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Thread: I've done it

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    I've done it

    I'm taking possession of my new to me M8 today.

    Next up, glass. Ugh.

    I've read, re-read, searched, scrubbed and obsessed to find the answer. Since this is an "experiment" per se, I'm entering on a budget. So this is what I'm thinking and I'd like some input here.

    I'm thinking of starting with a 40 1.4 Nokton. I know it's all subjective to the user, but I like the 50mm range. I spent the morning with the zoom on my D3 shuffling back and forth with 35, 50, 65 shots trying to see what I'd be missing.

    I shoot pretty much anything. Weddings/portraits/events professionally. Travel semi-professionally (selling prints but no editorial assignments... yet). I love street for fun and I'm looking into candid based personal projects which is one of the reason I'm looking into trying an M system.

    What thoughts do you folks have on the 40 as an entry lens? I wish there was an extra stop on the ZM 25, but well, there isn't and the 24-Lux is not even remotely close to an option unless the Powerball comes through for me.

    Enough rambling... let me hear it!

    Thanks!
    http://jasonedwardphoto.com http://jasonmuelver.tumblr.com
    Nikon FX, Leica M8, Mamiya 645, Canon F-1

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    iiiNelson's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    Congrats on your M8. I just got my M9 on Saturday. 40 is a good focal length. My personal plan now is to have a 50 (outdoor) and a 35 (indoor) as my two base focal lengths and have a general purpose wide and telephoto.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
    http://www.iiinelsonimages.com

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    Re: I've done it

    Dude...Congrats! You'll be Scary Awesome with a Leica! Never shot with the 40 but i've seen beautiful images with it! You can get some used or new Zeiss 35 or 50 Planars which render very nice with the M8 or of course you can full bore Leica glass which you eventually will! Im happy for you Jason & cant wait to see some stuff!

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    Re: I've done it

    Sweet! Congratulations. This "experiment" will be a long, winding rabbit hole. I think you're going to enjoy it.

    The 1,4/35 and 1,4/40 Noktons are decent lenses. Fast, small. Some barrel distortion. The bokeh can also be a little 'nervous" at times. I prefer the Zeiss ZM lenses generally, but you're right - they're not the fastest lenses out there. Still, the 2/50 Planar is one seriously nice lens. I wouldn't recommend the 1,5/50 Sonnar starting out; it's a bit "special." Keep in mind that on the M8, 50mm lenses will be a tad on the long side (almost a 67mm equiv.). For a first lens, I'd suggest something a little wider.

    If you want one lens that can do it all - at the expense of size/weight, the 1,2/35 Nokton is hard to beat. As far as RF lenses go, it's definitely on the large end. But very well worth it. Even after you've gone through every other lens, you'll probably end up keeping this one - if not now, then at some point.

    The 2,8/25 Biogon ZM needs no introduction. It's about as good as it gets, if you ask me. Too slow as your first/only lens though. It was my favorite, bar none, on the M8.

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    Re: I've done it

    40 sounds good. generally, i'd recommend something between 28 and 50 for a first lens.

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    Re: I've done it

    Don't forget the ZM 35/2. It's a very nice performer and doesn't suffer from excessive focus shift which typically drive me nuts. The focus shift with the ZM 50/1.5 Sonnar was the main reason I got the 50/2 Planar instead. No such worries with the ZM 35/2. It could be an issue with the CV 35/1.4 and also the 40/1.4 from what I've read.

    -Thomas

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    Re: I've done it

    Congrats, Jason!
    Ashwin Rao
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    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    Thanks, everyone.

    In the cropped sensor world, I think the 40 is where I want to be. In FX-ville, I'm a 21/35-50/105 person, but that's with an SLR. In my 645, I'm 45/80/110/150, so I can at least say I'm consistent.

    If this experiment works out, I am thinking a 25 ZM, 50 f1, 90 to add in the mix.

    This wait til next week for the glass just might kill me! :-D
    http://jasonedwardphoto.com http://jasonmuelver.tumblr.com
    Nikon FX, Leica M8, Mamiya 645, Canon F-1

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest something that might cause a dust up. If you are new to rangefinders, my suggestion is to start with one focal length of the best lens you can afford. My own approach (which is not for everyone) was to start with the 28 Cron. It was expensive but oh my is it nice.

    I say this because I also proceeded to purchase other, less-expensive lenses (Voigtlander) and discovered that they were fine lenses for the money, but lacked the magic of the Leica glass. I sold them all and lost money for that discovery.

    Plus, and again this might just be me, but I found myself putting a lens on the M8 and either forgetting to change to another in my bag or preferring not to. When I'm shooting in rangefinder mode, I seem far less likely to churn lenses while shooting.

    So, my personal opinion is to buy one really nice lens of a focal length you can live with and work with the camera for awhile before making decisions about other focal lengths. I've managed to be very happy with the 28 Cron and the 75 Lux. Occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night with my fingers wrapped around an imaginary 50 pre-asph, but a drink of water and a turn of the pillow usually makes the dream go away.

    Best of luck with your new Leica!

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    Re: I've done it

    I have always been in love with the Leica 35 cron ASPH. One of the smallest Leica lenses, fast enough, very close to 50mm equivalent FL. Although one would not call it inexpensive, it is much better price than most other Leicas.

    If you are thinking one lens only, do consider going with Leica.

    BTW I agree the 28 cron is great, too.

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    Re: I've done it

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    ...Plus, and again this might just be me, but I found myself putting a lens on the M8 and either forgetting to change to another in my bag or preferring not to. When I'm shooting in rangefinder mode, I seem far less likely to churn lenses while shooting...
    I've noticed the same thing. Heck, often times I just go out with one lens and call it a day. But even with a few lenses along for the ride, I don't change much - certainly not as much as I might with an SLR. Which is especially strange because my "default" lens on the Canon is the 24-70mm.

    Quote Originally Posted by tom in mpls View Post
    ...If you are thinking one lens only, do consider going with Leica...
    I would agree; if you know you only want one (or a couple) lenses, there's a lot to be said for going Leica. Build quality, coding and firmware tuned for the lens, optical attributes in general, resale value, etc.

    I think if I started over, I'd probably just get a pair of Summicrons with a Noctilux in the middle and be done.

    But, half the fun is the ridiculous variety of lenses you can bolt to an M...

  12. #12
    Senior Member JohnW's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    Jason,

    I suggest you consider subscribing to reidreview.com. He reviews most Leica, Zeiss, and Voigtlander M lenses--many specifically for the M8.

    I don't have experience with the 40, but used the ZM 35 2.0 on my M8 and was thrilled with it.

    John

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    You'll be perfectly happy with the 40/1.4, until you want to play with something else. I have the 35/1.4 and love it. I love the Zeiss 25/2.8 even more, but it's too slow to use in all circumstances. Buy used and trade around. You'll lose minimal money and learn what you like. Maybe you'll end up with Leitz glass in the end, but you'll know why. If you don't end up with Leitz glass, you'll have saved a bundle.

    I sold both of the Leitz lenses I owned (they were not high-end, though). I'm very happy with my stable of Zeiss glass (and a couple of VCs).

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    I totally agree with all of you. If I could, I would get a 35 lux and call it a day.

    I guess I am looking to prove to myself that I am going to be good enough with a rangefinder to warrant the good stuff. In short, push the equipment to the max of my skill. When the equipment turns into the limiting factor, then I will look to "upgrade". I feel that I will have enough of an adjustment period in which I will have time to also feel out what my primary focal lengths should be.

    This is going to be fun!
    http://jasonedwardphoto.com http://jasonmuelver.tumblr.com
    Nikon FX, Leica M8, Mamiya 645, Canon F-1

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    Re: I've done it

    Jason, the 35 lux 2 is for sale in the commercial buy sell by monza...(Robert J at precision camera), not to tempt you too much. I just got mine from him, and my oh my, it is perfect, or close to it. the new lens hood is SWEET too, far less obstructive of the viewfinder, and the rendering is a mix of the prior 35 lux asph and the 50 lux asph in terms of having a bit more contrast, with that rich classic look mixed in there as well...


    Granted that cost is an order of magnitude over the 40 mm f/1.4 CV...but in the spirit of discussion above and getting the best possible 1 lens solution, this, in my mind (or the 28 cron, if you like 35 mm FOV equiv over the 50 mm FOV equiv) are the 2 best options for the M8...period...
    Ashwin Rao
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    Senior Member Jason Muelver's Avatar
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    Re: I've done it

    Ash... I saw that. Trust me.

    But for now, I like being married
    http://jasonedwardphoto.com http://jasonmuelver.tumblr.com
    Nikon FX, Leica M8, Mamiya 645, Canon F-1

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    Re: I've done it

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    ...and my oh my, it is perfect, or close to it....
    For $5k, it sure had better be perfect.

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    Re: I've done it

    Jason: Congratulations. I'm away for a little while and everybody gets something new! I don't have any experience with the 40mm Nokton 1.4; but, I think that's a good place to start your journey.

    Cheers, Matt

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

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    Re: I've done it

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Muelver View Post
    ....M8..... thinking of starting with a 40 1.4 Nokton.....
    Jason - You started at a logical point by playing framing games with your slr to see which focal length lens seems consistently natural, but transferring that focal length to an 'M' presumes the same way of working between an slr and a rangefinder camera. From my experience, my feet work differently with an 'M' than they do with an slr; it's a camera which invites one, quite naturally, to get a little bit closer,

    The good thing for you is that 'a little bit closer' will give you a focal length designed for 'M' framelines; i.e. 35mm and my recommendation is to stick for now with a well chosen 35mm [in my case I chose the Zeiss C-Biogon 35mm f2.8, a phenomenal lens-for-life].

    I too recommend that you INVEST in a subscription to Reid Reviews and catch up on some enjoyable reading that will be pertinent to your original post; in particular you should read Sean's take on the 40mm CV, and his '35mm lenses on the M9. Relatively slower lenses have a number of design/cost advantages over fast lenses, and a little reading of Sean's reviews will demonstrate this. Good luck.

    ......... Chris

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