24 or 25mm suggestions
I'm looking for suggestions of a wide lens either 24 or 25mm that has good optical character & likely to be picked up second hand for a reasonable price. I'm also looking for the camera body to fit it to. I'm thinking it will more likely be an SLR than a rangefinder & I'm completely open to brand - Minolta, Olympus, Pentax, Nikon, whatever. I don't want a large camera body, something small & basic from the 70s or 80s will probably be ideal. Auto focus is not necessary but I would like the option of aperture priority.
This lens/camera combo will be used in street photography when I am in large crowds. I generally use a 35 & 28mm lens but there are times when I want something wider. My 35mm lens is on an M6 & I have been researching the Zeiss 25mm, but I'd probably end up looking for a second body as well & it is just looking too expensive for something I'm not sure how often I will be using. Considering the prices of old film cameras these days I'm hoping to pick up something for a reasonable price so I can just get out there & start shooting.
I know there is a wide range of knowledge on this board & people with a lot of experience with older cameras & lenses. So please tell me which ones you think are the best.
Olympus Zuiko 24mm f/2.8 (if cost is critical) or 24mm f/2.0 (if speed is critical).
Any of the OM series bodies will work great with this, and be small.
I use my 24mm f/2.8 with a 35mm f/2.0 and an 85mm f/2.0 and the OM body that seems appropriate at the moment (OM1n, OM G, OM 2n, or OM 2Sp) and the whole kit fits into a very small and unobtrusive bag, along with film and batteries etc.
There are lots of good 24s and 25s.
If you want cheap and cheerful (yet good), get any Canon FD body you can stand and an FD 24/2.8.
If you want a more modern system, get any Nikon body you like and get an AI or AI-S 24/2.8 (for a manual body) or AF 24/2.8 or AF 24/2.8D (for an AF body). To some degree you can use manual on AF and vice versa but it's too complex to discuss in this short paragraph. There is also an f/2 if you really want speed.
The Zeiss 25/2.8 is beautiful but still pricey. You'd fit it on a Contax or Yashica SLR.
Don't rule out rangefinder cameras. Their wide angle lenses are much simpler in design and are thus less subject to flare. If memory serves, Voigtlander makes a really nice 24mm lens for Leica screw-mount and M-mount cameras, and there are lots of inexpensive bodies that will mount them.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
Zeiss ZM 25mm.
You own an M6 body already, so it is the obvious choice esp considering this lens is literally beyond criticism by all accounts. Why mess about with a different body? This will interupy seamless intuitive handling by hopping from 35mm on the M6 to 24/5 on an SLR. This makes no sense to me as the world does not present itself as '35mm opportunities...a short tea break...then 24/5mm opportunities'. They come all mixed up!
Bite the bullet and buy the Zeiss 25. This lens will be legendary in years to come. Either get the accessory finder of just use the outside of the finder area and compose tight. It is perhaps a shame that CV do not do a 24 as this would have allowed a lower budget.
Tom, I know what you are saying about the Zeiss. I have researched it thouroughly & come very close to buying it. However it's going to cost me $1,500 Australian without the finder & I'm not sure how much I'll be using it & therefore finding it hard to justify the cost. The 35mm is my most used lens, but sometimes when I'm in the middle of a big crowd I would like to go wider. I'm also used to using several cameras - typically I have the M6 with the 35mm, a Nikon 28ti in a pouch on my belt & possibly a Nikonos with a 35mm lens loaded with colour film. It's pretty easy to carry this stuff & acccessories in a small backpack or shoulder bag. Depending on the circumstances I decide what is most appropriate & shoot with that until something changes. So I'm not madly jumping from one camera to another.
Those are the reasons why I'm considering this option. If I could pick up an Olympus OM with a great 24mm lens really cheaply, for example, that would give me a good opportunity to try out this wide lens shooting. If I really like it then I will be more confident about buying the Zeiss. However I do think there might be advantages to using a very wide lens on an SLR as I will be looking through the lens, seeing the distortion etc. I'm not 100% sure about this idea but I figure if it's cheap then I don't have anything to lose.
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I use Olympus Zuiko 21mm, 24mm and 28mm lenses and they are all good. I would agree that any OM body will do fine, although I find the spot meters on the more top of the range OMs are even more useful with wide angles. That said, very wide angles built for rangefinders tend to be sharper than the same focal length for an SLR, simply because their design doesn't have to be compromised so as to keep the rear element far enough from the film to allow for the mirror movement.
I've been intrigued by the Olympus OM system for a while & also very impressed by an SPN that I bought a few years back. I will do some more research into the Zuiko 24mm after the recommendations above. While I'm at it I may as well ask for body recommendations. What should I look out for & what should I avoid?
I was beeing thick....CV produce a very well regarded 25 Skopar. It is also very cheap. This would allow you to see what you think without too much cash. It also comes with a finder which you could use with the Zeiss 25 if you decided you like the FL and want something faster and sharper wider open.
One quick point or two. The CV 25 Skopar is a zone focuser, not coupled to the rangefinder, one reason for its lower price. That may or may not be an issue for any given photographer. There was a US$60 Bessa L body here in the want ads that would make a good match for this lens. All reports are that the CV 25 is a very fine lens. I love my CV 21mm.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
The CV 25 also has three focusing detents, so you can zone focus by feel before bringing the camera up to your eye. See cameraquest.com for details on the lens.
Old Nikkor lenses are pretty cheap these days and the Nikkor 24/2.8 was one I loved dearly in my earlier days. I've had two--an early model with metal focus ring that I had AI'd and finally wore out from hard use and a later, rubber focus ring model. Both were excellent performers. You should be able to find a Nikon FE2 at a reasonable price if you want a small autoexposure camera or you can look for a real Nikon and get an F or F2.