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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Old 10-03-2011   #41
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Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
looks very good on my laptop monitor. i like the overall rendition, seems to resemble the wide ZM i've used, maybe deeper contrast than the 25/2.8 or 21/2.8. what do you think, having the negatives and full rez scan in front of you?

interesting choice of film to test drive the lens, btw. i'm trying to imagine what tmx or delta 100 would give.
I don't yet have enough time with the lens to really know what I think, yet. 1600PR is a film with a true speed of perhaps 640, and above I'm shooting it at 800 in full sunlight: that oughta be contrasty with any good modern lens.

The 1600PR is a half-roll that I shot on a whim.

Here's some ACROS in XTOL 1+1. On the second photo, check out the lower corners. Tack-sharp, even wide open in a 4000 dpi scan.



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Old 10-03-2011   #42
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Is anyone considering the ContaxG 21mm f2.8 Biogon (about $600 with Zeiss finder) and a cheap G1 body?

Here is what it does wide open.

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Old 10-04-2011   #43
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wow. the center and corners of the "utility box" pic and Tom's cycle pic look very good to me. zeiss has such quality in the 21mm focal length: distagon, biogon, whatever mount, they're all excellent. great thread and thanks to everyone taking the time to post images, too.
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Old 10-19-2011   #44
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All shot on Neopan ACROS developed in XTOL 1+1:


30m, 60m, 100m, 145m. by Semilog, on Flickr



20111019-proof_1132_014 by Semilog, on Flickr



20111019-proof_1132_030 by Semilog, on Flickr
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Old 10-22-2011   #45
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I've had 2 Super-Angulon 3.4's (chrome and black), an Elmarit-ASPH, Elmarit Pre-ASPH and LTM Voitlander Skopar. The last two are the one's I kept and currently own. Wasn't wowed by the ASPH, not really much difference from the pre-ASPH (compared to the difference between 35 Summilux pre- and ASPH for example). The pre-ASPH has been a great performer for me, but it is on the chunky side as a travel lens. The Skopar is excellent. My copy has very little light falloff (I've heard others have different results so there must be some sample variation in the lenses). Can't beat the size.

As for finders, I have a bunch. Couple of the plastic Leica BL finders, an old Yashica 21mm finder, a Contax G1/G2 21mm finder, and the 21-24-28 Leica zoomfinder (mostly I used that when I had an M8, for the 15mm and 21mm). I find the Leica finders good enough, although the Yashica is the best made (all metal) the coating is trashed so it lacks contrast and it flares. The Contax finder is nice because it has a rubber eyepiece, but it's a bit dimmer than the Leica. I did look thru a Zeiss finder once, and agree it's great, but no way I would pay for one. I sold my Voitlander finder with one of the Super Angulons. Never cared much for it, the hard plastic eyepiece was one reason, and the way the glass is exposed in front was the other reason.
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Old 10-22-2011   #46
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I got the ZM 21 4.5 on the encouragement of many positive reviews (Tom included), and for the compact size. Ultimately the size was a major factor when deciding between the 4.5 and the 2.8, for a lens that I won't use too often I wanted it to almost disappear in my bag which it does nicely; and the fact that a filter for protection will also work nicely as a hood of sorts keeps the size to a minimum.


A Different Perspective by kokoshawnuff
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Old 10-22-2011   #47
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OK, just got the Zeiss 21mm finder.

Holy cow.

It makes my M6's finder (0.85 with MP optics) look like a cheap, pathetic toy.
Leica should really contract Zeiss to make the finder for the M10.
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Old 10-22-2011   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
Is anyone considering the ContaxG 21mm f2.8 Biogon (about $600 with Zeiss finder) and a cheap G1 body?
The G 21/2.8 is still my favorite 21 too Bob. Been wondering about the new 3.4 myself tho- from what I've seen from it it is quite a competitor to the G, and I'd get it on the M9 more easily.
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Old 10-22-2011   #49
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This is the Super Elmar 21mm f3.4 @ 3.4. We were heading to N.Y. with a "red eye" flight and I was wandering around the International Departure terminal while waiting for the flight.
Bessa R4M and SE 21f3.4. Arista Premium 400 in Adox MQ developer for 7.5 min.
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Old 10-22-2011   #50
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Again, SE 21f3.4 @ 3.4. Focus is on the "rolling" walkway start. The Super Elmar is very even at f3.4 - corners and center are pretty close to each other in illumination. Slight (very slight) distorsion on the upright support on the left.
I am working on a comparison between the new SE 21f3.4, the old SA 21f3.4 and the C Biogon 21f4.5 for some future postings.
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Old 10-22-2011   #51
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Quote:
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I am working on a comparison between the new SE 21f3.4, the old SA 21f3.4 and the C Biogon 21f4.5 for some future postings.
Looking forward to it Tom
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Old 10-22-2011   #52
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That beauty shop shot sure shows your command of this focal length. Great in every way.
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Zeiss 21mm Finder Introduces Rotational offset
Old 10-23-2011   #53
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Zeiss 21mm Finder Introduces Rotational offset

I have both the Zeiss 21mm and the Leitz (12 012) marked plastic 21mm finder with lock. I use the Leica 21mm f2.8 ASPH lens.
After the recommendations of this Forum, I purchased the Zeiss finder and immediately noticed a rotation about the vertical axis in my work. A quick look at the finders revealed, the M mount center-line in relationship to the accessory/flash mount confirmed that the M accessory mount is offset from the M lens mount center-line. A simple drawing will show that this arrangement with the Zeiss finder will introduce the a fore mentioned offset. Using an object that was about the proportions of a 35mm frame, I tested both finders and the offset is readily visible. I Posted this on this Forum and was derided.
I do not use the Zeiss finder anymore and would upgrade to the newer Leica 21mm finder if it didn't have M8 frame lines.
The Zeiss finder is a nice piece of work but it is not meant for the Leica M.-Dick
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Old 10-27-2011   #54
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I've just posted a gallery of travel pictures taken with the 21 C-Biogon. All are on Superia 200, and the scans are by my lab (hence the over-sharpening).

I'm still learning with this lens; click on the photo to see the rest.

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Last edited by semilog : 10-27-2011 at 12:26.
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Old 10-27-2011   #55
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You're learning fast ...
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Old 11-01-2011   #56
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Hi RichardB

Leica' lens centerline and accessory shoe centerline have an offset, same thing with Bessa R. Maybe it's not only the finder. How come Leitz and CV can't align these two centerlines?
Any suggestions?
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Old 11-13-2011   #57
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Some shots with the C Biogon T* 4.5/21 and the M9:


ISO800 + F5.6 + 250seconds





Sincerely, This lens is becoming my favourite lens!
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Old 11-13-2011   #58
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Shab, no problems with the 4.5/21 on the M9 (red corners etc)?
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Old 11-13-2011   #59
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Mike, there are problems yes. But when I bought the lens I knew it and wanted to use it on B/W. There isn't any problem. :-)

I will try Cornerfix for colour photos... but at the moment I haven't tried it.
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Old 01-28-2012   #60
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Time for an update. So, that lovely little 21/4.5... First lens I've ever lost by dropping it .

Anyway. After an absolutely wonderful interaction with Zeiss Germany (who replaced the wrecked lens for a very reasonable price, all considered) I have switched to a 21/2.8 Biogon. f/4.5 was just too slow for Seattle winters and the stuff I like to shoot.

First impressions.

• Aperture ring has a noticeably better feel than one on the Biogon-C. (Especially after I dropped the Biogon-C. )

• Focus ring is well-placed and rock-solid, smooth, perfectly damped, and with no backlash.

• As on the Biogon-C, minimum focus is 0.5 m. On the M6, RF coupling is lost at 0.6 m.

• The lens is bigger, of course. Close to the size of my old 35 Summilux ASPH, or a DR Summicron. About 60g (2 ounces) heavier than the Biogon-C: identical to the 35 'lux ASPH, an ounce less than a 50 DR 'cron. I didn't think I'd like the increase in size, but I do. With the 21/4.5 I had trouble keeping my fingers out of the frame. With the f/2.8 lens that won't be a problem.

• On my M6, the lens interacts perfectly with the Zeiss accessory finder. The lens intrudes ever so slightly into the bottom frame line -- so little that we might as well say there's no intrusion at all.

• The aperture setting is very easy to read through the accessory finder, sitting right below the bottom frame line. This was unexpected and is really cool.

• All aperture and DOF markings are extremely clear. Much better than on the Biogon-C.

Overall, I think the ergonomics are considerably better than on the smaller lens.

I'll process some test photos tonight.
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Old 01-28-2012   #61
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I have an R4M and the C Biogon is PERFECT for this camera. This combo is fantastic.

I think the Biogon T* 2.8/21 would block a big part of the viewfinder. The small Zeiss is the perfect one for me.

I love the zero distortion, the sharpness and the color (I have tried it on PORTRA 160).

But it is true that every one needs and finds different things, so there are different lenses... enjoy yourself!
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Old 01-28-2012   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardB View Post
I have both the Zeiss 21mm and the Leitz (12 012) marked plastic 21mm finder with lock. I use the Leica 21mm f2.8 ASPH lens.
After the recommendations of this Forum, I purchased the Zeiss finder and immediately noticed a rotation about the vertical axis in my work. A quick look at the finders revealed, the M mount center-line in relationship to the accessory/flash mount confirmed that the M accessory mount is offset from the M lens mount center-line. A simple drawing will show that this arrangement with the Zeiss finder will introduce the a fore mentioned offset. Using an object that was about the proportions of a 35mm frame, I tested both finders and the offset is readily visible. I Posted this on this Forum and was derided.
I do not use the Zeiss finder anymore and would upgrade to the newer Leica 21mm finder if it didn't have M8 frame lines.
The Zeiss finder is a nice piece of work but it is not meant for the Leica M.-Dick
This is interesting Dick, and I looked up your previous post. I was taking some architectural shots recently with the Zeiss Finder on an M5. I was surprised after the care I took (admittedly without tripod, but it was 38 degrees C outside) that two shots were not perfectly en face. I found the opposite rotation to what you found. Only two shots but both with the camera rotated clockwise slightly. I think I have others where it is much straighter.

I have done some dry (no pictures) tests with a tripod and both the ZM 21 and 25/28 finders. Both considering the reflections off the front face of each in comparison to the viewfinder front window, and more importantly, comparing the view through each I cannot find much difference at 3 meters. No difference between the two Zeiss finders and no clear difference between them and my camera viewfinder.

It is difficult to line up the centre of the external VFs except with a vertical running from the middle of the gap in the frame line etching. This mid point does move a little to left and right depending on where my eye is, behind my spectacles. My conclusion is that the absolute offset and the potential rotation of the ZM finder on a Leica must be very slight. I tested this with my M6 and I will test it when I get home from holidays with my other Ms. Just looking at the accessory shoe it looks like it is directed very slightly to the right, and that is the impression I get looking down on the mounted finders. Given that the shoe is to the right of the lens axis one might have expected the shoe to be very slightly directed left. It will be interesting to look at the other camera tomorrow.

I can only conclude at this stage that my two shots not parallel to the facade of the buildings I wanted were due to human error. I hope this remains my conclusion after further testing.
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Old 01-28-2012   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shab View Post
I have an R4M and the C Biogon is PERFECT for this camera. This combo is fantastic....I love the zero distortion, the sharpness and the color (I have tried it on PORTRA 160).

But it is true that every one needs and finds different things, so there are different lenses... enjoy yourself!
Hi Shab,

Right you are.

if I lived in central California, where I grew up, the 4.5 would be the lens to have. No question -- I'm absolutely delighted with a lot of the results I got with the Biogon-C. But winter days here in the PNW are typically 2-4 stops darker than central California. I don't need (or even want) a 21 Summilux, but f/4.5 just doesn't cut it in the late afternoon when the sun sets at 4:30 and it's raining.
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Old 01-28-2012   #64
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Looking online and at all the PDFs of various Leicas I have on my HD there is great variation in the precise orientation of the accessory shoe to the top plate. My M2 instruction manual shows it like it is on my M6, pointing slightly right. The M3 manual shows it slightly left directed. Later M manuals, M5, M7 and MP show it dead straight. I know that the M6 with me right now works perfectly with the 135mm SHOOC finder, a remarkable piece of mechanical engineering accuracy. Hard to believe it will matter much for the wides like 25 and 21.
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Old 04-21-2012   #65
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Thought some of you might be interested in this comparison between the MTFs of three 21mm Zeiss Biogons, the Elmarit ASPH, and the new Leica Super-Elmar. Leica and Zeiss MTFs may be acquired under different conditions, so the comparisons between brands may not be entirely fair. (Is Leica using computed or measured MTFs these days?)

In all cases lines for 10, 20, 40 cyc are shown. Leica's specification for 5 cyc is not shown. Kind of pointless for lenses at this level, anyway.



Rangefinder 21mm lenses: the State of the Art by Semilog, on Flickr


And distortion (the Elmarit ASPH and SE are pretty much the same so only the SE is shown):


21Distortion by Semilog, on Flickr


Take-homes:

• As many others have noted, the G Biogon 21/2.8 is a GREAT lens, small light sharp fast and almost no distortion. Too bad I love my M6 so much :-/. FWIW I'm currently shooting the 21/2.8 Biogon.

• The slow lenses (Biogon-C and S-E) don't improve in any meaningful way when stopped down. They give you more DoF and less vignetting. That's it.

• Zeiss cares more about correcting for distortion than Leica does.

• Zeiss really did match or exceed the 21 Elmarit ASPH with the 21/2.8 ZM — at a third the price, the same weight and bulk, and a better filter thread size. Bravo.

• On film it doesn't really matter which of these lenses you use, unless even a small amount of distortion is problematic. By f/5.6 they are all pretty much the same.

• If you shoot an M9 you really want the S-E due to the position of its rear nodal point. Accept no substitutes.

• Every one of these lenses stomps the Summilux ASPH. Big, heavy, blocks even the ZM accessory finder, distorts like a pig, absurdly expensive, not as sharp as any of the alternatives, and why would you need an ultra-fast 21 anyway? The S-E is everything that the 'lux is not.
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Old 04-21-2012   #66
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"As many others have noted, the G Biogon 21/2.8 is a GREAT lens, small light sharp fast and almost no distortion. Too bad I love my M6 so much :-/. FWIW I'm currently shooting the 21/2.8 Biogon. "


Get an M-converted G-21 f/2.8! Best of everything. (unless you're shooting digital the rear nodal point is really close to the sensor)
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Old 04-21-2012   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzphoto View Post
"As many others have noted, the G Biogon 21/2.8 is a GREAT lens, small light sharp fast and almost no distortion. Too bad I love my M6 so much :-/. FWIW I'm currently shooting the 21/2.8 Biogon. "


Get an M-converted G-21 f/2.8! Best of everything. (unless you're shooting digital the rear nodal point is really close to the sensor)
Tempting! But I like the in-camera metering of the M6 and the DoF scale on the ZM 2.8, and I'm happy with the lens's ergos.
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Old 04-21-2012   #68
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I bought the CV 21mm years ago and found it to be as good a lens as I would ever need. And it is small and light in addition. I have never done any scientific tests, just looked at prints and concluded they were damn good.

That low cost CV 21mm certainly is not a limiting factor in my prints.

Here's one from last week: (it is only a JPG, you have to trust me that the print looks good)

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Old 04-21-2012   #69
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No doubt there, Bob.

But I replaced my 21/4.5 it with the 2.8 because I found that the extra speed was really helpful, especially when shooting ACROS at EI 80 — my current film of choice — or with faster film in the marginal light that prevails over much of the year in the pacific northwest.

I'm happy with the 35/2.8 as my standard lens but I'm finding that lenses slower than f/2.8 just don't cut it for the way I shoot. If I lived in Florida and shot Tri-X or Neopan all the time I'd probably see it differently.
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Old 04-21-2012   #70
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It is that old size & weight vs. speed vs. price compromise. At least we can be thankful that image quality does not seem to play a major role in the compromise.

I initially sold my CV 21mm because I had not used it in 2 years. I just never had it with me because I am a one lens guy. But in the following 60 days I realized there were 2 situations where it would have been my lens of choice for the day. So I bought it back from the original purchaser. Then I did not use it for the next 5 months until I decided last Saturday was the day.

May 1st I will use it at the Workers Day celebration in Revolution Square in Havana as there are some 600,000 people crammed in there. And I will use it again if the train is not broken. I usually get to ride up front with the engineer and his two assistants so I can photograph them operating the train.

I really miss the ContaxG 21mm Biogon I recently sold. But that lens and the body to mount it on was always at home when I needed it. That lens is the fastest, sharpest, smallest 21mm I have owned.

Quote:
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No doubt there, Bob.

But I replaced my 21/4.5 it with the 2.8 because I found that the extra speed was really helpful, especially when shooting ACROS at EI 80 my current film of choice or with faster film in the marginal light that prevails over much of the year in the pacific northwest.

I'm happy with the 35/2.8 as my standard lens but I'm finding that lenses slower than f/2.8 just don't cut it for the way I shoot. If I lived in Florida and shot Tri-X or Neopan all the time I'd probably see it differently.
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Old 04-21-2012   #71
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It is that old size & weight vs. speed vs. price compromise. At least we can be thankful that image quality does not seem to play a major role in the compromise.

I initially sold my CV 21mm because I had not used it in 2 years. I just never had it with me because I am a one lens guy. But in the following 60 days I realized there were 2 situations where it would have been my lens of choice for the day. So I bought it back from the original purchaser. Then I did not use it for the next 5 months until I decided last Saturday was the day.

May 1st I will use it at the Workers Day celebration in Revolution Square in Havana as there are some 600,000 people crammed in there. And I will use it again if the train is not broken. I usually get to ride up front with the engineer and his two assistants so I can photograph them operating the train.

I really miss the ContaxG 21mm Biogon I recently sold. But that lens and the body to mount it on was always at home when I needed it. That lens is the fastest, sharpest, smallest 21mm I have owned.
I was thinking about selling my CV 21mm this week for the same reason you did and came to the same conclusion. Most of the time I only need a 28 but if there's ever a time that doesn't cut it then the 21 is what I want.

I was looking at the 21mm 2.8s since more speed never hurts but they're just too big. Makes me more than a little envious of the OM 21mm f/2.
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Old 04-21-2012   #72
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I decided to take Capa to heart, and get closer. That is why I need a med-fast 21:


Untitled by Semilog, on Flickr


Muslims for Peace. by Semilog, on Flickr

21/2.8 ZM Biogon, [email protected] (top), [email protected] (bottom), XTOL 1+1.
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Old 04-21-2012   #73
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21 4.5 slight crop of bottom right. No PP otherwise.


Rollei Retro 25 by Richard GM2, on Flickr
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Old 04-25-2012   #74
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Catching up on some development - we were away for 9 days and some rolls were left "unattended".
This is with the Leica Super Elmar 21mm f3.4 with a K2 yellow filter. Kodak XX in Pyrocat HD for 15 min (standard agitation 8-10 min/60 sec).
Douglas Copeland's big "Lego" Orca on the Jack Poole Plaza on the Vancouver waterfront.
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Old 04-26-2012   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semilog View Post
But I replaced my 21/4.5 it with the 2.8 because I found that the extra speed was really helpful, especially when shooting ACROS at EI 80 — my current film of choice — or with faster film in the marginal light that prevails over much of the year in the pacific northwest.
Hey, a lot of us live near the 50th parallel (especially in Europe). I still find the 21/4.5 sufficient during those winter days, but then, it depends on high you go with the "faster film". I will go to Iso 1600/33 in winter...

I second the thougths about size, but I guess everybody's sweet spot is somewhere else: For me, the CV 21/4 was just a little too small, and the ZM 21/2.8 is just too big. So I settled on the ZM 21/4.5 and find it perfect.
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Old 04-28-2012   #76
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Chevrolet "El Canino". Zeiss C Biogon 21mm f4.5 with K2 Yellow filter. Kodak XX in Pyrocat HD.
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Old 04-28-2012   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kossi008 View Post
Hey, a lot of us live near the 50th parallel (especially in Europe). I still find the 21/4.5 sufficient during those winter days, but then, it depends on high you go with the "faster film". I will go to Iso 1600/33 in winter...
I'll do it if I have to but I really prefer to use ACROS where possible. I just love its tone curve, its sharpness, and its smoothness. 2TMY at EI 400 in XTOL the rest of the time. I rarely shoot at higher EI since Neopan 1600 was discontinued (sigh). Also, the winters here don't just give us short days but also a lot of cloud cover and rain. Winters here are a lot darker than winters in New Hampshire were.

Also, if I bring the 21 at all, it's usually the primary lens and not a fallback.


Untitled by Semilog, on Flickr

Seattle Aquarium. ZM 21/2.8 wide open, probably 1/15 or 1/8 s.
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Old 05-14-2012   #78
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Well, all set for NHS in Paris at the end of the month (and the Bievre swapmeet). Leaving in a couple of hours for the airport. First Amsterdam, picking up a car there and then on to Sweden - after that down to Wetzlar (with only Nikon Rf's!) and then on to Paris for a couple of weeks.
Four Nikon Rf's, 2 black S3's and one black/one chrome SP and a solitary Nikon F, dedicated to the F-mount 12f5.6. Otherwise a 21VC, 28f3.5 Nikkor, a Zeiss C Sonnar 50f1.5, an older 35f1.8 and the "long" lens - a VC Apo-Lanthar 85f3.5. All in all about 65 rolls of Arista Premium 400.
Back on June 10 th. Keep shooting everybody - I know I will.
Tom
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Old 05-14-2012   #79
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Bon voyage Tom and Tuulikki. I know the wine is better than that of Missouri.

Regards, Jean-Marc
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Old 05-14-2012   #80
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Have a GRAND Time Tom & Tuulikki !!!
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