Leica 18-56mm and Nikon 18-35mm compared on a Leica T (Typ 701)

Years ago I stuck a Nikon 50mm f/1.2 MF prime lens on the front on a Leica M9 and was very impressed by the results. Since Nikon and Leica are my favourite camera and lens makers, I thought I'd try, as part of my tests of the new lens, comparing my Nikon 18-35mm FX lens with what I consider to be the sharpest 'standard' zoom I've ever used, my Leica Vario-Elmar-T 18-56mm f/3.5-4.5 for the Leica T system. No big deal here, and I did it out of curiosity more than anything else. And indulging my pixel peeping tendencies on a bright sunny morning is fun. I could pretend it's a useful comparison, but it's probably not, since I doubt I'll be using the Nikon much on the Leica T, since the zoom has AF and an extended focal range. But, what the hell, a lens test just for the sake of it is harmless and a break from endless editing, keywording and captioning. Plus it might go some way to proving or disproving my theory that Nikon make lenses just as good as Leica.

So what results did I get?

The top comparison is with the lenses wide open at f/3.5 and lower one with the lenses at f/8. And the Leica is indeed sharper at both apertures. Not by a great deal as you can see, but it does produce crisper results and also a more accurate colour balance. Now this Nikon zoom is ultra sharp on my Df and D750 and I've even gone so far as to say that it's maybe the sharpest Nikon lens I've ever used in terms of acutance, which just goes to show that Leica are probably still the best glass and metal manipulators out there for us as photographers. But then Nikon aren't that far behind. 

As I said nothing to prove here and a bit of post processing sharpening would eliminate any difference. And you may well be entitled to ask, what does this matter to somebody who is quite happy to go out shooting images on a Blackberry Q10? Well, in the context of what I do and how I make my living, not a lot really, but these things are always worth knowing, if for no other reason than to justify the enormous amount of money I've spent buying the entire Leica T (Typ 710) system!! 

I use different cameras for different purposes and my choices often have more to do with whether I want to be inconspicuous or not, but as I've written before the Leica T and lenses is my own personal camera outfit. If I suddenly won the lottery and didn't have to make my living as a photographer anymore, then this would be my camera system of choice. I've loved it ever since I first picked it up and while I do like the Leica M series (though have a hard time justifying actually going out and buying one of the latest models,) plus my Nikons and my m4/3 cameras (particularly the OM-D E-M5 II) the Leica T is the one that puts the biggest smile on my face when I'm out using it. 

So there we go, a 'fluff' post. I had fun doing it, hope you had fun reading it. And that's all there is to it really.