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Thread: leica newbie

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    leica newbie

    I can't believe this either but I just bought my first leica (an m8 from this forum) after going through nikons and m43.
    My initial reaction is "HOLY CRAP" I can't believe how much came out of my wallet and then it's "HOLY CRAP" it feels german good...large, heavy and clinical.
    Now that I have a camera but no lens...and I am wondering what lens(es) should go with it?
    My budget is ~1500usd and will be traveling to paris in a few months and was told to get a wide lens for the trip...
    any suggestions?

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    Senior Member dude163's Avatar
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    Re: leica newbie

    What will you be taking photos of ? people ? architecture? streetlife? night time?

    and welcome to the forum

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    Re: leica newbie

    Take a look at your Nikon and m43 shots from the last year and look for what focal lengths were most used. A 28mm lens on the M8 will give you approx a 35mm focal length equivalent. A 35mm lens on the M8 will give you a focal length equivalent just shy of 50mm. I mention this because M8s have a way of becoming M9s over time, and it's nice to plan your lens kit in advance. Just ask the members here!

    I would highly recommend looking a Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses, in addition to used Leica glass.

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    Member erick.boileau's Avatar
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    Re: leica newbie

    you should consider the Leica Elmarit M f:2.8/28mm Asph tiny and very good lens
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/leica/28mm-f28.htm

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    Re: leica newbie

    I'm a fan of the 35 and 50 focal lengths on film, so naturally I have a 28mm and 35mm to be my 35 and 50 on the M8. Those are my two most used lenses!

    My two lenses ran me just a little over $1500, I believe.

    I have a Zeiss 28/2.8 Biogon and a Canon 35/2 in LTM mount. The Zeiss should be around $1k... I got mine brand new for that (in Hong Kong albeit... no tax there). The Canon should only cost you $500 (I got mine for $420... dodgy condition though). The Canon IS a screwmount (LTM) lens, so it'll need a LTM > M adaptor. A good one will cost you $50-$90... depending on where you live (I paid $90 for mine... 'cause of shipping). The Voigtlander ones are amazing and will provide the most accurate focus. Can be found on cameraquest.com!

    I absolutely love these two lenses... especially the Canon 35/2.

    There are a few sample photos on my flickr if you'd like... I would post samples, but my girlfriend has just plopped onto my back so my attention is being diverted straight to her

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    Re: leica newbie

    Thanks for the input. I had been to paris before but with a small sony point and shoot with no zoom (almost like a spy camera) and only for 1 day. So this honeymoon trip I will actually get to experience paris

    dude163: I was doing mostly nature trips...kenya/galapagos/costa rica so not sure if those experience applies...probably will be doing some street and people. For night shots, maybe...I still have the nokton 25mm f0.95 for the m43 mount so I will do a little bit of that but fast glass are expensive also, I am not sure about the environment since I am going in september when things die down a little bit. My wife has an s95 so maybe I can use hers? I am not that interested in architecture.

    StephenPatterson: I shoot quite wide...mostly 24-35mm eq., especially during day time. On the m43 I liked the 20mm f1.7 (40mm eq) more than the 25mm f1.4 (25mm eq). However, on the nikon, I did like the 50mm f1.4 (65mm eq) more than the 35mm f1.8 (50mm eq) but i think I was looking for that extra 1/2 stop of light in the evening and the bokeh was too busy on the 35mm.

    erick.boileau: Actually the gentleman who sold me the camera recommended that to me as well. These new leica lenses are so sharp wide open and clinical it's scary. I have also tried his 35mm f2.5 (elmar I believe in leica speak?) and it's overwhelmingly good. they have that sharpness in focus, then the pop when it first transition out of focus, and the gentle pastel fall off...mind blowing...At this moment I am not sure if I should bring 1 lens or 2...with 1 lens I am kind of limited to taking snap shots at night with my wife's s95, but I can get a nicer daytime lens. With 2 lens I can get a cheaper (slower or cv) wide (21-35mm eq) and then a cv for night shots (say 35mm f1.4) but none of the pictures will have the nice pop...but of course I won't actually compare the photos side by side...decisions decisions

    PatrickCheung: yes the wife can be distracting :P i think over the long term the 35mm eq will do for me. However for this trip in particular, I am not sure the focal lens is a good fit since everything will be wide (for example, wife with background of Eiffel tower instead of part of the tower). I do have experience with ultra wides before on the nikon but that's an ultra wide zoom...an ultra wide prime will behave differently as well...
    i read (on steve huff) that the cv 15mm may be a good choice and will definitely be wider than the s95 (28mm eq) allowing me to get shots that she can't...

    choices choices choices

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    Re: leica newbie

    I was in your shoes a year and a half ago... I kinda miss that feeling of unboxing the M8 and shooting with it the first time. I started with a 35 Zeiss Biogon but found the focusing ring too stiff, and ultimately went with the 28 elmarit and 50 cron. These worked well overall, but one was a little wide for me and the other a little long... I was feeling the crop after having come from a Nikon D700. I then purchased a 35 cron and the magic started!

    If I had to go back to an M8 (shooting with an M9 now), I'd go with it and the 35 cron and 75 lux or cron as my lens combo.

    I hope you enjoy your new journey with the M8!

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    Re: leica newbie

    Don't get too distracted by the equipment. Unless you have specific needs already in mind, buy as little as possible and shoot with it a lot.. On an M8, a CV Nokton 40mm f/1.4 is a wonderful fast normal and costs under $700. You can do an awful lot with just that.

    Add a 21, 25, or 28 mm for a little wider. Add a 50, 75 or 90 mm and you have it all.

    Go slow. :-)

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    Re: leica newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    My budget is ~1500usd and will be traveling to paris in a few months and was told to get a wide lens for the trip...
    any suggestions?
    I would beware a wide lens just for the sake of it getting lots into the photograph. Its a bit like when people say a wide lens is a 'landscape lens', which means you get horizon to horizon and then don't have to bother with composition or finding something interesting to photograph.

    So decide on the type of photographs you want to make, what do you gravitate towards? But if you can't decide I suggest a 35mm or a 50mm, and if those aren't going to be suitable for the Eiffel Tower shot then take along a good P&S as well.

    Steve

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    Super Duper
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    Re: leica newbie

    I would suggest either 21 and 50 (if you want a little wider) or 28 and 50 on an M8 (for my taste).
    50 as a short Portrait lens, and either 21 or 28 as a "reportage" style allround lens.
    Probably I would start with 28, then add 50, and later 21.
    Or if you have 28 and 50 you could add a 15CV later as a real wide lens (would be nice for Paris).

  11. #11
    filmsneverdie
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    Re: leica newbie

    Very nice discussion here. I agree with some folks here.

    Personally, I think you need to try the lens to feel it. Different type of camera (SLR, RF, MF and so on) feels different even with the same focal length. And each person has got their own magical lens (or FL). I am a 35mm type of guy after going through almost every single focal length available after all.

    However, besides focal length, I may share you few insights about choosing/buying lenses base on my own experience.


    1. Always buy used if you can, even Leica (ESP. non Leica). And invest in good lenses but not so much on the camera. This will help you put your cash towards other things.

    2. As a first time RF owner, I need to make you aware the widest you can go on M8 with "built-in" frame lines is 24mm. Anything wider than 24mm you will need an external viewfinder to frame. Some folks don't go along with external viewfinder because it takes extra step to focus and frame. And mind you the viewfinder itself cost extra in RF world and need to purchase separately in most cases. So put that into consideration when budgeting.

    3. From financial point of view, Leica lens is almost always nicer investment than any other alternative. I find Leica lenses accumulates their value pretty well; which is very unique. Selling else is much harder than you may think. And golden triangle is always apply. I think you may have much better financial sense than me.

    My two cents.


    Cheers,


    filmsneverdie

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    Re: leica newbie

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    mtsullivan: Coming from the world of AF, I have not really consider the issue of "feel" before so that is definitely something I need to look out for. I guess I need to go annoy some dealers here in Toronto :P I believe the size of the lens may also be an issue since I believe the 35mm Bigon blocks part of the view finder...

    Godfrey: That's one of the issue I am facing...beyond paris, I am not sure if the 15mm f4.5 would get much use in the day-to-day after wards. I tend to keep my "set" under 3 lens but with these expensive lens I should go even slower than normal...and yes the 40mm f1.4 will also do night scene nicely...and since I have the most experience with fast 50mm eq it may be a good fit. But I do feel that with a RF I can get closer so I can get a shorter lens...

    250swb: with these wides you usually have to go as close as you can, and then take another step forward i have shots fast 50mm eq before so maybe I should try the fast 35mm just for something different? :P and yes I will be taking a canon s95

    Paratom: See above. I think I should go and try some 28mm. But as far as I know, 28mm are not faster than f2 so I am not sure if I need a faster lens for night but I will do some research on it

    filmsneverdie: Thanks. The "new" toy so far is just a paper weight unfortunately since I have no lens yet. I need to head right back to the buy/sell section and buy some more. I am not so concern about the lack of frame lines as I have learned now to shoot ultra-wides from my hip when I had my dslr and I think I can do that with a range finder as well. I like leica lens too but $ lol i may have to start some older vintages...Your 28mm f2.8 is also very intriguing and the photos are stunning...

    Thank you all guys...

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    Re: leica newbie

    Does anyone have experience with the leica 35mm f1.4 pre-ASPH? nice and small but of course not as clinical as the new lens...Is there any chance this thing being in my budget?
    I just saw 2 copies of the nokton 40mm f1.4 at camera quest so I can procrastinate
    I also just bought the Leica screw mount to m mount adapter. I have a Russian industar 50mm f3.5 collapsible in screw mount and yes I know it is the 1% how can I check and find out if the lens is coupled?
    Last edited by RS; 24th July 2012 at 09:08.

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    Re: leica newbie

    update: my industar is indeed coupled! bought an screw mount to m mount adapter and everything fits together! compared to the zeiss 35mm f2, the color signature is very warm where the zeiss is very accurate. At the moment, I can't say which one I like more. I am also waiting for a used voigtlander 40mm f1.4 as recommended by Godfrey...it is stuck at the canadian customs at pearson airport at the moment

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    Re: leica newbie

    So two months in, some 300 frames later, and absolutely loved it. I promise I will upload some photos shortly.
    Camera:
    The IQ is really, really good with no artifacts. ISO 160 is simply mind blowing. The no AA filter is brillant and viewfinder is simply awesome. I am finding ISO640, 1/60s, f2 to be sufficient in my living room in the evening...maybe my house is very bright. Biggest surprise is when I check the shutter count today...1336...for a camera introduced in 2006.
    Handling:
    The m8/voigtlander 40mm f1.4 combo handles very very well. The lens is small and light so most of the weight is from the body, so it doesn't fatigue my wrist when I hold it. Part of the reason I parted with my olympus is that I found the e-pl1 with the voigtlander 25mm f0.95 too front heavy (and the UI to be horrible)...I also find the om-d with the kit 12-50mm lens to be front heavy and uncomfortable to hold...
    Lens:
    The voigtlander 40mm f1.4 does make the skin glow. It really depends if it bothers you. I do not notice any focus shift but do find the ring a little stiff, but not as stiff as the ZM 35 f2 that I tried. The lens is also a little soft at f1.4 but has incredible pop by f2. Moving forward I will only use f1.4 for emergencies. This is really a no brainer starter lens.
    Thoughts:
    I do see why the m8 tends to turn into am m9 (there goes my wallet) as the lens combination works much better with the m9 versus m8. With the m8, there is no option to get a fast (f1.4) 35mm (equivalent) at a "reasonable price". With better iso you can also shoot with more depth of field (or a cheaper/smaller/less extreme design/sharper/higher contrast lens) so if you must shoot with leica lens the obvious choice is the m9, but at least m8 is here for the rest of us.
    Speaking of lens choice...there are simply so many choice for lens...I don't see my GAS ever being cured...

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: leica newbie

    To the Op your account name is your e-mail address and FYI you will get spammed like crazy once the spider bots get it. Let me know if you want to change it to a diffrent name . PM with name change I'll fix it for you. GUY
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: leica newbie

    I did make the name change as requested. Sign in using that.


    Your friendly neighborhood maintenance man. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: leica newbie

    Lens suggestions - I say Zeiss 25/2.8 for an all purpose lens (~33mm FOV on an M8) or a Voigtlander Nokton II 35/1.2 if low light is a concern. Both are in your price range of under $1500. Both will work nicely to the M9 you will eventually buy. If you want wider the Zeiss 21/2.8 looks good as well and is abouta 28mm lens on the M8.
    Sony Visible Light & IR Photographer
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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: leica newbie

    Been shooting Leica rangefinder since I was in high school (back when the M2 was new) . I always tell new users ..start with classical Leica focal lengths like the 35 and the 50 . As mentioned on the M8 thats the 28 and the 35 . Plenty of classical Paris street photography out there to look at and most was shot with the 35 or 50 FOV.

    You can benefit from some lens speed as the M8 sort of tops out around ISO640 ....you can go higher but you have to be perfect in exposure and post processing as well as working with noise and desaturation . The problem on an M8 is that the 28 s are either too expensive or too slow . The 35/1.4 pre asph does not perform to the standard of the newer lenses . I would try for a 35 /2 summicron ..its a few hundred more than your budget but its been the Leica standard forever .

    My favorite on the M8 in Paris was the 21/2.8 asph and the 28/2 asph providing a 28 or 35 FOV ..but I wanted more lens speed for evening shooting . The more I shoot in Paris the wider I seem to go ...I shoot 28 and 50 on an M9 with the 21 next .

    Here is a tip ..Rent Midnight in Paris (movie) and study the shooting locations . I ve studied Paris venues now for over 4 years and this move hit all but one or two and had a few I hadn t seen . The area around the bridge between Cite and Ille St Louis ....is the center for many of the scenes . You will see the desire to get close and go wide in the movie .

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    Re: leica newbie

    I am happy to hear you are enjoying the Nokton 40/1.4 lens. I have one and think it is a great value for the price. A few of my other favorite Voigtlander lens are the Ultron 28/1.9 ASPH, still can find used, the Nokton 50/1.5, still availble new and can be found used, and the Color Heliar 75/2.5, still available and can be found used. All three are LTM lens so they would need an adaptor.

    Good luck with the Gas situation, it can be painful but then again there can also be a lot of relief!

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    Re: leica newbie

    Guy: Thanks. This is actually the first forum I have ever sign up on so "street smarts" are appreciated.
    HiredArm: Thanks for your input. I tried the ZM 35mm f2 Bigon and is very impressed. I had to return it, however, to pay off my CMA registration fees...such is life...I will pay a closer look to zeiss lens eventually, when my budget allows
    glenerrolrd: I have read good things about the 35 cron...I will eventually get to it. With the VC 40 1.4 in Paris I found it a bit long but it is better than any nikon or olympus I had before. So I think I will take my time and work my way up to leica...
    seakayaker: GAS relief, I couldn't help myself and got Juipter 3, 8, and 12...<hanging head in shame>, will provide some updates in a bit

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