I am going to buy one or the other.
Can I use the 21 without an additional VF?
I am using on my new M9, learning the ropes so to speak...
I am going to buy one or the other.
Can I use the 21 without an additional VF?
I am using on my new M9, learning the ropes so to speak...
the widest frames inside the M9 are for 28mm.
I would use an external viewfinder for either of those 2 lenses.
You need an external viewfinder in a any case. The 24 is in my view too close to the 28 and for this reason I choose the Summilux 21.
Very good lens if you like to isolate your main subject using the shallow depth of field ( ND filter is recommended in daylight); for general use is quite large and heavy.
24 can be used without viewfinder in a M9 but the frame lines only go to 28 so it's not super accurate without a VF. IMO if your shoot without glasses the whole frame is pretty close to 24 or 25mm FOV. 24 is pretty close to 28 but it's better for me as 28 is never wide enough to me and too close to 35. I say if you're going to go wide then go wide. 21 is good to and just wide enough that pictures normally don't look too distorted or unnatural in the 3:2 aspect ratio. 24 looks more natural to my eyes though in a 3:2 though.
Priolite Ambassador | Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
Leica is across the board superb..so the decision comes down to three key questions :
1. Which field of view best supports the type of work you enjoy . I organize my lenses for each shoot based on the type of subject,light and environment (really often how close will I be to the subject) . I normally start with the 28 ,then the 50 . So going wider means I would choose the 21. If you want to build around the 35 then the 24 works best .
2. Speed/size/rendering trade offs...normally I am concerned about “do I have enough speed” at dawn or dusk you can really appreciate the summiluxes . The trade off is size and weight ...the 21 summilux is as big and heavy as the 90 summicron ...not a problem if I plan to be using it frequently but a pain if its the 3rd or 4th most used lens in my kit . Rendering differences also come into play .. the summiluxes have some field curvature and edge sharpness weaknesses that impact architecture,landscape etc . If choosing between the two summiluxes (21/24) I cant find any differences . They were designed at the same time by PK and render in a similar fashion. But don t expect the 21 summilux to outperform the 21/3.4 SE just because its more expensive . Another alternative if you plan on having a large kit is to alternate based on rendering ..so a 21/3.4SE and a 24/1.4LUX or a 21/1.4LUX and a 24/3.8E .
3. Cost ..no difference .
Long answer but it will depend most on whether you use a 28 or a 35 as your primary WA. If you use a 50 ..even the 24 maybe too wide.
Both lenses really deliver if you enjoy street shooting or any form of candid available light work .
Rob, that is a tough call. I've got them both presently, along with the 28mm 'Cron. Edge distortion on the 21, as you would expect, can be more extreme depending upon subject placement. I personally use an external view finder most of the time, but I find that to be an asset more than a detriment. Especially using the 21mm. The 24mm I can get away just using the edges of the viewfinder frame, but as already mentioned it is not the most accurate by any means. I think you will want the external finder with either of them.
That said, the image quality from both lenses is excellent. Sharp, even wide open, in both cases. Micro contrast is over the top great. Close focus distance is about the same. They are so close in focal length that I would suggest you probably will not need or want both. So my suggestion would be to decide what other lenses you plan to use and then decide which one to choose. In my own case, I own and love the 28mm, so keeping the 21mm makes more sense for me.
If I was shooting mainly a 35mm, and did not plan on buying a 28mm, then the 24mm probably makes more sense. The 24mm and the 28mm are so close in focal length you won't want them both. But the gap between 24mm and 35mm is just about perfect in my experience.
Since both are so wide, think in terms of pairing would be my suggestion. 21 & 28, or 24 & 35 make the most comfortable pairs I find for me. In either case, whichever choice you end up making you can't go wrong. Both are superb optics.
I am always looking for clever ways to justify having more Leica glass ...so I follow all the arguments .
What does surprise me is that wherever I am shooting there is normally one set of lenses that best match the requirements . For example if I can easily get very close then I prefer the 21 ..so in NYC a 21 is a great fit . But in Florida its normally less crowded and even a 24 feels too wide ..there I like a 28 or even a 35 as my widest lens. Point being it often depends on where you are shooting.
I've got a silver 50/1.4 lux as a starter lens...
The gap between the 50 and a 21 is probably too large unless you plan to add a 28 or 35 in the future. Personally I like the 21/28/50 spread of focal lengths but the 24/35/50 is also popular . If its only 2 then the 24 /50 can work .
Also keep in mind that the 24 will be a little easier to use as the focal length creates less distortion when the camera isn t perfectly square to the subject . I would go with the 24 and save the 21 for maybe the 21/3.4 SE in the future if you really enjoy the super wides . or you could go even wider with the 18/24/35 as a future kit along with the 50.
You can t get hurt to bad with either the 21 or 24 summiluxes ..they are always in short supply and can be sold easily if your kit changes .
Roger, again we agree. I'm normally a 21/28/50 spread shooter, with the 28 my normal primary. On film, the 24 was my go to lens for years. I've worked with the 21 for awhile now, and today find that I like getting real wide for a lot of the type of work I'm doing now. I agree completely that it really does depend upon the kind of shooting your mainly doing Rob that should dictate your choice. The 24 probably being both an easier lens to use, and a more useful focal length as an all around shooter given you are pairing it with a 50.
My favourite travel kit for now is the 24, 50 and 75 Lux I do also have the 35 Lux Asph II and 28, 90 Cron AA. But for the style of shooting I prefer this range, and has the ability for low light shots too. I only other lens I carry now as a backup is the 35 Lux Asph II.
I was originally on a wait list for 21 SEM, but both the 21 and 24 Lux became available, so I eventually decided on the 24 Lux, as it is not so extreme as the 21, and I found that I could use it more often to fill in for the 28 Cron, and in a pinch I don't not need an external VF, but I do prefer using one. I have the CV 21/25 finder, cheaper, but is great for composing WA shots, as you have the peripheral view with the 21 lines.
The only problem I see is the choice of outstanding lenses, which no doubt makes it difficult to make a decision. Good Luck
Tallai, Queensland Australia.
great replies, thanks all...... very hellpful
My thoughts when deciding for the 24lux were:
1) I want to use it for shallow DOF sometimes (main reason for 1.4 for me), and that means one has to focus accurate-and therefore 24 would be easier to use with the internal viewfinder here and then when shooting wide open.
Because when you first focus and then switch to external finder for framing you might loose focus again
2) I wanted to use it for "dynamic spontanious images" and thought 24mm is easier to handle than 21mm.
Having said that I still kept a 21/2.8 and for some subjects I find the 21 more interesting. In my opinion 21 is a real ultrawide, 24 is more something in between.
Not an easy decission, but I think f1.4 is more usefull in a 24mm lens then in a 21mm lens.
Would also agree that the 24 is more versatile on a FF M than the 21. Especially the 1.4/24!
A 1.4/24 lens is one of my standard lenses in all systems (where available), but especially the M 1.4/24 shines because of Leica quality AND compactness!
Life is an ever changing journey
I have a 24/1.4 new available and I see a 35 lux for sale (latest)
I want the wider angle for landscape stuff......
35 seems to be at quite a premium....
I went for the 24mm Lux, because there is no 28mm Lux. I have a WATE, and that provides for 21mm and wider but at f4. I discovered that anything wider than 24mm is increasingly difficult to manage. 24mm still is not all that easy, but more controllable.
I would buy the 21mm if I were you. The 24mm is a 'so what' type of lens, neither here nor there, pretty much like the 75mm at the other end of the scale. The 24mm is neither a proper super wide, which starts at 21mm , nor far enough away from a 28mm, which because of Leica's framelines is a sensible lens to have in a set anyway. And it fits into the 21, 28, 50, 90 sequence that sets a sensible gap in between lenses. If we accept a 50mm is a stock lens the only sequence in the bag a 24mm fits into is 24, 35, 50, 90, but that means the 35 is only a few steps away from the 50mm, literally two or three steps or strides.
But in either case a separate viewfinder is essential, there isn't much point in spending so much on a lens and then guessing. And if you don't desperately need the speed, considering that unlike a film camera you can easily change the ISO on your new M9 to compensate for low light, what about the new 21mm SEM?
This may be too late, but I would say if you are still learning the ropes, as you say, then steer clear of the 21mm and 24mm summiluxes. They are very expensive, wider than is required for most work, bulky and not as good optically as their smaller, cheaper lighter brethren. If you are looking in these focal lenghts, consider the 21 or 25mm Biogons, which are f/2.8, and optically equal to the Leica Elmarits. Or, if it must be Leica, consider the 21mm Elmarit ASPH, 24mm Elmarit ASPH or the 24mm Elmar. They are all more compact and perform better than the summiluxes. If you are really looking for a low light wide angle, the 28mm Summicron and 35mm Summilux are better options outside of very specialized situations (i.e. if you don't already KNOW you need the lens, then you probably don't need it). You could buy three Zeiss lenses that perform better optically for the price of one of the super wide summiluxes, so that is something to consider.
Personally I had 21/2.8, 24/2.8 and 28/2.0 mm wides for the M9.
About 2 years ago I repplaced the 24/2.8 with an 24/1.4. There is a special look when using this lens wide open and having shallow DOF in an wide angle lens.
The first year I used this a lot because it waqs a new "effect" for me.
I admit though that still 35 and 50 are my most used focal length and are much easier to frame.
I would not worry about the optical quality of the Summilux being "less perfect" than the Elmarits/Elmars because it is still very good and I like the rendering.
For shallow DOF f1.4 vs f2.8 makes quite a difference - but it is a lot of money to pay for that difference.
Last edited by Paratom; 8th December 2011 at 02:42.
Isn't that the point though? That it is a special effect for most people? I certainly won't say that the 21 or 24mm summiluxes are bad lenses, they are not in any way! But the Elmars, Elmarits and Biogons ARE better optically at the apertures super wide angle lenses are mostly used for. They are also smaller, lighter and MUCH cheaper. They are a better option for almost everyone. I will be quick to note that they are not the better option for everyone, but if you do not already know that your work truly benefits from having 1.4 to 2.5 at 21-24mm, then it probably is not the best option for you. Of course, it is easy to say, well it's nice to have the security of having 1.4 in a super wide, but most photos would be better taken either with a more moderate wide angle or with a smaller aperture. Given how good the low light is on digital now, there are not that many situations where these lenses are necessary. Heck, they didn't even exist in the M system before a couple of years ago, and pretty much everyone was very happy to work with their 28/2's and 35/1.4's for the lowest light wide angle work.
Those of us with a lot of experience already know how much nicer it is to shoot with a compact, light 28mm f/2 or 35mm f/1.4 or f/2...the lenses are optically fantastic, they are light and ergonomic, they are much easier to work with since they don't have a fussy external viewfinder. It is easier to work quickly and with confidence in low light when you can focus and frame with one fluid motion. But someone just coming to the system might not know these advantages, so they just see that the 21mm and 24mm are wider and faster and more expensive, so they figure they must be better. That's not the case, and it is a road to a 7000 dollar mistake for most people! That's all I am trying to say.
I bought the 35/2 which is as you describe Stuart.
The WATE looks good for my wider stuff, as I don't really need the low low light that wide......
I am transitioning from a 1Ds3 where I used a 17/4 a lot (which I love)
I agree overall but would say there is only one real disadvantage of the Summiluxes: price!
Yes, the 24/1.4 is bigger than a 24/2.8 bigger than a 24/3.8.
But the 24/1.4 is still small and I never found it to be a problem.
Yes, the 24/3.8 might be optically better at f5.6 or f4 than the 24/1.4 at the same f-stop, but frankly the 24/1.4 is still an excellent lens, even when closed to f4 or 5.6.
If you are interested in a fast exotic lens er car... Rent one first. Then if you fall in love with it, buy it. Others reviews live on the internet in a virtual fog!
I hope that helps, Hudson
For me, I find the speed of 1.4 lens at 21mm (which is what I own) is so powerful that other similar focal lens with smaller aperture but perhaps better optical quality cannot compete against. Many may prefer optical excellence including lack of distortion, coma with tack sharp corners, my personal need is just the opposite. The summilux is certainly very good and good enough for me in these criterial, and when added with 1.4 aperture, it is my most loved lens. Imagine wide angle environmental portrait with ultimate freedom on DOF... Yummy!!!!!!
Stuart, I'd probably have to agree with you, most people don't "need" a 24mm lens, and even fewer need a 21mm. There is no question that both of these are wide angles of view that few people would ever master using without thousands of frames shot in practice. Most people do indeed consider wide and ultra-wide angels of view to be for effects - or worse yet - simply to get a snapshot of the whole group in one frame.
For these people, your absolutely right, it is a waste of a whole lot of money. $7,000 for a lens is a serious investment, regardless of your income. I see so many people choosing lenses based upon how "sharp" they are or how much they cost. I don't want to come off here as telling anybody what they should think, or how they should think it, but I would like to point out a different perspective on how I choose my own lenses for consideration in this discussion.
The considerations of how sharp a lens is, what it's cost, weight, speed, or size may be are all secondary to me. My own first consideration is do I need that focal length to tell my story? Does adding that lens to my bag allow me options for angle of view or depth of field that I don't already have? Is the return on investment there that enhances my photography in some way that makes the investment worth it? I'm a storyteller, so does this let me tell a better story?
Since I shoot primarily to tell stories, I have the need for several focal lengths in lens options. Stories get pretty dull to me if there isn't variety. But stories only sell when they have a foundation, in this case, foundation photographs that set the location in your viewer's mind. These I always shoot wide. 21mm is my choice for this, wide enough to capture the panorama but not so wide to distort the reality if your careful using it.
I also use a 24mm. The 24 is for getting in close - close enough to smell the garlic on their breath from the pizza they ate an hour ago. If your photography isn't good, your not close enough. These tight shots add drama and emotion to your story. They're one of what I call the "personal elements" that act as highlights in every good story.
Depth of field is also a strong element I use in telling my stories. The faster the lens, the greater your ability to control your focus point and depth. In a crowed environment, an invaluable tool to have. I have two ways to isolate a subject, by choice of focal length and by choice of aperture. This is a huge advantage of owning the two f/1.4 versions to me, the flexibility. Without them, I'd loose a very valuable tool that I use in every shoot; control of my depth of view.
I just got the new Leica 21mm f/3.4 from my local dealer this last week. I already own the old 21mm f/3.4 SA, one of my favorite lenses on my M8. It is small and light - so now that my need is firmly established for a wide lens at 21mm, I'm trying to decide if I can live with the slower speed given the advantage of lower cost, smaller size, easier to focus, etc. For my reportage needs, the answer is no, I can't. It will hurt my storytelling loosing the speed, so in spite of the cost I have to use the faster Summilux glass. For the average enthusiast the f/3.4 would be perfect - for me as a professional it just doesn't fit my work.
I'd suggest the rest of you take into consideration what stories your trying to tell with your photography first, and then decide the usefulness of a fast wide angle for your own bag. It's a huge difference in cost getting that last oink out of the pig, but sometimes you've got no choice but pay the price to bring home the bacon.
Have a look on my website if you want to see some examples of how I use my wides telling my own stories. The "Send & Receive" story in particular, as I used all three lenses for it, 21 & 24 'Lux, and the new 21 f/3.4.
Chuck -- I don't think we are in disagreement at all. I think we are saying the exact same things from different perspectives. I was trying to say don't buy a 21 or 24mm summilux just because they are wide and because they are summiluxes, buy them if you need their very specialized abilities for your photography. Otherwise there are other lenses that tend to be much more practical for most people.
I am not sure how it was for everyone else, but I certainly noticed that as got more and more experience, the more my lens use consolidated around the normal focal lengths. I would say around 95% of my photos are now between 28 and 100mm equivalent. I don't do documentary or photojournalism though, so maybe that's the difference.
The elmarits and biogons are (as I understand it) symmetrical lenses rather than retrofocal (as are the WATE, and the 21 and 24 summiluxes). This has both advantages . . . and disadvantages - one disadvantage is that they don't work very well on small interchangeable lens cameras (whereas the retrofocal lenses do - see Cyndy's shots with the WATE on the NEX 5n for instance).
If it were me I'd go for the 24 rather than the 21, because, at a push (and with a little practice), you can use it without an external viewfinder - and for the rare occasions when I want wider, then I really don't need faster, and the WATE does a grand job for less money than the 21, and with more flexibility.
As for combinations of lenses - we all have our preferences. Most times I carry a WATE, and two bodies, one with a 50 'lux, the other with a 75 'cron. Others I'll have a 28 'cron, a 50 nocti and a 90 elmarit - all depends on the circumstances really!
here are a couple of simple shots from today with the 24 'lux
Just this guy you know
With respect Jono, what I stated is a fact, not an opinion. I said that the Elmarits and Elmars perform better OPTICALLY at the apertures most use super wides for, meaning they are closer to an ideal lens (note, ideal from the perspective of physics, not any particular person's ideal). If the question is what lens is better on a Nex camera, then that is a different story. The OP asked about the M9, and that is the only one I can speak to. In any case, I am obviously in the minority about this, and I made my point, so now its up to everyone to do whatever they want. Just wanted to help someone save a few thousand dollars, assuming they did not have a very clear need for such a specialized lens!
I wasn't suggesting for a second that you should spend the extra so that you could put it on the NEX - but then I wouldn't suggest that you shouldn't spend the extra because the Elmarits and Elmars are better optically. Simply that it was an interesting consideration - in rather the same way that the optical excellence of symmetrical lenses is an interesting consideration.
I think that my feeling is that if you think that the speed might sometimes be useful, and you can afford the luxury of the lux, then it's rendition at smaller apertures is not something which should cause you too much concern!
. . . . and if I gave any offence then I apologise.
all the best
Just this guy you know
Well, it was pretty light - but I think it's a bit of both - I used the 24 'lux quite a bit when I first got it, then it rather fell out of favour, and now I'm rather enjoying it again - I think it has a character all of it's own, even stopped down a little.
all the best
Just this guy you know
Jono, in this we do agree. I've always liked the 24mm focal length for that kind of shot, and always stopped down just as you did. I think the perspective in that shot of yours is perfect. One of your best landscape images you've shown, in my opinion. Spectacular light, captured to perfection. Great work, Jono!
I'd also take issue with the statement your making Stuart about the 'Lux versions of the 21 and 24 not being up to snuff optically when compared with their slower brethren. I owned and used the 21 f/3.4 and the 24 f/2.8 ASPH for years, since it first came out in fact. It was a great lens, and my favorite on my M7 then my M8. The contrast was excellent.
The only thing I find superior myself is the newer design of the 24 f/1.4. Stopped down to f/2.8, it will kick my old Elmarit's ***. It dang near does it wide open. I find my 21 f/1.4 to be the same, superior in every regard to my old 21 f/3.4 SA and the latest 21 f/3.4, which is a great lens by the way. These lenses are incredible, in my opinion, and totally unique in their color and drawing signatures, stopped down or not. Each to me has it's own individual flavor to savor.
I rarely consider the optical quality of when selecting from any of the current Leica M lenses. (I think they are all great and my IQ will benefit more from better technique than from differences between the lenses). I shoot primarily street and travel . Selecting the FOV that works for you is most critical and this often related to what other lenses you will be carrying and if you work with one or two bodies . Plenty of posts available on setting up the best focal lengths for a specific situation.
But assuming that you decide ..I really need a 21 . The trade offs are cost ,size and speed. I really like the 21/2.8 asph ..its been one of my favorite lenses since the M8 (where it got a work out as my 28FOV) .....but I found it too slow for a lot of situations. I also have a WATE . What a great lens with 16-18-21 all in a small size ..but its too slow for street . (wonderful for travel) . So the 21/1.4asph is expensive and larger but until Leica makes an M that has clean ISO1600 and handles ISO3200 ...I need the speed.
I want a smaller 21 and this winter I will work with the 21/3.4asph in Florida where most of the time I will have good light ..
As always these discussions depend on the individuals requirements and are very hard to generalize .
If you see wide ... go W I D E.
If you have the need, the need for speed ... go FAST
The 21/1.4 is the fastest of the wides.
When they brought out the 24/1.4, there was no 21/1.4. When I got the 21/1.4, I stopped using my 24/1.4 ... then sold it.
It seems that every time I've had a slower lens mounted, I end up someplace where I need a faster one. You can stop down a fast lens, you can't open a slow lens to f/1.4.
It's not just a matter of throwing the background OOF, it's a matter of enough light.
Get the 21/1.4 ... it's unique.
It seems to me that Leica goes to great length in the 21mm 'Lux to not only provide a fast lens, but also a lens that is very well corrected in the center. You get the "womp" of the 21mm focal length at the edges with the 'Lux, and enjoy a very sweetly corrected center. On the f/3.4, you get the opposite. It's got great edges, and barrel in the center. I will be very interested to hear what your own thoughts are on yours.
I guess the extra $4,000 does buy you something more than just a couple stops of speed...
You have gone thru a lot of leica glass and first impressions are often pretty accurate . I could tell for example that the new 35 1.4 asph FLE is as good as it gets in a 35mm FOV. But I have also confused higher contrast with better IQ (e.g 50 lux verse 50 cron) .
But if I am working with most of Leica s newer lenses ... it often comes down to splitting hairs when debating IQ. I can easily see the differences between the pre asph lenses and the current offerings .
I am hoping the new 21/3.4 asph is a good match for the Florida light ..I will know in a few weeks .
Well, I've bought the WATE, have a 21/4 on order, missed one by a day, and have the 50 lux and 35 cron .... this will do for now....
great discussion by all, much appreciated
1) Damn good lenses
2) Damn large and heavy
3) Damn expensive
But if you needs the speed, you pays the price.
Shots from both lenses.