Contax 21mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon T* for G1/2 35mm Primes

21mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss Biogon T* for G1/2

User Reviews (18)

Showing 1-10 of 18  
kingkong   Professional [Aug 14, 2010]
Strength:

Minimal wide-angle distortion and faithful colour rendition is the hallmark of Biogon design from Carl Zeiss.

Weakness:

No optional lens-hood is supplied.

I still have owned this wonderful Contax 21mm ultra-wide G lens now since the production of G2. The excellent optical quality, well-built lens body and external optical view-finder make a perfect combination of modern and classic in technology and craft. A good choice for snap shots both in city and in travel photography by using films.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Yamanomichi   Expert [Apr 10, 2004]
Strength:

Color saturation Sharpness almost no distorsion crossmark in the viewfinder helps to adjust the camera properly

Weakness:

Pronounced vignetting even if stopped down Relatively poor viewfinder coverage

I was 19 years old when I purchased my first super wide angle lens, the Sigma 21/2.8, for my Canon A1. I always loved the extreme perspective of such a lens, but once working with my father´s Leicaflex SL and the Elmarit 19/2.8, I had to learn what is really possible in terms of CA correction, resistance to flare and overall sharpness. Thus, my decision was clear that, after my A1 became unreliable, the wide angle sector should be covered at the highest possible quality in my new gear. To do so, I decided to go for a new SLR for the focal lengths of 50mm upwards and to get hands on a used G2 and some nice T*-coated Zeiss optics (first the 28, 45 and 90mm). All the glowing reports here about the quality of the Biogon 21/2.8 forced me to look for a good offer, and finally, I succeded to obtain this fine lens at a reasonable price. Please forgive me, if I do not repeat everything positive that has been reported about this lens and what I fully agree on. After about 9 Months with this lens, I can say that it is indeed pretty sharp and very rich in contrast. Nonetheless, fine details are even better rendered by the 28/2.8, but flare suppression and color saturation are on par in both Biogon both lenses. Both Biogons exhibit an enormous resolution capability even wide open. Stopping down to 5.6 slightly improves the sharpness in the center and the edges gain more than 80% of maximal resolution. At f8 to f16, the edges still improve a little bit, but, as expected, the image contrast starts to decrease at f11 and f16. Taking mostly slides, the coverage of the external viewfinder (which is quite comfortable in all other aspects) is actually actually a little bit disappointing. If image composition has to be done very faithfully in critical situations (e.g. for composing architecture photography with slide material), the final image margin will be a guess... Likewise, slide material is more sensitive to vignetting. Unlike the Distagon or most other extreme retrofocal 21mm constructions for SLR cameras, the Cos-4 law of natural vignetting is not corrected in the Biogon construction. This gives you the advantage of low distortion at the cost of more pronounced vignetting even at higher f stops. Taken together, my feeling is that the Biogon 21/2.8 is a wonderful lens which shows all the best which can be implemented in a lightweight yet fast rangefinder super wide angle. I like both Biogon lenses, the 21/2.8 and the 28/2.8 and don´t want to miss any of both in my bag. Having the external viewfinder always mounted, I can always compare the 21mm and 28mm view in a second and decide which lens is more suitable in a given situation. Again, I would like to point out that my critical remarks on this lens are easily counterweighted by the wonderful optical performance. Thus, my voting reflects the overall impression about this fine lens. If I had to pay the list price, my voting for the value would be only 4 stars.

Customer Service

not needed so far

Similar Products Used: Biogon 28/2.8 Canon EF 28/2.8 Sigma for Canon FD 21/2.8 Leica Elmarit R 19/2.8 (MK-I)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Galindez   Intermediate [Apr 16, 2003]
Strength:

Very sharp Low to no distortion Offers a wonderful perspective Rich color saturation

Weakness:

none

Let me start by saying that I have never been a great fan of wide angle lens. The widest lens I would use is a 50 mm or at times a 35mm lens. However I was looking to purchase a wide angle lens for my Contax G2 system and I waivered about which lens to purchace (21mm, 28mm or 35mm). I didn't like the idea of buying the 35 mm lens since I already owned the 45mm Planar and I didn't want to buy the 21mm because I though it would be to wide for my taste. Furthermore, the idea of using an additional viewfinder was not appealing. However after reading the reviews given by others I purchaced the 21mm Biogon. Let me tell you that I fell in love with this lens. This is probably the best lens in the G2 camera line. I'd go as far as tell you that you haven't seen the full potential of your Contax G2 camera if you don't own this lens. It is very sharp, with minimal distortion, and the persective it offers is wounderful. This is the lens that now stays on my G2 at all times. By the way the optional viewfinder for this lens is brighter than the camera own viewfinder making it a joy to use. If you are like me and aren't sure which of the three wide angle lenses to buy, buy the 21mm Biogon you will best the day you did.

Customer Service

not used

Similar Products Used: Nikon 35mm/1.4 Nikon 28mm Contax 45mm Planr
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
sgeffen   Intermediate [Mar 18, 2003]
Strength:

See above. Especially the fact that the lens is distorion free makes it a great lens.

Weakness:

The additional viewfinder is not very handy.

This is the best lens in my outfit! It is really sharp, perfect color saturation and distortion free! When I see the results of this lens, I'm impressed every time! This is THE lens for all wide angle fans!

Customer Service

No idea.

Similar Products Used: G2 with 28mm/35mm/45mm/90mm RX with 25mm, 50/1.4mm, 135/2.8mm
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Outdoor Photographer   Expert [Feb 10, 2003]
Strength:

Sharp Sharp Sharp, at all apetures. The optical finder is much nicer than the Leica finder. Price, man is it cheap!

Weakness:

Learn how to use the focus on the G2. I've read and seen many complaints about focus with G2's and did experiense problems at first but in the last 40 rolls I've shot I've had less incorrectly focused then what I get with my Canon EOS 5

I have for sometime worked in a camera shop and have had the luck to try out basically any camera system that I please. I am writing this review for one simple reason. Because after all my trials with Leica, with Bessa, as well as with various SLR's eg Canon, Nikon and Minolta, I have come to the conclusion that this is the best wide angle lens on the market. Compared to my Canon EF 17-35 f2.8L it makes the Canon look like a cheap heap of junk. The colour the contrast the shadow detail and the saturation are all beyond belief. This is the sharpest lens I own and 21mm is a beautiful focal length.

Customer Service

Haven't needed it, but here in Australia the Contax agent seems really good

Similar Products Used: Leica M21, Canon EF14mm, Canon EF20mm, Canon EF17-35, EF16-35, Hell I tried everything!
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Clive Hickman   Intermediate [Jan 14, 2003]
Strength:

Sheer quality in all areas.

Weakness:

Need to use a separate viewfinder.

I shoot mainly slides with my Contax G system and am pleased with the results which can be summed up in one word: perfect. The absense of distortion and the deep contrast add up to stunning photographs especially when projected onto a 60x60 screen through a Leitz Colorplan projection lens. The only complaint I have is the need to use an accessory viewfinder but then we all need to slow down a little and enjoy both the preparation for taking a photograph as much as seeing the final results. These Zeiss lenses are probably the best value out there being about one quarter of the price of the Leica counterparts and as good if not better in each focal length. Now if Contax would release a G2M (manual) camera that would be something. . .

Customer Service

Don't know.

Similar Products Used: All the G lenses except the 16mm and the zoom, 24-85mm Sonnar for Contax N series, Nikkors of various focal lengths.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
lofan   Intermediate [Mar 10, 2002]
Strength:

sharp, clean, low distortion, good color

Weakness:

I hope the internal view finder can support this lens, why? well, I just dropped the external view finder to the ground two days ago, it''s slightly damaged, not on the lens sides, but I am still unhappy with that!

I just have 3 lenses to compare with this one: 1. Nikkor 20mm F2.8D 2. Contax G-mount 28mm 3. COntax N-mount 24-85 Color & sharpness: This lens produces color better than the Nikon one and the N mount 24-85. It''s sharp and clean! The pleasing color cannot be found on the Nikon 20mm. (remarks: the Nikon 20 is not bad at all, I liked using it a lot when I was still a Nikonian!) Distortion: Very well controlled, better than Nikon 20, and even better than the 24-side of the 24-85!!! Sounds a bit strange? The G mount 28 is also good, but when I am going to outdoor to shoot, now I think 28mm is not wide enough for quite some of the scenery I would like to shoot. So I seldom use the 28mm now after buying this one. But when I need to work with the flash, I will still use the 28mm instead.

Customer Service

Not yet

Similar Products Used: Same range: Nikon 20mm Same series wide: G mount 28mm Same brand similar range: N mount 24-85
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Fred Rupert   Expert [Nov 08, 2001]
Strength:

Sharpness, color, contrast, small size.

Weakness:

The rear element sticks far out, and although it is protected by tabs surrounding it, it still pays to be careful. I wish Contax provided a hood for it.

This is a really superior wide angle. I have consistently been impressed with the appearance of the pictures from this lens--they have excellent color rendition, wonderful detail, and superior contrast. You couldn''t ask for a better lens. It is extraorinarily resistant to flare, even with shots where the sun is in the frame.

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used: Nikkor wide angles.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Andy Whysall   Expert [Oct 06, 2001]
Strength:

See above

Weakness:

While the design as is works as a pseudo lens hood, it''s not protected from knocks. I made a hood for mine, incorporating a cut-out for the focussing mech to look through.

The only reason I am hanging on to my G1 is the 21mm lens. It is the best wide angle I have ever used. Some reviewers here speak of slight vinetting: I have experienced none of that. It''s sharp as a razor down to f11, and the colour correction is unbelieveable. I find it almost impossible to get this lens to flare out of control (and I have tried). It''s a great lens to use all day every day with the focus set to a hyperfocal distance (G1 users: mould yourself a plastic cover for the focussing wheel to stop it moving from your set distance as it rubs against clothes and what-have-you - but use a sticky pad and don''t attach it with glue if your camera''s still under warranty!!!)

Customer Service

Not needed.

Similar Products Used: Nikon 21mm, Olympus ultra-wides.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Henrik Rundgren   Professional [Aug 09, 2000]
Strength:

Sharpness
Lightweight
Lack of vignetting
Lack of distortion

Weakness:

None

Excellent lens. No real shortcomings.
A pure pleasure lens.
Not too expensive when compared to rivals...

Customer Service

Don't know

Similar Products Used: Nikkor 20mm2.8
Zeiss 18mm4
Tokina 17mm3.5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 18  

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