Buying R21mm or R19mm lens??? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

Hello. I'm going to buy a 2nd-hand superwide Leica R lens. I know there are 21mm/F4, 21mm/F3.4, and 19mm/F2.8. How to compare these 3 lens? I'm now using the R4s. Can anyone help???? Thank you for reading.

-- york ken (, August 13, 2001


When I was using Leica R, I used to own the (11813)21 f4 Super Angulon; it was a very nice lens. I understand that the NEW (11258) 19mm is better @ F2.8 - F4. Since I had such a great experience with the 21 F4, I would not hesitate in recommending this lens. FYI, I bought it from Jim Kuehl in Des Moines, IA - a good guy to do business with.

-- David (, August 13, 2001.

Forget the 21/3.4 SA. Although a fine lens, it can only be fitted to the original Leicaflex, as the protruding rear element required a true mirror lock-up (not just a pre-exposure mirror trip like the R6- R8's have)and an auxiliary finder. The 19/2.8 was made in two versions. The first is a very decent-performing lens, with a huge (82mm) front end which can not effectively be filtered due to the curvature of the front element and vignetting. The second is a better lens optically, but has built-in filters, none of which are an 81-series or a polarizer, and no way to put a UV on the front if you're shooting in inclement environment. The 21/4 is a superb performer from f/5.6-8; at f4 it has very even illumination but the corners are a tad soft. It takes a 72mm filter but you must be careful to check that the filter glass isn't set too far back in the rim or it will grind into the lens' front element. The 21/4 is a compact, lightweight lens of excellent performance. Highly recommended for travel and landscape work. The f/4 aperture is limiting indoors and as a reportage lens.

-- Jay (, August 13, 2001.

If I had the money I would get the 19mm no question - very good lens and nice and fast. The SA f4 21mm is fine, but not as good as other Leica-R lenses by some margin from 28mm upwards. The performance is good from f6.3 on, Soft in the corners wide open. At f8 -16 it performs well, but not as well as the current 28mm-R. Still it has excellent flare supression and I have not noticed any distortion, and it focusses pretty close. If you can't afford the 19mm then I would get the 21/4. It is compact too. I use mine only 5-10% of the time so can live with its somewhat inferior (in comparison) performance. I must add that superwides are difficult to make into really good performers and the 21 SA looks about as good as the Biogon for the Contax G2, albeit the G2 is as good at f2.8 as the SA is at f4. The best 21mm is probably the M 21 ASPH. The current 19mm is very good and I wish I could afford it!

Jay is right about the 3.4 SA, it is for use with mirror lockup only and is probably as good as the f4 version - but you need the original Leicaflex to use it.

-- Robin Smith (, August 13, 2001.

Robin, the 21/3.4-R is *better* than the 21/4. It is the same true wide-angle (non-retrofocus)optical design as the 21/3.4-M, which itself is second only to the 21/2.8ASPH.

-- Jay (, August 13, 2001.

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