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  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    I want to go wide: 21mm/28mm. RF or SLR

    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. #2
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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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. #3
    eSPhotos's Avatar
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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. #4
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    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.
    May I ask why you wish to go wide?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  5. #5
    msbarnes's Avatar
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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. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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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).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 0001_22c.jpg  
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7

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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. #8
    lxdude's Avatar
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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.)
    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 lxdude; 10-25-2012 at 10:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  9. #9
    msbarnes's Avatar
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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. #10
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msbarnes View Post
    At this point, I think that the biggest thing for me to understand is if I like these focal lengths.
    Bingo!
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

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