Handy focal length for Joel?

Started Oct 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
Katsunami
Regular MemberPosts: 401Gear list
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Re: Handy focal length for Joel?
In reply to Tom Caldwell, Oct 22, 2012

I don't know what Joel wants to use, but if he wishes to use only one all-round lens, I'd go with a lens that is the equivalent of 50mm, as a maximum. Personally, I'd try and stay between 28 and 50mm. I'll list some lenses. I am going to list lenses that are available new at the moment, and modest to still affordable in price; therefore I'll exclude all Leica lenses. Of course, I assume that if Joel wants to go looking for second hand lenses, he'll be able to find equivalents of the lenses I list here.

Small size, not too expensive (up to €500):

Voigtländer Heliar 15mm f/4.5 (23mm)
Voigtländer Skopar 21mm f/4 (32mm)
Voigtländer Skopar 25mm f/4 (38mm)
Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.4 (52mm) (Classic 50's rendering)
Voigtländer Skopar 35mm f/2.5 (52mm) (Modern rendering)
Voigtländer Nokton 40mm f/1.4 (60mm, quite long for all-round, IMHO)

Small Size, more expensive (up to €899):

Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/4.5 (32mm)
Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8 (52mm)

Medium size, faster, more expensive (up to €899):

Carl Zeiss Biogon 25mm f/2.8 (38mm)
Voigtländer Ultron 28mm f/2 (42mm)
Carl Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8 (42mm)
Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2 (52mm) (Modern rendering)

Somewhat bigger, and expensive (up to €1200):

Carl Zeiss 21mm f/2.8mm (f/2.8) (32mm)

Big, and expensive (up to €1200):

Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.2 (52mm)

There are many lenses in the 21-35mm range (equivalent to 32-52mm) in the second hand market for a price below €500, even from Leica, if they're old enough; from the 70's or so. There are also many other manufacturers, but the ones you find most often are Leica, Voigtländer, Canon (LTM lenses, need an adapter), and some Konica Hexars.

If I am right from reading some of Joel's threads, he wants a lens in the 35 of 50mm range, and it must not be too big. To be honest, all the lenses listed above are not really big, except for the Nokton 35mm f/1.2. This one is 471 grams. The Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 is bigger than most of the others, but it's only 280 grams.

My picks:

35-ishmm viewpoint:
- Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 (32mm) for a "short 35".
- Carl Zeiss Biogon 25mm f/2.8 (38mm) for a "long 35".

50-ish mm viewpoint:
- Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.4 (52mm), if I wanted a classic rendering
- Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2 if (52mm) I wanted a modern rendering

If size is paramount, then the Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 is smaller than the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8, and the Nokton 35mm f/1.4 is smaller than the Zeiss 35mm f/2, but you would need to like the classic, more glowy rendering. With regard to the f/4 and f/4.5 lenses: I find them too slow for all-round use, except if you are going to zone-focus the lens, set it to f/8, and use it for black and white street shots on bright days.

Hope this helps.

 Katsunami's gear list:Katsunami's gear list
Ricoh GXR Mount A12 Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2,8/21 ZM Carl Zeiss Biogon T* 2/35 ZM Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2/50 ZM Voigtlander 15mm F4.5 Super Wide Heliar
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