View Full Version : Which Biogon would you choose, 21mm or 25mm?
I am soon going to be leaving Japan, and I have a day or two in Tokyo on my way out. I have been mulling over the ZM lenses, and I would really like to use them to fill the gap of very/super wide angle lenses in my M kit. I currently have a 21mm voigtlander, which is decent, but I am not happy with its f/4 speed and its performance wide open. I know that the ZM's will definitely be better in this regard. So, the question is do I get the 21mm or the 25mm? Since I have the 21mm voigtlander already, it might make sense just to get the 25mm and keep the 21mm as a backup in case I need a wider angle, but on the other hand, the whole point is to replace the 21mm, so shouldn't I just get the 21mm? In any case, price is not a big concern, as they are both cheaper here than in the US. I think the 25 is around 800 here without the finder or hood and I think the 21mm is around 950 or so. Map Camera has very good prices...the other places like Yodobashi cannot compete.
In any case, do you think there are any real world performance differences between the 21mm and 25mm? All else being equal, I would assume the 25mm would be slightly better as it is slightly easier to design a 25 than a 21. I am also willing to hear arguments on the various focal lengths. I used and enjoyed a 24mm f/2 on Canon FD, but I have only used a 21/4 in rangefinders, no 24 or 25mm lenses. I also look forward to hearing from any user experiences with the two lenses, though I know it is pretty early, particularly for the 21mm. Thanks again,
Stuart, I don't have either lens, but I will just pass on to you the comments of the Zeiss & Hasselblad reps with whom I spoke at PhotoPlus Expo in New York last month. They went out of their way to say that the 25 is the best lens in the entire new line-up. They were especially pleased with its flat field & lack of distortion - an important feature at this wide an angle. Erwin Puts said pretty much the same thing. When he compared it with the Leica 24/2.8, he said that the Zeiss lens was better in every way - including wide open. This is the only Zeiss lens of the 4 he compared with Leica that he said was better than the comparable Leica lens.
For what it's worth . . .
what's the next lens you have (next = first longer)?
If you have a 28, maybe get the 21 (is the 21/4 really that bad??). If you have a 35+, the 25 will be very useful, and as you said you have the 21 when you need extra wide.
Huck: That is incredible. I heard that it was good, but that the Zeiss/Hassie reps were saying it was the best of the bunch means a lot, especially since it is not the 15mm or the 85mm. I have taken a few shots with it in the store and it looks good, but it is hard to tell with the poor lighting one usually finds in a store. The 25/28 finder is simply breathtaking, though rather large.
Pherdinand: Yeah, I used to have the Voigtlander 28/1.9, which was a good lens, but after getting a 35 I never used it, so I sold it. At the moment I have the 21, 35/1.4 and then 50s and so on.
After those two posts, I am already leaning towards the 25...
But you brought up Puts who said the lens was excellent, but who also said:
"Specular highlights are well recorded without star like reflections or haloing, but overall the images do not have the brilliance of the current Leica lenses."
of course. It's not a leica lens.
I'd say don't worry about these comparisons.
oh trust me, I know. I have used voigtlander, canon rf, nikkor rf, and konica lenses on my M without batting an eye, so Zeiss will fit fine in the mix. I was just saying that Erwin didn't say it was better than the Leica 24, just that it was better in some aspects and worse in others. For my purposes, the Zeiss seems like the better bet. If the leica was a 24/2 I would probably try to find a used one, but no...just a 2.8, so the same there.
Stuart, thanks for getting me to go back & read his report more closely. You're right. He did make a Zeiss-to-Leica comparison for this particular lens in Part 3 in addition to the head-to-head comparisons he did in Part 2. I overlooked that.
I got a kick out of his remark that you quoted: ". . . the images do not have the brilliance of the current Leica lenses." Note his use of the plural. I wonder to what group of Leica lenses he's referring with this comment. :rolleyes: Tough enough to withstand one of his one-to-one comparisons without having to take on the entire Leica line-up with this one focal length. LOL. :)
In New York, I spoke with both Kornelius Muller of Carl Zeiss AG & Erland Pettersson of Hasselblad. it was Erland, a very nice man, who stressed the excellence of the 25 Biogon. He said that he was putting together a set of photos for future shows. I wonder if he can e-mail you anything or refer you to a link so that you can draw your own conclusions. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is very prompt in his replies - normally 24 hours unless he is on holiday or on a business trip. But even in these cases, he will reply as soon as he gets back.
Mike Elek (http://.elekm.net/zeiss_ikon) also has this lens & you might try his website/blog where he has posted some photos with this lens. I imagine that he'll post here as his schedule allows.
Good luck with it.
Stuart I read (either on the LUG or the German Leica site) some similar comments to those that Huck related - the 25mm is considered to be one of the best in the ZI line-up. If you don't have a 28 but you have a 21 I would go for the 25.
After I got the Konica 28 I sold my 21/2.8 and bought a CV 15mm, a focal length that I like better than the 21 BTW. You might want to consider that as a replacement for your 21 too.
I would respectfully recommend that you concentrate on the focal length you want, rather than which is sharpest. I suspect, like the Leica 21/24 debate, that both lenses in the ZM lineup are sharp enough for any of us. The difference in sharpness will not be as important as the difference in perspective. The question is: which focal perspective do you anticipate your own eye seeing most often, most naturally?
FWIW, I settled on the 21 over the 24 since it gives me a perspective far more dramatic than the next lens in my lineup. And, the 21 is an extremely effective pre-focused tool for candid street photos. You can capture people who don't remotely think they are in your field of vision in an unobtrusive manner. good luck.
PS: no matter which you settle on, keep us up to date on your findings with either lenses! :-)
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