21mm Super-Angulon-R f/4 VS f/3.4

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I'm considering these two lenses for my SL and possibly for an SL2. I have heard that the f/4 is soft wide open at the edges. Does the same hold true for the f/3.4? Can this softness be seen with a 6x loupe? Was the f/3.4 made after the f/4? It is interesting to note that Pentax's 45mm wide angle lens for their 6x7 is very close in design to the S-A-R lens(21mm f/4). The Pentax is quite sharp wide open but then again it is a newer design.

-- Steve Rasmussen (srasmuss@flash.net), March 15, 2001


The 3.4R lens is of the same optical design as the 3.4M lens. It is not a focus design so it only fits the original Leicaflex which has a mirror lock up which the SL and SL2 cameras do not.


-- John Collier (jbcollier@home.com), March 15, 2001.

That should read "not a retro-focus design".


-- John Collier (jbcollier@home.com), March 15, 2001.

I've run into the same problem that John just did, where I post an OOPs before I can correct it. Once its in place, your stuck with it. Is there anyway to set this site up like the photo.net sites where you have a review of your posting before hitting submit?

-- Andrew Schank (aschank@flash.net), March 15, 2001.

I'll second that last motion. I hate it that I misspelled "mistake" in a recent post. Somehow it's easier to proofread on the "submit" screen.

-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), March 15, 2001.

There are very few options in ultrawides for the R series. The 3.4 S/A won't fit any other body except the original Leicaflex. The early 19/2.8 is a monster lens (and not significantly better than the 21/4 unless you absolutely need the extra stop)and can't really be filtered without vignetting, the new 19/2.8 is very expensive (almost $2000 *used* in the US) and has no front filter threads at all. The 21/4 S/A is what I'd call Best Available. If it loses sharpness at the edges wide open, it's not a huge problem. And if your shot requires tack-sharpness edge to edge (such as a wideangle landscape) you'd want the camera tripod-mounted and stopped down anyway. By f/8 the 21/4 is a very respectable lens. Another nice lens is the Tamron 17/3.5 SP, which is available in Adaptall-2 mount for the R series. Use the hoods outdoors with either of these.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), March 16, 2001.

Bob and Andrew

Its rather a waste of breath to request enhancements. Philip Greenspun doesn't read the Leica Photography forum. In any case, there haven't been any enhancements to the LUSENET software since it first became available, that I'm aware of.

It would be nice if LUSENET supported all of the current features of photo.net, including image upload, a search engine, and a confirmation page. But it doesn't. And since all of us on the Leica Photography forum live on Mr. Greenspun's largesse, we can't really look a gift horse in the mouth.

-- Joe Buechler (jbuechler@toad.net), March 16, 2001.


As Jay says the 21 f3.4 was made for the Leicaflex mark 1 so cannot be used on the SL or SL2 as they do not have mirror lock up. The 3.4 is probably no better than the f4 in the edges is my guess. It is not razor sharp in the edges or corners at f4 and you need to stop it down to f6.3 to sharpen the corners - it is even better at f8. It does have good flare resistance though and focusses very close. The contrast overall is pretty good wide open. You can see a difference using this lens compared to other Leica lenses (28-180) when using a slide projector - probably you could see some softness at the corners using a 6 x loupe - but you would need to look carefully: a 10X would be better for seeing differences. I lust for the 19mm which is an excellent lens and has built in filters - but the price is terrible. The older 19mm is huge. If you are like Jay and put your SA on a tripod and use at f8 it is an excellent lens (it is is also free of noticeable distortions), but if you are more like me and want to use it at full aperture its performance is often a bit disappointing. As an aside the current 28mm is Elmarit-R is superb at full aperture. I think about selling my 21mm, but every now and then I like to use it for its unusual perspective. In my opinion an ultrawide is definitely a specialist lens and used only about 5% of the time.

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), March 19, 2001.

Steve, Robin Smith is quiet right but, and it's a big but. It rather depends on what sort of photography interest you. As an illustration some years ago I submitted for the A.R.P.S., in the pictorial class, a class which requires that the applicant demonstrates ability with a wide range of subjects. This was some years ago,but I seem to remember 9, 15x12 prints were required. My submission was the usual landscapes,a reportage subject, you know the usual things, yes there was even a couple of portraits. The point of this, is that every one of them was photographed with the 19mm Elmarit R.

Brian Tompkins. P.S. Also, do yourself a favour, throw that loupe away.

-- Brian Tompkins (AnnTompkins@btinternet.com), March 22, 2001.

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