Leica Elmarit-M 28/2.8 ASPH | Black. Serial No.: 4099679 (2006+). Leica’s smallest, lightest (180 g / 6.3 oz) M-mount lens to date. Not visible in the camera viewfinder. Focusing range: 0.7 m to ∞. Tabbed focus ring. Aperture ring can move if focussing in a hurry. Lens hood: Screw-on. Plastic hood (a sturdier metal version exists) with a protective cap which falls off the hood. External viewfinder: 21/24/28 tri-finder. Filter thread: E39.
Use for: 28mm gives a wide, natural field of view, potentially more dynamic images than 35mm. Well corrected for distortion, ghosting. Very sharp edge to edge but not clinically so, both stopped down and wide open. Very contrasty, with character. High flare resistance. Best for street when you are part of the action you are photographing eg. Trent Parke of Magnum, and street photographer and New Yorker Gary Winogrand (1928-1984). Focus throw is short, ideal for a wide angle with a not too fast aperture. VG for architecture, landscapes, documentary, travel photography (a light carry). Pleasingly smooth bokeh but f/2.8 limits DOF compared to f/1.4, hard isolating subject from background but does reveal reactions of people in crowded backgrounds (eg. weddings).
Sweet spot: At f/5.6 and f/8 it is especially good across the full frame. At f/2.8, there is some falloff of contrast, and some vignetting.
Negatives: Too slow for low light, night or indoor shooting. One risk with such a physically short lens is the focussing finger appears in the photo.
On the M9: As the M9’s internal finder makes objects appear closer than they actually are some prefer to use an external viewfinder (eg. the 21/24/28 tri-finder).
On the M10: The M10’s larger rangefinder makes the 28mm framelines easier to see (than on the M240 for example) and the higher magnification makes focusing easier. This is a subtle but definite improvement.
Alternatives: Voigtlander 28mm f/3.5 Color-skopar