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Thread: Leica 21, 24, 28

  1. #1
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    Leica 21, 24, 28

    I'm in the middle of a debate over a possible lens consolidation, and was looking for some comments from people that have used the three current Leicas (21,24,28). I did not want to post this over on the LUF, considering there was a somewhat similar thread between 21 & 24 lenses that went south very quickly.

    Sorry in advance for this long drawn out post, but I want to give some background on where I'm going.

    Currently I have the M8 & M7. The M7 is the .72 VF with only 35, 50, 90 framelines. I wear glasses and can't see the 28 on the M7. The 75 frame lines on the both cameras, distract me too much when using a 50 which is my favorite focal length. The M7 frames were modified because I don't use 28 on an RF in film, nor the 75 as I mentioned, and 135 is too long for me on an RF.

    External viewfinders for a wide lens don't really bother me. I used a 28 VF on the M7 when I used the 28 Cron, as it was easier to compose.

    True 28 & 35 focal lengths are too close too each other for my tastes. Yes, I know that is not the case for everybody. Even on the M8, I never bring the 28 & 35 out at the same time.

    The 28 on the M8 is a nice focal length for me, but not on the M7. I only seem to like 28 when using it on my D3 (SLR). (Something with how I visualize the world and interface to it through the viewfinder.)

    The 21 is very nice lens on the M7, but kind of out of place for me on the M8.

    I am not a big fan of over exaggerated wide angle effects.

    Current lens line up is the 21 ASPH, 28 Cron ASPH, 35 Cron ASPH, 50 Lux ASPH, & 90 Elmarit. The 35, 50, & 90 lenses are here to stay as I have gone through alot of trying different lenses and picked these as the one which work for my preference in rendering at each focal length.

    What I am considering doing is selling both the 21 & 28 to possibly replace it with just the 24. The other option might be just sell the 28 and keep the 21.

    My issue is that I really like how the 28 draws, but I think the 24 focal length would work better for me on both the cropped M8 and the M7.

    I have read Sean's reviews, but also wanted to see what other people thought when comparing these three lenses against each other.

    What do you like or prefer about one over the other, in the M8 or on film?

    Thanks,

    Ray

  2. #2
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Hi Ray,

    All three are excellent lenses, as you know. People will have favorites among them but all three are extremely competent. Its really going to come down to the fields of view that work for you. If different lenses work better on the M7 than on the M8 (and vice versa) perhaps dedicate some to one body and some to another?

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    I see what you are suggesting, how the 24 might be close to the 21 on the M7 and on the M8 different enough from the 35 to warrant carrying it.

    There is a logic there that makes sense. And the 24 is reputed to be such a great lens that you might not miss the drawing of the 28 cron. (I bought the 25 zeiss for my m8)

    downside is carrying two external finders for the 24, one for the M7 and one for the M8 since I assume if you cannot see the 28 lines on the M7 you will have no luck seeing the 24 lines on the M8.

    good news is that for street work I find I can shoot the 24 on the M8 hyperfocal set to f8 or 11 and not really focus. so an external finder would be a pleasure, the zeiss is very NICE.

    (if you want to sell the 28 cron let me know!) I'm sure it will find a fast home..

    I had the 21 pre aspherical, not a wow lens but 'tasty in its own way, sharp-smooth but a little soft wide open. But a bargain for what is is. I hear the 21 zeiss is very good.

  4. #4
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    It is a pity that film does not record exif data..
    I found a lot of good information when, with the M8, I went back through the exif to see what focal lengths I had used for what.

    What I found was:
    M8:
    European street shooting was dominated by the 24 and the 50
    Western landscape was dominated by the 21 then the 28
    MP:
    I have a "feeling" that the 28 will be wide enough for me, since the 28 seems to be my dominant wide.

    I too wear glasses, but found that when using the 24 of the M8 it was workable.
    With the 21 I usually guesstimate or use Zeiss 25/28 finder unless I a carring the frankenfinder which I use with the WATE which is a whole other kettle of fish.

    If I had to drop one of the three it would be the 24
    -bob

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Good news is there isn't a right or wrong. My personal favorites are the 21 and 28, but then I shoot the 50 as my normal. IF I shot the 35 as my normal, then the 24 would make more sense. More than any other camera, I feel the M requires you to think in sets of lenses, if for no other reason than they're so darn expensive. If I could only have two lenses it would be the 28 and 50; the next one I added would be the 90 for travel/portrait or the 21 for street. But the 24/50/75 is just as easy to argue either way.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Thanks for the comments so far guys.

    Robert - I am leaning towards the 24, and yes it is usable on the M8 for me with a little looking around. The 28 is not usable for me on the M7 viewfinder. I do have the Zeiss 25/28 & 21 finders which I'm sure would work out on the M7.

    Bob - I think that I agree with you on the 24 for street shooting, much more so than the 21 or 28, when on the M8. Not being a real super wide type of shooter, either the 21 or 24 type focal length work fine for me in western style landscapes.

    I use a wide in garage type situations a lot during races.

    Sean - I normally tend to agree with your likes on how a lens renders relative to contrast level, "pop", texture and details, OOF area, and sharpness. Having said that, I really have always been impressed with the 28 Cron ASPH. I am going to borrow a 24 from Leica for a week to try it out in comparison. I'm familiar with most of Leica's current lenses and how they draw. What would you say the 24 draws similar to?

    Thanks,

    Ray
    Last edited by harmsr; 14th April 2008 at 20:08.

  7. #7
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Jack,

    I'm thinking like you are in sets also, but want to pair down the M set-up a little for use with both the M8 & M7. DO YOU KNOW WHY?????? BECAUSE YOU GUYS ARE GUILTY of making me think in terms of MF for the product work that I do for the firearms magazines.

    I like the 28 & 50 combo which works for me on the M8, but not on the M7. I do agree with you that if I could only have two lenses on the M8 it would be the 28 & 50. On the M7 it would be the 35 & 50. 50 is my primary and not 35 in true focal length (not cropped). My next jump towards the tele range is 90 as I can visualize 90 or 120. The 75 is a great lens but the frame line inaccuracy and how close it is to the 50 lines distract me, so that doesn't work and not necessarily because of the focal length. 28 works for me on the M8 but not on the M7.

    So I have 35, 50, & 90 settled on for both the M8 & M7. M8 primary lens is the 35 Cron. M7 primary lens is the 50 Lux ASPH.

    I have to keep the M7 in my mind here, as I have re-found B&W film for my personal enjoyment. (The new TMAX 400 & ACROS 100 in XTol.) Plus I still have hopes of a full frame (no crop factor) digital range finder at some time in the future.

    I am struggling on the slightly wider side of things. The 28 works as a 35 for me on the M8, but so should the 24.

    I'm really leaning towards getting rid of the 21 & 28, in favor of the 24. However, I guess that I need to be sure of the image quality and rendering of the 24. That it is going to be close the style of lens that I like.

    Best,

    Ray
    Last edited by harmsr; 14th April 2008 at 20:07.

  8. #8
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Quote Originally Posted by harmsr View Post
    Sean - I normally tend to agree with your likes on how a lens renders relative to contrast level, "pop", texture and details, OOF area, and sharpness. Having said that, I really have always been impressed with the 28 Cron ASPH. I am going to borrow a 24 from Leica for a week to try it out in comparison. I'm familiar with most of Leica's current lenses and how they draw. What would you say the 24 draws similar to?

    Thanks,

    Ray
    Hi Ray,

    For my tastes, the current 28 Cron is the best fast 28 I've ever worked with. But one can make great arguments for the 21 and 24 as well so, again, its back to EFOV.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    I'm going through a similar winnowing, initially when I bought the M8 I rushed out and bought the 21 since my favourite lens on the M6 was a 28. However as we all know it was not a simple as that...

    Currently the 25 is my body cap. The only downside is that it is 2.8 and not 2.0 like the cron28.

    So I think you also have to throw speed into the mix, is 2.8 on the 24 going to do it for you?

  10. #10
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    I have and use all three..but the 21asph is on one M8 most of the time. The location and subject are more important to me than differences in how they draw. I spent 6 months in Florida so its mostly great light. This season I did extended collections on the kite boarders,spring training and the Juno Beach Pier...the 21 was about 30-40% of the photos. I immediately see the 21FOV on the M8. I like the external finder (Zeiss25/28) and have learned to prefocus to a distance based on feel. The 24 is the best of the 3 in IQ (IMHO) but I wanted a little more FOV. You can do a lot with a 24/35 combination. I don t use my 28/2 preferring to go to the 35 Lux for speed or the 35 Cron preasph for lower contrast and its special rendering. But as Jack said its about assembling sets of lenses for specific purposes. In most cases with the M8 ..I want to get as close as I can to the subject and go as wide as I can handle. I am also comfortable with a small amount of cropping....I can always take information out but I can t add it back after the moment.

  11. #11
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    Such a personal decision - all are great lenses. My favourite M8 lens is the 21mm.

  12. #12
    Michael Rivers
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    Re: Leica 21, 24, 28

    I have the 24mm Leica, and 28mm Summicron, as well as a 21mm Voigt with an M8 and M7 as my choice of M bodies. Although I love the 24mm with external finder on the M7 (paired with 35mm lens in a kit) I never use the 24 with the M8. The 28mm Cron is my every day lens on the M8, and I go to the 21mm for a different effect. Part of the difference is the ease of use of the 28mm on the M8. The Cron without a hood is an easy lens to use, and a stop faster. The 24mm without the hood blocks more of the finder, and is a stop slower. Once I choose the 28, I add the 21, and 50, and I'm out the door. I see from the above posts that many choose sets of lenses, with alternating focal lengths, and the same is true for me. The difference is that the crop factor of the M8 sensor changes the set for me.

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