I got home and flopped onto the couch, regarding my newest folly with apprehension and growing regret. A flipping 21mm lens sat in its box in my lap. A lens some would place into the category as a super-wide, purchased by someone who mainly shoots a 50, and much less often a 28. The deal was a bargain, though, I reassured myself.
We are currently living a very exciting period of time. The lens market has been rencently opened with third party producers that are becoming better and better, often at a very challenging price point. TTArtisan is one of these brands from China. It is aiming at creating high quality lenses for Leica rangefinders cameras. Their first mass produced lens was the TTArtisan 35mm f/1.4 (that I previously reviewed here). They made some very fine glass with this first attempt providing both a modern high contrast optics with somewhat classical gentleness in its rendering. I have been using this lens for a while now and really can find no complaint about this piece of kit. TTArtisan even oftered me a free exchange of the first pre-release version I had for a new final mass production version with the removable hood, which I find to be more reassuring in case the hood would get bent.
This Leica 21mm f/3.4 Super-Angulon is the second bit of kit I’ve borrowed from London Camera Exchange (my local camera shop in Worcester) recently. Gareth, the manager there, asked me recently if I’d like to borrow the odd bit of kit in return for helping to promote the fact that they have quite a lot of used film photography kit in the shop these days. Not one to turn down such a generous offer, I started by picking some fairly expensive kit to try out…
I think of my mate James as slightly eccentric in his choices when it comes to camera equipment. A good example of this eccentricity is the work that he had done to a Leica M3 and Canon 50mm 0.95 “Dream lens”. As well as demonstrating his eccentric nature, that particular combo also nods toward the fact that James likes a fast, or at least faster lens. I’m pretty certain that he’s also slightly more attracted to lower contrast, older lenses, as well as having a penchant for slightly less common equipment. I may be wrong in all of these assumptions, though I suspect that I’m quite likely right, since all of these preferences fit well to the Avenon 21mm f/2.8 super-wide lens.
The MS-Optics 21mm f/4.5 Perar is, without a doubt the smallest lens I’ve ever shot with on a Leica rangefinder. In fact, it’s probably one of the smallest full frame lenses ever made. Yet despite its size, it still focuses, it still has an aperture control and is even rangefinder coupled. On paper, this thing is a feat of genius. The question is, how well does it work in practice?