25mm View on a Zeiss Ikon

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by ragnar58, May 22, 2010.

  1. ragnar58

    ragnar58 Member

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    Hello to all.
    I was looking into getting a ZI and saw a post somewhere that stated that the full viewfinder corresponds to the view of a 25mm lens. If this is true, then the lower range of lenses without an external viewfinder drops from 28mm to 25mm. I know that you lose the area outside of the frame lines but this could eliminate the need for the external viewfinder. Also, I suspect there will be significant blockage in the viewfinder from the lens and shade.

    If I have to use an external viewfinder then I would rather limit it to just one.

    I was planning a lens selection of either: 18, 25, 35, 50, and 85; or 21, 28, 35, 50, and 85.

    Could any owners of the ZI and 25mm help with this issue?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I don't have a ZI but I can't imagine the situation is that much different from an M. The widest framelines are 28. Sure you can shoot 25, 24, and 21 without a viewfinder, but its a guess as to what's actually going to be on the edges. It's already a bit of a stretch sometimes with 28 - it's not like RF's are known for super accurate framing. So if precise framing isn't a huge deal to you, then you'll probably be fine with 25 and the whole finder. On the other hand, unless there's some big motivation to go 25, why not just get a 28? You have a wider choice at 28 and you don't have to worry about the finder at all.

    Personally I find 35 and 50 a bit too close for me. I shoot 15, 28, 50, and 90. I do have a 21 in the mail though...
     
  3. ragnar58

    ragnar58 Member

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    Diagonal View Between Lenses

    Why I like the 18, 25, 35, 50, and 85 selection is it averages about 18 degrees diagonal view between lenses. Using http://imaginatorium.org/stuff/angle.htm, I get the following:

    18 (100.48)
    25 (81.75) -18.73
    35 (63.45) -18.30
    50 (46.80) -16.65
    85 (28.57) -18.23

    I think it’s a nice even spread between lenses. The 35 to 50 is a little smaller but some people use both the 75 and 90 on their Leicas and only get 5.15 degrees between lenses.
     
  4. marduk

    marduk Member

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    As a 25-35-50-90 user I can vouch it is an excellent selection. I'm not a 28mm user but I love Zeiss 25mm which is spectacular. For me composition and perspective with a 21mm lens is more challenging. I can add a Zeiss Biogon 18mm later if I really get into that ultra-wide stuff.
     
  5. lns

    lns Member

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    I have a Zeiss Ikon. There certainly are people who use a 25mm lens on it without an external viewfinder. I've never used the 25mm lens personally. I am certain you'd get viewfinder blockage with the 25mm lens because it's a big one. The 28mm framelines are close to the edge, and using Zeiss's 28mm lens you have some viewfinder blockage. The 25mm lens is bigger than the 28mm lens, and the 25mm field of view is wider; ergo, there would be viewfinder blockage.

    Do you wear glasses? If so, you probably will have trouble seeing the edges of even the 28mm framelines, and would probably want an external finder for anything wider, whether 25mm or 21mm.

    Are you going to buy Zeiss lenses? If so, the 25mm is supposedly better than the 28mm. I've used the 28mm and it's good, but the 25mm is supposed to be wonderful. On the other hand, the 21mm f4.5 also is supposed to be wonderful. I think you might be okay starting with the 35mm and/or the 50mm and then seeing how much wider you need to go and what maximum aperture you need.

    Feel free to pm me if you have any specific questions about either the ZI or the lenses. I've used the 35mm, the 50mm and the 28mm. I've drooled over the 21mm f4.5 for years. :smile:

    -Laura
     
  6. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I've used this camera and lens combo quite a bit without the auxiliary viewfinder. I use the entire viewfinder for framing. I think it's a very close approximation and probably was among the first to suggest doing this.

    For precise framing, you probably would want to use the auxiliary viewfinder. But for most shooting, I think that the camera's viewfinder works well.
     
  7. ragnar58

    ragnar58 Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I hate to have to use more than 1 external finder. It’s just something else to lose or have to replace when changing lenses. Also, these items are not cheap ($419 new). I was thinking of starting at the wider end and getting the new bundled kit of the body, 18mm lens, finder, and shade. The other lenses would be picked up used. It appears I would save around $500 compared to the separate items purchased new and get a 1-year warranty on the body.
    It would be nice if the retailers read these threads and contacted people with offers. I’m planning a major photo trip and I need all the savings I can achieve. I’d rather spend my time in the darkroom than searching for the best deal.
     
  8. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    The M8 has a frame for 25mm, if you get the 25, CV in LTM it comes with a free finder, the M CV does not inckude a finder, neither lens blocks the ZM camera finder if you use the standard supplied hood, a LH1 (monster) hood would be a different matter.

    Noel
     
  9. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    It really depends on whether you wear glasses. I do and I have the ZI, but no 25 mm lens. But I *can* tell you that for me, a 25 mm would not work using the internal finder.

    The 28 framelines are perfectly usable, much better than e.g. on an 0.72x M7. e.g. But outside of them, I can not make out much without shifting my eye around...
     
  10. 6x9

    6x9 Member

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    The Zeiss 21mm finder is worth every penny. I got mine for about $250 USD. It is flawless and probably the best 21mm finder.

    Fake Edit: Isn't Cosina Voigtlander coming out with a new duel 21/25 finder?
     
  11. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I own a Zeiss Ikon and use the 25mm a fair bit. I do own the viewfinder and often carry it in the bag. I usually don't bother to put it on the camera. I find they get hooked on things and are kind of a pain. I am willing to crop my photos in the darkroom, not everyone is willing to crop, so for me the exact framing isn't as important as other photographers might find.

    The 28mm is a great lens but since many people use the 35mm they tend to skip a lens and go with the 25mm instead, of course it depends how many lenses you want to carry. The 25mm lens is hard to beat though.

    As far as the 18mm or 21mm. I like the 21mm because of it's size. It's not a length I carry/use very often, of course your mileage will vary.

    Just like most things with photography there is no right answer, they're all a joy to use.

    -Rob Skeoch
     
  12. 6x9

    6x9 Member

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    I feel the same way about my 21mm finder. I like using it, but I'm hardly composing if I'm shooting a rangefinder. I feel there is little to no point in doing so. I just ensure focus is spot or near spot with my 21 C-Biogon and shoot. Plus, having it on my camera, exposed, I can't be as rough as I want to be.

    I'm going the 18/21 C/Planar route for my Zeiss Ikon.
     
  13. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    I've recently upgraded to the Ikon but keep using the CV 21 mm finder on it, when I do take my 21/4 Skopar for a stroll. In these cases, I just leave the viewfinder on the camera until I get home again. It sits so tight that I have no fear of losing it...

    I did recently buy the 21/4.5 C-Biogon to replace the Skopar, but I found no benefit in sharpness, only slightly less distortion (and probably some flare reduction) so I sent it back. Maybe I got a good copy of the Skopar.

    The same fate was met by the Zeiss finder: While delivering a brighter, larger and less distorted image, I did find it bulky and could not see the frame lines as well as with the CV finder (I wear glasses).

    And yes, I *do* compose with the external finder.
     
  14. ragnar58

    ragnar58 Member

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    I have now gotten a ZI with the 50mm f2 for myself and I can see the issues raised in the previous posts. Three years ago, I got the opportunity to travel to Paris a few times for a work related project. Because all my equipment was too bulky, I picked up a Contax G2 and a few lenses. A quick comparison shows:
    *I liked the G2 for the auto-wind/rewind (not applicable to the ZI).
    *It was faster and quieter than the user-group posts implied.
    *The surface contours fit the right hand very well with a positive grip (much better than the ZI narrower body).
    *I liked the zooming feature of the viewfinder, which I believe goes back to 1950s design (not applicable to the ZI).
    *Best of all, it was incredibly cheap compared to other choices.
    Now the negatives:
    *The viewfinder is much too small and placed too far inboard for comfort, although it works OK in the vertical position (the G2 is like looking through a peephole; the ZI is like opening the door).
    *No focus scales on the lenses (it’s not really a manual focus camera no matter what the manual states).

    While I liked the G2 in operation, I found many shots were just too soft because of the auto focus not locking where I wanted. If you used a reasonable aperture, it could be a marvelous street camera with first-rate optics. However, I always had control of focus in my other equipment, so I never quite got over surrendering to the automation (auto exposure is much easier to adapt).

    Final Decisions on a ZI Outfit:
    I decided to go with the 21, 28, 35, 50, and 85 lenses. The range from 28 to 35 is small (12 degrees) but 35mm is the best all round strolling lens. I believe in lens hoods and this selection can be covered with only 3 hoods.

    I don’t think the “full-frame” approach will work for a 25mm lens. The edges of the full -frame view are too soft to use and to see them it is necessary to adjust the eye point quite a bit. Even a slight off axis look through the viewfinder makes the 28mm bright line hard to see. If it were a sharp outline while in normal viewing I could see using it. I would reconsider if someone was to measure and post the results; maybe the 25mm doesn’t need to go to the edge of the frame but just a ballpark distance beyond the 28mm frame lines.

    Without the 25mm, I decided to drop the 18mm because of: 1) the wider the lens, the less likely it is to be used, 2) it would require another set of filters, and 3) I couldn’t work out a single external viewfinder option with the 18/25mm combination. The Leica 18mm viewfinder includes a 24mm equivalent view for 2/3 digital cameras but is $750.

    So, that is where I am now. Over the next few months I’ll place what isn’t nailed down on the auction site and watch for these lenses.

    Thanks to everyone for their responses.
     
  15. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've heard the Skopar is a nice lens. I just got a GREAT deal on the Zeiss 21/4.5, finder, and hood (a bit more than half the new price for the set), more or less unused, so I went with that instead. I'd be curious to know how they actually do match up.

    It's a fun focal length.
     
  16. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    Well, I can only speak for the two samples that I had for comparison, and like I said, maybe I just had a very good copy of the Skopar (or a bad one of the C-Biogon, though I would suspect less variation due to tighter QC there).

    But I did side-by-side comparisons using Spur Orthopan and a sturdy tripod. And I fully expected to see the C-Biogon ahead, but it wasn't, at any aperture.

    Others have reported the C-Biogon to be sharper than the Skopar, which is why I suspect there must be some sample variation. It would have been a question of: is the extra sharpness worth the extra money... in my case it was literally NO extra sharpness, hence worth no money to me.

    Now, maybe at half price, I would have seen things differently, given the less distortion (which I verified) and less flare (which I couldn't verify on a cloudy weekend) that the C-Biogon does have over the Skopar...