20/21mm on FF..........yet again!
/forum/topic/1133625/3

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timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

I suppose what all this is about is finding the best INTERIM 20 / 21mm until I MAY get the Z*21/2.8 OR the TS-E 24 LII.
At least now I have established that neither the Voigt 20/3.5 nor the OM 21/2 suit me.

Thanks for your help guys.



koenrutten
Registered: May 30, 2006
Total Posts: 217
Country: Netherlands

I'd love an oly 21 f/3.5 for it's tinyness but I think a fixed 21mm isn't that pracital because with uwa lenses a few millimeters makes a big difference. I'm a prime lens lover but with uwa I keep coming back to my 17-40. (which is pretty nice when used on f/8-11)
That flexibility in focal lengths is more important to me than a little more or less vignetting or the last word in corner sharpness.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11975
Country: United States

koenrutten wrote:
I'd love an oly 21 f/3.5 for it's tinyness


I've never liked the Oly's for their size ... too small for my hands ... but the rendering / IQ is why I like the 21/3.5, so I don't let the size bother me (it just means that I can't work "fast" with my adjustments).

As an interim (or a keeper) ... Oly 21/3.5 can be tough to beat, imo. Generally regarded as a poor man's next best choice to the Zeiss. I just like the way it renders smoothly ... and no mustache distortion. Granted it doesn't have as much "micro-contrast" as the Zeiss ... but it is no slouch, and plays nicely in post.



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom


I've never liked the Oly's for their size ... too small for my hands ...


Same here, the main reason I got the F2 version after giving up with the OM 24/2.8 was for this very reason.

Kent, why do you prefer the OM 21/3.5 to the Nikkor 20/2.8 AiS, that's the one I haven't any experience of?

Of course, I was forgetting that the Samyang 24mm PC isn't that far off. Recent rumour pics, if true, show it to be closer to the Nikon Version rather than the TS-E in design,(sadly), but still, if its price point is relatively low and IQ high it could be the way in to PCs for me, and I suspect many others. However I must be able to have tilt and shift on the same axis, for landscapes its not often you need them at 90 as the Nikon lens has.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11975
Country: United States

Nikon's tend to have sharper centers and softer corners, oly's more even sharpness across the entire range ... even though the center might appear softer compared to the Nikon.

It's been so long since I've shot with either of these though (since I got my 24L TS-E II) ... that I'd have to double check on that. Also, the Oly does have a bit lower contrast than the Nikon. Normally, you would think bonus for the Nikon ... but when shooting high DR scenes, the Oly doesn't blow out quite as readily.

I don't have the pics anymore, but I shot some junk sunny 16 test shots @ black car with chrome bumper ... noticeable difference @ Oly vs. Nikon to hold the high end.



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

Interesting. Gary Reese's tests (admittedly on film and two different camera systems, Nikon F and OM4T), show the Nikkor to be the one with the greater sharpness across the whole frame.

Nikkor 20/2.8: http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=318&Itemid=97
OM 21/2: http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=219&Itemid=97
OM 21/3.5: http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=220&Itemid=97

I do know I'm not a fan of the Nikkor's slightly cyan colouring, but that is easily corrected for(?)
It seems that the only way I"m going to be satisfied is to get one and try it.
Wish I'd looked a month ago, a mint one on ebay in Italy went for a snip at 166 ($260), usually go for 250+ ($400+).



kevinsullivan
Registered: Dec 07, 2005
Total Posts: 1696
Country: United States

This vignetting is easily fixed in digital post-processing. Try (in PS) Filter>Distort>Lens Correction>Vignetting. Best --K



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11975
Country: United States

It might be worth noting ... the Oly21/3.5 that he tested is indicated to be a single coated version, not the later MC version. I'd not discount the MC version over this scorecard. That being said, the Nikon IS my choice behind the Oly.



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

Yes, it's a pity he didn't have an MC version of the 21/3.5 to test as well .
Mostly the MC ones are sharper and more contrasty, but not always, in the case of the 200/5 the MC version is less sharp at the expense of increased contrast.

http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=271&Itemid=97
http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=272&Itemid=97

I imagine this is unusual though, as for instance the 24/2.8 is improved in MC version.

http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=222&Itemid=97
http://zone-10.com/cmsm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=223&Itemid=97

Used to be easier viewing for comparisons on his old site where the results were viewable in one long list: http://web.archive.org/web/19990429140306/http://members.aol.com/olympusom/lenstests/default.htm
(Still works from my bookmarks but not when I copy and paste the address, as here.)

Since I started looking on ebay for a Nikkor, the prices have gone up by about 50 - 100...does this happen to anyone else or is it just me. lol



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

Just come across this comparison between the single and MC OM 21/3.5 versions:

http://www.stefanrohloff.de/20_olyspecial.php?en=1

What interested me was his comment: "The smallest aperture of the Olympus Zuiko 3.5/21 is f/16. There is no f/22.
If you compare this lens to other 20 mm lenses, you unfortunately realize that f/16 of the Zuiko is effectively only f/13 or f/12, [of the others]"

My finding exactly, nice to find confirmation in print!

Other 20mm tests on his site here: http://www.stefanrohloff.de/lenstests.php?en=1



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

Looked at the Lens review section and user comments on FM and decided against getting the Nikkor (I know, "grasshopper" comes to mind!), but overall it sounds as if it's very flarey, has bad CA, soft corners even stopped down, and vignettes strongly.
Instead I managed to buy another, near new, Canon 20/2.8 for a good price.

From my testing yesterday of the 17-40L vs. Can 20/2.8 vs. Oly 21/2, from F8-F16 (where I use them), I can say:

The 17-40 @20mm is still the best performer in every sense, sharper edge to edge, most neutral colour and best clarity with good contrast. (It's the one I'd hoped to not have to carry for its size and needing large ND Grads)

The Canon 20/2.8 and Oly 21/2 are really = 2nd, but if I had to choose it would be the Canon but only by a whisker.

The Canon is sharper in the centre and very slightly less in the corners, it has a yellow colouration and low contrast (flat).

The Oly is quite a lot less sharp in the centre and only very slightly sharper than the Canon in the corners, it has a cool look and is also rather low contrast, (at least in comparison with the 17-40L), it's depth of field is nearly a stop less than the other two, but it's worst feature is bad purple fringing (CA?) in the corners, (about three times the amount of either Canon), and of course those nasty sharp bits of vignette in the extreme corners that started off this thread, where both the Canons have a much smoother vignette..

Whether I'll keep the Oly remains to be seen, it's saving grace is it's size, but if I really decided I wanted "small" the later multi-coated version of the 21/3.5 is a very similar performer (though possibly TOO small for me.)

What this search has shown me is that there isn't any really good 20mm-ish FL (for use on Canon FF) that comes close to the Zeiss 21/2.8 (except perhaps the Leica Elmarit-R 19/2.8 II at about twice the price of the Zeiss! lol)



Michael Gordon
Registered: Apr 07, 2007
Total Posts: 407
Country: United States

It seems the Oly Zuiko 21/2 may vignette more on a 5DIII than 5DII? Is there something different about the sensor or perhaps sample variation in the lens?
I am worried now.
I recall Mike Hatem noted significant sample variablitly in resolution at wider apertures withthis lens but nothing noted about vignetting at that time at least.
I bet someone here knows.



Dustin Gent
Registered: Apr 04, 2005
Total Posts: 4497
Country: United States

This is probably Apples vs Oranges, but I have a Tokina 17mm 3.5 RMC that did NOT vignette on my 1Ds - and doesn't on my F5. My Tokina is a Nikon mount, so I used a fotodiox adapter to mount it on my 1Ds. Could be the adapter..

what MKII body is it? I know that the 1 series has more mirror clearance than the 5 series - but i don't know if that would cause any problems with vignetting?



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

I thought someone might be interested in all the 20mm-ish lenses I uncovered in my researches.

It soon became obvious from going to review to review that a circular pattern was repeated: Lens A better than lens B; Lens B better than lens C; Lens C better than lens D: Lens D better than lens A !

Anyway for what it's worth here's the list with a few comments: (for which I may be shot down in flames!)

Canon 20/2.8 USM............Good edge to edge definition F5.6 on, (contra many reviews), but rather flat.
Canon 17-40/4L .....My copy @20mm, very good edge to edge definition, clarity and contrast, better than OM 21/2
Leitz Elmarit-R 19/2.8 II .......Worthy of 2nd place to Zeiss 21/2.8, but requires surgery and 2x cost!
Leitz Super Angulon R 21/4...............Meh! (For a Leitz) Designed and made by Schneider under licence
Nikkor 20/4 and 3.5Ai........................2.8 AiS better
Nikkor 20/2.8AiS................................. Sharp centre but weak corners, flare prone, vignette, CA
Nikon 17-35/2.8..........................I include because it rates so highly in several comparison reviews (eg 16-9.net)
Pentax K&M 20/4.............................Small and plasticky but reasonable performers
Pentax A 20/2.8..............................All metal and most flare prone of any I came across, rare.
OM Zuiko 21/3.5.............................Tiny "gem" v. highly rated, but 1 stop less depth of field,
OM Zuiko 21/2.....Rated as 2nd only to Zeiss by some, I found centre definition iffy, low contrast, sharp vignette
Sigma 20/1.8.................Widest aperture 20mm but poor performer until 5.6 and even then not among the best.
Voigtlander 20/3.5....Very good centre definition, colour and contrast, but poor edges and wide open, needs F8/11
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20/4......(Zebra style) Reputation for least distortion, single coated only, reasonable sharpness
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20/2.8......Not as good as above
Zeiss Distagon Z* 21/2.8.The undisputed "King" Contrasty, sharp and colourful, but moustache distortion.
Zeiss Distagon C/Y 21/2.8............. =1st. Very little difference. Currently more expensive than Z*!



jvincenc76
Registered: Sep 04, 2009
Total Posts: 15
Country: Slovakia

Hi everyone,

I'm also looking for 20/21mm lens, and I'm stuck between oly 21mm F3.5 MC (one was sold yesterday on ebay for 370eur in auction) and voigtlander color skopar 20mm F3.5 SLII (550eur new, EOS mount). I have seen this comparision http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/986355 but I think it shows mixed results, either from bad adapter or misfocus.

Do you have full res images from voigtlander on FF body? I didn't find any using google. F8 and/or F11 - I'm going to use it for landscape.

Thanx in advance.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11975
Country: United States

I wanted to like the Voigt ... but the Oly won the day.



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

jvincenc76 wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm also looking for 20/21mm lens, and I'm stuck between oly 21mm F3.5 MC (one was sold yesterday on ebay for 370eur in auction) and voigtlander color skopar 20mm F3.5 SLII (550eur new, EOS mount). I have seen this comparision http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/986355 but I think it shows mixed results, either from bad adapter or misfocus.

Do you have full res images from voigtlander on FF body? I didn't find any using google. F8 and/or F11 - I'm going to use it for landscape.

Thanx in advance.


I do have results from OM 21/2 (very similar to 21/3.5) and Voigt 20/3.5 of the same subject at 8, 11 and 16 on 5DII, but I've sent the Voigt to be serviced, just to be certain it is calibrated right. (Perhaps it would be better waiting to see what they say before drawing any final conclusions from my results?)

Colourwise I prefer the more contrasty colourful look of the Voigt to the Oly, and in the centre of frame it is sharper too, (when stopped down), but out to the edges and corners the Oly is better. The Voigt vignettes more, but in a softer way which I find more acceptable than the abrupt Vignette of the Oly.

One dislike with the Voigt is the softness at F3.5, not because I use it there but because it makes focussing less easy.

One dislike of the OM 21/3.5 is it's size...too small for me, especially used with ND grads, to get my fingers behind the square filter to change aperture and focus, it's tiny! (usually a big plus for most users!)

If you do prefer the results from the Voigt and if mine is within spec, then I'm selling it, so you may be interested.
I did have it on ebay (mint at 350 / 430) before sending it to be checked out, so perhaps we could deal privately? However if the service does make it sharper I'll be keeping it, as it is one of the nicest lenses mechanically, that I have.

Send me a pm if you want me to send you the RAW files for comparison anyway.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11975
Country: United States

timballic wrote:
I thought someone might be interested in all the 20mm-ish lenses I uncovered in my researches.

It soon became obvious from going to review to review that a circular pattern was repeated: Lens A better than lens B; Lens B better than lens C; Lens C better than lens D: Lens D better than lens A !

Anyway for what it's worth here's the list with a few comments: (for which I may be shot down in flames!)

Canon 20/2.8 USM............Good edge to edge definition F5.6 on, (contra many reviews), but rather flat.
Canon 17-40/4L .....My copy @20mm, very good edge to edge definition, clarity and contrast, better than OM 21/2
Leitz Elmarit-R 19/2.8 II .......Worthy of 2nd place to Zeiss 21/2.8, but requires surgery and 2x cost!
Leitz Super Angulon R 21/4...............Meh! (For a Leitz) Designed and made by Schneider under licence
Nikkor 20/4 and 3.5Ai........................2.8 AiS better
Nikkor 20/2.8AiS................................. Sharp centre but weak corners, flare prone, vignette, CA
Nikon 17-35/2.8..........................I include because it rates so highly in several comparison reviews (eg 16-9.net)
Pentax K/A 20/4.............................Small and plasticky but reasonable performers
Pentax A 20/2.8..............................All metal and most flare prone of any I came across, rare.
OM Zuiko 21/3.5.............................Tiny "gem" v. highly rated, but 1 stop less depth of field,
OM Zuiko 21/2.....Rated as 2nd only to Zeiss by some, I found centre definition iffy, low contrast, sharp vignette
Sigma 20/1.8.................Widest aperture 20mm but poor performer until 5.6 and even then not among the best.
Voigtlander 20/3.5....Very good centre definition, colour and contrast, but poor edges and wide open, needs F8/11
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20/4......(Zebra style) Reputation for least distortion, single coated only, reasonable sharpness
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 20/2.8......Not as good as above
Zeiss Distagon Z* 21/2.8.The undisputed "King" Contrasty, sharp and colourful, but moustache distortion.
Zeiss Distagon C/Y 21/2.8............. =1st. Very little difference. Currently more expensive than Z*!


I've only personally used about 60% of the above ... but my observations are very much @ +1 from personal use / research ... with the Oly 21/3.5 and Nikon 20/2.8 AIS still in my bag. The Oly being better suited for when the entire frame is important, the Nikon for when the central portion matters most. (I could probably interchange the Nikon with the Voigt, as long as I retained the Oly).

Nice summary.



jvincenc76
Registered: Sep 04, 2009
Total Posts: 15
Country: Slovakia

to timballic and RustyBug : thank you for answers, I know how small olympus is - I have zuiko 24mm F2.8 and changing aperture with filters is difficult (I use 49-67mm stepup ring and 67mm ND/CP filters) - therefore I just set F8 (sharpest) and then I change ISO in order to MF using liveview on 5DII - it works, so I don't care about voigtlander being soft at F3.5. Also I know how sharp oly can be - I have sold EF 17-40L after direct comparision with it. If oly costed 200eur it would be my choise, but at the current price it is much less tempting - you never know what you get: dust inside, scratches, oil, bad mechanics, glass misaligned, etc. For another 100-150 eur I can have brand new glass with waranty.



timballic
Registered: May 21, 2011
Total Posts: 699
Country: United Kingdom

The 17-40 seems to vary a lot from lens to lens, at 20mm mine is sharper than either the Voigt or the OM everywhere, but not good at 18-17mm near corners.



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