Leica Elmarit-M 24/2.8 ASPH | Black anodized. Serial number: 4036338 (2006). Purchased 29th June 2007 from Wey Cameras (£1,655).

Weight: approx. 290g (10.3 oz) black anodized, 388g (13.6 oz) silver chrome.

Build quality: Smooth focusing and aperture rings (click stops). Both focusing and aperture rings are well dampened which helps maintain a hyper-focal setting (the distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an acceptable focus).

Filter size & mount: E55. Internal thread for screw-in filters.

Hood: 12464 or 12592. Clip on rectangular hood. Can be mounted directly on the lens directly or with one filter.

Viewfinder: One can use the 24mm Elmarit without a separate viewfinder by squinting into the corners of the internal viewfinder. This is possible because the total frame of the RF-viewfinder, including the space outside the 28mm frame, covers 24mm. If the Leica camera body has a 0.58x viewfinder then the outermost frame-line gives fairly accurate estimate of the angle of view.

24mm External viewfinder: Black, plastic, now discontinued (12019). Painted brass black (12026) or silver (12027). The 24mm accessory viewfinder is not optically corrected. It is very bright and clear, gives a good perspective of the wide angle effect.

21/24/28 tri-finder: regarded as inferior to the 24mm External viewfinder above.

Performance: The 24mm Elmarit is one of the best corrected (and most underrated) lenses, Leica or otherwise for this focal length. A lens ‘no Leica lens user should be without,’ (Erwin Puts). Very sharp wide open. Brilliant, clinical image quality. Good colour, fine colour shade separation. Almost 3D rendering. Desirable blend of reasonably strong micro-contrast with moderate macro contrast (Sean Reid). Interesting rather than standout Bokeh.

Sweet spot: f/4.

Image quality: Images with depth and a three dimensional quality. Excellent contrast, colour saturation, tone, sharpness and resolution, even when wide open. Excellent flatness of field (nearly perfectly flat), barely any distortion. Very good flare resistance (especially for a wide angle lens). No astigmatism or coma. The 24mm focal length offers a wide field of view but without becoming exaggerated (eg. the more dramatic and aberration-prone 21mm focal length).

Zone focussing: For most situations one can zone focus, prioritising frame composition via the accessory finder. The rule for successful non-viewed blind shots with the 24mm is the distance from the subject is equal to the amount of coverage for the long side of the film. Five feet from the subject will cover five feet at the subject plane for the short side of the film. 

Use for: The 24mm focal length offers a wide perspective and is almost distortion free, avoiding the potentially surreal (exaggerated) look that 21mm can create. 24mm suits documentary, reportage, street (see zone focussing above), landscapes, travel photography, architecture (almost no distortion). For portraits(get in fairly but not too close to avoid distortion, whilst allowing some surrounding context.