I want to go wide: 21mm/28mm. RF or SLR

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    OK so I want to go wide. I have an M2, M3, and OM2's. So far I've never gone wider than 35mm. I'm not sure if I want 21mm or 28mm but I want to try both. I don't need speed nor does it have to be tiny. Faster and smaller lenses are great but that is not my priority. Just the focal length and decent performance at moderate apertures (f4 - f5.6...don't think I can afford much faster, really).

    I have two practical options:
    1. RF route: CV with external viewfinders.
    Leica is pretty expensive. ZM is better priced but CV is by far cheaper. If I go rangefinder, then I'd start with CV then eventually "upgrade" to ZM's or Leica's if I feel that there is a benefit for whatever reason (optics, build, bling factor). I haven't researched the build/optical qualities of CV vs ZM vs Leica at these focal lengths.

    2. Go Zuikos.
    Fast Zuikos are expensive (but much cheaper than Leica/Zeiss) so I can go with the slow ones for not that much money then "upgrade" to fast ones or perhaps rangefinder ones too. I haven't researched how these compare to RF designs, but I hear good things about zuiko wides.

    SLR vs RF is a personal choice and it depends on application.

    1. I want to be able to shoot at close-ish distances. Are the external viewfinders pretty bad for this? ~how much error would I expect? I imagine that this is hard to quantify. I'm thinking 1-2 meters. This screams SLR to me.

    2. I hear RF wides are better. They have a design advantage but many RF lenses are retrofocus too. How are the Zuikos at f4 and f5.6. In terms of sharpness/contrast/distortion. They're bigger no doubt, but still managable. I'd probably go with the f3.5/f2.8 lenses since they are cheaper.
     
  2. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I would go with the CV lenses, their wides are particularly good. I use their lenses on my M2 and have focal lengths from 15mm to 35 in the wides. If you are just getting one then I would recommend the 21mm Color-Skopar. Sure it is only F4, but terrific IQ and not all that expensive...the VF is pretty damn good as well. Incidentally, the Bessa R4A will take the 21mm without an external VF, but I mainly use mine with the 28mm.
    I do have a Zuiko 24mm 2.8 and of course it is really good. You often hear that wide RF lenses are better than the reflex versions but this is not always the case. The Rf lenses are certainly much easier to design, but this often just means that they are cheaper and certainly more compact. Voigtlanders offerings, especially in the super wides, are a great example of what can be done for comparatively little money.
     
  3. eSPhotos

    eSPhotos Member

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    I second Tony's advice. I have the CV 21mm on my Bessa and is a great lens. I like it so much that I am also getting CV 15mm.
    I also had a Zuiko 21/f3.5. It's a great lens. Tack sharp. Only issue with this lens was too much CA.
     
  4. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    May I ask why you wish to go wide?
     
  5. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    gas?

    Well I'm beginning to appreciate WA photogrphes such as Daido Moriyama and Jeanloup Sieff these days. I like them for different reasons, but I find that the WA's worked pretty well for their photography and I would like to incorporate that into mine.

    I still like 35mm/50mm but I want to try 28mm/21mm.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Have you tried 24mm?

    The Zuiko 24mm f/2.8 is a lot of fun.

    This was shot with one in the pouring rain (thus the blur on the right side).
     

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  7. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    SUPER-wides on rangefinder are easier to focus than in an slr, and the image is brighter since the slower wides are a bit dark. This is an important consideration.

    I've used a leica 21 and a CV 15 for years and never noticed much problem with parallax error. If something is real close -- the leica focuses down to 18 inches or so -- you just eyeball it a bit, but they're so wide that parallax error is't too much of an issue because the error will be a small percentage of the whole area being shot.
     
  8. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I think you should go with the SLR lenses to start. You will be able to observe the difference between lenses in the viewfinder, especially the degree to which the wider lenses affect apparent perspective distortion, and see differences in DoF fairly well. I use my wides at close distances frequently, and SLR viewing is invaluable for framing, especially with my 17mm.

    I suggest you first try a 24 or 28mm on your SLR's and see how you like it.
    A 28 is enough wider than 35mm to make a difference, but not so wide as to be limiting. You can get a substantial "wide angle look", depending on technique, without being limited by it. And the f/2.8 or f/3.5 ones are so cheap, especially the f/3.5 at 50 bucks or less, that even if you decide to go with something wider, you can keep it with very little out of pocket (and it's so small you could carry it on you and have very little in pocket, too.:wink:)
    You could try a 24mm instead if you want to be really noticeably wider than the 35 and nudge a little more toward the superwide end of things, but if it seems difficult to get what you want from it pick up a cheap 28 to go with it while you figure it out. I consider the difference between 24 and 28 a matter of personal preference-they both sort of occupy the same niche.

    35mm to 21mm is a big jump. I love superwides, but I wouldn't want to have just a 21 and a 35 without also having a 24 or 28. A 21 can give great new possibilities, but is sometimes just too much.
    Also consider that after using a 28 or 24 you could find that you want to try the 18 instead of a 21.

    Once you have had some time with a focal length, you will know if you need something else instead of or in addition to it. I have always used 28mm as my favorite wide angle and wouldn't be without it, but after I acquired a 24-35 f/3.5 Pentax zoom for my Pentaxes, I discovered that I use 35mm more than I thought I would and sometimes 24mm is just right. So all along a 28mm was the right single wide-angle focal length for me to have, as I use it the most and then can make it work for most situations where a 24 or 35 would be ideal.

    After you have wrung out the lenses on the OM's and understand the focal lengths well, you will know if you want to get similar lenses for your RF's and won't have dropped a lot of cash up front.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2012
  9. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I actually had a gas attack and figured that the only cure was to buy something!

    I ordered a 28mm f3.5 and 21mm f3.5 Zuikos off keh.com. The 28mm f3.5 was ~$40, i think, and the 21mm f3.5 was ~$350. I figured that this was cheaper than going RF. Neglecting the cost, I figured that I would be just as happy starting off with RF 21/28's too. At this point, I think that the biggest thing for me to understand is if I like these focal lengths. For what I have in mind, either camera system will be fine more or less.
     
  10. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Bingo!
     
  11. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    I know how you feel. I found that my 35 wasn't wide enough, but a 28 was too close, so I found a really nice Zuiko 24 f2.8 at FFordes on sale for 89 Pounds.
    It's supposed to arrive today, and I can't wait to try it out.
     
  12. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    If you want to go big and wide get a Mamiya 7 with a 43mm f/4.5 lens hehe it's supposed to be basically the same as a Zeiss Biogon if that makes you Leica guys any happier :smile: its basically a 21mm view in 35mm framing terms. A used lens and camera should only throw you back about $2,000 or so, maybe less if you're patient on eBay haha. Good luck!


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  13. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I love wide angle lenses. My kit will always have one of at least 20mm. When I used a digital camera (Sorry for swearing :whistling:) I bought a Sigma 15-30 and it was used for most of the time. When I went back to film it was a real killer! Although not the sharpest of lenses open wide, from about 5.6-8 in all focal lengths it is superb and gives me so much more scope for what I like doing best in my style of photography.

    However with a wide or super wide I find that you have to watch out for the verticals, distortion, getting your feet in the shot and with a low sun getting your shadow in too. They are an acquired taste but go for it. The Zuiko F3.5/21mm is a cracker as someone has already said.
     
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  15. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

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    I love the 24mm length in prime lenses. Also, I find the Tamron SP 24-40AF to be a VERY good lens.
     
  16. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    I've used a 24 mm Nikkor for decades for everything from weddings to news reportage. I wouldn't be without one.
    For the last 8 years I have been using a Leica 21mm f2.8 ASPH on my M7's.
    True the RF is easier to focus but with 24-21mm, unless close in you can zone focus easily.
    Hands down the SLR is much easier to workwith for framing and alignment to avoid the dreaded curved linear lines and skewed focus. Indeed an external finder on an M MUST be offset because the hot shoe on M cameras IS NOT overthe lens centerline and you will geta horizontal rotation about a vertical axis if using anything other then a Leica/Leitz viewfinder.
    I do occasional weddings using Leica M equipment and the last wedding party was so large, I used my Nikon Fm3a with 24mm and flash for group scenes. For the M, I have to resort to a handle mount METZ flash because the Viewfinder takes up the hot shoe and NO ONE makes a double hot shoe anymore. This also negates TTL flash on the M7.
    The 21mm f2.8 ASPH Leica lens is sharp with great depth of field, it makes an excellent lens with the M7 for candid work, with zone focus, all one has to do is 'point & shoot'.-Dick
     
  17. kanzlr

    kanzlr Subscriber

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    I would recommend the Konica M-Hexanon 28/2.8
    one of the best wides I ever used.

    But then, the 28 and 24mm Zuikos are superb, too. The 24mm I have is a great lens.
     
  18. eurekaiv

    eurekaiv Member

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    Good choice. The OM 28 3.5 is super sharp at just about all apertures and a 21 is a better "super-wide" then a 24 IMO. I hardly ever touch my 24mm lenses, I almost invariably want it wider or find that it's too wide.
     
  19. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thank you for all the comments.

    I'm not so interested in the Mamiya RF system. I was but then I realized that I prefer 35mm (3:2) normal and wider lenses and 6x6 (1:1) for normal and longer lenses. I know that I can crop and such but too many systems is too much money! I've pretty much settled on 35mm rf, 35mm slr, and 6x6 tlr for now. I find those the most useful, perhaps more systems in the future but I want to build my 35mm kits right now.

    Yeah I've read that the 28mm f3.5 is sharper than the 28mm f2.8. I don't really care to research too much on which is sharper and the difference in speed to me, is not that much. I use my Rollei 2.8E and my Rollei 3.5E at f/4 and f/5.6 mostly. Anyways I intend on using my 28mm f3.5 and 21mm f3.5 simply to learn the focal lengths, and then take it from there.

    Judging from the comments I guess there is good use for SLR and RF wide angles. This is kind of why I have both systems: one compliments the other. I'd prefer to choose one system but I don't want to live with the limitations of RFs nor do I want to live with the limitations of SLRs.
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I wouldn't even call a 24 a superwide. I think of 21 as the longest of the superwides.
    Interesting that back in the 70's, 28mm and 24mm lenses were often called superwides (as in my 28mm EBC Fujinon-SW, bought in 1978) and 21's and shorter were ultrawides. I think now ultrawide is probably 15mm and shorter. I think of my 17 as a superwide, not ultrawide. I suppose that's debatable.
     
  21. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I like the idea of super wides. Have the awesome 21/2.8 Biogon for my Contax G2 and the 15/4.5 Super-wide Heliar for my Leica bodies......but I suck at shooting ultra wide! :-(
     
  22. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    Super-, Ultra-, who cares, as long as it goes to f/11.
     
  23. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    But....this one does....

     
  24. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    You can pick up non zuiko wides for the OM pretty cheaply. I have a vivitar 19-35 that is quite nice, but is kinda huge using 77mm filters. 18mm is about as wide as I like to go, I actually have a 14mm sigma or tamron lens which is actually really hard to use without shooting the same cliche things everyone shoots with such a wide rectilinear lens.

    Another cheaper option would be to look for wides in LTM mount and use a M adapter. The canon 28mm 2.8 is a great lens and tiny! The 3.5 is even more affordable. And if you want really wide for cheap the cv 15mm is the way to go!
     
  25. eurekaiv

    eurekaiv Member

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    Top Tip: Get really close!!! :D

    (with the caveat that I don't necessarily know what I'm doing but that it's always made me happy with my wide angle shots)
     
  26. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    It's mostly the subject that dictates the focal length. The wider the lens, the rarer the occasion to use it with meaningful results. That's IMO.

    I have a Voigtländer 15mm f/4.5 and it takes a lot of time to end a roll.

    Wide angles do pose problems with architectural subjects, it's very easy that the subject becomes distorted in many ways which are not immediately visible when you take the picture. An horizon which is not straight will be immediately visible, and if the film plane is not really parallel in the left-right plane to your subject you'll see a strange "lateral convergence" in your picture (same effect as so called "prospective distortion", but in left-right direction which really looks visually wrong normally).

    Besides, with very wide angles you'll find plenty of incongruous and undesirable elements in your composition: what's in front of you is the picture, and also what's outside of your visual field if you use a 15mm (!).

    Personally I would have looked for a wide-zoom for the reflex (wider at 24mm or even at 21mm), and some wider lens for the RF (an 18mm or maybe a 15mm) BUT the external viewfinder must be in axis with the lens, for the reason above explained.

    Wide angles are a bit "difficult to use" for the care they need and I suggest making friend with them with some graduality, or you'll risk to curse them very fast :wink: