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Thread: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    It was a sunny day here for a change and I took a walk thru Main St. in Bangor (which takes about ten minutes, both sides). There's a storefront there with framed B&W prints that has always been closed on prior visits to town. Today it was open and the photographer/owner was there.

    I took a look inside and started talking to him while admiring the collection of antique cameras he had on display. I showed him the M8, which he'd never seen, and as we talked, he pointed to a black M4 and 4 lenses displayed on a shelf above us. My spider sense started to tingle. He had a 35, a 50, a 75 and a 40 (we were just getting acquainted and he didn't identify the lenses beyond their focal length). All in black and all Leica lenses. He said when he was shooting 35, he most often used the 40mm.

    Hmmmm. That seems like a neat focal length. What is the deal with the 40? I know nothing about it and would appreciate any comments on the lens. Is it a worthy lens? He said something about it being "CL". What does that mean?

    Thanks!
    Tim

  2. #2
    Haya
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    hey Tim the only 40mm Leica lens I know of is the Leica 40mm f2.0 Summicron C. I have no experience with the lens but here is a link to a flickr photo taken with the lens:
    40mm

    I like the bokeh! you can search for more on flicker

    The leica CL is one of the few cameras that actualy had 40mm frame lines most of the M cameras just bring up the 50mm framelines.

    Haya

  3. #3
    asabet
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    The 40mm Summicron-C is loved by many, disparaged by others since it was made in Japan. Generally regarded as one of the best values amongst Leica M mount lenses. It was made for the Leica CL, which remains the most compact M-mount camera ever made.

    The only other 40mm lens I know of for Leica M mount is the Cosina Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 lens made for use with the Bessa R3A. This lens is also highly regarded by many, though quite a few people criticize it for "harsh" bokeh. While it does have a tendency to "ring out" at f/1.4, it compares well with the Summicron-C when both are evaluated at the same f-number. Ronald Ruehl did some nice tests here demonstrating the comparative bokeh of the two lenses.

    40mm is currently my preferred length as well. Mike Johnston wrote a good article about 40mm here.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Haya and asabet, thank you both for the great info and links. I'll need to take a closer look, but from the sounds of things, it might be worth a trip back to that shop to see if the lens might be for sale.


    Thanks!
    Tim

  5. #5
    asabet
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Sure thing Tim. There's tons of information about the 40mm Summicron-C and closely related Minolta 40mm Rokkor in the forums at http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/index.php. A number of people have modified it there to bring up the 35mm framelines IIRC.

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    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by asabet View Post
    The 40mm Summicron-C is loved by many, disparaged by others since it was made in Japan....
    Ouch! No no my friend, made in Germany please.
    Perhaps you mistake it with the Minolta lens named M-Rokkor which was very good as well but made in Japan.
    The Summicron-C is a great lens, i own 3 copies of it
    IQ is very close to the famous 'king-of-bokeh' Summicron-M 35/2 IV.
    Like the latter it has a bit of flare though.
    Also it has a sloping cam made for the Leica CL which could possibly pose focusing problems with M cameras. Never got the latters with my M's or R-D1's though.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    A quick scan of the LUF threads came up with several discussions of this lens along with some samples. One area of discussion was a mod to the lens that allowed it to bring up the 35mm focus lines, which apparently are pretty accurate on the M8 for the 40mm. It requires filing of a tab on the mount.

    Also, the thread pitch for the filters is an odd one, therefore there's some discussion on how to go about mounting an IR/cut filter. Obviously, the lenses aren't coded.

    Still, I'm thinking about making an offer for the lens and just mounting and shooting it without filter or even frame lines. What sorts of issues would that leave me with?

    Thanks again everyone.

  8. #8
    asabet
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by LCT View Post
    Ouch! No no my friend, made in Germany please.
    Perhaps you mistake it with the Minolta lens named M-Rokkor which was very good as well but made in Japan.
    Thanks for the correction. I was thinking of the Leica CL to which the Summicron-C was mated.

  9. #9
    Haya
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    I have the VC 40mm Nokton it was the first lens I bought for my M8.

    The frame lines that come up are 50mm and in the beginning it's pretty hard to frame your subject accurately especially when photographing people up close, but to be honest now I'm so used to it it's not an issue.

    I really enjoy shooting with the 40mm and it's probably my most used lens even though i picked up a 28mm elmarit and a 90mm elmarit soon after I got it.

    On the other hand I've not tried out any 35mm lens on my M8, my VC35 Nokton f1.2 is arriving tomorrow so I'll know pretty soon if I 've been missing out on a 35 or if the 40 is just right!

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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    I too have the CV 40mm Nokton on my M8. I had John Milich file the mount down so it brings up the 35mm framelines and added coding pits. I have mine coded as a 35mm Summilux. It's my walkabout lens on my M8. Here is a sample shot from it:

    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Don't forget the Rollei 40mm Sonnar.

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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Here are some 40mm lenses:






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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Holy cow. You're a serious fan of the forties!

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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Not me, a fellow forummer here.

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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by Haya View Post
    I have the VC 40mm Nokton it was the first lens I bought for my M8.
    Haya,

    did you the multi-coated or single-coated lens? i'm seriously looking at this one as my first lens on the R-D1 and am trying to decide between the two. i prefer to shoot for b/w (SC) but i've been really impressed with the colours out of the MC version.

  16. #16
    Haya
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    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    I got the MC version as it was my first lens I knew I would want to shoot in color and b&w.

    It's a great lens I would go with the MC if I were you as a first lens you would want to shoot color on occasion I'm sure and I'm not really familiar with the SC results.

  17. #17

    Re: What can you tell me about a 40mm Leica lens?

    Along with the 40mm Summicron C, there is a 40mm Rokor designed for use with the Minolta CLE. The CLE was the equivalent of an M7 but years in advance of the 7.

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