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Zeiss C Biogon 21/4.5 on Leica M film camera


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Hi all,

 

I have been reading on this forum for a long time, but never posted before, so first let me introduce myself. My name is Ole, I am from Norway, and I have been into photography for nearly a decade. Hence, I am still a junior:)

 

A month ago I both my first Leica film camera, a nearly mint M3 from 1966. I love shooting with 50mm, so when deciding between an M2, M3 and M6 the choice was easy. I also have an M246 which I couldn't be more happy with. In addition, I have a Sony A7 for convenience, and because my wife forbids me from selling it ("we need a camera that can take colour photos of our future kids"). Yes, we are expecting one later this year:)

 

Moving on. When I bought the M246 I quickly opted for the Zeiss C Biogon 21/4.5 as my UWA. My rationale was that this lens would give me what I needed for the least amount of $$$. The colour issues are not a problem on the M246, and the lens have plenty of qualities. In fact, in many ways its a real gem - small, nearly zero distortion, and plenty of sharpness in central and midfield areas. Towards the edges the sharpness drops rather quickly though. And, as many of you know, the lens vignettes A LOT.

 

On a digital camera with a histogram I can overcome this. But what about on a film camera? Have any of you used this lens on a film camera, and how do you usually expose? Does it vignette as much on film as it does on a digital camera?

 

I know, the best way to find out is to go out and test, which I will do as soon as I get 21mm viewfinder. But until then it would be very nice to hear your experiences with this little gem:)

 

Thanks for reading.

 

All the best,

Ole

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Hey Ole,

 

Welcome to the forum!

 

The vignette will of course be the same on a film camera as it would be on a digital camera, however if you shoot negative film, be it colour or black and white you can easily overexpose your film... so the corners are correctly exposed and pull the middle a bit. 

 

Basically like pushing the corners/vignette away with digital images.

 

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Thank you very much Jip!

 

I guess its quite straight forward then, at least as long as I am not using slide film:) The reason I asked is that I read this review of the C Biogon 21 where the author stated that light falloff can be exaggerated by digital sensors. If that had been the case, then the vignetting on my M246 would be much worse than it will be on my M3. And in turn, exposing with the M3 would become even easer. 

 

Either way, it will be fun to give this lens a go on the M3!

 

Best wishes,

Ole

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The vignette will of course be the same on a film camera as it would be on a digital camera

 

 

That would be true of the optical vignetting but much of the vignetting you get with wide angle M lenses on digital cameras is sensor induced. You only have to compare the vignetting you get from a popular lens like the 28 Summicron when used with digital and film to see that your statement is simply incorrect.

Edited by wattsy
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But what about on a film camera? Have any of you used this lens on a film camera, and how do you usually expose?

 

The 21/F4.5 was designed to be used as part of a film camera system. It is only people who have tried to use it on Leica digital cameras who have suggested it has noticeable shortcomings with vignetting and colour.

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Over exposing slightly is a good tip. Having absolutely no idea what kind of things you photograph or what type of aesthetics you enjoy, feel free to totally ignore the next bit of advice, but that is to simply embrace it. Some lenses have a lot of vignetting or other technical shortcoming, but try to see it as that lens' character instead and accept it.

 

I have one particular lens that vignettes a lot and it bugged me in the beginning, but looking back, many of my favourite photos are taken with this lens. A perfectly round vignette like one added in post processing can perhaps look a bit corny in my humble opinion, but a natural one that is not perfectly even can often add something interesting to the look.

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This is wonderful lens for either film M or digital Monochrom M camera.  Two examples, first on film and second on M246 - next post.

 

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