Well I tried to do this and attaching the images here, but it didn't work. The photos kept coming up in a different order from that which I posted them, strange. So, I will post the review, and open an album in my gallery with the photos. I will link the album at the end. I hope you enjoy.
From my comments made on this Forum I am sure many of you realize that I was pining for the CV 21/4 Color Skopar for quite a while. Whenever we had discussions about this lens I would look at the galleries of images taken with this lens and was amazed and naturally drawn to the width of its perspective. What struck me most I think is the intimacy captured in those images. This intimacy is a two sided affair where the angle of view is great, and the photographer’s proximity to his/her subject must be close.
So, what is the angle of view, the perspective of the CV 21/4? Charts will tell us it is 91 degrees. The first time I drew the 21mm viewfinder to my eye I was struck with the thought that this lens sees exactly what my eyes see. I felt I was drawn into the image, a part of the scene. Exploring this a little on the web though proved my theory wrong. According to a not recorded web site the field of vision of the human eyes is approximately 160 degrees. The field of our binocular vision (things we see with both eyes) is about 120 degrees. So, where was I wrong? I checked the CV lens info and found that the 15mm has a field of view of 110 degrees and the 12mm spreads 120 degrees. Then it struck me in the face, or on my face, I wear glasses. Suddenly it made sense; the 21mm field of view is approximately what my vision is within the frames of my glasses. Sure I can see outside the frames, but my sight is focused on what is inside the frames.
With that resolved have a look of some images. I recently made two trips to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. I carried my Bessa R with 21 Skopar and my trusty Canonet with 40mm Canon lens. I find being at a tourist attraction allows for a good exploration of my theory of being in the scene. I hope you share my thought of some of these images that you are drawn in, and can imagine being there, part of the crowd.
First, let’s take a look at two images taken from the same seat of a horse drawn carriage driver, the first made with the Canonet and 40mm lens, the second with the Skopar.
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Now let’s look at the Blacksmith’s shop as seen by the Canonet and Potter’s shop captured by the Skopar. My recollection is that I was standing closer to the Potter than I was to the Blacksmith and his apprentice.
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This brings us to the point, Closer IS Better. When should you use a 21mm lens? When taking 1 step closer is easier than taking 3 back. Here are some shots in which I was, and wasn’t close enough.
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Vignette and Distortion are common knocks you will read directed at this lens. Truthfully, I found only one shot, an Attorney’s Office, where the vignette was really noticeable. Like all super wide lenses, there is distortion where you would expect to see it.
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Metering with a 21mm lens is a challenge. This will be my biggest challenge with this lens. The Bessa’s meter has a large center weighted spot skewed to the bottom of the frame. (Please of course refer to the Cameraquest web site for a better description of this and other facts I am presenting.) The 21mm view covers such a large area metering is greatly effected by high contrast lighting situations. I tried to be very aware of this, but believe me I created a number of unsalvageable back lit images. I have started to carry my handheld meter with me, and will report on my successes and failures in metering with this lens. To give you something to consider, the accessory Leica and CV meters which are said to be very accurate, meter an area equivalent to the view of a 90mm lens.
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What is the build quality of this lens? I am no expert. It is fine for me. Very tiny, but the focusing tab is well placed and natural to use. It is a narrow stub which I find much easier to use than the larger convex tab on the 40/2 CLE. It ain’t no Hasselblad CF, but few things are.
I guess I would sum things up by saying that the CV 21/4 Color Skopar is everything I expected it to be. I find my eye photographically sees 50mm as normal. It is very easy for me to shoot with a 50mm lens. The other view point I see well is very wide. I spend a lot of my time chasing my 4 year old son, and sharing adventures with him. This keeps me very close to the main subject of my photography, and with a super wide lens I can capture images that make me feel like I am right there in the shot with him. The 21 Skopar covers this vision for me.
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I hope you enjoy this review and accept my lack of technical knowledge. After all, I am just a dad with a camera. I think I have accurately shared the things that are important to me about this lens. Also, thank you for putting up with my photography. I hope the images I have shared appropriately demonstrate what I was trying to explain. For the most part I did not crop any of the images so that you can see what the lens saw and how it was captured on film.
Link to the gallery