Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/08/13

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Subject: RE: [Leica] 21mm vs 24mm
From: "Greg.Chappell" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 15:15:23 -0500

On the subject of how the edge can look "elongated" with a 21, here's what I
see in my pictures: I also own a 24 2.8 Nikkor that I use with my N**** F3,
along with my 21 Elmarit non-ASPH "M". Typically, you will not get full
frame on most of your prints, so the edge problem can, to an extent, be
corrected in the printing of the negative by cropping, but then you'd lose
part of what you get that focal length for, and with a diff. of only 3
degrees, you'd be losing what you gain IF you were to buy the wider lens.
This holds true for all three focal lengths. There is distortion at the
edges with my 21, but I like the effect. There is less distortion with my 24
N****. I figure that will also be true, probably more so, with the Leica
since it is ASPH. With me, the choice came down to economics. The 21
non-ASPH was the lens I could afford, & for PRACTICAL shooting (not lines
per mm, etc.) the lens does a very good job for what I purchased it for.


- -----Original Message-----
From: LIGHTandPOWER []
Sent: Friday, August 13, 1999 2:10 PM
To: leica-users
Subject: RE: [Leica] 21mm vs 24mm

Jean-Claude, Greg, Eddie, Wilbur

Thank you! Your comments are VERY helpful.

There are plenty of numbers about 28-24-21 lenses but surprisingly 
little subjective prose about their application. That the 
focal-lengths and angles of view are so close to one another makes 
evaluation  -- without making photos with each -- hard.

I found Eddie's remark 'BTW, I use this lens without the additional 
finder attached on my M6' and Jean-Claude's 'IMO, a 24 mm is still an 
ordinary lens.' to be particularly useful in understanding what the 
difference might be between the 24 and the 21.

I am indeed looking for an 'ordinary' lens (albeit very wide) for 
general use, mostly for photos of people with lots of context.

I haven't been able to find photographs of similar views taken with 
each lens -- the Brian Bower book's photos are not very helpful in 
this regard since they are landscape/architecture. Can anyone point 
me to good examples for comparison among 28-24-21mm M lenses, either 
online or in print?


>IMO, a 24 mm is still an ordinary lens. The one you can use for all
>kind of subjects, for landscapes, reportages, even portraits. A 21 mm
>is, IMHO of course, much more difficult to use. The edges of the
>pictures begin to take a strange perspective, you need a strong
>foreground in landscapes, etc.. So I concluded that I would use the 24
>more often than a 21.
>Moreover, I carefully read the Erwin test of both lenses, Chasseur
>d'Images tests and some more magazines reports. I have the feeling
>that the current 21 is not at the top of what I would expect from a
>(pricely) Leica lens.
>The last but not least reason is that I got a good price on the 24
>that has been too long on the seller's shelf (don't forget that a good
>price in France is a very bad price in the US, though).
>PS : I forgot. I have an adapter to mount my 18 mm Nikon on the Leica
>M bodies and I expected to buy the 15 mm Cosina when I want to go
>really wide.
>Hope this helps.
> ---
> Jean-Claude Berger (
> Systems and RDBMS consultant (MCSE), Lyon, France
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From:
>> []On Behalf Of AUSTIN
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 1999 7:51 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: [Leica] 21mm vs 24mm
>> >That's why I decided to buy a 21 or 24 mm (I finally made my
>> mind for the 24).  Jean-Claude Berger
>>   I'm still trying to figure out whether to get a 21mm or a 24mm.
>> Could you talk a little about why you chose a 24 over a 21? please.