21mm 3.4 Super Elmar distortion?
Old 03-09-2018   #1
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21mm 3.4 Super Elmar distortion?

Greetings! I am relatively new to the forum, so please forgive any social solecisms I may commit.

I purchased a new 21 Super Elmar a few weeks ago. On my digital MP the performance is astounding, no distortion. On film, however, I've noticed what seems to be some distortion in the corners. Please see attached images, in which I perceive distortion on left-bottom corner (46) and on right-top corner (47). I am also aware of the possibility that the perceived distortion may actually be the result of the scan (these are both scanned negatives).

Many thanks for your help and shared expertise, in advance.
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Old 03-09-2018   #2
Ronald M
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As focal length gets shorter, subject in corners has to distort toward corners. Circles will become ellipses. This is a result of trying to get three dimensions onto a flat plane.

Look up earth map projections and you will see it is impossible to image a sphere on a flat plane.
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Old 03-09-2018   #3
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I think I've read somewhere that digital Leica cameras compensate for ditortions of the lens they are coupled to. That's distortion on film only.
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Old 03-09-2018   #4
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Look what Ken Rockwell writes about this lens' distortion at http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/21mm-f34-asph.htm
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Old 04-09-2018   #5
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Leica cameras compensate for lenses' (coded or assigned a code) vignetting and colour shading, but not for distortion.

The 21/3.4 has some distortion, but it's quite small and rarely a problem. The distortion you see is, as noted above, projection distortion and unavoidable in lenses that are very wide angle and are intended to show straight lines as straight.

Ken Rockwell's analysis is hilarious, as is much else of his writing. With respect to 21mm lenses, his main concern seems to be sunstars. Also, his assessment of the old 21/4 is rather off base, as it is definitely a poor performer by today's standards if anything away from the centre is of any importance whatsoever to you.

I've had all of Leica's 21's, and still have the 21/3.4 SE, the 21/1.4, 21/2.8 ASPH and the 16-18-21. Each have their uses, but the SE gets pulled out when the highest performance in good light is needed.

For film, my first choice would be the 21/3.4 SA. But then the specific type of sunstar that KW so desires is not high on my list of photographic achievements. BTW, while it can use 48mm filters, which were fairly common in the 60's, it can also use Series VII which made the filters compatible with the pre-ASPH 35/1.4 and if I used a 50/2 or 90/2.8, the hood of the 35/1.4 with filter in place could be quickly interchanged between the three of them. Very convenient.

Now 46mm is the most common size for Leica, so the 21/3.4 SE fits right in.
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Old 04-09-2018   #6
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The Zeiss Hologon 16/8 has zero distortion.
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Old 04-09-2018   #7
Jose Morales
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Originally Posted by HenningW View Post
"Ken Rockwell's analysis is hilarious, as is much else of his writing..."
I read Ken's analysis. But didn't find anything hilarious. I wonder what you mean - just out of curiosity...
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