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I have a trip planned for January 2020 to the Azores and Lisbon. I plan on bringing my M240 with 35 Cron, and 28 Ultron VM. I want to do some landscape and seascape images and would like to get a wide or ultra wide angle lens. I'm looking for suggestions or user experience on what is available. Right now my top choices are the Voigtlander 12mm f5.6 (which i can use on my Xpro2 as well) or Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 which will be cheaper but won't be useful on my crop sensor (I already have that focal length covered). 

My other option would be the Leica 21mm f3.4 SEM... which I hear is an excellent lens but would require me to sell some gear fast to afford it. 

Anyone have any other suggestions or can give me insight on their experience with the choices i have listed?

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Wides have limited value so I would be careful.   Their value is rendering close objects larger than distant ones as compared to longer focal lengths.  

Using them for scenics will give a wide view,  but objects will appear smaller.  

CV made a 21 4.0 that was reasonably good and inexpensive.  I keep my 21 2.8 pre asph and am happy.

I have never been happy my original 12 & 15 on digital.   No knowledge on “improved” models.

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Any lens can be used effectively for landscapes.

From 90mm (and above of course)

Loch Roag, Isle of Lewis by Ian Mantripp, on Flickr

to 21mm (and less of course)

Loch Sligachan, Isle of Skye (B863) by Ian Mantripp, on Flickr

If you really want to get a Leica 21mm and don't want to spend as much as the SEM, I can highly recommend the 21mm Elmarit ASPH which, for some reason, seems to be a forgotten lens. It was discontinued a few years ago but can easily be found as a secondhand bargain.

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Having once fallen into the "wide angle trap" for landscape images I'd suggest one of the less expensive options unless you're a professional or expecting to produce prints  in the 3'x4' range. The CV 21/4 does a yeoman's job for me. I've had the CV 15/4.5 and it produced generally good photos with decent colors and sharpness...but that focal length (and I presume shorter) just made objects waaay too small. Over the years I've used stitching and often found that to be a good answer when I want to have good detail in my landscape images.

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23 minutes ago, spydrxx said:

Having once fallen into the "wide angle trap" for landscape images I'd suggest one of the less expensive options unless you're a professional or expecting to produce prints  in the 3'x4' range. The CV 21/4 does a yeoman's job for me. I've had the CV 15/4.5 and it produced generally good photos with decent colors and sharpness...but that focal length (and I presume shorter) just made objects waaay too small. Over the years I've used stitching and often found that to be a good answer when I want to have good detail in my landscape images.

Widest i have gone is the 16mm 1.4 on my Fuji. Which is 24mm equivalent. Only times I have noticed it was too wide is when I clearly just needed to change lenses for the scene i was trying to capture. I know I will want a wide angle in my Leica M kit... my concern is if the VM 12 & 15mm will be just too wide. I fear they will be. 

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38 minutes ago, ianman said:

Any lens can be used effectively for landscapes.

From 90mm (and above of course)

Loch Roag, Isle of Lewis by Ian Mantripp, on Flickr

to 21mm (and less of course)

Loch Sligachan, Isle of Skye (B863) by Ian Mantripp, on Flickr

If you really want to get a Leica 21mm and don't want to spend as much as the SEM, I can highly recommend the 21mm Elmarit ASPH which, for some reason, seems to be a forgotten lens. It was discontinued a few years ago but can easily be found as a secondhand bargain.

I agree.. i have used longer lenses for landscapes as well. But given budget constraints I need to chose to go either wider like 21mm or more... or go with a longer lens like a 75mm or 90mm. Right now I have 28, 35, and 50mm covered. I'm banking on 50mm being long enough for my needs.

If I go long it will likely be 75mm at most. 

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49 minutes ago, tobey bilek said:

Wides have limited value so I would be careful.   Their value is rendering close objects larger than distant ones as compared to longer focal lengths.  

Using them for scenics will give a wide view,  but objects will appear smaller.  

CV made a 21 4.0 that was reasonably good and inexpensive.  I keep my 21 2.8 pre asph and am happy.

I have never been happy my original 12 & 15 on digital.   No knowledge on “improved” models.

That 21mm f4 VM might be interesting. I will do some research and see.. Thanks

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My wife and I visited several islands in the Azores in May 2016 for a 30th wedding anniversary holiday. I mainly used a 50mm, and occasionally a 24mm.

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1 hour ago, IntrepidTraveller6 said:

I agree.. i have used longer lenses for landscapes as well. But given budget constraints I need to chose to go either wider like 21mm or more... or go with a longer lens like a 75mm or 90mm. Right now I have 28, 35, and 50mm covered. I'm banking on 50mm being long enough for my needs.

If I go long it will likely be 75mm at most. 

More often than not, I'm out with the 28mm Summaron and the 90mm Summicron. I find it's a great combination for landscapes.

If I want to go a bit lighter, I may take the 90mm Tele-Elmarit which, much as the Summaron, can easily slip into a pocket.

I have a 75mm Summilux but use it much at all for landscapes. 

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1 hour ago, ianman said:

More often than not, I'm out with the 28mm Summaron and the 90mm Summicron. I find it's a great combination for landscapes.

If I want to go a bit lighter, I may take the 90mm Tele-Elmarit which, much as the Summaron, can easily slip into a pocket.

I have a 75mm Summilux but use it much at all for landscapes. 

How do you find the frame lines for the 90 vs 75? And which body are you using?

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1 hour ago, Peter Kilmister said:

My wife and I visited several islands in the Azores in May 2016 for a 30th wedding anniversary holiday. I mainly used a 50mm, and occasionally a 24mm.

Which 24mm did you use? 

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5 minutes ago, IntrepidTraveller6 said:

How do you find the frame lines for the 90 vs 75? And which body are you using?

Bodies are M9 and MP.

What do you mean by how do I find the frame lines?  They are mechanically selected when the lens is attached. If you want to see the composition with different frame lines to those currently displayed, just use the frame line selector lever.

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1 minute ago, ianman said:

Bodies are M9 and MP.

What do you mean by how do I find the frame lines?  They are mechanically selected when the lens is attached. If you want to see the composition with different frame lines to those currently displayed, just use the frame line selector lever.

I have an M240. The frame line selector lever was not included on this body. I don't own either focal length so I can't see the frame lines in my camera... only online. 

When looking online to see the comparison the 90mm seems very small and I could see needing either goggles or a viewfinder magnifier to more often nail focus. 

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For city work (Lisbon) you need to be so careful with wider than 24mm (converging verticles). I would think 24 is as wide as you would need on the islands. Stating the obvious, you get hight as well as width which ca be difficult (but not impossible as Ian demonstrates) to fill. All IMHO of course! Whatever you take you can work with.

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8 minutes ago, IntrepidTraveller6 said:

I have an M240. The frame line selector lever was not included on this body. I don't own either focal length so I can't see the frame lines in my camera... only online. 

When looking online to see the comparison the 90mm seems very small and I could see needing either goggles or a viewfinder magnifier to more often nail focus. 

Oh well, nobody ever uses the frame line selector, it's a relic from the past... or so I'm told 🙄 

Can't LiveView help you with either of those issues? 

I have used a magnifier with the 90mm but probably not for landscapes where I'm likely to focus at infinity.

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1 hour ago, IntrepidTraveller6 said:

Which 24mm did you use? 

Elmar-M f/1:3.8 which is an excellent lens.

Enjoy your trip. Terceira and Faial were our favourite islands.

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4 hours ago, IntrepidTraveller6 said:

[...] My other option would be the Leica 21mm f3.4 SEM... which I hear is an excellent lens but would require me to sell some gear fast to afford it.

I have both SEM and Elmarit 21/2.8 asph, also CV 21/4 and 21/3.5 VM lenses. My favorite is the SEM but the VM 21/3.5 come close. It doesn't suffer from significant color shifts at edges and corners on the M240 so it is the lens i would choose if i were in your shoes. Beware that it exhibits some CA though but it can be fixed with modern raw converters.  For a short comparo with the CV 21/4 on M240, see here.

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21 minutes ago, lct said:

I have both SEM and Elmarit 21/2.8 asph, also CV 21/4 and 21/3.5 VM lenses. My favorite is the SEM but the VM 21/3.5 come close. It doesn't suffer from significant color shifts at edges and corners on the M240 so it is the lens i would choose if i were in your shoes. Beware that it exhibits some CA though but it can be fixed with modern raw converters.  For a short comparo with the CV 21/4 on M240, see here.

Thanks that is very helpful. 

I'm surprised at the amount of Italian flag on the 21 f4. I thought that type of issue was only found on the M9 bodies. Something to do with the distance between the lens and sensor being too close. 

Have you found the 21/3.5 to be prone to flare?  

And I think the SEM would be my dream wide angle. Having already bought the M240 and 35 Cron this year I do not think I can afford it... especially if my wife knew the prices!

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An option you might not have considered instead of using an ultra-wide and fighting minimised subjects, key-stoning, Italian flag, and vignetting is to 'pattern' shoot with your 35 Summicron stopped down and stitch when you get back to base.  It pays to set exposure manually to avoid light and dark areas caused by autoexposure variations.

Pete.

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