RF for 21mm
I'm considering buying a 2nd-hand RF to keep in my bag with a 21mm. Its main use would be to have a 21mm focal length readily available without changing lens. In the long run the purchase of an 18mm will be taken into consideration as well.
I'm considering mainly those two hypothesis:
-) Contax G2 and Zeiss 21.
Not too expensive. Exceptional quality of the G-series Zeiss 21. Not very "fast" but that would not be a big problem. The problem with the G2 is how repairable it is in the long run. The small viewfinder is also a shortcoming.
-) Leica CL with some 21 M-mount.
Leica CL seem to be reasonably priced and not to suffer the Leica price-tag syndrome. I read the rangefinder can become desilvered, and the cloth shutter can be damaged by the sun if the camera is left in the sun without lens cap (that's common to other Leica I suppose).
The main problem I have with this camera is that some lenses with protruding back elements cannot be mounted.
Is there anywhere a definitive list of which lenses can be mounted on a CL and which cannot?
What about a Bessa R4M (mechanical) or R4A (electronic, with aperture priority mode and AE lock)?
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I agree with the voigtlander R4a/m solution. I have an r4a and although I'm trying to sell it as I found 21mm to be too wide for my tastes, the built in 21mm framelines are great. Also has 25,28,35 and 50 framelines. It's a very nice camera and I found the ae to be reliable as well. It's also smaller and lighter than a leica and I like the feel of the grip as well. Viewfinder is nice too. Maybe I should just keep it and get a 25 or 28 afterall!
For lenses, I had and sold a zeiss 2.8. It was nice, but a bit longer and heavier than I wanted. If I end up keeping the r4a I might snag a voigtlander 21mm f4 - it has 85% of the image quality at 1/3 the price. I tend to like 35mm at the widest, but for less of the price of the a zeiss lens you could have a bessa r4 and 21mm vm! Could also probably mount an 18mm and just use the entire viewfinder as well for framing.
Doh, I totally ignored the existence of the R4A and R4M, thanks for the suggestion! If I can find an used one at a good price, that's probably the ideal camera for me. The CV 21/4 evidently fits the camera without any damage.
I have to ponder whether the wide-angle viewfinder of the R4 really is an advantage, considering that with a 21mm the focusing would be quite accurate even without range-finder assistance (so the external viewfinder would not really slow operations).
On the other hand, I don't think I would be using the RF with focal length greater than 50mm (actually probably I'm not going to use it with anything longer than 21mm) so the R4 is the natural match for my needs.
I've seen locally a Leica CL for around €130 that has a broken lightmeter but is supposed to work well otherwise. That's an interesting price and that's the reason for my question about compatibility of the CL with some 21mm in M-mount around. I don't want to buy a CL and find that any 21mm I mount on it will break the shutter.
The CL has the same narrow RF base so it's not very useful above 50mm (unless one stops down, or focuses far away) and it needs an external viewfinder, but it's more silent and probably cheaper second hand.
You forget the Bessa-L. No rangefinder, but would you need one with a 21mm? I have one, for 15-21mm There's always something very very wide on it.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
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I have some reservation on the build quality of the early production Cosina - Voigtlaender.
The Leica CL at €130 (without lens) is tempting but I fear surprises. I also read that spare parts for CLs are hard to find and this is a long-term problem maybe, and an immediate problem if the camera has got something wrong. Besides, I have no lens to try it with.
I placed a bid on a Leica 3M with a 5cm which I know will be overbid in a few minutes.
Maybe my best option is to wait for a second-hand Minolta CLE.
I've found a list of lenses that do not fit on certain CV:
(the list refers to the Bessa-T but I do suppose that the other Bessa models are quite similar).
I use a Leica IIIf RD with the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f/4 lens. The 21mm stays on it most of the time. It's RF coupled and uses 39mm filters. At $400 new it's a best buy in the RF world. With an M adapter it will go on any M body.
You will need a 21mm finder (when I bought mine 6 years ago it came with the plastic 21mm CV finder which is very good).
It seems that the CV 21mm f/4 is compatible with anything Leica M or LTM, and it is exactly the lens that I am going to buy the camera for. I've placed a small bid on a Leica IIIf and probably I will wait for a bargain second-hand something, between: Minolta CLE, Leica CL, IIIf, CV R3a/m, R4a/m, Konica Hexar.
Must be ugly aesthetically and totally uninteresting for collectors but revised and guaranteed to be problem-free. I'll need some patience, I guess.
If you ever find a CV 21/4 in SC mount (I did, 250$ !) you can put it on a Kiev or a Contax.
Using film since before it was hip.
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, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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I've used a G2 with a 21/2.8 extensively. That camera has advantages that the Bessa can't touch. I've had a Canonet, a Bessa in C mount with the original 21/4, a Contax IIIa Color Dial and currently us a Leica MP. For a RF camera with a 21, it was the best.
No, you'll never put a 18mm lens on it, if you seriously want to go to that FL, a ZI may be the ticket but you'll lose auto loading, auto advance, auto focus, very fast metering, exceptional low light auto, decent flash close up. If you want an affordable Hologon (16mm), again your only option is the G2. Can you say 16mm without distortion? Spell it Hologon.
ToCad provides factory service for a few more years, if they can't fix it, it goes back to Japan. They sent my Contax 645 APO Makro back, it was returned form Japan Inc. perfect.
Michael Ging is a photographer for Arizona Highways. He has also used this camera extensively. He can be found on Photo.net, check out his portfolio as it has a lot of shots with a G2/21 combo. He's a great guy and a very nice person. And a very very good photographer.
Whatever you choose, it won't be your last...