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Thread: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Hi folks,

    I am new to the 'M' world, (but I've used LTM Canon and other rangefinders in the past, so I'm familiar with the RF world), and I'm looking for a lot of information on the various lenses in the 21mm, 28mm, 35mm focal lengths for use on am M9 (but probably for use on an M6 or something similar until I can swing the coin).

    My most preferred focal length on 35mm cameras has long been 24mm, but the use of RF cameras has mostly discouraged this due to the need for an external viewfinder. For that reason, I am thinking that the 28mm and 35mm are good, and then pick up a 21mm (or something similar) for the wide end, and either a 75mm or 90mm at the long end.

    I currently have a Sony a900 and Leica adapted R 21mm, 28mm, and 35mm lenses for that camera, so following that lead may be a very logical approach for focal length familarity.

    However, I probably have no need for high speed lenses, as most of my shooting is in the f8 realm, so the wonderful (and very expensive) modern lux lenses are probably lost on me. I don't particularly shoot people (close work), so I don't think the ASPH lenses would do much for me either. I shoot landscape (more intimate landscape rather than broad scenics) and industrial/architectural subjects mostly. I also would prefer to go light whenever possible...

    So, the new elmar lenses may be good considerations, but there are now some great new CZ lenses available, and let's not forget the Voigtlander lenses and all the older Leica lenses as well.

    I've looked into the tri-elmar, but that looks to be a bit bulky for the light travel that I'd prefer, but if I were only to get one lens, I guess that would have to be on the list for consideration.

    So I have a few questions... the M9 cyan shift formulas; has anyone determined how well they will work for non-Leica lenses (or for older Leica lenses)? Since there are so many really great LTM lenses out there (I especially like some of the older Canon LTM lenses), I expect that this will be a considerable issue to understand with the M9.

    I need some sage Leica lens recommendations for further research. Any advice and feedback or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks,


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    Hi folks,

    I am new to the 'M' world, (but I've used LTM Canon and other rangefinders in the past, so I'm familiar with the RF world), and I'm looking for a lot of information on the various lenses in the 21mm, 28mm, 35mm focal lengths for use on am M9 (but probably for use on an M6 or something similar until I can swing the coin).

    My most preferred focal length on 35mm cameras has long been 24mm, but the use of RF cameras has mostly discouraged this due to the need for an external viewfinder. For that reason, I am thinking that the 28mm and 35mm are good, and then pick up a 21mm (or something similar) for the wide end, and either a 75mm or 90mm at the long end.

    I currently have a Sony a900 and Leica adapted R 21mm, 28mm, and 35mm lenses for that camera, so following that lead may be a very logical approach for focal length familarity.

    However, I probably have no need for high speed lenses, as most of my shooting is in the f8 realm, so the wonderful (and very expensive) modern lux lenses are probably lost on me. I don't particularly shoot people (close work), so I don't think the ASPH lenses would do much for me either. I shoot landscape (more intimate landscape rather than broad scenics) and industrial/architectural subjects mostly. I also would prefer to go light whenever possible...

    So, the new elmar lenses may be good considerations, but there are now some great new CZ lenses available, and let's not forget the Voigtlander lenses and all the older Leica lenses as well.

    I've looked into the tri-elmar, but that looks to be a bit bulky for the light travel that I'd prefer, but if I were only to get one lens, I guess that would have to be on the list for consideration.

    So I have a few questions... the M9 cyan shift formulas; has anyone determined how well they will work for non-Leica lenses (or for older Leica lenses)? Since there are so many really great LTM lenses out there (I especially like some of the older Canon LTM lenses), I expect that this will be a considerable issue to understand with the M9.

    I need some sage Leica lens recommendations for further research. Any advice and feedback or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks,


    ---Michael

    Michael,

    I use on a D700 leica R 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 100mm, and 180mm. But use mostly the28, 35, and also 50mm
    Also use a M6, with 28, 50, 90, 135mm, mostly 28 and also 50mm.
    The 28 is the 2.8 ASPH Elamrit, it is small, sharp all over the image, limited vignetting and easy to correct in postprocess, very little distortion and no color finging.

    So my suggestion to you is the 28mm 2.8 ASPH Elmarit.


    Jan R.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Steve Gandy has a slightly dated but very good set of thumbnail reviews of just about ever lens that can be mounted on an M body:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/mlenses.htm

    A good overview whether or not you agree with him on the details.

    Irwin Puts' book on Leica lenses is the classic referrence work and he has detailed technical reviews of many of them on his site (Google "puts leica").

    There is also the very energetic Sean Reid. His subscription site pays for itself if you buy one lens baised on his reviews.

    And of course you can hang out here for a few weeks and see what some very sophisticated photographers are using.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Woody,

    Thanks for the recommendations. I'm familiar with the Cameraquest site, and it is a very good resource for a lot of information. So far, that's the most extensive listing I've seen, and his opinions are reasonable from my past RF experience.

    I'll look into Puts' writings a bit more and see what he has.

    Sean's writing is very good from my experience with the older articales he wrote for the LL site, but I can't bring myself to pay for an online information source, but I guess there is something to "you get what you pay for". I'll have to see what he is doing these days.

    I guess I still need to get my head around the entire world of M lenses a bit more so I can feel that I can make some more educated purchases, and the research will get me there shortly, I hope.

    Jan, thanks for the comment. The 28mmm is considered by many to be an exceptional lens, so it is on my short list, I think.


    ---Michael
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by mjm6 View Post
    ......Sean's writing is very good..... I can't bring myself to pay for an online information source........l
    Michael - Honestly; subscribe. I'm certain you won't regret it. Your subscription fee will become utterly trivial.

    .............. Chris

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris C View Post
    Michael - Honestly; subscribe. I'm certain you won't regret it. Your subscription fee will become utterly trivial.

    .............. Chris
    I have mixed feelings with paying for internet information as well but so far I will say that the information is worth it. That being said all the information can be found elsewhere but it would certainly require more time to acquire, to read, and to filter through. The Reviews are well written, provide many image samples and technical data (if you care for those aspects.) A wise person once came up with the adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words" and like so many things personal artistic preference often trumps technical data... or a "perfect picture" if you will.
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    That being said all the information can be found elsewhere but it would certainly require more time to acquire, to read, and to filter through.
    Thanks for that information! Exactly what I thought!

    The word "review" (not a misnomer in this case either) takes a new meaning doesn't it?

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Honestly; subscribe. I'm certain you won't regret it. Your subscription fee will become utterly trivial.
    I did subscribe; I did regret it; so I stopped. (Although he hasn't stopped sending me emails about the latest additions to his site...)

    He has a knack for writing in a way that sounds terribly important, but eventually I realized I wasn't getting anything out of it that had anything to do with my own photography.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Thanks for that information! Exactly what I thought!

    The word "review" (not a misnomer in this case either) takes a new meaning doesn't it?
    No, he does a very comprehensive review that's easy to read and is based on HIS real world experience. I wouldn't disregard his views but many of his findings are reiterated by others on various forums and sites. That said the $30 or so he charges are only an extra tool to add because often you need to weed out the disinformation of people's personal biases you read on forums. That's the biggest advantage. He tends to be pretty honest and mostly unbiased in regard to his opinion especially where perceived v. real world value is concerned for those without unlimited funds (which is most of us.) That's my viewpoint on it. Like anything take it with a grain of salt and realize what's best for you.

    As for me the reviews helped me save a bit of money for my kit after I get a M9, I plan to stick with the CV lenses I have and add a Leica 90/2.5 or maybe a CV 15-24 ultra angle and CV 75/2.5 and 90/3.5 to complete a kit and save money doing it. I may eventually replace them as I can with real Leica lenses where I see a real benefit but it's more important for me to have a complete kit at this point as I'm more of a hobbyist than anything.
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Michael - here is a link to the website of Erwin Puts:
    http://www.imx.nl/photo/

    Hunt around there and you will find some good lens information as Woody has already said. His book is entitled Leica Lens Compendium. The first edition was from 2001 with a reprint in 2003 so it does not contain the latest designs.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    ....He [Sean Reid] has a knack for writing in a way that sounds terribly important........
    Gosh, isn't it easy to throw a slur at someone on the internet.

    To put the other side however; I appreciate the clarity and fairness of Sean's writing. More than just using a spell checker and careful proof reading, it's evident to me at least that Sean puts a great effort in his writing so he can be understood by a world-wide readership - many of whom are not first-language English speakers. You see 'sound[ing] terribly important'', I see considered and fair-minded.

    ................ Chris

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    I agree for the most part with many other subscribers. His reviews are mostly unbiased (when it comes to rangefinders) and it's just another potential source of information. As long as you realize it's not the end all be all of reviews you will more than likely appreciate it. Agree or disagree his opinions are mostly backed by his technical data.

    The only review I personally had some "issue" with would be the G1 one in which he seemed a bit too critical of the G1 when using M lenses (which aren't telecentric) and Panasonic as a camera company - or that's at least how it came off to me. Again it's just another review tool and you can choose not to continue your subscription. If you're looking for rangefinder related information it is invaluable as a good starting place to compare different products.
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    I agree for the most part with many other subscribers. His reviews are mostly unbiased (when it comes to rangefinders) and it's just another potential source of information. As long as you realize it's not the end all be all of reviews you will more than likely appreciate it. Agree or disagree his opinions are mostly backed by his technical data.

    The only review I personally had some "issue" with would be the G1 one in which he seemed a bit too critical of the G1 when using M lenses (which aren't telecentric) and Panasonic as a camera company - or that's at least how it came off to me. Again it's just another review tool and you can choose not to continue your subscription. If you're looking for rangefinder related information it is invaluable as a good starting place to compare different products.
    So, reading that review did not stop you from buying the G1 and related doodahs for it.

    I am not convinced that it saves any money.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Thanks for the comments folks. I've got a lot to research, and I'll look into Sean's site a bit and see if he is reviewing the gear I am interested in. If so, it may be worth the subscription.

    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    So, reading that review did not stop you from buying the G1 and related doodahs for it.

    I am not convinced that it saves any money.
    No I bought the G1 long before I was a subscriber. I've been a subscriber for a couple of weeks. I read the review after I already had the G1 but if you've been keeping up then you will know that the G1 fits MY NEEDS/WANTS and that his reviews are HIS opinion backed by some technical data (which in some ways is over my head and I have no way to completely verify myself.) In all fairness there is probably some truth in what he's saying but there's only so many brick walls that should be photographed when REAL photography is what matters in the end.

    That said he does mention M lenses not being telecentric but I felt he placed more blame on the poor performance of them on a G1 on the G1 and not the possibility of flawed lens design. A lot of people bash Panasonic for digital lens corrections through software but not Leica for using microlenses to optically correct the way lenses perform with their digital cameras.

    It goes back to me saying how some people are biased towards a large electronics company trying to make a dent in the camera market. If one realizes this then they should just take biases with a grain of salt and move past it. I believe even you were pretty critical early on of the G1 and how you thought the Olympus model would surpass it in every way before there was a model to speak of (beyond the initial Photokina 2008 mock up.) I think the G1 is a great camera for what it is. Like it or not, form factor aside, it's very versatile for a "lowly" $600 camera.

    As for saving money it can save money for those who are comparing Leica lenses to Zeiss or CV lenses. There are those who subscribe to the theory that the Leica will ALWAYS outperform the cheaper variants. That's not always the case based on technical data but in the end it comes to personal opinion on whether or not you like the way the lens draws. It would be interesting to see how many people who would choose the Leica lens everytime if someone took aways the labels. Honestly that's where it would save people money here and there - RANGEFINDER APPLICATIONS.
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    No I bought the G1 long before I was a subscriber. I've been a subscriber for a couple of weeks. I read the review after I already had the G1 but if you've been keeping up then you will know that the G1 fits MY NEEDS/WANTS and that his reviews are HIS opinion backed by some technical data (which in some ways is over my head and I have no way to completely verify myself.) In all fairness there is probably some truth in what he's saying but there's only so many brick walls that should be photographed when REAL photography is what matters in the end.

    That said he does mention M lenses not being telecentric but I felt he placed more blame on the poor performance of them on a G1 on the G1 and not the possibility of flawed lens design. A lot of people bash Panasonic for digital lens corrections through software but not Leica for using microlenses to optically correct the way lenses perform with their digital cameras.

    It goes back to me saying how some people are biased towards a large electronics company trying to make a dent in the camera market. If one realizes this then they should just take biases with a grain of salt and move past it. I believe even you were pretty critical early on of the G1 and how you thought the Olympus model would surpass it in every way before there was a model to speak of (beyond the initial Photokina 2008 mock up.) I think the G1 is a great camera for what it is. Like it or not, form factor aside, it's very versatile for a "lowly" $600 camera.
    Thank you for your post! I do not see any difference between what you, as a current subscriber, say and what, Ranger 9, as a past subscriber said.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Thank you for your post! I do not see any difference between what you, as a current subscriber, say and what, Ranger 9, as a past subscriber said.
    ... and that's fine too.

    The reviews are of some value FOR ME as someone who wanted reviews to help my decisions on lens selection of various lenses for an upcoming M9 purchase. What's $30 to me when I'm going to be spending at least $8000+ pretty soon? Like anyone with a bit of education you take multiple sources but that's a quick starting point to narrow down what you may like and then you can seek real examples of what catches your eye from then. Surely you can understand that train of thought...
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    So, it is a prestige thing?

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    So, it is a prestige thing?
    Is what a prestige thing?
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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    Oh, never mind that. I am somewhat confused about the various thoughts there (G1 and related stuff).

    Based on this, I am pretty sure that I will not be able to understand those reviews.

    That is $30/- saved.

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    Re: Looking for a M lens primer, for M9 use

    You can always read the sample reviews to decide if the style is for you or not.
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