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Thread: 35mm Questions...

  1. #1
    Bettcherphoto
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    35mm Questions...

    Hello All,
    I am a new Leica M user and recently got a deal on both a 35mm F1.4 (summilux non asph) series 7 lens and a 35 summarit (6 bit coded.) I am debating selling one and am having difficulties making a decision. Any advice on performance/known issues, etc? I love the idea of a f1.4 but does the optical design of the newer f2.5 make up for the loss of f-stop? I am using them on an M9 and am shooting travel and documentary work.

    Thanks in advance!
    ~Adam

  2. #2
    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    Adam,

    It's almost two stops slower, not one stop, so that may make a difference to you.

    By f8 or so (for sure, possibly by about f5.6), they will both probably be very similar in performance, but the way they render out of focus areas may be slightly different. One thing I have noticed between the older lenses and the newest Leica lenses is that I prefer the way the older lenses transition from in-focus to out-of-focus. It just seems more graceful in that transition in the older lenses. Thankfully, it also means I generally prefer the much cheaper older lenses than the newest versions of the same lens.

    Regardless, from about f8 through to the smallest apertures, they will probably appear very similar in performance.

    So the only real question is what happens from about f8 to the largest apertures, and is that difference important to you?

    You gain almost two stops with the summilux, and that is nothing to sneeze at. You also gain the ability to reduce the depth of field considerably with the larger maximum aperture of the summilux. The summarit is going to be sharper it it's maximum aperture than the summilux at the same aperture (probably), because it is a bit better corrected.

    If you were a pure landscape shooter in the traditional manner, I would think that these aspects would be of little importance, but for documentary shooting, the ability to isolate with the summilux may be worth the price of admission, even though it does come with some compromise in absolute sharpness in the image at the largest apertures.

    I made a comparison between a summilux and summicron at f1.4 and f2 (the two maximum apertures) and a bit stopped down. By about f4 and certainly by f5.6 they were very close, as to be nearly indistinguishable. Now, they were contemporary, and the summarit is new, so I expect the differences to be greater. If I still have the comparison images, I'll post them tonight.

    Only you can determine what is the more important factor, but for my purposes, I decided that the summilux was the better choice for my shooting, even though in many cases I shoot at f5.6 or f8. When I need the f1.4, I have it to use.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

  3. #3
    Bettcherphoto
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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    Thanks for the info... I think that I just need to shoot with them both and make a decision based on my shooting style and need for the fast f-stop. My gut is telling me that I will want that and the isolating capabilities more than overall sharpness wide open.
    I appreciate your info and feedback.
    ~AB

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    I'm a big fan of the Summarits and have the 50 and latterly the 35. For me they are perfect from an ergonomic perspective - particularly on my film bodies - but I do find the F2.5 speed a little restrictive. Indoors or in dull light, F2.5 can easily mean 1/45 and ISO 1600. With a Summilux you can shoot at a more comfortable 1/60 and ISO 800. At the margins, the extra stop and a half can make a substantial difference - occasionally the difference between getting and not getting the shot.

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    Let us know what you decide. I have the 75mm Summarit, and it has been fantastic in well lit scenarios. That being said, I'd be hard pressed to give up the 1.4 personally.

    Here's another option for you: keep the 1.4, sell the 2.5 and buy the tiny little 35mm f2.5 voightlander. It's cheap, sharp as a tack and really good for those days when you have light, but want to cut down on bulk. You will almost assuredly use the Leica glass more often, but you won't feel too bad about it because you won't have much $ tied up with the CV. And trust me, the days when you want to cut down on bulk, you will be glad you have it.

    Just a thought.

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    Senior Member mjm6's Avatar
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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    On the summilux, Leica will not 6-bit code it, but there is a manual coding for it (don't even get me started on how extremely logical and completely illogical Leica is with this decision). However, you can get it coded as a ASPH sumilux, and it works very well. That's how mine is coded. DAG did the work, and did an excellent job.


    ---Michael
    a7r, a7rII, FE 16-35, FE 24-70GM, FE 70-200, Loxia 21mm, 35mm, 50mm

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    for those chiming that aren't familiar with the lens, the 35 pre-asph is about as small and light a lens as you could even want.

    to answer the OP's question, for me it is a no brainer -- speed. the Lux all the way, but i often shoot in poor light... but maybe you don't?

    the two lenses have extremely different rendering. in use, you should be able to find out pretty quickly which one you prefer. and that, even more than speed, could be the most important thing of all.

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
    Here's another option for you: keep the 1.4, sell the 2.5 and buy the tiny little 35mm f2.5 voightlander.
    I would keep both and if you have to sell for $, the cv lens is good; I have both the cv & the lux and use-like both a lot.

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    The older versions of the pre-ASPH tends to flare quite a bit. The later versions, especially those made in Germany seem to deal with flare a lot better. I have the German version and it seems to be glued to my M9 even though I have the Summicron ASPH and the Summilux "Aspherical". There is a recent thread on this lens at the LUF: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-...-summilux.html

    Alan

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    Senior Member LCT's Avatar
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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    I own both lenses. They are too different to be compared IMO:
    - the Summilux is a Mandler lens with a unique rendition at f/1.4: soft with real 'glow' i.e. halos around highlights giving it a dreamy rendition. Otherwise plenty sharp at f/2.8 and on with a smooth bokeh. But with a lot of flare as well. Late copies like my German one are less prone to flare than early ones but flare is a problem anyway.
    - the Summarit is a Karbe lens with more macro and micro contrast than the Summilux, much less flare but also with a smooth bokeh. It is probably the best 'slow' 35 you can find out if you're after a sharp lens w/o the harshness often associated with modern Leica glass.

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    Re: 35mm Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by wattsy View Post
    I'm a big fan of the Summarits and have the 50 and latterly the 35. For me they are perfect from an ergonomic perspective -
    I agree completely... people slag these lenses because they are the "Cheap" Leica lenses and are "slow"... but the price, size, short focus throw, sharpness, lack of distortion, and draw make these some of the best lenses around IMO. They are only a half stop slower than the summicrons. Eventually these lenses will be valued.

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