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Thread: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

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    Member jpmac55's Avatar
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    Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    I'm on the fence about buying a faster lens than f/2. I own two but nothing faster than that. I know many other folks have inquired on which lens is best. I've researched the different options but they all seem to melt into one meaning all of the Leica models are excellent albeit pricey. Some of the other brands also make nice models. Still, say for typical low light, indoor environment, will the difference be worth it?

    Is there a better f/2 to consider?

    Thanks,
    John

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    You always should start with the intended usage. So if typical available light,indoor work ..it implies a range of subjects but many informal portraits (window light) . Indoors also implies you would be closer to the subject and as nice as the 75 lux or the 90AA might be they wouldn t be my first choice. You also probably don t want anything wider than a 28 or reasonably should be expected to shell out $6K for a 24/1.4.

    The 3 best lenses for your application (and my guess at the usage and budget) would be in order 35/1.4asph,28/2asph and 50/1.4asph. The M8 IQ suffers greatly at over ISO 640 and you have to be careful not to underexpose any important information as you have less than 1 EV of latitude in the shadows.

    The above lenses are all quite expensive and really hard to find used for less than $3K .

    The 35/2 summicron or the zeiss 35/2 are both exceptional lenses and can be found for 1/2 to 1/3 of the asph versions above. The CV lenses also have their advocates but I don t have any experience with them.

    Unfortunately you need all the speed you can get indoors shooting available light but you also need to find the best FOV and fast wide angles are expensive.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    I would use an old 35-2 sumicron. Small and not intimidatind for social events.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpmac55 View Post
    I'm on the fence about buying a faster lens than f/2. I own two but nothing faster than that. I know many other folks have inquired on which lens is best. I've researched the different options but they all seem to melt into one meaning all of the Leica models are excellent albeit pricey. Some of the other brands also make nice models. Still, say for typical low light, indoor environment, will the difference be worth it?

    Is there a better f/2 to consider?

    Thanks,
    I would say the most consistent to be the 50/1.4 asph.
    35/1.4asph means risk of focus shift, 75/1.4 same plus not that contrasty wide open plus eventually stiff focus.
    However on the M8 the 35mm focal length could be more flexible than 50. Maybe wait for the rumoured new 35/1.4asph, or eventually for the M8 the 24/1.4 asph-expensive though.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    All the above lenses mentioned are very strong performers...each possibly having characteristics one has to be aware of....like focus shift, lower contrast wide open or any number of combinations of these (or a few others). Price may be a consideration too for your intended use.

    If budget is a consideration, but being able to capture the shot indoors (or under low light conditions is of paramount importance)....two lenses worthy of consideration as alternatives would be the Voigtlander VC 35mm f1.2 (large/heavy in size) and Voigtlander VC50mm f1.5 . Each are very strong performers with resolving power/sharpness accross the frame rivaling the some of the best out there. They maye not "draw" quite like their Leica counterparts nor have as much microconrtrast or superb bokeh, but for the money, they are very hard to beat, especially when on a budget.

    Another is the Zeiss 50mm f1.5..but that one, depending on if it's optomized for f1.5 or 2.8, may be difficult to deal with (for some), due to large focus shifts that are a consequence of it's design. It has though a very unique "signature" in the way it "draws", so that particular characteristic also has to be to your liking.

    My comments also reflect that these lenses will be used on your M8, as stated.
    Last edited by D&A; 17th January 2010 at 10:22.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by gero View Post
    I would use an old 35-2 sumicron. Small and not intimidatind for social events.
    I have one, V4. It's a good little lens. I'd like to send it in for cleaning (CLA) though.
    John

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    The Zeiss 1,5/50 Sonnar ZM and CV 1,2/35 Nokton make up my available light lenses. I don't like to carry the Nokton around unless I have to (due to light) or want to (due to bokeh). I'd much rather take along the 2/35 Biogon ZM. With speed comes size and weight... You can buy all three of these lenses for the cost of one Summilux!

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Don't over look the Canon LTM 50/1.2 or even a converted Canon 50/0.95.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    Don't over look the Canon LTM 50/1.2 or even a converted Canon 50/0.95.
    I agree, on the M8 using the center of the lens, those old canons are small, inexpensive fast and well built; I use the 25-3.4 allot.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Given the M8's questionable file quality at high ISO, and the fact that many lenses look really distinctive and interesting opened wider than f/2, I'd say they're great to have. I've got the Nokton f/1.1 mostly because of 1.1.

    And the Sonnar 50/1.5 (I've got an adapted CZ Contax version) is the lens everyone should have some version of. It's been living on my M8.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by mabelsound View Post
    And the Sonnar 50/1.5 (I've got an adapted CZ Contax version) is the lens everyone should have some version of. It's been living on my M8.
    Agree about sonnars on the M8. I have the ZM Sonnar-C 50/1.5 and love it. Very nice at ISO 640 indoors in low light. Also think the VC 50/1.5 or Canon ltm 50/1.4 are excellent lenses, and great value for the money. You can find excellent samples of either for under $300 easily.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    So is there is an appreciable difference say between a 35 f/2.0 and a 35 f/1.5?
    John

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    yes. About 1/2 of my photos are @ 1.4 with either a 35 pre asph summilux, or the Nokton 40/1.4.

    If you plan to mostly shoot outdoors, f2 or even f2.8 could be fine. For color, I keep ISO at 640 or below, with occasional 1250 if it's natural light (~5000 K).

    For b/w, ISO 1250 and even 2500 are great on the M8 when exposed well.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpmac55 View Post
    So is there is an appreciable difference say between a 35 f/2.0 and a 35 f/1.5?
    My Photography Blog here

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I would say the most consistent to be the 50/1.4 asph.
    35/1.4asph means risk of focus shift, 75/1.4 same plus not that contrasty wide open plus eventually stiff focus.
    However on the M8 the 35mm focal length could be more flexible than 50. Maybe wait for the rumoured new 35/1.4asph, or eventually for the M8 the 24/1.4 asph-expensive though.
    I agree with Thomas' assessment. If picking one F1.4 lens, I'd pick the 50mm F1.4 ASPH. I'd had that lens and took many pix with it. I sold it and have missed it since. If shooting indoors, available light - with a M8, I think F1.4 is a must-have for decent shutter speeds. Some people don't mind the M8's noise. If you're okay with the M8's ISO 1250 / 2500, then F2 is probably fast enough. If you're comfortable with 50 Lux ASPH's price tag, it's a great lens to have.

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Black View Post
    If you're okay with the M8's ISO 1250 / 2500, then F2 is probably fast enough. If you're comfortable with 50 Lux ASPH's price tag, it's a great lens to have.
    So I would love to own any size lux but as a hobbyist, find it challenging to justify the cost right now. I may look at non-Leica options but wonder if f2 on a pre-asph produces faster, better images than their f1.4 offerings.
    John

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    Re: Do you need something faster than f/2 on a M8?

    Well, applications are most certainly a major consideration here ... which includes frequently shot subject matter, type of light frequently shot in, do you favor wider lenses over longer ones, and whether you favor B&W over color?

    Keep in mind that the M8 is a crop-frame camera with a lens factor of 1.33X, so a 50mm isn't a 50mm field of view, it's about 67mm. So, if you prefer a 35mm field-of-view for your go-to-lens, then one of the 28mm lenses is where to look. I can recommend the VC 28/1.8 with few reservations ... with one caveat ... it isn't coded for use on the M8.

    F/1.8 isn't appreciably different compared to f/2, but the price difference compared to the Leica M 28/2 ASPH can be a major consideration. When you drop below a 50mm focal length on the crop frame M8, hand holding is a little bit easier at slightly slower shutter speeds, so f/1.8 should work fine @ ISO 640 for a majority of conditions.

    It is a shame that Leica didn't provide the M8 with more ISO selections like they did with the M9. Jumping from 640 to 1250 is a real working issue with that camera compared to being able to select ISO 800 or 1000.

    -Marc

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