Should I sell my Voigtlander Color Skopar 21/4 and get a Voigtlander 15/4.5

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by justin_ng|1, Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Should I sell my Voigtlander Color Skopar 21/4 and get a Voigtlander 15/4.5

    I live in Hong Kong, where there's a lot of people on the streets. It's dense but has a lot of details, so should I go with a 15 or a fisheye? A 12mm is a bit too expensive for me. If you recommend a 12mm, I will need to sell my canon 50/1.2 and my Voigtlander 21/4

    I really want to sell my canon 50/1.2 LTM, message me if you are interested [​IMG]
  2. You really want to add that much distortion to your people/street shots? The 15 will force you to get in really close and the sides are going to look really stretched and distorted, whatever is "there", be it people or something else.

    I can understand the 15mm as a travel, landscape, architecture, astrophotography lens, but street shooting and people?

    This is how I see the lens being useful..
  3. SCL


    I owned the 15/4.5 for a couple of years after PNetter photographer Al Kaplan shared his works and enthusiasm for it for months on end. Distortion, of course was gigantic, but occasionally produced some good shots. A much better lens for landscape than for people, IMHO. I haven't owned the 21/4, but have owned a Nikon 20 for years (and occasionally use it on my Leica bodies in a pinch with range focusing). It is a terrific focal length for architectural work where I live, but IMHO not a particularly good people lens. Personally I find that (for FF bodies/Leicas) a 35/70 combination does a great job.
  4. The Voigtlanders don't distort much - in fact some of them have virtually none. However, what Greg and SCL mean obviously is that apparent perspective will be stretched too much, which is very true. You'd have to be pretty close to your subject. I wonder if all those details that you mentioned will be lost with such a wide AOV?

    Wide lenses have to be treated quite carefully, but when it's appropriate to use them, and you use them carefully, they can be very effective. They're great at creating drama if you're good at getting really close to one significant element in the scene.

    What I don't like personally is a shot that betrays its lens, if that makes sense. A good wide-angle photo will never obviously convey the focal length used to take it. It's especially true in motion pictures: wide angles can make a shot look cheap, so tread carefully.
  5. I do own a 15mm and the Zeiss 21mm. I honestly suck at shooting (just) other people with the 15mm. + Optically it doesn't knock my socks off; i.e. my older version seems to demand quite a bit of stopping down further.
    15mm is nice to take environmental arm's length selfies with it or to exaggurate the size of a tiny room once in a while. - So if you are visiting your neighbors to shoot them inside their homes 15mm might be handy in Hong Kong. But from the days when I started out with my M system, I am recalling: I am not comfy with 15mm as my regular widest. That lens is demanding! I fail to get close enough to not feel urged to crop results down to a 21mm FOV when I am attempting reportage like things with it. And for street I'd feel challenged to not point the camera upwards to keep my perspective bearable. Its easier to get away with shooting the 21mm sloppily.

    My suggetion: Earn more & add the 15mm. 21mm feels way (4x?) more essential to me, although I will name the 15mm as a serious choice if somebody forced me to pick one camera & one lens for travel. But again: It would be selfies that I'd attempt with it and while these are unique compared to the common 24 / 28mm FOV ones, they 'll get lame somehow. If an exhibition print is your goal you'd be much better off with the 21mm.
  6. It should not be an "either or" decision, except for economics. If cost is important, I'd suggest keeping the 21.

    15 mm is an extreme wide angle lens. There is a lot of difference between that and a 21 mm lens, or a 21 and 24. It all depends on the width of the scene you wish to capture, or more often, the extent you wish to exaggerate perspective. Technically, this is not distortion, which more correctly applies to curvature of lines parallel to the edges of the frame. Fisheye lenses take this curvature to the extreme, whereas the Voigtlander 15 (21,24 etc.) are nominally "rectilinear."

    They do distort spherical objects in the edges of the field. This is a property of rectilinear lenses rendering 3 dimensional objects. They are stretched into egg shapes. However the distortion goes away if you view the image from a distance proportional to the focal length and the magnification of the image or print. In other words, you would view an 8"x12" print from a distance of 5" (8x magnification).

    I have a 16-35 zoom, in addition to prime lenses in that range, down to 18 mm. I would use a 15 mm lens to capture a night landscape including the milky way, or to exaggerate something in the foreground in a landscape. It would also be useful to capture interiors of rooms, especially this of historical value (e.g., churches and castles). I would not use it as a "walk around" lens. Even a 24 is too short , IMO, for street photography featuring people rather than places.
  7. I'm not sure creating a new term, "volume distortion," helps clarify a phenomenon known since the 19th century. It has been cited countless times, including in "The Camera" by Ansel Adams, without using that term. It's not incorrect, just unnecessary.
  8. Huh, sounds like I should keep my 21 for streets?
  9. Distortion refers to pincushion or barrel. Some telephoto zooms have distortion, but no volume deformation. Different things require different terms. So I do think it helps. It's like happiness vs excitement; or intuition vs instinct: very, very different concepts.

    Justin, yes, I think you don't need to go wider. But if you can borrow wider lenses, give them a try. You might change your mind - but make sure, first. :)
  10. I would say, No. Don't sell any lens. Use what you have. The CV 21/4 is a wonderful lens.
  11. +1. The CV 21/4 is one of my favorites.

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