING. Otherwise, for the price, it's great.
The Voightlander lens is OK but definately not for anything over an 11 X 14 inch print. I have this lens, a Leica 24mm asph, and the "so called" 'bottom of the barrel' (quality wise) 21mm super angulon f4 and I shoot all of them quite a bit on an 'as needed basis on a classic M6. When scanning negative on a Minolta 5400 using same camera, film, scanner settings, etc., the 15mm falls way short in every way although the result has an interesting 'painterly' quality. Don't get me wrong, it's a great lens for the price, but I would compare it to a 19mm Vivitar SLR lens tha I paid (and can still buy) a $110 for. I've also learned that even though I love wide angle, 15mm is not as useful as I thought it would be. As a sidebar, I wouldn't trade my 21mm Super angulon for anything.
Thanks for all your help with making me come to a decision. Yesterday I'd decided to buy one, and then John posted his reservations about the lens, so I've decided not to. I'll stick with my 24mm - I'm so delighted with the quality that I don't want a lens which is markedly inferior.
Perhaps I'm not really a Leica man, though. To get a real wide angle on Sunday I finished off a film in a Canon EOS 30 with a Canon 17-40mm lens on, and was thrilled with the results. Do I really need the Leica, apart from the relative unobtrusiveness!? No replies needed to this - just thinking aloud!
Thanks to everyone for the responses to this thread.
I was asked the difference between the Super Angulon 21mm and the 2.8 Elmarit M Asph. I don't have the latter lens but I do know there is NO comparison from a technical standpoint. The Angulon is not the sharpest lens in the bag and contrast is not as good as the newer lenses. It also has to be metered seperate from the in-camera meter. What I do like about the lens is that the resulting photos have a special 'look' that I love. Some would say it has it's own 'signiture'. Also it is very small and they can be bought for a lot less money. Therefore I would find it difficult to let go of it. If I didn't already have it would I buy another? Probably not. I would go with a lens that has it all and then photoshop the result until it looked like it was shot with the angulon if I wanted, but would still have the option of having the best combination of sharpness, contrast, and resolution. I am able to make larger prints with the angulon than the 15mm however. One could say the 15 has a nice signiture also and although it's not proving as usefull as I once thought, it sure is nice to have when it's needed. After all, what's the alternative? There's a line that's hard to cross when making ultra-wide lenses and the best 15 ever made is probably not any better than the Voightlander. Heck, it may even BE the best, I don't know. So I didn't mean to turn you away from buying one. I simply answered a specific question. To wrap it up (finally), I would try to find a used 24mm asph and also have the 15 for those rare occasions than buy one new 21mm asph. which is supposed to be an 'awesome' lens. But the new 24 (M mount, not the R) will probably go down in history as being Leica's greatest lens accomplishment to date and definately deserves to be in the same bag with the 35mm 1.4 asph or 35mm f2 summicron asph.
Hope this helps (whew!),
Thank you so much for your response. I was thinking about a 21mm but have always been a fan of the 24mm (when I used to use Nikon). Now, I have the 35mm Lux ASPH and from what you wrote, I'll be checking out the 24mm ASPH.
Having decided against the Voigtlander, I'm now not so sure! Perhaps I'm just gullible, one of those poor people who always agrees with the person who's speaking at the moment!!! will have another think and another investigate for a couple of days.
Really writing to say to Vinicio that I have the 24mm Asph, and it really is a great lens. I also have the 35mm Asph. I prefer that lens, and it is the one I use most (I also have the 90 Summicron, which gets relatively little use). If I could turn back the clock I would get the 21mm. This would be the ideal compromise between 35mm and 24mm, and I might not now be looking at the 15mm.
This posting really has gone off the subject of M7 bodies, hasn't it? It's still really interesting.
One problem: M7 and 15mm Auto-mode isn't really selective metering! So You have to set manually better. If You do not shot inside there is often sky in the picture, and in the metering...
Quality of 15mm is fine for the price but i use it only with 8. Open it is not very sharp, 11 and higher its getting worser.
Andrew, try renting the lens for a test. If you cannot find one, look at ebay for the resale price. You may find that buying a new one, then reselling it on ebay may not cost you too much. What some people say is not sharp enough may be fine for you, or the converse too. While the 15 or the 12 may not be 100% up to leica standards, if you really want that look, what are you options? I got a 15mm finder to see if I liked the look and am now saving for one (I have no business reason to get a 15mm). Hope this helps. B2 (;->
The 15mm is a truly great lens for what it handles best: very close quarters when other lenses won't cover it. I use it stopped down to 8 or 11 with the Voigtlander spirit level mounted side-by-side in the same make double shoe (which I use for my Leica 21 too) for architectural shots (my profession) on a tripod when my 21mm or Mamiya 7/43 can't cover the space. That is: for interior shots when there are three walls you want in the shot, but any other lens will just give you one corner at the most. I also use it recreationally, handheld outdoors, but always with the spirit level to depict space a bit differently and make use of that vast DOF. As with any very wide angle, you most often need some interest in the foreground and a level camera to get interesting results, at least in the urban landscape. If you accept some cropping, you can also use it as a "lazy-man" shift lens, just cropping the negative to eliminate too much sky, ground or side to get the "shifted" image with corrected perspective that you want.
In conclusion, I would say it is a great COMPLEMENT to other wide solutions, when they don't go wide enough. Optically I'd say it's well on par with my excellent Nikkor 20/2.8, although it needs some further stopping down to do justice without vignetting. Also, it's great fun, but if if your choice is between a lesser wide and the 15mm, you need to set your priorities.
Good luck (and do try one at least, holding it level!)
Perhaps I should add (if you haven't tried it yet) that it's an AMAZINGLY handy lens in size on the Leica M, in spite of its optical qualities. It certainly fits the bag, so to speak, meaning that it can always be carried along. Many other extreme-wideangles are bulky (Leica R for one), or harder to work with (like the Contax 16mm/f8 that needs a center filter). ALL others are much more expensive, at least if you want to fit it onto a Leica M.
So as I said earlier, it's a nice companion to help you out when you're up against the wall, while still delivering amazing pictures when stopped down a bit.
Guys, please, the key word here is 15mm! AFAIK, if you want that focal distance in a Leica, you have only two choices; the Hologon 16mm f/8 and the CV 15/4. Sadly, $10,000 being slightly outside of my budget, I cannot offer a direct hands-on comparo, but the CV 15 is by far, the best ultra-wide (under 20mm) I've used. I've shot a several SLR 17s and none comes even close to the CV 15. That's an optical limitation. Go up to 21 or, better yet, 24 and you will fin a bunch of wealthy contenders. Please compare apples to apples, oranges to oranges. Enjoy what you can afford.