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philipus

Let's discuss the Super-Angulon

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I have been reading about the Super-Angulon lately, which seems like a cracking lens. As I understand it, due to the symmetrical lens design, it has very little (if any) distortion. That appeals to me for such a wide lens.

 

How are the f4 and f3.4 in actual use. I would love to hear your experiences on this, especially if you've used both. The f3.4 has a 4-bladed aperture if I understand it correctly - how does this affect the image?

 

Also, how many optical versions are there - two or three? In the old Leica Lens Compendium, Puts suggests there are three versions - see pp. 127-128:

 

1958 - 4/21

1963 - 3.4/21

1968 - 4/21

 

With respect to the purported 1968 version Puts writes:

 

"This lens is a new design of the retro-focus type and a half stop less than the symmetrical predecessor. This is a wise precaution, as even at this reduced aperture, the new design is not the equal of the symmetrical version of the same specifications."

 

In Puts's Leica Chronicle, the 1968 model is not mentioned; rather two models are listed:

 

4/21 (1958-1963)

3.4/21 (1963-1980).

 

Of course, the Wiki also lists two models: the 4/21 (1958-1981) and the 3.4/21 (1963-1976).

 

Many thanks in advance

Philip

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Beware of 'Schneideritis' which can affect the lens elements' edge paint - thus causing what appear to be grey or white spots on the lens elements' perimeters. It's on the elements' edges and not on the lens mount baffles. And it affects both M and R Super Angulons. Appears to have no effect on lens performance but should to be checked carefully before purchase - and it's not always immediately obvious.

 

 

 

 

 

 

dunk

Edited by dkpeterborough
Photos added

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.....

Also, how many optical versions are there - two or three? In the old Leica Lens Compendium, Puts suggests there are three versions - see pp. 127-128:

 

1958 - 4/21

1963 - 3.4/21

1968 - 4/21

 

.....

 

Many thanks in advance

Philip

 

Is easy to get a little of confusion between Super Angulons for Leica and for Leicaflex...

also for the oddity of evolution of apertures....

 

- All of them are Schneider design

- FIRST one was the f4, for Leica RF only

- THEN (63-64) entered the 3,4 design, same design for Leica and Leicaflex... with the Leicaflex version that is "strange", needing to flip up mirror

- THEN AGAIN they corrected the oddity for Leicaflex with a retroficus design, which again was a f4, but of course with no relation with the "old" f4 design for Leica RF

- And kept the std. 3,4 design for the Leica RF, until the new 21 mm f 2,8, a Leitz "inside" design which led to abandoning the Super Angulon brand name, which is a Schneider marque (Super Angulons do exist in lot of focals, up to 210mm for ultralarge format 11"x14")

 

I have both (for RF, of course) : briefly said, the old f4 vignettes a lot... the 3,4 is a BIG step up and I think that, wouldn't it be that doesn't meter on digital Ms, I hadn't bought my current 21 2,8 asph... the 3,4 is still VERY enjoyable... the f4 is a fine object to have...

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Totally off leica radar, one of my favourite lenses for quite a few years was a 75mm/5.6 Super Angulon used on a 5x4 Sinar, much better than the f/8 version for technical cameras, of which I used 65, 90, and 121mm at various times on other cameras.

And there was an 'ordinary' Angulon too, of simpler design for such things! Quite a family.

Gerry

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Within the Leica radar... the Brooks Veriwide 100 (famous superwide camera... see for instance Brooks-Plaubel Veriwide 100 Test Review ) had a Super Angulon 47mm... and a Leitz N.Y. finder, not by chance very similar to the 21mm finder that Leitz made for the Super Angulon 21...

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- THEN AGAIN they corrected the oddity for Leicaflex with a retroficus design, which again was a f4, but of course with no relation with the "old" f4 design for Leica RF

- And kept the std. 3,4 design for the Leica RF

 

Aha, that's how it was, thank you Luigi. So was it Schneider that carried out that reconfiguration for the Leicaflex or was it Leica? I was under the impression that the first proper Leica 21mm lens was the subsequent Elmarit.

 

I read that some Super-Angulons are both LTM and M bayonet, i.e. that one can unscrew the M mount ring. Is that true for all or just a smaller subset?

 

Br

Philip

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Aha, that's how it was, thank you Luigi. So was it Schneider that carried out that reconfiguration for the Leicaflex or was it Leica? I was under the impression that the first proper Leica 21mm lens was the subsequent Elmarit.

 

I read that some Super-Angulons are both LTM and M bayonet, i.e. that one can unscrew the M mount ring. Is that true for all or just a smaller subset?

 

Br

Philip

 

There is a early S Angulon 21/3.4 R series lens with special 22228 M lens mount adaptor currently listed

 

dunk

Edited by dkpeterborough

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I read that some Super-Angulons are both LTM and M bayonet, i.e. that one can unscrew the M mount ring. Is that true for all or just a smaller subset?

 

Br

Philip

 

Yes it is true , the Super Angulons were first made for LTM next they added the bayonnet ring for the M mount, so the early version have not the little tapered hole for the retaining screw

I have all 4 versions for Leica and the Leicaflex one.

I used intensively the silver version of the 3.4 for the M with oustanding results and the 4 for the Leicaflex gives fine picts with the R9/DMR.

I cannot tell that the 2.8 (non asph.) is better than the 3.4 for the rendering speaking apart.

Edited by jc_braconi

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...and they made a proper plastic case with elongated mount to accomodate its protruding back elements...

Note that the f/stop ring rotates when one focuses (as in other old lenses) ... a detail a bit annoying, which was eliminated with the mount of the 3,4 version.

 

 

(quickly taken with M at 3200... sorry for so-so quality)

Edited by luigi bertolotti

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Note that the f/stop ring rotates when one focuses (as in other old lenses) ... a detail a bit annoying, which was eliminated with the mount of the 3,4 version.

 

 

This is useful to know. I had a Nikkor 8,5cm/2 with this "feature" which I, though I got used to it, found annoying.

 

I used intensively the silver version of the 3.4 for the M with oustanding results and the 4 for the Leicaflex gives fine picts with the R9/DMR.

I cannot tell that the 2.8 (non asph.) is better than the 3.4 for the rendering speaking apart.

 

What about the four-bladed aperture - will it render OOF areas or reflexes differently?

Edited by philipus

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I have remembered that several years ago, when bought the Elmarit 21 asph, posted a home made comparision of my 3 21s... worth noting, was made with M8, which attenuates, for cropping, the vignetting of the 21 f4 : http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/leica-m8-forum/27962-21mm-super-ang-2.html 2nd page

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Thank you Luigi, that is a very interesting comparison. It seems to me the f3.4 is able to hold its own rather well. From what I have read the lens will be softer in the field but in the central image area (which after all is rather large on a 21mm lens) it performs very well even at wider apertures.

 

This is getting more and more interesting

 

Philip

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I had the f/4 and a chrome and later black f/3.4 for the M, and the f/4 for the R. The f/3.4 M lens was the best of the lot by far (my chrome one flared like the dickens, but it turned out someone had polished off the coating...why I bought the black one). Sold it when I got an M6 due to the metering situation. The little f/4 was nice in that it took e39 filters. Honestly though, the CV 21/4 runs rings around all of them in terms of sharpness, contrast and flare-resistance. I would classify the old S/A's as lovely collectors items nowadays, although with the proper care about point light sources and flare, they can still make splendid images.

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....

 

Why appreciates Ken Rockwell the old Super-Angulon 4.0-21mm more than the modern Voigtländer 4.0-21mm?

 

"This LEITZ 21mm f/4 came in both screw (11,002 or SUOON) and bayonet (11,102 or SUOON-M) mounts. Most of the bayonet versions can be dismantled to become screw-mount.

The LEITZ 21/4 SUPER-ANGULON couples to the rangefinder of every LEICA camera, screw or bayonet mount.

This isn't some crappy Voigtländer lens."

 

LEICA 21mm f/4 SUPER-ANGULON (1958-1963)

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Why appreciates Ken Rockwell the old Super-Angulon 4.0-21mm more than the modern Voigtländer 4.0-21mm?....

 

 

...Because he IS Ken Rockwell

)

 

The SA 21 f4 is a lens that, shiny, compact, and mechanically fine as is, imho has a fascinating "jewelry-like" look... but I have no doubt that the modern CV 21 f4 surely has a better optical performance...

 

Btw, Ken in his review has indeed taken note that the SA 21 f4 has an "odd" DOF scale, different from the 3,4 and not computed within the usual standards.

Edited by luigi bertolotti

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I have owned both M and R versions of the f/3.4 SA. As far as I am aware they are the same design BUT even though it is a 'mirror-up' design, the R version focuses down to just a few inches (about 8" according to the forum's wiki - I can't remember exactly but I thought it might even be closer). For completness' sake here is the data about the M lens (from Schneider):

 

Super-Angulon 3.4/21mm OPTO-MECHANICAL DATA (with lens focused at infinity)

Lens Elements, Groups 8, 4

Filter Mounting Thread M 48 X 0.75

Max. f/# 22

Push-On Filter Size 52.5mm

Max. Outer Diameter 52.5mm

Weight 260g

Overall Length 50mm

IMAGE DATA (with lens focused at infinity)

Recommended Format (negative) Size 24 X 36 mm

OPTICAL DATA

(with lens focused at infinity)

Effective Focal Length (F') 21.6mm

Back Focal Length (S'F') 8.3mm

Principal Point Separation (HH') 20.2mm

Shortest Image Distance (S'O') 0.4m

 

I now own both a black f/3.4 SA and the current 21mm SE which may sound similar but the two are in reality are chalk and cheese! The SE is a fabulous, state-of-the-art design and impresses in every way. I will say no more about it other than that it is a superlative optic;).

 

The SA is what I would describe as a 'quirky' lens. It dates from 1963, was designed by Werner Wagner and patented (No. 1279959). Its Field of View is 92 degrees putting it into the 'super-wide category of lenses. In its day it represented the best available type of lens of this focal length in its day. Around 6000 copies were made so its not an abundantly available lens today (and some were heavily used and with their protruding and easily damageable rear element block have suffered as a result). In my experience, good clean copies are still available but may take time to find.

 

As a usable lens it is extremely sharp in the centre but performance drops off at edges and corners on full-frame, although is very acceptable on a cropped camera such as the M8. It can be flare prone (although not always), has a SQUARE aperture, so a very odd 'bokeh' at times, and as has been commented can suffer from 'Schneideritis' - although I'd personally consider this to be a cosmetic rather than practical issue, and its of more interest to the neurotic or collectors than users (it can be a negotiating 'fault' price-wise though. This lens vignettes substantially too - I quite like it and with digital some correction is available - which is a characteristic of the design. I've never actually seen distortion figures quoted for this lens and haven't bothered to test it for distortion as its a non-issue in practice (I'm not sure that it is an absolutely 'true symmetric' design though).

 

I still use my SA, mostly on the M8, but also on the M9. Getting even colour on files can be a little tricky so often I use it with the intention of converting the image to B&W. That said I have shot some of my favourite (colour) images on the M8/21/3.4/SA combo and will not sell it despite its digital shortcomings.

 

Physically its a lovely small, neat lens rather let down by the bulky plastic hood and the need for Series 7 filters. Ergonomics are interesting with aperture adjustment somewhat awkward with the hood in place.

 

The R version is a real oddity. Usable on mirror-up bodies or M with an adapter, it has scale focus (perhaps it might be interesting with live-view on current M cameras with its close focus ability?). It has its own back cap and hood (12511) and takes Series 8 filters. Less than 2000 were produced but its such an oddity that it always seems to be available in clean condition and complete!

 

The 21mm Super-Angulon (well the f/3.4 version at any rate) is IMO an underrated lens which, whilst 'quirky' deserves use even if only as a B&W lens with 'classical' rendering. Its a characterful lens:) and I could go on.....

Edited by pgk

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A few samples of imagery from the SA can be found on the forum here:

 

21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon-R sample on M8-2: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/nature-wildlife/197274-funghi.html

 

21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon-M sample on M8: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/nature-wildlife/272291-ice-stream.html

 

21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon-M sample on M8: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/landscape-travel/187009-lafan-sands-beaumaris.html

 

21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon-M sample on M8: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/landscape-travel/198812-mountain-glare.html - shows flare image of square aperture

 

21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon-M sample on M8: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/landscape-travel/196156-y-carneddau.html

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Hi Paul, thank you very much for taking the time to write down your experiences with the SA and also to post the photographs. I now have a very good appreciation for how the lens renders and also for how square aperture behaves. It is really quite an odd design. I don't think I've every seen a lens with so few aperture blades. It certainly adds to placing the lens in the quirky category (which is a good thing in my view).

 

I find the vignetting nice and natural-looking. I can imagine the SA would be great for portrait-type situations with its very sharp centre, gradually less sharp image towards the field and smooth vignetting.

 

Kind regards and thanks again

Philip

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Why appreciates Ken Rockwell the old Super-Angulon 4.0-21mm more than the modern Voigtländer 4.0-21mm?

 

"This LEITZ 21mm f/4 came in both screw (11,002 or SUOON) and bayonet (11,102 or SUOON-M) mounts. Most of the bayonet versions can be dismantled to become screw-mount.

The LEITZ 21/4 SUPER-ANGULON couples to the rangefinder of every LEICA camera, screw or bayonet mount.

This isn't some crappy Voigtländer lens."

 

LEICA 21mm f/4 SUPER-ANGULON (1958-1963)

 

The "crappy" relates to the fact that some Voigtländer WA lenses do not couple to the rangefinder. Ken Rockwell is not Erwin Puts. He likes to make fun of things (including himself). He will frequently exaggerate and write with a good bit of irony, like here. I don't think he generally condemns Voigtländer lenses. When you check his site carefully, you will see that he has some favorable reviews of some CV lenses. Of course there are lenses he doesn't like and he quite frankly says so. But it is the same with Leica or Zeiss or any other manufacturer. I like his style, but it is not for everyone. You have to be able to take him with a pinch of salt and read between the lines.

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