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Thread: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

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    If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I've been seeing so much now about the M9 and learning about rangefinders...not necessarily a good thing for me, because I'm catching the M9 bug. If I take the plunge, I like the idea of picking one good lens; when using DSLR's I have always used a single lens for 95% of my shooting, and I prefer 24-70mm, or a bit longer. Obviously the zooms give a lot of flexibiloity. I like the 24 at the wide end. However, with the M9 I would expect to be choosing a prime. I would love to have a very high quality, fast lens 2.0 or faster. Opinions from those with experience using FF Leicas (digital or film) are sought.

    So my question, "If you could have only one lens for your M9, which would you choose?" Would you choose the traditional 50mm "normal" lens, or go for a different focal length?

    Also, what is the benefit from using newer "6-Bit, Updated for Digital" versions?
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 9th December 2009 at 17:37.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    That's a hard question to answer, as it varies according to "taste" (shooting styles, subjects, etc.). I supposed if I could only have one lens for "Full Frame", it would probably be a 50mm, and most likely the 50 Summilux ASPH. I go this way, as it is so versatile... fine (albeit a little "clinical" for some tastes) for portraiture, acceptable for street subjects, etc., just a great all-rounder. Second choice for the "one lens only", I probably go with a 35mm, and although many would probably choose the 35 Summilux ASPH, I'd probably go for the 35 Summicron ASPH. Same reasons as the 50 in terms of versatility.

    Truth is, however, I'd be pressed by this one lens limitation, as I love my other focal lengths, and on Full Frame I especially love my 28 Cron on the wide end, and my 90s on the long end.

    YMMV. Good luck.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    35mm cron or lux hands down. A bit wide but not so wide on can't make a portrait with it. My lux asph is living on my M9 despite having 6 other lenses. I have a 35 cron asph on the way as well. 6 bit is a necessity for anything 35 or wider. Of course if you want you can manually enter it or use cornerfix software. I couldn't be bothered.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Saying you'll only have one lens for a Leica is like saying I'm only going to eat at one restaurant. Careful my friend, it's a slippery slope...

    The 6 bit code triggers internal vignette and color cast corrections that can be applied to the raw or jpeg files within the camera. The corrections are needed more on the wide lenses than the standard or telephoto ones, but can still be beneficial at those focal lengths. A side benifit to having coded lenses is that it tells you in the exif data which lens was used.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    If you get an M9 from a local dealer, I ask to try out a couple of focal lengths on the camera. Start with what you think you'd like, and then try some others. It will most likely make you lust after more glass, but you can probably find "the one" to start with at least.

    James is correct, it is a slippery slope. I've been shooting Leica since 1968, and have had way too much glass over the years. Even now that I've pared down the collection, I still own 5 50mm lenses, and have had 4 35mm lenses just this year, although I only have two at the moment. The hunger is seldom satisfied.
    Last edited by Lloyd; 9th December 2009 at 19:48.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Not so tough really 50 or 35, 'cron or 'lux depending upon budget.

    With the M9 I could even stick with just my noctilux but that's only because I have m4/3rds & FF Dslr outfits to complement it.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lloyd View Post
    That's a hard question to answer, as it varies according to "taste" (shooting styles, subjects, etc.). I supposed if I could only have one lens for "Full Frame", it would probably be a 50mm, and most likely the 50 Summilux ASPH. I go this way, as it is so versatile... fine (albeit a little "clinical" for some tastes) for portraiture, acceptable for street subjects, etc., just a great all-rounder. Second choice for the "one lens only", I probably go with a 35mm, and although many would probably choose the 35 Summilux ASPH, I'd probably go for the 35 Summicron ASPH. Same reasons as the 50 in terms of versatility.

    Truth is, however, I'd be pressed by this one lens limitation, as I love my other focal lengths, and on Full Frame I especially love my 28 Cron on the wide end, and my 90s on the long end.

    YMMV. Good luck.
    +1 for this. 50 lux asph or 35 cron. For less money, don't rule out the 75 f/2.5, it's great for portraits.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    50mm/f1.4 Summilux ASPH

    The other option to consider would be the new 24mm/f1.4 Summilux ASPH.
    Haven't used it yet but it's supposed to be excellent.
    If you can, buy both.

    PS: The Noctilux is a fab lens. People who don't have it, want it badly. And the ones who have it, treat it like it has only one aperture setting. D'uh.

    I have both, the 50mm/f1.4 Summilux ASPH and the Noctilux 50/f1. Either one is great but I prefer the Summilux.
    What I've seen from the new Nocti doesn't turn me on whatsoever. To me it's more like a Nocti that wants to be a Summilux. Save yourself $7000 and get the Lux.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    I've been seeing so much now about the M9 However, with the M9 I would expect to be choosing a prime.
    Given that there are no zooms available for Leica, yes, you will be choosing a prime.

    ;>

    So my question, "If you could have only one lens for your M9, which would you choose?" Would you choose the traditional 50mm "normal" lens, or go for a different focal length?
    I would continue saving my money until I could buy more than one lens; I'd also be aware that there's a brisk trade in high-quality used Leica lenses, and so it's possible to get a good lens for far less than quoted retail.

    Also, what is the benefit from using newer "6-Bit, Updated for Digital" versions?
    A bunch of corrections for vignetting, color, etc. With the M9, you can input the lens type manually; I recommend Match Technical's Coder Kit, which allows you to code any non-coded lenses, yourself.

    I've successfully coded the CV 50mm f/1.1 as a Leica 50mm F/1, the 35mm pre-ASPH IV f/2, and the 90mm ASPH f/2; the 28mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/2 ASPH were coded from the factory.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    50mm/f1.4 Summilux ASPH

    PS: The Noctilux is a fab lens. People who don't have it, want it badly. And the ones who have it, treat it like it has only one aperture setting. D'uh.
    The CV 50mm f/1.1, at $1100USD retail, is a far better deal, IMHO.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by disambiguated View Post
    The CV 50mm f/1.1, at $1100USD retail, is a far better deal, IMHO.
    Indeed, it is a far better deal. The question, though, is whether it's the better lens?
    Guess, only your wife, your wallet, and maybe you can decide that.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by disambiguated View Post
    I've successfully coded the CV 50mm f/1.1 as a Leica 50mm F/1, the 35mm pre-ASPH IV f/2, and the 90mm ASPH f/2; the 28mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/2 ASPH were coded from the factory.
    Good for you. I did the same with a 21/f2.8 Elmarit.
    One thing keep in mind, though. Some 'older' lenses need to be adjusted to work properly on a digital body.
    So, before you start playing with a marker, take a couple shots and check the results on your computer for back or front focus issues.
    If everything is sharp where it's supposed to be, marker away. Otherwise send it off to Solms and get the coding done at the same time.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    PS: The Noctilux is a fab lens. People who don't have it, want it badly. And the ones who have it, treat it like it has only one aperture setting. D'uh.
    That's very true actually. I have a complementary 50 'cron for more general use and I'm pretty sure I'll end up with another 50 'lux when some of the 'lux buying frenzy has cooled a bit.

    I'd agree with the others here - 35 'cron or 50 'lux depending on which floats your boat focal length-wise & the depth of your pocket too.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    like others here I would not want to limit myself for one lens in a long term.
    If I had to it would be probably a 35mm lens.
    In this case I would either wait for the "new" 35 Summilux which is expected next year, or I would buy the 35 Summarit which I use now and love it.

    If you like a little more compressed look it would be 50 instead of 35. In this case I love the 50/1.4asph for everything it does and this would be the lens if you decide for 50mm focal length.

    if I had to go for 2 lenses it would be more difficult to choose which, depending what look you like. it could be 35 and 75, or 28 and 50, or 24 and 50 for my taste.

    If your limitation for one lens is based on financial thoughts than I would rather buy a M8 and get 2 or 3 lenses than a M9 with just 1 lens.

    And I would rather get a 35 and 75 Summarit than just one expensive Summilux - if money is the deciding factor.

    If it is more the wish for simplicity than you cant go wrong with either 35 or 50, and if you feel limited after some month you can allways add another focal length later on.

    If I compare the Summarits to the Luxes, my believe that the Summarits are just as nice in rendering, fully usable wide open at f2.5. So forme more a question of need for speed (or not).

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    M 50 Summilux ASPH

    No matter how many lenses I have in my kit, this one spends the most time on my M9.
    Mike Hatam
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    M 50 Summilux ASPH

    No matter how many lenses I have in my kit, this one spends the most time on my M9.
    Mike, this is exactly what I mean. Although this "thought experiment" requires the choice of only one lens, I would expect to eventually have several lenses. Yet I would also bet that one lens would be my favorite and do the great majority of the work. And I want to try to anticipate which one so it could be my first purchase.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post

    If your limitation for one lens is based on financial thoughts than I would rather buy a M8 and get 2 or 3 lenses than a M9 with just 1 lens.
    If you consider the fact that the lenses will hold much of their value over time, and the camera will most certainly not, this is not a bad option. Especially if you take into account the anticipated price increase of the lenses Jan 1. Sooner or later, the feeding frenzy for the M9 will have subsided, and they will be more obtainable. Just a thought

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    35 chron asph.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Since you have not used a rangefinder and don't know if it will suit you, why not buy a M8 classic and a 35mm cron ASPH (or summarit). The crop factor on the M8 is 1.3x, so the 35 will have a similar FOV to a 50 on the M9. If it turns out that rangefinders are not your thing, you will lose little on resale. If you love it, then you can move up to M9 and buy a 50mm lux ASPH at that time.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by disambiguated View Post
    Given that there are no zooms available for Leica, yes, you will be choosing a prime.

    ;>
    Nobody has mentioned Tri-Elmar. Not a zoom, of course, but multiple focal lengths with one lens. Thus far nobody has advised this choice.

    This holiday season I will be splitting my time between choosing my lenses and planning which 6 banks to rob. That's a joke. Actually, I'm planning a trip overseas to sell a kidney. I think Leica lenses are the reason God gave us two of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Flood View Post
    Since you have not used a rangefinder and don't know if it will suit you, why not buy a M8 classic and a 35mm cron ASPH (or summarit). The crop factor on the M8 is 1.3x, so the 35 will have a similar FOV to a 50 on the M9. If it turns out that rangefinders are not your thing, you will lose little on resale. If you love it, then you can move up to M9 and buy a 50mm lux ASPH at that time.
    Intelligent and prudent idea, Cindy. Ah, but am I ever prudent?

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Both Tri-Elmar lenses (16-18-21 and 28-35-50) are slow (f4).

    They are handy for travel, when you want to conserve space, or walk around in good light and have flexibility with just one lens. Ultimately, the Tri-Elmar (28-35-50) is not Leica best optics, which is why it would not be my single choice.

    Once you have a normal lens (my choice is the 50 Summilux ASPH), and you are ready to add some wide-angle glass, the WATE (16-18-21) is an excellent choice for the M9. It's quite a stellar performer, considering how wide it is. But again, it's slow.

    One thing to consider, Tom, is how you plan to fill out your lens line-up. There are a few common strategies, depending on how many lenses you eventually plan to own.

    Common line-ups (in terms of focal lengths):
    2 lenses: 35 / 75
    3 lenses: 28 / 50 / 90 (or 75)
    4 lenses: 21 (or WATE) / 28 / 50 / 90 (or 75)

    I recommend that you fill out your line-up starting from the middle, and working toward the edges. In other words, pick up a 50 before you pick up a 28 cron or WATE.

    If you go with the two-lens combo of 35 / 75, then get the 35 first.

    Mike
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I thought about recommending the tri 28-35-50 and my experience is very good with it. At f5.6 I can not really detect a difference in IQ compared to a Summicron in real life.
    F4 there is a slight difference but its still a good lens.

    However f4 would be too slow if this is the only lens.

    If you went for the Tri 28-35-50 you would want to add a fast 35 or 50mm lens for low light shooting.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Hatam View Post
    Common line-ups (in terms of focal lengths):
    2 lenses: 35 / 75
    3 lenses: 28 / 50 / 90 (or 75)
    4 lenses: 21 (or WATE) / 28 / 50 / 90 (or 75)

    I recommend that you fill out your line-up starting from the middle, and working toward the edges. In other words, pick up a 50 before you pick up a 28 cron or WATE.

    If you go with the two-lens combo of 35 / 75, then get the 35 first.

    Mike
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    Who are you kidding???
    Once you start, you can't stop.
    Amen, brudda.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    In all honesty, even when I have a camera bag with a variety of lenses, I often find that I just use one most of the time. When shooting the M8, that is most often my 35 Cron ASPH, and if not, it's a 50mm. On full frame, I typically default to a 50mm. For several years, from 1968 to the mid 1970s I only owned one lens, a 50mm. That worked fine for me (or I made it work). Sometimes I wonder what the hell I'm thinking now.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2x2 View Post
    Who are you kidding???
    Once you start, you can't stop.
    My wife just reminded me that years ago I told her that I only needed an M6 with one lens. The other day she counted my Leica gear, 9 Leica bodies 21 Leica lenses. Yes, it is very slippery road... be careful!

    Back to the original question:

    For one lens, you may try 35 Summilux/Summicron ASPH or 50 Summilux ASPH depend on your preference of focal length. If you like 24-70 range and you can live with 50 mm, the 50 Summilux ASPH is the absolute best in terms of lens performance. My most used lens is the 35 Summilux ASPH.

    Good luck with your choice! Actually, selecting your first lens is the most exciting part - once you have your first lens, you will wonder what to add next...

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    My plan: since it would be quite some time before I could even locate an M9, and I've never used a rangefinder, I will look for a used M8 and 35 chron ASPH. If I love it, when I move to the M9 the 35 will still be a keeper. Thanks for the prompt, Cindy.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    My plan: since it would be quite some time before I could even locate an M9, and I've never used a rangefinder, I will look for a used M8 and 35 chron ASPH. If I love it, when I move to the M9 the 35 will still be a keeper. Thanks for the prompt, Cindy.
    Very good plan IMO. I am sure you will love it. Tom

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    My plan: since it would be quite some time before I could even locate an M9, and I've never used a rangefinder, I will look for a used M8 and 35 chron ASPH. If I love it, when I move to the M9 the 35 will still be a keeper. Thanks for the prompt, Cindy.

    Good plan and welcome onto the slippery slope!

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Flood View Post
    Good plan and welcome onto the slippery slope!
    And after the M9, a 50 lux, then...no, just shoot me now.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    And after the M9, a 50 lux, then...no, just shoot me now.
    And when you decide that rangefinder photography is not for you, just send me a note and we'll help you recover on your investment... I'd be happy to give you shall we say $.30 on the dollar... Just sayin'.

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    And after the M9, a 50 lux, then...no, just shoot me now.
    I would go for a 35 lux/cron on an M9.
    When I had the M8 the 28 cron was most used.

    In a year I started with the 28mm elmarit ASPH, then bought a used 90mm cron, then a 50 lux, and replaced the elmarit with a cron.
    Be prepared....

  33. #33
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Hey Tom,

    I've been shooting with an M9 since early October. The 35mm lens has ended up being the one that stays on the camera most of the time. I'm thinking about trying a 28.

    On the M8 the 35 will look more like a 50, but of course you know this.

    I've done two landscape focused trips since October and then the wate is the lens that is on the camera most of the time. It is slower, but on a tripod shooting landscapes who cares?

    My least used lens so far is a 75 cron. I guess I just naturally gravitate towards the wider end of things.

    I might have missed it in the thread, but of course one thing to do is take a FF camera and tape the 24-70 at 35mm and shoot for a day. Then tape it at 50mm (or 28mm, 24mm, etc) and see that way what prime you might choose.

    I hadn't shot a rangefinder since the 80's and have to say it has really been enjoyable using the M9. I have a 300s that I use for sports, birds, etc. but if I'm headed out the door I'll always preferentially grab the M9.
    ---------------
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Fines View Post
    Hey Tom,

    I've been shooting with an M9 since early October. The 35mm lens has ended up being the one that stays on the camera most of the time. I'm thinking about trying a 28.

    On the M8 the 35 will look more like a 50, but of course you know this.

    I've done two landscape focused trips since October and then the wate is the lens that is on the camera most of the time. It is slower, but on a tripod shooting landscapes who cares?

    My least used lens so far is a 75 cron. I guess I just naturally gravitate towards the wider end of things.

    I might have missed it in the thread, but of course one thing to do is take a FF camera and tape the 24-70 at 35mm and shoot for a day. Then tape it at 50mm (or 28mm, 24mm, etc) and see that way what prime you might choose.

    I hadn't shot a rangefinder since the 80's and have to say it has really been enjoyable using the M9. I have a 300s that I use for sports, birds, etc. but if I'm headed out the door I'll always preferentially grab the M9.
    Steve! Hi! Our paths cross again in another forum. Thanks for the input; where did you get your M9? National Camera?

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I have had mine for about 4 weeks now and I haven't removed the 35 Lux. (I also have the 24, 28, 50, 90) So the 35 may end up being the lens cap. With a FF the 35 is about perfect.....for me.
    Mike

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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I also vote for a 35mm lens on the M9. Ideally the latest Summicron f2.0, as it is fast enough for most purposes and almost all light conditions, but still small enough not to intrude into the viewfinder to any major extent. A cheaper alternative would be the 35mm f2.5 Summarit which is only marginally slower and optically extremely good (I have one and use it for 95% of my work with an M9) - but it is rather larger.
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    Steve! Hi! Our paths cross again in another forum. Thanks for the input; where did you get your M9? National Camera?
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  38. #38
    drxcm
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I have my M9 on order, so can't really comment yet, but I only have two lenses, the 35 Cron ASPH, and the 50 lux pre-ASPH. If I could only keep one, it'd be the 35 Cron ASPH for sure.

  39. #39
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Hi,

    I'd just use the Summitar I already have. By the time I can afford an M9, I don't think I'll be able to afford anything else. But there's also a much more positive reason: I just love the Summitar. The signature is just great, particularly for informal portraits like I love to make.


    Peter.

  40. #40
    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    35 Summicron asph...
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  41. #41
    Senior Member Ario Arioldi's Avatar
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    50 Summilux, Asph.
    Cheers,
    Ario

  42. #42
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    50 lux asph here as well, but I'll add another reason for a 50 over a 35 for "1 lens", that being the framelines on the 0.68X M9 viewfinder. The 50 frame lines are very easy to see "around" even with glasses, and makes the most out of the distinctive RF experience of seeing in and out of the frame. The 35 lines, especially with glasses, are certainly workable, but I don't get that easy distinction of what's in or out of the frame. best...Peter

  43. #43
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I'll vote 35mm preasph summicron v4 by actual usage percentage. But of course I do appreciate the 50mm lux asph, it's a great lens.

  44. #44
    Super Duper
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWW View Post
    I'll vote 35mm preasph summicron v4 by actual usage percentage. But of course I do appreciate the 50mm lux asph, it's a great lens.
    Good call. Can't go wrong with that 35 Cron Version 4 is a great lens, small, light, renders wonderfully... one of my all-time favorites!

    (I just happen to have one for sale (6-bit coded by Leica), if anyone's interested.)

  45. #45
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Eventhough I have only used the smaller sensor of the m8 for the last 4 years, I think the 28 sumicron but would eventually have to buy a 35 then a 50 and then a 21.

  46. #46
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Story updated!

    Ah, it's been a long but fast journey. My M8 has come and gone, and I have my M9. I started with the 35 cron on the M8, and loved it, so when I went to the M9 I knew I would want 50mm. So the 35 has gone, too. It is a lovely , lovely lens. But my one lens is the 50 lux ASPH. My other one lens is the Zeiss 28/2.8. And, my other other one lens is the 90 Elmarit. Lastly, my other other other one lens is the Zeiss 21/2.8. You all may have noted I've bought and sold, ahem, a few times in the last 2 months. So...

    My one lens for the M9 is: 21, 28, 50, 90!

    I won't say I wasn't warned.
    Last edited by tom in mpls; 23rd February 2010 at 20:17.

  47. #47
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    Tom,

    That Zeiss 28 will become a 28/2 Summicron, the 21 an Elmarit or a WATE ... just when you think that the Leica madness has finished it'll start up all over again.

  48. #48
    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    What Graham says ...

  49. #49
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    Re: If you only have one lens for your M9, which would it be?

    I understand, but I'm not so sure. The 50 will be my go to lens, and the others used infrequently. In fact, I've already tried the WATE; great lens but for my limited needs at those focal lengths, I can't see the extra $3k. But 28mm...could happen.

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