The Leica W.A.T.E – First Impressions!

ATTN: This is NOT my review for the lens! This is only my 1st impressions after a day with it. My full review for this lens is HERE!

As I posted yesterday Leica sent me the Wide Angle Tri Elmar lens (W.A.T.E) along with the external viewfinder (also known as THE FRANKENFINDER) and this is really a terrific lens. It is WIDE on the M9 and you can choose between 16, 18, or 21 mm. I am not used to shooting this wide so there seems to be a learning curve but I plan on really getting to know the lens over the next week or two and will have my full review up soon. As in usual Leica fashion it is a very expensive lens but if you want a super wide angle for your M camera, this is about as good as it gets. Here are some quick details, first impressions and some first samples:

  • Its VERY small, much smaller than I thought it would be.
  • As with most Leica lenses, it is very well built.
  • Its expensive – $6k with finder, $5k without.
  • Its the widest Leica lens available – a true 16mm!
  • The finder is HUGE but very versatile.

I may never be able to afford this lens, but so far after using it for a bit yesterday I truly wish I was a rich man. This lens seems pretty amazing. In my full review I will go over the lens at 16-18 and 21mm as well as go over the finder. As usual, I will have a video showing what it all looks like and I will have at least 30 images in the review with some full size 100% samples to show detail and sharpness. This one will be lots of work but also lots of fun!

Here are a couple of images from yesterday as I went INSIDE the old abandoned hospital I visited last year. It was smelly, creepy, dark and moldy but I braved it all in the name of lens testing! Ha ha…

Many of the images I shot in this building were at 32 seconds so in my review you will see a few long exposures. I hope to venture back in to this building today (with a flashlight this time) to visit more of the rooms. I will have many more from this set in the review, and hopefully some other very cool images. Also, the images in the review will be larger at 1500 pixels wide. Until then, here are some quick samples from my first outing with this lens.

16mm – iso 320 – 8 seconds – f4 – leica m9


16mm – f4 – 1.5 seconds – m9


f4 – iso 320 – 1.5s – m9


Check back soon for the full review on the lens!



  1. Thanks! Yes, the finder is huge but it is very functional and accurate. It looks like a beast but performs great. I shot with it more today and love the performance of this combo more than the looks of the combo.

  2. You find the creepiest places to shoot, but they make great subjects, & you nail it w/your pix…wish they had creepy places like this in NY, w/out being shot back @….& i dont mean w/a camera…Great site, keep it up

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