Battle of the 24mm’s

Sometimes a scene warrants a wide-angle shot so which ‘vintage’ film point and shoot provides the best quality?  This is a question that has been burning up the internet like an asbestos glove.  The three cameras compared here are ones that I happen to have. There may be others out there, as well as wider ones.  The Freedom Vista is strictly panoramic while the Ricoh R1 can be modified to work as a full frame 24mm lens but there are reasons that may not be worth it.  I will cover that later.  The Pentax 24EW though can shoot a full 35mm frame at 24mm not just a panoramic. As for the speed of the different lenses at 24mm the Pentax is f4.9 the Minolta f4.5 and the Ricoh f8.

24mm_camera_comparison

All three provide a reasonable image at the center of the frame but its a different story near the edge, that’s what separates them.

So looking at the edges of the frames you can see that the Pentax performs the best followed by the Minolta and then the Ricoh

24mm_edge_comparison

So it’s the Pentax 24EW for the optical gold medal but it doesn’t end there as I said before the 24EW isn’t limited to panoramic mode but produces decent 24mm full frame images

May_2012_Pentax24EW_024

Earlier I mentioned that the R1 can be modified to take full 35mm film images.  The way to achieve this is by disabling the panoramic mask from engaging.  I have a Ricoh R1s that I modified to take 24mm images in this way  (After I realized it already had focus problems) but this is the sort of vingetting you can expect with that.  It just was never designed to cover the entire 35mm frame and it also results in a very slow aperture of f8.

Ricoh_rs1_020

So for the pros of the different cameras :

The Pentax 24EW is the most versatile with the best image quality and can take a full image at 24mm

The Minolta Freedom Vista has the best viewfinder for composing panoramic images and has decent image quality

The Ricoh despite not being very good at 24mm is exceptional at its native 30mm focal length (that’s right it uses a second set of lens elements to achieve the 24mm)

So in the end all three are interesting to use for different reasons.

 

 


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