Zuiko 21mm f/2.0 Lens & Zuiko 21mm f/3.5 Lens
There are two interesting facts here: During those early days of the early '80, Olympus's Zuiko, along with Leica's Leitz are the only two major 35mm SLR manufacturers that offer an ultra-wideangle lens at 21mm focal length in their lens family. At that time Zeiss's, (selling through the 35mm Contax SLRs which originally has a big missing gap in its focal length) Distagon T* 18mm f4.0 was 'joined" only at a wide difference by the Distagon T* 25mm f2.8. Things improved, however, during the mid-eighties, Contax eventually introduced a Distagon T* 21mm f2.8 after the research centre and manufacturing line shifted over to Japan under the management of Kyocera. Leica had a very early offering with a long discontinued Super Angulon 21mm f/4.0 in R-mount, developed in cooperation with Messrs.Jos.Schneider of Kreuzbach - which remains as the one and ONLY 21mm Leica lens*. Current Leica only lens that is near this focal length is a 19mm f/2.8 Elmarit-R lens.
* Credit: Mr.Jan <email@example.com> for rectified a mistake made in this page.
* Leica does have a few alternatives in this particular focal length BUT only available for the Leica M-mount rangefinder cameras, a 21mm f/2.8 Elmarit, including an old 21mm f4.0 Super Angulon in M-mount. Even the Nikon also has produced a version of 21mm f4.0 which required an external attachment finder for focus and picture composing.
Next interesting issue is, Olympus has two lenses at this specific focal length. A high speed f/2.0 and also an equally impressive f/3.5 21mm lens. Needless to explain more, the speed of f/2.0 is the fastest among any lenses NEAR this focal length of between 19mm to 21mm**.
** Although that was not entirely correctt - because Olympus does have a 20mm lens (Zuiko Macro 20mm f/2.0 or earlier version of Zuiko Macro 20mm f/3.5) but they are only designed specially to use for macrophotography and it needs to work in conjunction with either a Auto Bellow or any other specialized extension tubes such as the unique 65mm-116mm Telescopic Auto Tube or the PM-MTob etc. Since those lenses lens, together with another such two lenses of shorter focal length at 38mm f/2.8 and a older version of 38mm f/3.5 are of similar purpose and design, we will featured them in another section.
Zuiko 21mm F2.0
The first lens in the world of this focal length with a super bright F2.0 aperture, which makes composing, focusing and low-light photography exceptionally easy. Yet despite the fantastic brightness, and equally impressive sharpness, weight is a mere 250 grams. The 21mm remains as one of the status lens for Zuiko and widely considered a classic. One of the few lenses in the Zuiko family that can pull your heartstrings to look into the OM system...
This lens, too, incorporates with a floating element system for improved sharpness from its close 0.2 meter (0.7 ft) minimum focusing distance to infinity. Its extensive depth of field makes it ideal for commercial, news, sports, journalism, travel and industrial work. The extra full stop in its lens speed also holds an distinctive advantage for indoor, stage and available light photograghy.
Weighing the same with the 18mm f3.5 at 250g and has a optical composition of 11 elements arranged in 9 groups, and takes 55mm filters. Due to its relatively large aperture, the lens has an aperture scales of f2.0 to f16, but its depth of field should be more than adequate to cover a generous focused zone.
This lens was not an original Zuiko offering when the OM2 was introduced during the mid-seventies when Olympus had only the lighter and slower G-Zuiko f3.5 AUTO-W version available. In terms of features, this wide-angle lens are much like those of the 18mm f/4.0, but with some important differences. Both are super wide-angle lenses, but the 21mm has a 8° narrower angle of view-92° compared with 100°.
With only a slightly longer focal length than the 18mm and TWO full stop more speed, the 21mm f/2.0 is a lens that is very useful for shooting in tight quarters under poor lighting conditions. A fast f/2.0 maximum aperture also makes viewing and focusing much easier than with the slower f3.5 version. Despite its fast speed and other strong features, the 21mm weighing at merely 250g (As compared with Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f2.8 which weighs a massive 550g !) and with a length of only 44mm (90.5mm for the Zeiss), it remains compact and light weight for utmost portability.
Price reference: List price extracted as at June, year 2000 from a leading camera store in US (street price could be lower): Zuiko 21mm f2.0 USD930-00; Zuiko 21mm f3.5 USD515-00; Comparing brands: Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f2.8 USD1390-00; Minolta MD 20mm f2.8 USD420-00; Canon EF20mm f2.8 USD399-00; Nikon AIS 20mm f2.8 USD479-00; AF-D 20mm f2.8 USD399-00
Focal length: 21mm
Aperture ratio: 1:2.0
Lens construction: 9 groups, 11 elements
Angles of view: Diagonal: 92° * More info on "Picture Angle".
Distance scale: (m) 0.20 to infinity (OO)
Minimum and Maximum aperture: f/16-f2.0
Fllter size: 55mm
Weight: 250g (8.8 oz)
Recommended Focusing Screens: 1:1*, 1:2**, 1:3*, 1:4*, 1:5#, 1:10*, 1:13*, 1:14*
* Compatible. Focusing and exposure accuracy remains. ** Compatible, Focusing and exposure accuracy remains intact but microprism, corners of the screen and split image may darken. # Can be used, they provide accurate focusing but exposure error may occur in manual mode for OM1 and OM2 series models.
The Zuiko 21mm f3.5 is a more economical alternative to the fast lens of f/2.0 counterpart. Packing some features of lightweight and ultra compact size and equally uncompromising optical quality, the last thing could be its more affordable pricing (although Zuiko at this focal length does not relatively reflect very competitive price structure for these two lenses when compared with other lens manufacturers).
Anyway, at this focal length, both of these lenses could actually portrays a feel of the exciting world of ultra-wideangle photography.
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Zuiko 21mm F3.5
Main technical highlight is, it is incredibly tiny for a lens of this class, and with a relatively modest 7-element in 7-group' construction that helps minimize ghost images and flare. Takes a standard 49mm filter size for added convenience in use. Resolution and contrast meet impeccable OM standards.
Both the older G Zuiko AUTO-W 21mm f/3.5 and the newer series share similar optical construction and weighs similarly at 185g (6.5oz) and at a length of only 31mm. It is an easy lens to carry and use. Its light weight and compact design and its deep depth of field allows you to shoot without even looking through the finder and enable you to handle many photographic assignments with ease.
An old but still very useful technique that most news photographer and photojournalists use with the 21mm lens is, first select the aperture and shutter speed combination that will give good exposure and at the same time prevents the effects of camera shake. The distance setting should provide sufficient depth of field, covering the range over which you expect the action to take place. You can either literally shoot from the hip without raising the camera, or quickly bring the camera to your eye and shoot without focusing. The wide angle of coverage will help overcome lack of precise framing of the shot.
This is very often used by those seasoned news photographers and a very practical use in covering fast pace actions, events or happening close by without having the time to focus and composing shots.
Older Version: G Zuiko AUTO-W 21mm f/3.5
Newer Version: Zuiko 21mm f/3.5
Focal length: 21mm
Aperture ratio: 1:3.5
Lens construction: 7 groups, 7 elements
Angles of view: Diagonal: 92°
Distance scale: (m) 0.20 to infinity (OO)
Minimum and Maximum aperture: f/16-f3.5
Filter size: 49mm
Weight: 185g (6.5 oz)
Recommended Focusing Screens: 1:1*, 1:2**, 1:3*, 1:4*, 1:5#, 1:10*, 1:13*, 1:14* * Compatible. Focusing and exposure accuracy remains. ** Compatible, Focusing and exposure accuracy remains intact but microprism, corners of the screen and split image may darken. # Can be used, they provide accurate focusing but exposure error may occur in manual mode for OM1 and OM2 series models.
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