Review and Photo example the Super Elmar M 18mm.

Table of contents

Photo example by LEICA M9 and LEICA M6TTL +Velvia100

This is the widest angle lens among genuine M-type Leica single focal length lenses.
This lens lets you experience the fun and difficulty of using a wide-angle lens in a rangefinder.
Since this lens only allows you to get as close as 0.7m, you tend to end up with a lot of the same kind of pulled scenery, and the poor photographer with limited imagination could not find any expression beyond that. While using this lens, I felt that 21mm was the limit for rangefinder lenses.
Later, when I used rangefinder lenses from other manufacturers or wide-angle lenses for SLR cameras that allow me to get closer, such as the 18mm, 17mm, and 15mm lenses, I could get close enough to take a quick shot and it was quite enjoyable, but if I continued to do so, I would end up with one-pattern photos that lacked ingenuity, and it would be difficult to move beyond that point. However, if you continue to do so, you will end up with one-pattern photos without any creativity.
So, the fact that you can only get as close as 0.7m is just an excuse.

This lens is expensive, and compared to the Koshina Zeiss Distagon 18mm, which was released around the same time, I think it does a good job of correcting aberrations, but when I look back at the results of my shooting, there are a few shots where I feel the distortion is not corrected enough and the peripheral illumination is insufficient.
If you are an infrequent user of wide-angle lenses, this inexpensive 17mm lens is so well made that the ATOLL 17mm from lomography, a cheap Chinese-made lens, should be sufficient for your needs.
Recently, lens design has been changing in the direction of optically correcting aberrations other than those that are easy to correct based on the premise of digital processing.
When I used LEICA’s genuine viewfinder and ZEISS’s viewfinder, ZEISS’s viewfinder had higher magnification and was easier to see.
I used a third-party screw-in filter when shooting, so I don’t recall any difficulty with backlighting, although I never used the photo’s corner hood in actual shooting.
In the end, I sold this lens because I found the R-mount method to be more convenient for ultra-wide angle lenses, and I had less use for this lens.


Leica M-mount lens with a focal length of 18mm.
It is very lightweight compared to ultra-wide angle lenses on SLRs.
The hood is screwed on and can be positioned with a notch as a stopper, but the unit I had had loose screws so it sometimes rotated in the camera bag.
The lens protection filter cannot be attached when the hood is mounted, so I had to remove the hood and purchase a third-party screw-in UV filter to use.
There is a genuine filter holder (code number: 14484 filter adapter), but I never used it because it spoils the compactness of the rangefinder camera since it requires the E77 and a rather large diameter filter.
LEICA probably does not recommend the use of filters due to concerns about the four corners of the image being kicked off, but it is an expensive lens, so I think it is human nature to want to protect the front of the lens.
In the case of the LEICA M8/M8.2, a special UV/IR filter (code number: 13422) is provided, and the hood can be screwed onto the tip of the lens and the hood is externally threaded so it can be attached without interference with the filter. This filter is provided more for IR cutoff of the LEICA M8 / M8.2 than for lens protection. The M8 / M8.2 is also released in this form because the sensor size is APS-H, which is smaller than the 35mm full size sensor, so peripheral vignetting is negligible.

MakerLEICACarl ZeissLOMOMs-optics
Lens nameSUPER ELMAR 18mmDistagon 18mmATOLL 17mmPERAR 17mm
Max aperture3.442.84.5
Min aperture1622
Leaf blade910810
Lens Construction8elements in 7groups10elements in 8groups13elements in 10groups4elements in 4groups
Min distance(m)
Lens length(mm)58477910.2
Max diameter61637350
Filter Size(mm)77mm (with filter holder)
IR/UV filter for M8 available
Release date2009.032007.082021.03
Price(Yen/No-tax)315,000 yen (when first released)
The price has since gone up.
Comparison of specifications of 18mm focal length class M/L mount lenses

Reference links


  • 2024.1.12: add discription
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