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Opinions on the Leica 24mm f2.8 Elmarit-R

Alfie Wang , Feb 01, 2006; 09:54 a.m.

Any opinions on the Leica 24mm f2.8 Elmarit-R. I know that this is a Minolta design but believe that the performance is supposedly fairly impressive. Anything else?


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David Kernaghan , Feb 01, 2006; 10:31 a.m.

Alfie, the 24mm focal length is one I personally like (the perfect complement to a 35mm), and currently have the 24 ASPH M. I previously owned the 24R, and finished up trading it for a current 28R, a focal length I don't particually like.

The performance of the 24R is not up to the standard of the current 28R, and nowhere near the 24M. The 24M is in a class all by itself.

The 24R is as good as the 24 2.8 Nikkor, that most people think highly of. The differences in my experience, the 24R has better imaging in the center of the frame, with the Nikkor being better in the outer areas of the frame.

My sense is that the floating element design causes compromises that are more noticable in the 24R than the Nikkor, the Nikkor being more even edge to edge.

Rob F. , Feb 01, 2006; 10:33 a.m.

It was a Minolta design, originally. Not now. It has been redesigned by Leica several times, to incorporate newer optical glasses. The current version is German in design and manufacture. Erwin says it's about equivalent to the 24/2.8 Nikkor. That's good, since the latter is a fine lens.

I bought the Leica version from Lutz recently. I haven't explored it fully, I'm still in the process--so I don't really have enough in-depth personal experience with it yet. Stay tuned . . .

Alfie Wang , Feb 01, 2006; 10:41 a.m.

Sounds nice. How can you differentiate between the Minolta and Leica versions of this lens?

Terence Mahoney , Feb 01, 2006; 11:13 a.m.

"It has been redesigned by Leica several times, to incorporate newer optical glasses."

Have you any official documentation from Leica attesting to this? I have never read anything from Leica claiming the 24R has optically changed other than making use of whatever their current method is for the deposition of the coating.

Ronald Moravec , Feb 01, 2006; 01:24 p.m.

Mine was old and one of two Leica glsses I consider close to junk. The off axis image that should have been easily within the debth of field was not even close, although the center was fine. I understand that is one of the downsides to a floating element design. Others have reported this to be a problem also.

Nice focal length to match a 35, but be sure you get the redesigned one if it exists. I never heard of an optical redesign, just cosmetic with the builtin shade.

Ronald Moravec , Feb 01, 2006; 01:25 p.m.

I went back to a 28/21 combo with the additional weight.

Rob F. , Feb 01, 2006; 01:43 p.m.

Alfie: The only clue I can think of would be the filter size. Mine takes either a series 8, in the hood, or a 60mm directly on the lens. Brian Bower and the Hove 6th edition Pocket Book both show the Minolta version taking only a series 8.

I can cite some references for the change-over from Minolta to Leica, but I'll have to dig. One is Erwin's writeup of the lens in the 7th edition Pocket Book Leica Collector's Guide. The rest is in LFI or The Viewfinder, I forget which.

I'll dig it out later. Right now, now that I've walked the dog and done the Leica Forum, I ought to get my butt down to the office and do a little billing. Later!

John Jovic , Feb 01, 2006; 05:08 p.m.

The 24R is a fine lens, but not to the standard of current designs such as the 28R. If you can get one at a good price then I imagine you would not be dissapointed. I've regularly used one for Double Page Spreads in magazines, the quality is fine. It's definitely not a "junk" lens.


Rob F. , Feb 01, 2006; 08:31 p.m.

Here we are. Here's a brief quote from Erwin Puts, in his article, "Leica Knowledge How to purchase R lenses, part 1: From 15 to 800mm." In LFI, no. 2, 2005: "Since its introduction in 1974, the Elmarit-R 24mm f/2.8 has experienced scores of modifications. The lens is based on a Minolta design, and the original glass types were selected by Minolta. After Leica's adaptation, it occasionally happened that certain types of glass were no longer available and analogous changes had to be made. This explains the various versions of the lens." (pp. 27-28)

And in the Leica Pocket Book, 7th Edition (Hove Collectors Books, 2002), Puts states, "The Elmarit 2.8/24mm is a Minolta design that has been adopted and adapted (with different glass) by Leica. In the beginning Minolta supplied the glass elements and Leitz did the assembly. Later, when Minolta stopped production, Leica continued to produce the lens. Purists may debate whether this is a true Leica lens. The fact that Leica has adapted the design and continues to produce it is a sign that it qualifies as a Leica lens." (p.190)

Sorry to base so much on one author; but in the Leica Lens Compendium (Hove Books, 2001) Puts wrote: "At middle apertures the R-24 is better than the Angulon 4/21or the first R-28mm." (p.141)

Conclusion: It's not Leica's best, but it's nothing to avoid, either. I need it because I like the 24mm focal length. Now let's all go out and take pictures!

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