This is a record of using the wide-angle lens for Contarex, Biogon 21mm F4.5, with a digital camera.

able of contents

<ギャラリー / Photo example from LEICA M9 / EPSON R-D1>

This lens was used at the end of my personal M/L lens gourmet career.
This lens was originally designed for Contalex cameras, but was sold with a Leica M rangefinder non-linked mount adapter, and can still be found sold in this form as of 2023.
As mentioned above, the mount is not interlocked with the rangefinder, so when used with a rangefinder camera, the photographer has to take pictures by eye. This would not be a problem at all with modern mirrorless cameras.
When used with a film camera, there is no problem, but when used with the M9’s 35mm full-size CCD sensor, peripheral light attenuation occurs, and depending on the sunlight conditions, a color cast may appear in the periphery.
The R-D1/M8/M8.2 has a smaller sensor, which mitigates the aforementioned negatives to a large extent.
Film cameras and monochrome cameras do not have the above problems.
The lens by itself can only get as close as 0.9m, making it less applicable for photography, but with Sony mirrorless cameras, the auxiliary helicoid can be used to get even closer, eliminating this drawback.
A lens guard is attached to the rear of the lens, but since it seemed to interfere with the metering sensor, and since it is mentally unpleasant to have protrusions inside the camera, the guard at the rear end of the lens was removed. This lens guard is screwed on, so it can be easily removed by loosening the screw with a precision screwdriver. If you do not remove the lens from the camera outside, and if you wear a deep-bottomed rear cap when storing the lens, you should have no problem operating the lens without this guard.
This is a common phenomenon with wide-angle lenses with symmetrical optics, which also occurs with the CONTAX-G BIOGON 21mm and RUSSAR 20mm lenses.
The gallery is only open aperture, but the sharpness of the center portion of the image is so resolved that it is hard to believe that this is an older lens.
I think the description of the lens as “icy” is accurate.

Wide-angle lens for Contarex released in 1958.
The lens uses symmetrical optics, which makes the rear element closer to the film plane.
There is a bayonet-type 21mm-35mm dual-purpose metal hood.

focal length(mm)21
Maximum aperture4.5
Minimum aperture22
Lens configuration8elements 5groups
Leaf blade8
Minimum distance3(feet)0.91m
Lens length(mm)35Distance form M mount frange
Lens max diameter(mm)55
Filter diameter(mm)49
Weight(g)271Lens only
Release date1958
List price(Yen)

Reference links


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