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Thread: One 50mm lens for M9

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    One 50mm lens for M9

    So I'm about ready to dive feet first into an M9. I can *just* scrape together the funds if I find the right deal...not much left for lenses. I like to 50mm FOV, someday I'll round out with 35 and maybe 75/90.

    I'm looking for advice on a decent 50 that is within range. Used, old, whatever...can I get that for around $1k? I don't know my crons from my luxes, or other brands... any guidance would be helpful as I lay plans.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Zeiss 50mm Planar f/2, around $750 new, high $550-650-ish used.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    i concur with Matt 100%

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    i concur with Matt 100%
    It's Mike, but I'm glad we're in agreement.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    It's Mike, but I'm glad we're in agreement.
    Oops sorry Mike. Yeah we're in agreement cause I've compared the Summicron, Planar and Noctilux at f/2. The Noctilux was the best, by far better than the Summicron, with the Planar slightly behind the Noct.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    I highly recommend the Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f2.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    The Zeiss 50 2.0 Planar is the best buy in the group and can be found around $750 . (It will take some work to find any M mount 50 ....I just did the searches yesterday ).

    I ve used all the versions of the Leica glass 50mm summicron,summilux,asph ,noctilux and the zeiss 50/2. Sharpness is last on my list of considerations ..they are all great. Rather the character of the lens is shown in contrast,color and bokeh . At F5.6 they are all superb. Ken Rockwell has a test of most variations ....my results differ a bit but you get the idea of how they render and whats important.

    Finding any Leica 50 under $1000 is either the Summarit (very respectible but F2.5) or lens 20 years old (which often need CLA).

    So really under $1000 ...the Zeiss is one of just a few options and a superb lens in its own right . See ErwinPuts reviews of the lens. Technically is exceptional ..just not as much of the Leica look as the Leica Glass.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    I ave had the 50 summicron summilux all versions the nokton 1.5 and the zeiss 50 f2 the zeiss is a great lens the nokton a dog . If you donot need the speed get the zeiss.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    The Zeiss 50 2.0 Planar is the best buy in the group and can be found around $750 . (It will take some work to find any M mount 50 ....I just did the searches yesterday ).

    I ve used all the versions of the Leica glass 50mm summicron,summilux,asph ,noctilux and the zeiss 50/2. Sharpness is last on my list of considerations ..they are all great. Rather the character of the lens is shown in contrast,color and bokeh . At F5.6 they are all superb. Ken Rockwell has a test of most variations ....my results differ a bit but you get the idea of how they render and whats important.

    Finding any Leica 50 under $1000 is either the Summarit (very respectible but F2.5) or lens 20 years old (which often need CLA).

    So really under $1000 ...the Zeiss is one of just a few options and a superb lens in its own right . See ErwinPuts reviews of the lens. Technically is exceptional ..just not as much of the Leica look as the Leica Glass.
    Please describe this 'Leica look' everyone keeps talking about. I honestly have never seen it. Is it the 'glow' of old lenses wide open, or the newer high contrast and sharpness wide open of new lenses?

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    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
    I highly recommend the Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f2.
    If it's anything like my 90mm M-Hexanon f/2.8, I'd agree. It beat the pants off my 90mm Elmar.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    Please describe this 'Leica look' everyone keeps talking about. I honestly have never seen it. Is it the 'glow' of old lenses wide open, or the newer high contrast and sharpness wide open of new lenses?
    good question and I don't know which it is but I for sure like the high contrast, flare resistance and sharpness wide open (and at any other aperture) of the new lenses. some people say that the "look" is too clinical or whatever but I find it special and very welcome.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    I don't have an M9 (yet), but I'm a great fan of the Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2, which I've used on an M6 and a Sony NEX. This was my first M-mount lens and continues to be one of my most used, both because I like the 50mm focal length and I like the way the lens draws. It's plenty sharp and it does great with color (I can't recall if I've used it in black & white). Truly a bargain for what you get, but as others have noted all M-mount lenses seem to be in short supply these days.

    Mike

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by baudolino View Post
    good question and I don't know which it is but I for sure like the high contrast, flare resistance and sharpness wide open (and at any other aperture) of the new lenses. some people say that the "look" is too clinical or whatever but I find it special and very welcome.
    I agree that for some time back when the 35/1.4 ASPHERICAL was released the Leica look, or 'Leica resolution advantage' (as i saw it) on film especially was quite apparent, but these days people really can't tell. How do i know? Because people assume that most of the pictures in my folio must have been taken with a Leica, when actually, most were taken with a Nikon, using either Nikon or Zeiss glass.

    ....and don't get me started on how good the Hasselblad or other medium format systems are

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    ....and don't get me started on how good the Hasselblad or other medium format systems are
    HI Kristian
    How good are the Hasselblad or other medium format systems?


    I rather like the Leica 50 summarit . . . actually, I also REALLY like the Zeiss 50 f1.5 sonnar (it has real character - even though there is a bit of focus shift).

    But I can't honestly say that I've ever used the 50 f2 planar

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    Please describe this 'Leica look' everyone keeps talking about. I honestly have never seen it. Is it the 'glow' of old lenses wide open, or the newer high contrast and sharpness wide open of new lenses?
    Certainly in the eye of the beholder..but the pre asph leica glass produces images with the leica glow . The pre asph summiluxes are technically not up to the modern standard wide open but can be used creatively to create the painterly look . It is also in how leica glass renders color and even bokeh. Each design has a signature or look.

    I try to match my lenses to their intended use and type of light. Sum microns for example excell in strong contrasty light like we have in florida. Summiluxes are superb in overcast city light .....on a rainy day I grab the 35 lux . At the beach in Florida it's the 28 Summicron.

    The 50 zeiss planar I bought from Dave . Used it on the street in Prague for black and white work on the M8. I thought it was a great combination because the high contrast helped in the overcast lighting . Used the same lens in Colorado for mountain landscapes..too much contrast ..Summicron would have been better.

    Sean Reid wrote about this on his website ...

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Kristian,
    I think you are teasing us with your claim not to know the Leica look. The superb images taken with the Noct which you recently posted are a perfect example. Those are the kind of images I associate with Leica glass. I can get beautiful images with my Nikon kit... but they simply do not look the same.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Kristian
    How good are the Hasselblad or other medium format systems?


    I rather like the Leica 50 summarit . . . actually, I also REALLY like the Zeiss 50 f1.5 sonnar (it has real character - even though there is a bit of focus shift).

    But I can't honestly say that I've ever used the 50 f2 planar
    The Hasselblad H4D-40 is absolutely incredible, and thats using a 35-90 f/4-5.6 (24-70). The files are so robust and can take a lot of movement in post processing. The detail is incredible, the Leica M9, except maybe the S2 with its superior lenses, has no chance ;-) - but it's no M ;-)

    Never tried the Summarit but I suspect its much better than the credit it gets. The Planar is the faultless do everything lens, superior to the summicron in sharpness wide open. Bokeh is very similar, maybe slightly warmer colors. The Sonar on the other hand is a tricky little lens that really needs to be properly calibrated and shot at f/1.5 to really see it's character, which i find really nice, like a slightly exaggerated pre-asph Summilux.

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    Senior Member leicashot's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Certainly in the eye of the beholder..but the pre asph leica glass produces images with the leica glow . The pre asph summiluxes are technically not up to the modern standard wide open but can be used creatively to create the painterly look . It is also in how leica glass renders color and even bokeh. Each design has a signature or look.

    I try to match my lenses to their intended use and type of light. Sum microns for example excell in strong contrasty light like we have in florida. Summiluxes are superb in overcast city light .....on a rainy day I grab the 35 lux . At the beach in Florida it's the 28 Summicron.

    The 50 zeiss planar I bought from Dave . Used it on the street in Prague for black and white work on the M8. I thought it was a great combination because the high contrast helped in the overcast lighting . Used the same lens in Colorado for mountain landscapes..too much contrast ..Summicron would have been better.

    Sean Reid wrote about this on his website ...
    All great points agreed on all.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Kristian,
    I think you are teasing us with your claim not to know the Leica look. The superb images taken with the Noct which you recently posted are a perfect example. Those are the kind of images I associate with Leica glass. I can get beautiful images with my Nikon kit... but they simply do not look the same.
    Well certainly the Noct has a unique modern Leica look as it cannot be replicated by any other lens on the planet. Though the traditional look people talk about is not the same thing people are referring too these days.

    I would bet that if I shot my Nikon D3s with a Nikon or better, the Zeiss 35/1.4 and compared to another photographer shooting a Leica, most would have a hard time telling the difference, especially because of today's processing tools. In the old days it was easier to analyse the chromes on a lightbox or projector.

    Most of the shots people guess were taken with a Leica in my folio weren't, because I shot them in good lighting and I know how to get the most out of each lighting setup. This is a big part of the overall result. IMHO, the very best lenses for 35mm are some of the Zeiss ZF/ZE lenses for SLR's. The very best 35/2 in the world is the Zeiss ZF/ZE, and same with the 100mm, 21mm and maybe even the 50/2 Makro.

    As much as I love the Leica M system more than anything else, I am not a believer in the 'Leica look' being superior to everything else. I believe in my abilities to use the most suitable camera for the job, and to do the very best I can with it.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    I agree that for some time back when the 35/1.4 ASPHERICAL was released the Leica look, or 'Leica resolution advantage' (as i saw it) on film especially was quite apparent, but these days people really can't tell. How do i know? Because people assume that most of the pictures in my folio must have been taken with a Leica, when actually, most were taken with a Nikon, using either Nikon or Zeiss glass.

    ....and don't get me started on how good the Hasselblad or other medium format systems are
    Agreed. I guess I'm a Zeissophile. All my system cameras take, or are natively, Zeiss: Leica M, Contax, Hasselblad, and Sony Alpha.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    An early Cron 50 of the newest version is likely a bit out of reach. That'd be my recommendation, though. An M9 and Cron 50 would be a very good combo.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    In my opinion, the word that best describes and differentiates Leica lenses is brilliance...Zeiss lenses come close, but nothing really compares with Leica lenses in brilliance.

    Roy Benson

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Benroy what do you mean by 'brilliance' I really can't see any advantages in comparable Leica vs Zeiss lenses except for build quality

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    As much as I love the Leica M system more than anything else, I am not a believer in the 'Leica look' being superior to everything else.
    Agreed...there are other manufacturers that make equally good lenses. I've yet to shoot with a lens that I consider better than the Rollei or Hasselblad 110/2. But I do think that Leica probably has the best current lineup of top notch glass. If the marketplace is an accurate indicator... I'm not the only one who thinks so.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
    I highly recommend the Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f2.
    I just put my 50 hex on my (new) M9 - it seems to severely backfocus over 12 ft or so (OOF at f4) It backfocuses just a bit (3/4") at 1M. Raining today, but I'll check out infinity on a clear day.

    Is your 50 Hex focusing accurately?

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin2i View Post
    I just put my 50 hex on my (new) M9 - it seems to severely backfocus over 12 ft or so (OOF at f4) It backfocuses just a bit (3/4") at 1M. Raining today, but I'll check out infinity on a clear day.

    Is your 50 Hex focusing accurately?
    I had the same issue with a 35/2 Hex I once bought and immediately returned. Its a fairly known issue that sometimes you can get away with. In this case its a real shame. You can calibrate your M9 to work with the lens, but it may be inaccurate for other lenses.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin2i View Post
    I just put my 50 hex on my (new) M9 - it seems to severely backfocus over 12 ft or so (OOF at f4) It backfocuses just a bit (3/4") at 1M. Raining today, but I'll check out infinity on a clear day.

    Is your 50 Hex focusing accurately?
    I used Konica 50/2 on my M8 without any focus problems. But I no longer own that lens. I still have two Konica lenses, 50/2.5 (LTM) and 35/2 (LTM). None of them has focus problems on my M8.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    When the Hexar RF was 1st released in the States, I had the initial trio of lenses they offered. They focused perfectly on the Hexar Body (examined chromes on the light table under loupe).... but severly misfocused on the Leica film body I was using at the time. The Leica lenses I owned focused perfectly on the Leica body...but unfortunately misfocused on the Hexar body. This told me at the time that it appeared the registry for these two cameras/lens systems slightly differed. Later on I repeated the same test with a new Hexar RF kit and lenses and another Leica film body...basically the same results. Konica at the time (very early on) mentioned to me that this would be the case and that depth fo field when on wide end (using their 28mm f2.8) would probably mask some ofthe issue.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 10th July 2011 at 21:19.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    When the Hexar RF was 1st released in the States, I had the initial trio of lenses they offered. They focused perfectly on the Hexar Body (examined chromes on the light table under loupe).... but severly misfocused on the Leica film body I was using at the time. The Leica lenses I owned focused perfectly on the Leica body...but unfortunately misfocused on the Hexar body. This told me at the time that it appeared the registry for these two cameras/lens systems slightly differed. Later on I repeated the same test with a new Hexar RF kit and lenses and another Leica film body...basically the same results. Konica at the time (very early on) mentioned to me that this would be the case and that depth fo field when on wide end (using their 28mm f2.8) would probably mask some ofthe issue.

    Dave (D&A)
    It is true that the Konica Hexar and Leica M lines have slightly different standards for focus calibration (I haven't come across a credible explanation for why Konica made the difference), but my understanding is that Hexar lenses can be calibrated to Leica M standards by someone like DAG. Having said that, I personally have steered clear of Hexar lenses in order to avoid the hassle of getting them to work on M bodies. YMMV.

    Mike

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    If you are looking for a great lens to use with the M9, I would recommend the Voigtlander Nokton ASPH 50mm f1.5 lens. It is a LTM lens and requires an adaptor. The lens is available new at a price of 699.00 plus 59.00 for the LTM to M adaptor.

    Check out Cameraquest or Photovillage for availability. You can also find them used and save a couple of hundred dollars.

    Good luck with your search.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    With regards to both Mike's and my statements above....I think through the years many hexar M lenses were sent in by their owners to be adjusted to the Leica standard (or had it done locally) and therefore there is a hodgepodge of hexar lenses out there...some which focus perfectly on a Leica M body and some that don't. This I believe in part adds to the confusion and controversy as to whether these Hexar M lenses focus properly on Leica M bodies. I know all the ones I tested, came essentually straight from Konica and were from either from the very earliest "first" released lenses here in the States or subsequently batches as the years rolled on. I saw little if any changes in any of them in regards to focus adjustment.

    Yet, I did try a few of unknown original in focal lengths I did previous try and some of them focused perfectly on a Leica M body.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Thanks all for the insight so far! It certainly hasn't cleared anything up in terms of simple choices, but the information is great and the variety is half(most) of the fun anyway, right?

    As for the LTM vs. M point...does the adaptor detract anything from the lens, or is it simply mechanical and a non-factor once on the lens?

    Thanks again,
    Jeff


    Quote Originally Posted by seakayaker View Post
    If you are looking for a great lens to use with the M9, I would recommend the Voigtlander Nokton ASPH 50mm f1.5 lens. It is a LTM lens and requires an adaptor. The lens is available new at a price of 699.00 plus 59.00 for the LTM to M adaptor.

    Check out Cameraquest or Photovillage for availability. You can also find them used and save a couple of hundred dollars.

    Good luck with your search.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Jeff: Adaptors don't detract from picture quality at all, unless they are badly machined or damaged. They are just 1mm thick rings with an M bayonet mount that the lens screws into.

    My suggestion is to think about what kinds of pictures you want to take, and then go for the lens with characteristics that match that most closely. There are very few bad 50mm lenses.

    Think about the tradeoffs: Speed (aperture) vs. weight, size and price. Classic vs. modern look. High or medium contrast? Will you primarily shoot people, landscapes, or street scenes at medium distances?

    Do you want a fast lens that will take pictures in dimly-lit rooms, bars, cafes? Then you will want a f/1.4 or f/1.5 lens. The 50/1.5 Nokton is the best bargain among them. It's sharper than the classic Leitz Summilux overall, but has a more "clinical" modern look, and some people don't like the out of focus rendition, which can be harsh.

    If you don't need f/1.4, any Leica Summicron (50/2) would do fine, with the possible exception of the collapsible, which might seem a bit too soft wide open (though some people love that). As mentioned, the Zeiss Planar is as good optically, maybe better in some respects, and less pricey.

    Another possibility is either the Summarit (50/2.5)or the current Elmar (50/2.8). These lenses will be fine for most outdoor picture-taking, but you'll need flash indoors and at night.

    If money was no object and you could have only one lens, I'd say get the 50 Summilux ASPH.

    The lenses to truly avoid as a beginner are the Konica Hexars (you won't know if they focus properly until you try). Ditto the Russian Jupiters, which have an old look, very spotty quality control, and usually need to be adjusted to focus properly on a Leica.

    Anyway, think about the pictures first, and the lens will follow from that. We can help. If I were in your situation today, I'd probably get a Summicron or a Planar if my major interest was pictures in good light, or the Nokton if I knew I wanted to shoot mostly available light in dark places.

    --Peter

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by dubes View Post
    It is true that the Konica Hexar and Leica M lines have slightly different standards for focus calibration (I haven't come across a credible explanation for why Konica made the difference), but my understanding is that Hexar lenses can be calibrated to Leica M standards by someone like DAG. Having said that, I personally have steered clear of Hexar lenses in order to avoid the hassle of getting them to work on M bodies. YMMV.

    Mike
    When I shot film, I do remember never getting a 70/ summilux to work on my Hexar RF, but it worked fine on my M6 and (eventually) M7. I settled with wides on the hexar, and 50/1 75/1.4 90/2.8 reserved for the M. Got the .85 M7 for that reason. Hexar is around .58, just about a full 24mm frame in the viewfinder.

    I now remember discussing with a technician that the flange distance was not identical. I also remember shooting 7 rolls of film one day for focus testing, then developing and scanning it all . . . ugh.

    My Nocti is at DAG due to rear focusing on the M9, and I am waiting for a new (old) 50 Collapsible Summaron to arrive -- coated, exc, $400, hard to resist.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffnesh View Post
    Thanks all for the insight so far! It certainly hasn't cleared anything up in terms of simple choices, but the information is great and the variety is half(most) of the fun anyway, right?

    As for the LTM vs. M point...does the adaptor detract anything from the lens, or is it simply mechanical and a non-factor once on the lens?

    Thanks again,
    Jeff
    . . . . . the LTM adaptor does not detract from the lens. I use the Voigtlander LTM to M adaptors with the 50/1.5 and 28/1.9 lens with the M9. If you subscribe to Sean Reid reviews you will see that he speaks highly of the 28/1/9, 35/1.7 and 50/1.5 Voigtlander lens.

    Sample pictures, the last 130 of the set, taken with the VC Nokton 50/1.5 ASPH with a M8.2 and M9 can be found here:

    Once again, good luck with your decison.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Jeff, if you are getting into a Leica system for the first time I wouldn't look at other manufacturers lenses because you want to discover the real Leica look, and that isn't produced by the body but the lens. Maybe go for Zeiss etc when you have a datum point in mind.

    I wouldn't recommend anything exotic or quirky, you don't want to feel as if you went too far (a Summilux), or to individual (an Elmar). You want to be comfortable with it and know you have a true standard lens by which to judge others in future. So that leaves a good Summicron as the best most sensible option, preferably the latest version. Coding isn't important at 50mm, but it is nice to have the info on your Exif file.

    Steve

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    72-year old Sonnar 5cm F1.5, wide-open on the Leica M9.



    and a Russian J-3, wide-open, on the M8.





    It's hard to find a bad 50mm lens for a Leica. All the lenses mentioned are first rate. By F4, most lenses made in the last 60 years match the M9's sensor resolution.

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    Senior Member leicashot's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    For anyone doubting my claims that the Planar exceeds the sharpness of the Summicron wide open, take a look for yourself

    Beautiful bokeh wide open




    100%crop

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Great examples of the planar above and they reinforce the observations on character . Its not a sharpness issue in picking a 50 unless the subject really benefits from uber sharp rendering.

    Look at how the images render the skin tones ..do you see the subtle separation of tones ? How about the color depth (how would the Hasselblad render the skin ) ? The Zeiss Planar has exceptional resolution and macro(edge) sharpness . I think in the higher contrast light (image one outside) thats a fault . In the softer diffused light the match of a high contrast high resolution lens picks up the overall contrast and results in a powerful rendering .

    Clearly if you are controlling the light ..you can adjust the contrast and balance the lens but if ,as most M users , you are primarily shooting in available light ..then the 50 planar can be too harsh . The 50 summicron would render the first image with less macro contrast and more micro contrast (see in the skin tones) and to my eye a more pleasing result.

    Not suggesting that one lens or the other is better..just that they have different signatures (ways of rendering) and that resolution isn t the most important factor when they all are quite excellent.

    I would also highlight that the zeiss rendering tends to bring a slight blueish cast to the image (really great around the ocean at dusk ) (see the whites of the eyes in the examples). The summicron would be warmer and the Noctilux would be cleaner (color clarity ..lack of any cast ) . No question that post processing can overcome a good part of these differences but color purity results in the best final product.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Buying an M9 body anytime soon, for me, will be a huge stretch so I know that when I do it I'll be limited to either old lenses or alternative manufacturer lenses for a while. I'll have the lovely little Voigtländer Skopar 50mm f/2.5 and most likely either a Skopar 25/4, Skopar 28/3.5, or Ultron 28/2 or 1.9 as well. Any pair of those can be had for about $1000, and all of them have sufficient quality and rendering foo to be worth working with until the bank account is re-filled.

    If I don't/didn't have those, I'd buy a Leica Summicron-C 40mm f/2 to start with as I prefer a slightly wider field of view and always loved that lens' imaging qualities. These can be had for prices in the $500-700 range (about $1000-1200 including the Leica CL body, which I like very much as well).

    If I really really had to have a 50mm, the Zeiss 50mm sounds wonderful and the photos look very good, but I'd probably just go for any reasonably modern, used Summicron-M 50mm f/2. That's the classic Leica 50mm lens and was always my favorite, I liked it more than the Summilux and Noctilux for general purpose shooting. You can find them for about $1000 plus or minus if you look hard enough. Any of them (in good condition) is worth having, every series has its particular nuances in rendering qualities, and at this level of lens foo saying just one of them is the "best and only one to have" has little meaning.

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    Member Zlatko Batistich's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by leicashot View Post
    For anyone doubting my claims that the Planar exceeds the sharpness of the Summicron wide open, take a look for yourself

    Beautiful bokeh wide open
    Wow, that is stunning good bokeh & sharpness! Really wonderful. I guess we'd have to see how the Planar and Summicron draw the same subject to really compare them, but the superb quality of the Planar is undeniable in those examples.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Well, those images do not really "prove" much to me, beyond the accepted truth that the Planar is an excellent lens. And why wouldn't it be? It is a Zeiss lens, after all (ok Cosina lens but who cares) and a design well proven through decades of photographic history. Another consideration may be the focus shift or back-focus of the Planar that some users have reported (any comment?). Is the Planar "better" than the Summicron? Possibly, but resolution is not necessarily where I would see it as superior. My experience with the Summicron is (a) extremely high resolution - even too much for the M9 sensor, resulting in frequent cases of annoying moire, (b) lower contrast, probably partly due to (c) a tendency to flare with a diffused light source just outside the field of view, (d) very gradual transition from a sharp object to unsharp background (gives appearance of much deeper DOF but may not be everybody's cup of tea for portraits, for example). My observation is that the Planar is more contrasty than the Summicron and more resistant to flare. The higher (micro)contrast of the Planar possibly makes an impression of greater "sharpness" even though the resolution may in fact be the same or marginally lower or whatever (frankly, it is the least of my concerns). In the end, I consider the most relevant comments those concerning the different rendering of the different lenses, or their "character". In this regard, the Lux 50 Asph rules in my view, probably followed by the Planar (just because I prefer its contrastier rendering, better resistance to flare and the steeper transition from sharp areas to the unsharp background, compared to the Summicron). But the Summicron is a Leica lens which also means that it has the same ergonomics as all the other Leica lenses which may or may not be a consideration for some users. And the Summicron is of course capable of fantastic results, too (just look at Thorsten Overgaard's website....).

  43. #43
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Please jump in and clarify for me . I don t think the planar has higher micro contrast. Isn t it macro contrast ...thats what creates the strong edge sharpness and the appearance of a sharp transition from sharp to unsharp . Micro contrast shows up in the skin and the Pink fabric where you can see the more subtle tone gradients .

    This is where MF shines because you get better tone separation and deeper color .

    The 50 asph IMHO has the best all around performance and is balanced with great sharpness,high contrast,excellent bokeh ..but of course its quite expensive and always out of stock.





    Quote Originally Posted by baudolino View Post
    Well, those images do not really "prove" much to me, beyond the accepted truth that the Planar is an excellent lens. And why wouldn't it be? It is a Zeiss lens, after all (ok Cosina lens but who cares) and a design well proven through decades of photographic history. Another consideration may be the focus shift or back-focus of the Planar that some users have reported (any comment?). Is the Planar "better" than the Summicron? Possibly, but resolution is not necessarily where I would see it as superior. My experience with the Summicron is (a) extremely high resolution - even too much for the M9 sensor, resulting in frequent cases of annoying moire, (b) lower contrast, probably partly due to (c) a tendency to flare with a diffused light source just outside the field of view, (d) very gradual transition from a sharp object to unsharp background (gives appearance of much deeper DOF but may not be everybody's cup of tea for portraits, for example). My observation is that the Planar is more contrasty than the Summicron and more resistant to flare. The higher (micro)contrast of the Planar possibly makes an impression of greater "sharpness" even though the resolution may in fact be the same or marginally lower or whatever (frankly, it is the least of my concerns). In the end, I consider the most relevant comments those concerning the different rendering of the different lenses, or their "character". In this regard, the Lux 50 Asph rules in my view, probably followed by the Planar (just because I prefer its contrastier rendering, better resistance to flare and the steeper transition from sharp areas to the unsharp background, compared to the Summicron). But the Summicron is a Leica lens which also means that it has the same ergonomics as all the other Leica lenses which may or may not be a consideration for some users. And the Summicron is of course capable of fantastic results, too (just look at Thorsten Overgaard's website....).

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Sorry if I made a mistake between macro and micro contrast - my understanding has been that "sharpness" is the product of resolution and micro-contrast. My own experience with the planar is that it has a more contrasty overall rendering than the Summicron but that the Summicron perhaps has higher resolution (as in lines per millimeter). Which of them is "sharper" I don't know but the Summicron was not my favorite because of the flare, mostly. I now have the Lux 50 Asph and that lens is the best of them, for sure. For a cheaper alternative, the Planar would probably be my choice in terms of image quality and the Summicron in terms of ergonomics.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Sorry sharpness isn t the issue . Resolution and macro contrast create the appearance of sharpness. Micro contrast affects the tones ..like on a grey scale ..fabric ,skin etc are more life like when you can see the subtle shading .

    Also whats better really depends on what you are shooting and how you prefer to render the images . The same image could be crisp and punchy or garish and harsh depending on how you want the image to be presented.

    Most photographers find lenses that “work “ for the type of work they are doing and how they want photographs to look . The planar and the summicron are both great ..but very different . IMHO the photographs of the young girl would be better with the summicron ..but that doesn t mean the lens is better for everything.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    I like the 50/2 Summicron, I used to have 8 of them, but cut back to 5.

    This is one of those discussions that would probably best be answered with

    "what kind of look are you after?" If you want the sharpest possible lens, you will get one set of answers. Want a smooth and silky look, a different set.

    Best to look through the gallery and decide which look you want.
    Last edited by Brian S; 13th July 2011 at 15:58.

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    Member Zlatko Batistich's Avatar
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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian S View Post
    "what kind of look are you after?" If you want the sharpest possible lens, you will get one set of answers. Want a smooth and silky look, a different set.

    Best to look through the gallery and decide which look you want.
    Based on your experience, what is your opinion as to which lens offers which of those two looks? I'm not sure how to search in the gallery for photos from a particular lens. I really like the look of the Summicron, but haven't tried the Planar.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Flickr Tags make it easier to find images taken with individual lenses.

    I tend to organize my online galleries by lens, camera, and events.

    http://www.ziforums.com/album.php?u=15

    http://www.seriouscompacts.com/galle...username=brian

    But I am a lens fanatic.

    Summicron and Planar: high resolution, highly corrected for aberrations;
    Sonnar: center sharp, Smooth and Silky bokeh, lots of field curvature and more chromatic aberration

    I normally keep a Sonnar of some type on the M8 and M9. The M8 hasa 1936 uncoated 5cm f1.5 on it, and the M9 has a C-Sonnar on it.

    This is a 1935 CZJ 5cm f1.5 Sonnar on the M9, converted to Leica mount.



    Wide-open at F1.5

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Thank you Brian! Makes sense to me now.

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    Re: One 50mm lens for M9

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin2i View Post
    . . .

    My Nocti is at DAG due to rear focusing on the M9, and I am waiting for a new (old) 50 Collapsible Summaron to arrive -- coated, exc, $400, hard to resist.

    Oops, I meant Summitar, just got it . . .

    Collapsed:

    Nice match with the gray . . .


    Probably not the best choice for your first 50mm . . . however for $400 it does have character, and is compact.
    Wide open:

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