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View Poll Results: Which of the following do you have or plan to acquire for your 35mm RF?
15mm 44 20.56%
18mm 27 12.62%
21mm 119 55.61%
24mm/25mm 68 31.78%
28mm 104 48.60%
WATE or similar (as if) 10 4.67%
All of the above 1 0.47%
None of the above 21 9.81%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 214. You may not vote on this poll

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Leica M and Zeiss ZM "wides"
Old 03-03-2017   #1
roscoetuff
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Leica M and Zeiss ZM "wides"

Very happy with my Leica M4-2 and the standard 35-50-90 set-up. Thinking longer-term about wider lenses and curious how folks have approached it for themselves. Though I'm using Zeiss ZM myself as a 1st choice, I have an older Leica Tele-Elmarit thanks to recommendations here as well, so this is not meant to be a Leica / Zeiss shoot-out, but to understand for those who shoot wider than 35mm, which choices they have made (or would LIKE to make).. and if you care to indicate, you could add a note about why. Focal length more than version.

I've collected lenses for my digital Sony that cover the gamut... some like Makro... 'cause for copy work and studio photoshots for ebay, and others out of searching for the right lens among the cast-off Contax CY beauties while learning what I like... while I have yet to discard the unused (though that's the next step!). Looking to be much more selective with Leica... 'cause that's reality, right? As a fourth lens to add to the standard three-some... some day, I lean toward the 21mm, but am curious what others have done. The WATE is a tripple whammy beyond my present and prospective budget.
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Old 03-03-2017   #2
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Never thought I would include a 28 at all. One of my most used lenses now. 50 and 28 are a great combination for a two lens set. But if I was only getting one of these I still think it would be the 21. Having said that, the 21 is never in my bag now.
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Old 03-03-2017   #3
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I have a ZM 21/4.5, ZM 25/2.8 and Hex-M 28/2.8.

I also used to have a ZM 18/4, which I foolishly traded and used to have the first generation CV 15mm/4.5

I do miss the ZM 18/4, and trying to really like the Hex-M, but I can't seem to get the best out of the angle of view of the 28mm focal length.
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Old 03-03-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
I have a ZM 21/4.5, ZM 25/2.8 and Hex-M 28/2.8.

I also used to have a ZM 18/4, which I foolishly traded and used to have the first generation CV 15mm/4.5

I do miss the ZM 18/4, and trying to really like the Hex-M, but I can't seem to get the best out of the angle of view of the 28mm focal length.
The 18/4 is big but sometimes indispensable for architecture. For me it works like a poor man's tilt shift giving parallel vertical lines, and I then lop off the foreground.

I know what I mean about getting used to a 28. I've learnt new lenses by walking around for a couple of weeks with only that lens on the camera. I did this with the 21 before I was digital. I now use the 28 where I'd often want the 21 but I can go all day with just a 28. I would not have thought that possible when I started.
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Old 03-03-2017   #5
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To me, lens focal length choice is largely dictated by rectilinear distortion. Simply put, the wider the lens, the greater the difference in magnification between objects in the corners and objects in the center. The tipping point from "representation of a scene" to "uncanny valley" seems to be at 21mm for me, although it varies depending on distance to subject, type of subject, and presentation format. This is true regardless of lens, so long as it is rectilinear. But all of those variables change from one photographer to the next. So my suggestion is to look at tons of photos taken at a particular focal length, ignoring which lens was used, and see what you prefer.

Among 21mm lenses, my choice was the Leica Elmarit-M Asph. If I recall my decision process, and to gloss over the fine points: the Voigtlander 21/4 and Zeiss 21/4.5 were too challenging for digital sensors, the Voigtlander 21/1.8 was too bright in the center; the Zeiss 21/2.8 had too much longitudinal chromatic aberration; the Leica 21/1.4 had too much astigmatism stopped down; and the Leica 21/3.4 was just too flat. Really, though, the Elmarit has the Kölsch-signature tonality, which Erwin Puts seems to attribute to taking problematic spectra and spreading them across the field rather than trying to align them with other colors and creating distinct problems. The Elmarit also has modest but notable field curvature that softens corners at infinity focus but creates an inviting context and heightens depth of field separation for moderate- or close-focus images. I wouldn't argue that it is the most interesting lens rendering, to which I would award the Summilux, or the most technically pristine, which would be the Super-Elmar, but it was my choice and likely would be again.

That said, digital sensors are getting better at handling steep rays, so the Voigtlander 21/4 and Zeiss 21/4.5 would be worth further investigation on an M10, and in your case with film they have never been a problem. And film makes longitudinal aberrations less of an issue, so the Zeiss 21/2.8 would also be in the running if I were shooting an M4.

Which is to say, they're all good lenses, just with slight characteristics that likely make no difference to those who aren't obsessed with lens rendering. The pragmatic choice at 21mm would be the Voigtlander 21/4, period. But, the differences between 21's is smaller than the differences between focal lengths in the first place, so I return to my original recommendation: simply look at a lot of wide-angle photos that resemble scenes you'd want to capture, look for where stretching at the edges or corners starts to bother you, go up one focal length, and only then start looking at nuances.

Hope this helps,
Jon
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Old 03-03-2017   #6
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One reason to use a rangefinder over an SLR is wide angle lenses. I can recommend the 21mm Zeiss Biogon ZM f/2.8 without reservation. I prefer the speed of this lens over the superb but slower Zeiss 21mm C-Biogon ZM f/4.5.
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Old 03-03-2017   #7
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I'm a real wide-angle nut and I ticked 'all of the above' because I have all of the above. However
1. I find the ZM25 and the Leica 24/3.8 Elmar-M Asph my most used of all my wider-than-35 lenses and if I somehow lost all my wider lenses I don't think I'd replace them.
2. The WATE is a terrific piece of engineering, like the MATE and the 21-35 Konica but it's distortion is too much for me so I never use it.
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Old 03-03-2017   #8
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In Leica M wides, I use the 21mm f/2.8 ASPH; 24mm f/2.8 ASPH; 28mm Summicron; and 35mm pre-ASPH and ASPH Summilux; Version I Summicron; Version IV Summicron; and F/2.8 Summaron. I use all these.

Sometimes I think it's a needless extravagance to have both the 21mm and the 24mm ASPH, but still, I use them both. If I were to only keep one, I would keep the 24mm. It is almost always wide enough, and seems like a very natural field of view to me.
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Old 03-03-2017   #9
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While we are on the subject of wide angle lenses for the Leica, I'd like CV and/or Zeiss to make an 18mm F/4 or F/4.5 pancake lens. I'd probably trade my 15mm for it.
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Old 03-03-2017   #10
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I have the ZM 21mm f2.8 which I use on my M240. I'm delighted with it. I was tempted by the Leica Super Elmar, but I don't use 21mm often enough to warrant the extra cost over the Zeiss.
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Old 03-05-2017   #11
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In the bag today: 18mm f3.8 Super Elmar, 24mm f3.8 Elmar, 35mm f2 ASPH and 75mm f2 Summicrons with my M262.
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Old 03-05-2017   #12
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I've been using an Ultron 28 1.9 on an M262. It's a great lens and it works better than the 1st generation 28 'cron on digital, which I find smears in the corners at infinity wide open. The Ultron looks great on film too. I'm now waiting for a 21/3.4 Super Angulon to arrive from Helen! Going to use that on the film Ms and possibly on the M262+silver efex conversion.
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Old 03-06-2017   #13
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My four lens kit is 21/35/75/135. The five lens kit is 21/35/50/90/135 . I have tried to like the 28 and 25 and can't seem to get used to either, although I did take the 28 on a two-week trip to Prague. I'm going to make another stab at using the 28 and 25, although not at the same time. If I can't connect this time, I need to clean out these shelf queens.
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Old 03-06-2017   #14
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I have the SA 3,4 and the Super Elmar. The SA is my lens of choice for film.

TUK-TUK Amsterdam by István Pénzes, on Flickr

Hotel Sacher by István Pénzes, on Flickr

The Super Elmar is better for digital sensors.

Rodeo by István Pénzes, on Flickr

Saturday noon chill [pool - beer - sunlight] by István Pénzes, on Flickr
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Old 03-07-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penzes View Post
I have the SA 3,4 and the Super Elmar. The SA is my lens of choice for film.

The Super Elmar is better for digital sensors.
this pool picture is fantasic!
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Old 03-16-2017   #16
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Quote:
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I can't make out what this is. The cars seem to be heading into a gated ramp of some kind. Where do they go? Why are all the cars alike? Where is it? Never saw anything like this. The water on the right--is that a lock? Reminds me of a lock on the Mississippi (except for the cars on the left).
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4.5 21mm Biogon on M4
Old 03-17-2017   #17
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4.5 21mm Biogon on M4

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Old 03-17-2017   #18
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Portra:[....]
Love the last shot.

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Old 04-08-2017   #19
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I have the VC 21 ( had a number of older Leica 21s and like the VC better), a leica 28, and a Leica 35m. The 28/2.8 Leica is a much unappreciated , relatively cheap lens in the Leica lineup IMHO. That said, while it was my number one lens on my Leica M8.2, when I got my M9 is went in the drawer to be replaced by the 35 Summicron. I have to force myself to use the 21mm. Wide angles just aren't my thing. I've been selling off my collection of 50mm focal length lenses but probably still have at least 6. I have two real nice 90's that get used less than the 21mm.
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Old 04-08-2017   #20
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Short vocals work well on my M8 if I use my UV/IR.

I tend not to use my 21 pre asph, 24 3.8, 28 2.8 ASPH , on the M9. I do not like the forced perspective and the distortion of objects in the corners.
The wide are sometimes used to take more in, but the image is small and you have to beware of foreground objects looking big compared to background. Some call this distortion, but it is not. It is simply a matter of where the camera is. Happens with your eyes also. Try it.
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Old 04-08-2017   #21
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If you're shooting with film, the Color Skopar 21mm f/4 is a wonderful lens and works beautifully. It doesn't work as well with the M digital cameras in my experience, unless using CornerFix works for you.

Ultra wide lenses are a tricky bit for me. I love the way ultra wide 'creates space' BUT it really takes my mental image of what I'm doing into a different space. I cannot mix an ultra wide with other lenses on a daily walk, for instance. I have to focus on using one, and only that, for a while before I see in the wide space. 35mm is my wide lens for most shooting; 28s are possible but marginal. I usually prefer to make the bigger jump from 35 or 50 to 21mm, and just dedicate myself to the ultra wide.

One thing that I love doing is shooting ultra wide squares, a la the Hasselblad SWC. But there is no digital SWC yet. My best simulation is to use a 15-16mm lens on 35 FF format and crop to a square. That's a ultra wide look that feels natural to me. Usually I do this now with the SL and a Super-Elmar-R 15mm f/3.5, but I bought the WATE to have a more compact lens available (the SER15 is huge) and one useable on the M as well.

I mostly use the WATE on the M-D at the 21mm setting. It is an excellent performer and relatively small and light for its type of lens. I use it with the Voigtländer 21/25 finder. I should probably pick up a 15mm finder to use it with too.

You've inspired me ... perhaps I'll carry the WATE on this morning's walk and shoot some ultra wide squares today. :-)

G


Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
Very happy with my Leica M4-2 and the standard 35-50-90 set-up. Thinking longer-term about wider lenses and curious how folks have approached it for themselves. Though I'm using Zeiss ZM myself as a 1st choice, I have an older Leica Tele-Elmarit thanks to recommendations here as well, so this is not meant to be a Leica / Zeiss shoot-out, but to understand for those who shoot wider than 35mm, which choices they have made (or would LIKE to make).. and if you care to indicate, you could add a note about why. Focal length more than version.

I've collected lenses for my digital Sony that cover the gamut... some like Makro... 'cause for copy work and studio photoshots for ebay, and others out of searching for the right lens among the cast-off Contax CY beauties while learning what I like... while I have yet to discard the unused (though that's the next step!). Looking to be much more selective with Leica... 'cause that's reality, right? As a fourth lens to add to the standard three-some... some day, I lean toward the 21mm, but am curious what others have done. The WATE is a tripple whammy beyond my present and prospective budget.
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Old 04-30-2017   #22
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Old 05-01-2017   #23
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I just bought the Elmar-M 24/3.8 and love how well it works on my Sony A7S and Leica M6. I also have the Biogon 35/2 but sadly that does not work well on the A7S, so it's being under-used for now.
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Old 05-01-2017   #24
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Quote:
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That's a pretty decent picture - I like the background defined well and overall composition.
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Old 05-27-2017   #25
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I want a 28 but only because I want it for my M8 to get closer to actual 35mm. Right now I only rock a 35mm 2.8 Summaron on it which is wonderful, but I'd like the wider field of view.
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Old 05-27-2017   #26
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I used to have the ZM 21mm f/2.8 until I got my first 21mm f/3.4 Super Angulon.

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Old 05-29-2017   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubberino View Post
I want a 28 but only because I want it for my M8 to get closer to actual 35mm. Right now I only rock a 35mm 2.8 Summaron on it which is wonderful, but I'd like the wider field of view.
The M8's crop sensor offers up some interesting and less common angles of view with common lenses... The 28 is a favorite in bringing in a "long 35" at about 37mm equivalent, near-perfect for many users. And if you favor a "wide 35", try the 24mm lens for a 32mm equivalent! Could also consider that a "long 28".

The Summaron gives you a 46.5 equivalent, which could pair nicely with a 28 equivalency provided by a 21mm lens...

My wider lenses find more use on the M8 than a full-frame camera for the extra flexibility.
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Old 06-16-2017   #28
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I have two wide angle lenses, One of them is the 21 3.4 Super Angulon and the other is the 28mm Elmarit, I tend not to use my Super Angulon much these days as I can only use it on my M3. However, I find myself using the 28mm Elmarit a lot these days. The trick with the wider lenses, as far as I'm concerned, is to make sure you get something in the foreground to make the shot more interesting. Without foreground detail, wide angle shots can be less effective. I used to have the Voigtlander 28mm 1.9, but I sold it after I got the Leica 28mm Elmarit as I didn't feel I needed two 28mm lenses.
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Old 06-24-2017   #29
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21s and 25s and 28s on Leicas from my experience. Get closer, fill the frame, shoot close to wide open with confidence still in depth of field, scale focus for speed, expose manually as the sky contributes too much to auto exposure. For architecture consider eliminating converging verticals and crop out the foreground later, and even with external finder, make the final adjustment of the framing with the camera's RF rangefinder patch to get closer to horizontal alignment.
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Old 06-24-2017   #30
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I really like my 24mm 2.8 Elmarit.
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Old 07-11-2017   #31
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I have an itch for the 5.6/28 Summaron new issue.
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Old 07-11-2017   #32
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Leica 28mm Elmarit ASPH
Zeiss 28mm Biogon
Zeiss 21mm f2.8
Zeiss 25mm f2.8
Voigtlander 25mm f4 P
Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 LTM
Voigltander 12mm f5.6 M

The Zeiss lens red edge colour shifts are well handled by selecting and appropriate setting in digital Ms. The 21mm is glorious, the 25mm is super sharp, and the 28mm is virtually indistinguishable from the Leica Elmarit ASPH.

The "only" problem - and it's a big problem - is the lens wobble that most of my Zeiss lenses have developed. The 25 is becoming 'scuffy' and irregular in focus, the 28mm is so scuffy it is virtually unusable, and only the 21mm seem to be doing okay so far. I've read that Zeiss used cheaper grease in their ZM lenses, which has lead to them drying out and suffering these issues. The lens barrels themselves have worked loose, too.

Ironically, all of my Voigtlander lenses, which were manufactured in the same factory by Cosina, have performed perfectly and have no mechanical issues at all. The Voigtlander 25/4P is a great lens on a film body, although it has some red edge that cannot be removed in-camera. It is also a less contrasty and slightly less sharp lens than the Zeiss 25mm. This is a shame, because I love the Zeiss 25mm as a general walkabout lens, and have taken some super images with it.
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21 and 28
Old 07-11-2017   #33
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21 and 28

My first WA was the original VC 21/4 screw mount. I didn't have a 28 at the time and didn't know if I would like it or not, but after getting the VC 28/2 the 21 grew on me. It's the only 21 I think I'll ever need; such max performance to price ratio of any lens I own next to my 40/2 Summicron-C.
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Old 07-12-2017   #34
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I used to use 21mm SLR lenses on the M3 and m6, but they won't fit my M8 or M9.
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Old 07-12-2017   #35
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21SA is always the one wide I come back to, I had the 2nd version 21 Elmarit and in the past also the 28 Elmarit - but the 21SA 3.4 on film is just amazing.
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Old 08-01-2017   #36
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I bought a used 21mm ZM rated "EX" by Adorama. Took great shots, but had wobble. I returned it to Zeiss who fixed it at a cost of $300 and a few weeks (sent to NJ and from there to Germany). Wobble is over. Get 'em fixed. Cost used + repair was still less than new.
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Old 08-01-2017   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
As a fourth lens to add to the standard three-some... some day, I lean toward the 21mm, but am curious what others have done.
I use two 35mm rangefinder systems.

Leica M6 body with 21mm f/1.4 Leitz, 35mm f/1.4 Zeiss, and 90mm f/2 Leitz

Contax G1 body with 21mm f/2.8 Zeiss and 28mm f/2.8 Zeiss, 45mm f/2 Zeiss, and 90mm f/2.8 Zeiss
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Old 08-01-2017   #38
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OP: What is your 35/50/90 set-up not allowing you to shoot the way you'd like?
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Old 08-01-2017   #39
MCTuomey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chubberino View Post
I want a 28 but only because I want it for my M8 to get closer to actual 35mm. Right now I only rock a 35mm 2.8 Summaron on it which is wonderful, but I'd like the wider field of view.
M8's 28mm framelines are its VF sweet-spot, imho. Go for it.
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Old 08-01-2017   #40
forceusr
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I've got three lenses for my M240 - a VC 15/4.5 ASPH, a Zeiss 35/2, and a vintage Canon 50/1.8. I'd love to add a 24mm or 25 mm to fill the gap between the 35 and 15, and then a 75mm or 90mm for portrait work.

I love the view of the world the 15mm gives, but it has some weird color fringing in the corners on a digital camera - easily fixable in black and white and not an issue on my R4A with film.
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