Ricoh GXR: M-Mount Unit with Zeiss 21mm

Expanding the Equipment | Body with Lens Attached | Some Technical Data | Sample Images | Conclusions | Links

After Ricoh's official announcement of the M-mount expansion unit, I decided to buy one, although I had not intended to do so originally. Here are my first personal experiences with the lenses that I bought (or tried to buy).This page is devoted to the Zeiss Biogon f4.5/21mm lens.


Expanding the Equipment

After I had acquired the M-mount expansion unit in mid-October 2011, I decided to also expand my range of lenses into focal lengths that I already own in the form of A12 camera units. This was caused by the observation that I was too lazy to exchange units. Exchanging lenses only seemed much simpler and also simplifies the equipment that I carry around with me. This decision turned out to become a very expensive one, because both of the Voigtländer lenses that I bought were decentered. So I sent them back (the 35mm lens even twice) and finally bought the equivalent Zeiss Biogon lenses at a much higher cost.

On the M-mount expansion unit, a 21mm lens has an equivalent focal length of 31.5mm and thus, is a bit less wider than a 28mm lens - this may or may not be a problem for you.

Side-Step: My (Temporary) Voigtländer Skopar Pancake Lenses

Photo: Arrived on November 8/17, 2011: Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II 1:2.5/35mm (52.5mm equiv.) -> returned (Nov 14 and Nov 21)   Photo: Arrived on November 16, 2011: Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II 1:4/21mm (31.5mm equiv.) -> returned (Nov 21)

Here is the story of the two Voigtländer lenses, a 35mm and a 21mm pancake lens, that I bought initially: The first sample of the Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II f2.5/35mm was fuzzy at the right edge. I exchanged it for another one that was fuzzy at the left edge, particularly at the lower left corner. Therefore, I decided to return it as well and bought a Zeiss Biogon f2.8/35mm. The first sample Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II f4/21mm was fuzzy at the left edge, for a change. I returned it as well and bought a Zeiss f4.5/21mm Biogon from the same dealer, which was, in the end, a little bit more expensive than even my Zeiss Sonnar f1.5/50mm and is covered here.


Photos: Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II 1:2.5/35mm (left) and Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II 1:4/21mm (right) - click photos for larger versions

All in all, I was less than satisfied with the two Voigtländer Color Skopar Pancake II lenses that I bought. While these lenses got some favorable reviews, you probably need to be very lucky when you take part in the Voigtländer lens lottery. A dealer who should know better (they have 80% of the Voigtländer market) told me that only 0.4% of the Voigtländer are returned, which ia s low as the return rate for Zeiss and Leitz lenses - regrettably mine was 75%! Obviously, I was not lucky. Therefore, with a heavy heart I decided to go for the much more expensive and bulky Zeiss Biogon lenses.

Finally, a Zeiss Lens...

So here is my Zeiss Biogon T* C f4.5/21mm that finally replaced the Voigtländer 21mm pancake lens:


Photos: Arrived on November 32, 2011 as a replacement: Zeiss Biogon T* C f4.5/21mm ZM (black) (31.5mm equiv.)

The Zeiss lens is a little bit slower, heavier, and much more expensive than the respective Voigtländer pancake lens.


Body with Lens Attached

Photo: Body with A12 M-mount expansion unit attached and Zeiss Biogon f4.5/21mm lens


Some Technical Data

Focal length 21mm (31.5mm equiv.)
Angle of view (35mm film) 90° diagonal
Maximum aperture 4.5
f-stop range 4.5-22
Number of iris blades 10
Number of lenses/groups 8/6
Shortest distance 0.5m
Weight 210g (190g)
Length (w/wo cap) 56mm (31mm)
Maximum diameter 53mm
Filter thread 46mm
Lens hood do not have one


Sample Images

Here are a few samples taken with the Zeiss Biogon f4.5/21mm lens:



Disclaimer: I am not a lens expert who sees marked differences between various Leica and/or other lenses. I can check for soft corners, find differences in color rendition, and, in rare cases, may discover a "3D look", but that's all. Please regard therefore my conclusions as the verdict of a "layman".

It is far too early for me to draw any definite conclusions. As far as I can see, the results that my 21mm lens produces with the M-mount expansion unit are very pleasing.



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