Although I don’t use my film Leica M as I used to, due to the fact that I prefer medium format film (for obvious reasons), there is an advantage to 35mm film when you want to shoot wide angle. My two widest lenses are the Voigtlander 15mm and 21mm. I can emulate the 21mm focal length by using the 15mm on my Leica M8, but for super wide angle, full frame is required, so the Leica M7 has become my main wide angle camera. I could also use the Nikon D700 with the superb 14-24 lens, but try to compare the size and weight of these two setups !!!
I loaded the M7 with a Fuji Superia XTRA 400 film and kept the 15mm lens throughout the whole roll. Having only a fixed focal length on the camera makes you look for subjects and experimenting with different angles which I Iike very much. Furthermore, a specialty lens like the 15mm is even more demanding when trying to find proper subjects.
Superia XTRA 400 is a favorite film for me. Great saturation and contrast with a color I like a lot, and although it’s a grainy film (or at least I see it this way since I am used to medium format), it’s a great travel film. Not the best for landscapes, but a great all around choice when you want color.
The 15mm requires an external viewfinder, so it’s a two way process, focus using the rangefinder patch and then framing through the external viewfinder. In most cases though, I will just zone focus since with an aperture of f5.6 pretty much is in focus with such a wide angle lens.
I find the Voigtlander 15mm to be an excellent quality lens and since Leica has nothing to offer at this range with the exception of the very very expensive WATE (16-18-21) it’s a great (and relatively cheap) solution for wide angle images.
The good thing is that I can also attach filters to this lens. I use mostly use a red or orange filter when shooting black and white film, with color I will probably use a ND filter when required. A polarizer on a such a wide angle is not recommended.
Here are the rest of the images, all shot with a Leica M7, Voigtlander 15mm and Fuji Superia XTRA 400 film.
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