View Full Version : M8.2 plus 21mm lens advice? Also 2nd hand 50mm advice requested
I'm contemplating getting a 21mm lens. Not sure if i should go for the Voigtlander f4 skopar, or the Zeiss f2.8 version, which is more than twice as expensive.
From what I read the Voigtlander skopar f4 gets raving reviews, and it has a good price. It would be a 28mm lens on my M8.2, and a 31mm lens on my Epson R-D1. I haven't found many reviews of the Zeiss Biogon f2.8 so far. I'm sure it's great but I wonder how it fares against the skopar.
I'm excluding Leica 21mm lenses because they are out of my budget, lus as it happens, the Leica version of the skopar has a larger minimum focus distance.
Also I spotted a nokton 50mm f1.1 in near mint without box, asking price 6000rmb (ca. 600 gbp, or 900usd.) New it costs 7000rmb. I don't know how 2nd hand prices for Voigtlanders go, but as a standard I think a 15% drop in price is not that significant, and I would be more inclined to go for a brand new boxed version (though new versions are a bit hard to get here in Shanghai)
I'm using the lenses on an M8.2 as well as an Epson R-D1, and I am aware of the crop factors for both cameras. The epson has a silky smooth high-ISO performance, but the M8.2 is downright nasty, which is why I generally prefer large aperture lenses.
All i can say about the Skopar 21/4 is i use is more than 80% on M8.2 vs 20-% for the excellent but bulkier Elmarit-M 21/2.8 asph. Only cons of the 21/4 is some (slight) softness at f/4 compared to the latter and the usual sample variation at CV's. But if your sample is good you will see that it is a great tiny lens on the M8.2 and that the latter's sensor microlenses cope with vignetting almost perfectly. No disturbing cyan shift problems either with IR-cut filters if you code the lens like the Elmarit-M 21/2.8 pre-asph, Elmarit-M 21/2.8 asph or even Summicron-M 28/2. Mine is coded a la 21/2.8 pre-asph (000001) w/o any problem so far.
The R-D1 has more vignetting issues with the Skopar but these can be addressed in PP with a good raw converter (C1 for me).
Funny: I too have both lenses and since I bought the Zeiss, I hardly ever use the C/V. Wish I could quantify the reasons for you, the Zeiss and I just "clicked" (pun intended). I am using them on the M9 and cornerfix when necessary to resolve the cyan-in-the-corners issue when it rears its head. The one place that the C/V "wins" is size and weight. You will, of course, have the best sense how to value a "win" in that regard. I should say that prior to these lenses, most of my experience with a lens of this focal length was with the 20mm AF-Nikkor.
I haven't tried the others, but I quite like the ZM21/4.5 on my M8, not as fast as you might like but quite sharp from wide open. There is a bit of edge color, but if it's objectionable, cornerfix works great.
I use the Skopar 21mm with both the Leica M4-2 and Ricoh GXR-M. It performs beautifully with both. I like its size and weight too, the handling is particularly nice.
I'm sure the Leica and Zeiss lenses are terrific too, but all of these are excellent choices that differ mostly by how they draw. I like the way the Skopars draw enough that I'm satisfied with them.
I am very interested in investigating the 21/4 Skopar on the M9. I have the Zeiss 21/2.8 but would love to get something smaller and the size of the Skopar is very appealing. Would I lose much by down sizing to the Skopar?
The Zeiss 21/2.8 is an amazing lens. Wide open it's sharper than the Voigtlander 21 wide open. You expect that from a lens that is significantly more. What you don't expect is for the Zeiss to be at least as good as the Leica 21 Elmarit. I can't recommend the ZM 21mm highly enough. As you're not talking about getting a Super Angulon, the Zeiss is definitely the ticket. It has the added benefit of being able to focus down to .5m but your RF body will lose focusing ability about .65m so that last few inches will be scale focus only. It's truly a great optic.
Ok, so my understanding is that the CV skopar f4 and the ZM biogon f4.5 are similar in performance, an the f2.8 ZM is better, but that you have to get lucky with the cv. So, hearing about those variations, how do I check the copy in the store? Is there something specific I need to look for? ( I also plan to get a heliar 50 f1.1, which would have the same variation being a cv lens)
My ZM 21/2.8 required a trip back to Zeiss for focus adjustment then another trip to DAG for another focus adjustment and lens coding. I sold the lens before it required a third adjustment.
A lot of people love this lens. I am not one. It can be brilliant. The IQ is wonderful. But the build leaves a lot to be desired. Of course, I may have gotten a hangover monday copy.
My mental debate on replacement is CV 21/4 vs Leica 21/3.4 vs Leica 24/3.8. It all depends on my finances 6 months from now.
Sean Reid covers these lenses extensively on his review site. If you are comparing these, and other common focal lengths, it is worth the subscription price. reidreviews.com
The 21/4 in M-mount is very good, and might be better than the LTM version as far as sample variation goes, based on what I've read. The Zeiss gets excellent reviews, as does the Elmarit and the Elmar. It really is up to budget, size of the lens, and intended purpose. If you are using the lens outdoors I don't think you can go really wrong with any of them.
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