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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Voigtländer Top 3 !
Old 11-01-2013   #1
Bille
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Voigtländer Top 3 !

From your opinion, what are the top three CV lenses in M / LTM mount? And why?

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Old 11-01-2013   #2
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I'd have to rate the CV lens I've had the longest as tops for me. The 35 mm f2.5 Pancake Colour Skopar has been so versatile and pleasing either on a LTM Leica, M6 or my GXR. I've never had a Summicron that was any better to be quite honest. Second would be the 15 mm Super Wide Heliar, early version, for its amazing compactness and lack of distortion. Third would be the 40 mm 1.4 Nokton for its excellent low-light capability and, again, compactness. All three lenses have been used a lot and travelled widely but are in great condition with nary a scratch on them. I must have six or seven CV lenses and given my experience with them, can't see any point in paying more. Cheers...Tony W
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Old 11-01-2013   #3
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The ones that I really like shooting are 50/1.5 LTM, 28/3.5 LTM and 75/2.5 LTM.
The ones that I am ever so grateful to CV as I have no alternatives for my budget at that focal length are 15/4.5 version I, 50/1.1 and 75/2.5.
A special one and probably a top lens in absolute terms is 50/3.5 Heliar.

I did not really like the 35/2.5, but I know I am a minority.

21/4 is my wide in nikon RF mount and is also a good lens.
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Old 11-01-2013   #4
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I've done a fair amount of shooting this past year with 21/4.0 VC-M-mount and have been impressed with the images produced. Very compact to make a nice package with my M8. All my other lenses are Leicas, mostly Asph.
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Old 11-01-2013   #5
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The three that I love are the Ultron 28/1.9 ASPH, Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH, and Heliar 75/2.5 LTM lens. I have experience fantastic results when using these lenses with both film and digital. The only one that I sold was the 75/2.5 when I picked up a 75 cron and to be honest I wished I kept it.
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Old 11-01-2013   #6
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1.) Snapshot Skopar 4/25 -- very extra excellent lens, and it taught me about the joy and ease of zone focusing.
2.) Super Wide Heliar 4,5/15 (I have the M-mount version with a filter thread) -- very fine lens allowing spectacular images.
3.) Ultron 2/28 -- very good and fast lens, and I like the 28mm focal length a lot.
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Old 11-01-2013   #7
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It seems like the 15mm needs to be in the list just because of what it does that nothing else I can afford does, but one of my favorite lenses of all time is the 28/1.9, because of the smooth, creamy glow it has wide open.

I have/had a bunch of the others, but none stand out as much as those two.
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Old 11-04-2013   #8
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35/1.7 Ultron - for the week I had it, I just loved the way it rendered and felt in the hand. But it wasn't focusing properly on my M9, and couldn't be calibrated, so back it went to the shop. I liked the way it rendered more than the 35/1.4, and it was much easier to focus than the 35/1.2 v1.

50/3.5 collapsible Heliar. I have one of the limited nickel versions, and it has the perfect balance of modern high resolution and organic rendering. Portraits are just gorgeous and the bokeh is smooth and soft. Money from the 35 Ultron exchange went to the Heliar.

15/4.5 - it's such a cool lens, and becomes a 22.5mm lens on the GXR-M. It's my go-to wide angle for the Ricoh, moreso than the native A12 28 module.
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Old 11-04-2013   #9
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do they make a bad RF lens?
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Old 11-04-2013   #10
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Everyone I have tried have been worth owning but these are my favorites;

Color Skopar 35/2.5
Color Heliar 50/3.5
Nokton 50/1.1
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25/4 Snapshot, 35/25 & 50/2.5
Old 11-04-2013   #11
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25/4 Snapshot, 35/25 & 50/2.5

Without a doubt: the 25mm f/4.0 Snapshot Skopar - okay, it's zone/click-scale focused but the images are AMAZING! The 35mm f/2.5 and 50mm f2/5 LTM are also excellent - and not with any condescending "for their aperture" or "for the price". The LTM 35 is at least as good, if not better than, the 35/f1.7 Ultron, and "tiny" by comparison. I use both in the S-mount as well. But of the three, the Snapshot 25 is the best. - alfredian
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Old 11-04-2013   #12
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The one that sits on my "R" is the 35/2.5 color skopar mc, there is very little distortion in the finals, the next is the 50/1.5, nokton silver, oh this is a pleasure to use, nice feel and for the close in moment, or that quick action shot it was there, portrait i find this to one i use the most, unless iam at the m/f cameras, then there is the 25/4 snap shot, you set it up max distant, f4 and all is well, having the little finder on the top of the "R" shows just how much is there.
None have let me down.
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Old 11-04-2013   #13
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* Nokton 50 1.1 - I love the results I get out of it and there just isn't another option affordable to me.
* Color Skopar 21 4 - great small lens that simply does what I need. I'm not a wide angle shooter but gave the lens a try after coming across a cheap one. I fell for it quickly.
* Lanthar 90mm 3.5 - another lens which just gets it done at a solid price. Canon 100mm 3.5 is the close but I get the sense the VC lens is a bit better. I should do a comparison between mine at some point.

Honestly though, I could throw half their lenses in to this list. Lots of unique options. The 50 3.5 is close but the Konica 50 2.4 provides solid competition. Similarly, the Nokton 35 1.4 is very good but I can't decide if I prefer its speed or the Biogons rendering.
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Old 11-05-2013   #14
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I can only speak of the ones I have used. Of these I would say the following have top billing.

(drum roll)

Number one is the Nokton 40mm f1.4 MC. This little lens is small and sharp with nice bokeh. A lovely little lens, its rendering is sweet.



Fiefy by yoyomaoz, on Flickr

Number two is the Heliar 75mm f1.8. Physically, its a little too long to be comfortable in my view but the focal length really suits me and it has the benefit of considerable sharpness and again, very nice bokeh


Church by yoyomaoz, on Flickr

It functions well as a lens for longer landscape shots too.


Victoria Harbour - old and new by yoyomaoz, on Flickr

Finally the Ultron 28mm f2. I bought this lens when I sold my 35mm V4 Summicron because I was not using it enough and liked the price I could get for it. The 28mm was a little wider (useful on a cropped lens camera) and a quarter of the price. Perfect. And again its sharp. To be honest I don't use this as much as I should as I am mainly a shooter who tends towards longer lenses but I would say its top notch so I keep it for when I need something wider.


Brisbane - by the Storey Bridge by yoyomaoz, on Flickr

I have some others including the 50mm f.1. and I have read of the virtues of many other Voigtlander lenses so I understand that others will have just as good alternative choices and be able to cite excellent reasons why their choices trump mine.
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Old 11-05-2013   #15
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Of the ones I've used, my absolute favourite is the 21/4 M. It's small, light, well-built and sharp at all apertures.

Second would go to the 15/4.5 M for reasons already mentioned. Great bang for buck, and small/light enough to carry everywhere even if only used sparingly.

Only had a few hours with a 75/2.5 and it was a joy to use and I liked the rendering - slight hint of 'classic' but still sharp. Can't believe I didn't buy one when they were really cheap.

Funnily enough the only VC lens I didn't like was the 40/1.4. Awful bokeh and weird artifacting wide open (my version anyway).

Want to try the new 50 :-)
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Old 11-05-2013   #16
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21/1.8 for beating the 21 summilux
35/1.2 for being unique and good
50/1.5 (latest) for being good&affordable

all 3 are top performers
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Old 11-05-2013   #17
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Best for what? They're all good. But they have different applications. That's why they make different focal lengths and speeds... I have or have had 21/4, 28/1.9, 35/2.5, 35/1.7, 50/1,5, 50/2, 50/2.5, 75/2.5 and 90/3.5. The only reason they don't see more use is that I often want more speed; except in the case of the Nokton where I prefer the look I get from the C-Sonnar. Oh: and I reviewed the 35/1.2 but decided that it's too big and heavy next to my old pre-aspheric Summilux.

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Old 11-05-2013   #18
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The three I own:

21/4 (LTM)
35/2.5 (M; PII)
50/1.5 (LTM)
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Old 11-05-2013   #19
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From the ones I have used (and I used most of them and all are at least good to very good), but ones that stand out for me (based on the way they draw):

1. 35/1.2 - nothing comes close to this IMO.
2. 50/1.5 ltm - superb lens.
3. 15mm M-mount - great lens, proved my most used for places like Italy.
I think if I had to - these would be the only lenses I would use.
But other lenses like 21/4, 40/1.4 also deserve noting/considering. Original 28/1.9 was very good, just 28mm is not a FL I'm comforable with.
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Old 11-05-2013   #20
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Impossible to pick only 3.
Right now I am using:
CV 21/4 a gem
CV 40/1.4 versatile
Lusting for the new CV 50/1.5 but don't need it.
I could go on and on, so many great lenses.
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Old 11-05-2013   #21
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1) Nokton 35/1.2 1st v.

MORIMUR by mfogiel, on Flickr

2) Color Heliar 75/2.5

20124409 by mfogiel, on Flickr

3) Ultron 28/1.9 ASPH

20097433 by mfogiel, on Flickr
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Old 11-05-2013   #22
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I really like the 75/2.5, but it is an odd focal length for me.
I really look forward to getting the new M Nokton 50/1.4, but I don't have it yet.
The 28/3.5 is very very good, but this is a top three list.

Mine are:
1) LTM 21/4, simple, unique and affordable
2) 35/1.7 Ultron, I like it better than the 35 Summicrons
3) 35/1.2 Nokton V1, a classic I think, If I had to have just one....
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Old 11-05-2013   #23
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I have certain favourites that tend to go along when I go out. The Nokton 35mm f1.4 SC - has replaced my late version Summilux 35. Always deliver what I want.
The Color Skopar 28f3.5 because it gives me the best place/white negs - something about this lens gives really good blacks - and it is small.
The Nokton 50mm f1,5 - just because it is a superb medium speed 50mm - and the chrome M-version elicits more comments about its look than any other lens."Wow - that lens is drop dead gorgeous!" The black version is a bit lighter - but the chrome one is the only lens that rivals the 1st generation Summilux 50f1.4 with the crackle finished hood for looks - and it is a vastly improved performer too.
Those are my main three lenses, but they are all astounding performers when you put them on.
I like the 35f1.7 but I have problem with the egonomics of it - difficult to handle the aperture ring.
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Old 11-05-2013   #24
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Only two for me: the Color-Skopar 50/2.5 - great lens in a compact package (I wish I still had it!), and the Color Skopar 35/2.5 - fantastic lens for the price - I was pleasantly surprised by the ergonomics and the optical crispness. Would love to try the 35/1.2 just to see how it handles.
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Old 11-05-2013   #25
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Color-Skopar Collection

4/21mm
2.5/35mm
2.5/50mm

What is not to love?
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Old 11-05-2013   #26
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Out of what I've used...

28mm 3.5
35mm 2.5
50mm f/2 Heliar

For perspective, I've used (other than my top 3):

21mm f/4
25mm f/4
28mm f/2
35mm 1.4
40mm 1.4
50mm 1.1
50mm 1.5
50mm 2.5
50mm 3.5
75mm 2.5
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Old 11-05-2013   #27
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All kinds of polls / surveys like this tend to be full of the most popular lenses. How many of the people in this thread have extensively used a majority of the Voigtlander lenses out there? I've only owned 5, but here are my top 3 FWIW:

40/1.4: I miss this lens and loved it on the R3a. By f2.0 it got sharp enough for me and I actually liked the bokeh.
21/4 (ltm): Tiny, inexpensive, good image quality. What's not to love?
15/4.5: Great fun on the R-D1 despite the corner issues. Good on film too, but a bit wide for general use.

Other's I've used:
28/1.9 Ultron: Flared in horrible ways. Very nice to use otherwise.
25/4 snapshot (ltm): Good lens, but I like the 21mm focal length better.
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Old 11-05-2013   #28
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I own/have owned:
15/4.5 LTM
21/4 M
50/1.5 LTM (sold it and replaced with...)
50/1.5 M
75/1.8

And I briefly owned a 50/2 collapsible, but it was manufactured incorrectly, in that it brought up the 35mm framelines, so I sent it back. I didn't really like the collapsing mechanism, but I've since gotten a Leica 50/2.8 from 1997 and I like it, so maybe my opinion on collapsing lenses changed.

My rankings would be:
1: 50/1.5 M
2: 75/1.8
3: 50/1.5 LTM

I really like the 21 and 15, but I don't use them all that often. The 50/1.5 LTM close focus limitation really bugged me, enough to get the 50/1.5 M, but I never had a problem with the results or the mechanical build.

I have a Leica 24/2.8, and I may get the 25/4 M simply because it's about half the volume of the Leica (with hood) and I could fit the 21 and 24 CVs in just about the same space as the 24/2.8. I won't sell the Leica 24/2.8, it's just too good of a lens. I already have Cosina's zoom finder. The 12 looks intriguing, but not unless i find an unexpected and large sack of money somewhere.
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Old 11-05-2013   #29
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if i were to buy (or buy again) my top 3 cv lenses…

the 50/2.5
28/3.5
and the 75/2.5

all small, sharp and well built.
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Old 11-06-2013   #30
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I've had a few Voigtlander lenses and these are my experiences (* I still have the lens):
  1. *12mm - Bizarre. Like a pinhole, fisheye and ultrawide rolled into one..
  2. 21mm - Great for the price, size & weight but too much vignetting for my taste. Upgraded to C Biogon.
  3. *28mm Color-Skopar - Nice little lens but not as crazy about the look as some other people. The way it draws is a bit too technical.
  4. *28mm Ultron f1.9 - Apart from size & weight it's a wonderful lens with a great look and very sharp from f4.
  5. 35mm Color Skopar - Too contrasty for b&w. Not particularly solid compared to the 28mm & 50mm Skopars.
  6. 35mm Ultron - Had two of them. Silver one was very good, black one had some flare. Voightlander's QC isn't perfect.
  7. 35mm Nokton - Great lens but too big. Ended up swapping for 28mm M-Hexanon, which is superb.
  8. *50mm Color-Skopar - Totally underrated lens and not far from a Planar or 'Cron performance-wise. Lovely handling.
  9. 50mm Heliar f2 - Quite a lot of focus shift. Strange handling. Doesn't collapse much.
  10. *75mm Heliar f2.5 - Wonderful lens and my only RF tele.
My three favourites are 4, 8 & 10.
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Old 11-06-2013   #31
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Like most of the folks who've already posted, I REALLY like the VC lens lineup.

I currently have:

21mm f/1.8 Ultron
28mm f/2 Ultron
35mm f/1.2 Nokton v1
50mm f/1.1 Nokton
75mm f/1.8 Heliar

I've had the 35 mm f/1.7 Ultron and the 50mm f/1.5 Nokton as well.

Its tough to pick favorites. I like large aperture glass. If I had to pick three though, it'd probably be the 35mm f/1.2, the 50mm f/1.1, and the 75mm f/1.8.
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Old 11-06-2013   #32
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My top two CV lenses (for I own only two and have tries no others) are the 35mm f2.5 PII and the LTM 21mm f4 and I'm real happy with both. The 35 f2.5 has the edge.
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Old 11-07-2013   #33
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

I quickly counted ...
10 votes for 50/1.5 M or LTM
9 votes for 21/4
9 votes for 35/2.5

6 votes for 75/2.5
5 votes for 50/2.5
and 5 votes for 35/1.2

I think every CV lens was mentioned at least once, except the 12mm.
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Old 11-08-2013   #34
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35/1.4
50/1.1
15/4.5 Mk2

The first two are in no way technically perfect lenses, but the images they produce are full of character. The 35mm is impressively compact and bright.

The 15mm is a fantastic all-round lens.

I also own the 21/4, 25/4, 90/3.5 and 40/1.4

I'd love to try out the 50/1.5, 35/1.2 and 21/1.8 tho.
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Old 11-08-2013   #35
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Cosina's lens design team reached a new level of competency with their newer lenses.

Here's my selection:

21/1.8
35/1.2 version II

I like the 75/2.5 too. Great lens. Wish they made a newer version.
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Old 11-10-2013   #36
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I carry 4 of them, which I guess I'd list in this order:
35mm f/1.4 Nokton (best build, wonderful all around performer)
28mm f/3.5 Color Skopar (the most used)
75mm f/2.5 Heliar (second most used)
21mm f/4 Color Skopar (my first CV lens)

With these I have either the 40mm Summicron-C or 50mm DR Summicron (or the Nikkor SC 5 cm F 1.4 LTM or the Canon 50mm f1.5 LTM), and often the Elmar-C 90mm f/4, a perennially underrated lens. If I'm keeping it light, the CV 28mm and 75mm, with one of the standards, will do me just fine.
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Old 11-10-2013   #37
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I only have 3:

21mm f4 Color Skopar VM
35mm f1.7 Ultron Ltm
50mm f1.5 Nokton ltm
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Old 11-10-2013   #38
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Tough to choose...

The most used lens is the Nokton 40mm.
The one which impressed me most in terms of IQ is the Ultron 21mm.
The one which gives me the most fun is the Snapshot-Skopar 25mm.

whisper: (and the secret gem is the Heliar 50/3,5)
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Old 11-10-2013   #39
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I find it so awesome that so many people like the 2.5/35
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Old 11-17-2013   #40
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21mm f/4 SM, 15mm SM, 28mm f/1.9 and....

25mm S mount for my Contax RF!
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If RD, IIIf RD M3-Mot M4-P Contax IIa BD Nikon SP 2005
Cambo 23F 6x9, Olympus OM, Pentax M42, 6x6 & 6x7

De Oppresso Liber
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