Site Sponsors
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 74

Thread: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

  1. #1
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    The aesthetic (look) produced by Leica lenses seems to stir an endless discussion of the various aspects of IQ possible . I have been a late adapter of the Leica Mono (brilliant camera ) and I see a real emphasis on using vintage lenses (to recapture the look of vintage black and white photographs ) .

    What is interesting is that at the same time Leica introduced the 50APO ...with statements that its real magic shows best on the MONO .

    The story of the magic Leica Rigid (Version 2) and the 8 element 35 summicron are out . Old lenses are coming out of the cupboard and being sent for CLA before going on eBay.

    Is it worth it ? Looking for some experience .

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Roger, you should have a chat with Ashwin.

  3. #3
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Thanks Robert ...I know Aswin is sold on the vintage lenses . I understand the character aspects ...Mandler designs etc verse the newer Karbe brilliance . But there seems to be a specific attraction to the rigid summicron and the 8 element 35 .

    What makes them preferred to say Version 3 ? And why no discussion of the pre asph summilux which was designed in 1963 yet you can find a modern version without the coating problems ?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    2,058
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I prefer the Mandler designs best on my MM except for the APO 50 and other modern APO's and 35 FLE which seem to preform best with orange filters while shooting landscapes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    449
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I would say the abundance of resolution available from a camera like the Monochrom means that photographers are realizing they no longer need to keep up by buying 'the next best lens', but can start to discover the 'interesting' characteristics of the old lenses. Enough resolution is enough, too much becomes resolution for the sake of resolution. So in effect there is nothing left to keep up with the Joneses over, and a nice glow from a lens is nowadays seen as intentional, and not because you haven't got the latest super-corrected 'APO whatever'. That is a cynical take on it, but cynicism or not I'm glad.

    But it's not totally new. Even as far back as the M8 and the Summitar started its slow rise to glory, the 90mm Elmar M was acknowledged as a more 'interesting' lens than the 90mm Summicron, and the Mandler 35mm Summilux was starting be to retrieved from the back of the drawer.

    Steve
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_barnett/
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Vivek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    13,606
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    21

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Almost all the lenses I use with the MM are vintage but non Leica. It was a conscious choice.

    I have said this here many a times and say it again: the magic comes from the Leica MM and the lens plays a very little part. Even a pre-war 1930s, uncoated, non Leica mount (would be dismissed as a piece of crap by most, including me) CZJ Tessar 3cm f/2.8 makes poetical images on the MM. Though atrociously priced and sadly out of reach for most who do photography, the MM is a brilliant tool.

    (Those who said otherwise had absolutely no clue about what they were talking about! )
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  7. #7
    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,232
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    26

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I'll play the contrarian card and say that I prefer Leica's latest lenses on the MM. They seem to provide a bit more bite than the older lenses that I've tried on the camera. The look that I get from a Canon 100/2 is very different than something like a 35FLE. Personally, I'm not necessarily trying to find a look that mimics film and find that I prefer a lens that provides an aesthetic with more clarity and contrast. The great thing about the MM is that it provides such a great palette of options.

  8. #8
    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Studio City, CA
    Posts
    700
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    18

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Roger, asking if something Leica ever makes is worth it is taking your life in your hands around here dude

    I can add that of my top four favorite Leica lenses out of the large collection of them I have owned over the years, two of them are older than my children. One is an early 35mm 'Cron that is just the most lovely lens all the way around, the other a 90mm Elmarit that imparts a very special magic when used for portrait work. Both of these lenses I bought from a retiring New York Times reporter many years ago, who used them and a collapsable 50mm I didn't much care for. Ironically, my other two favorites jump into Kurt's camp. I also prefer good contrast and clarity. They are my 28mm 'Cron, and the latest version 21mm Summilux. Both current designs, both fantastic glass.

    I'm sure to catch flack from some for this next statement, but the earlier Summilux I did not feel were all that good wide open, which is the only reason for me to own a Summilux in the first place. I had both the pre ASPH 35mm and 50mm versions, and found both to be too soft wide open with focus problems that made it rare to get a sharp photograph in low light.

    I am planning a trip down to our Leica store this week to try the MM for myself. Will try to get a couple image samples with the MM and my older lenses to post, as this is clearly a topic where
    Last edited by Chuck Jones; 21st August 2013 at 03:54.

  9. #9
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Chuck

    You nailed me on the "Is it worth it ?" ..the value proposition is always an individual decision ..often not based on much other than what I decided today .

    If you read thru all the material on the new 50 APO ...Karbe states that the MONO was the first sensor that significantly out resolved the Leica lenses . If you used the 50APO on say an M9 ..it would be technically better ...but show only a marginal improvement in IQ over say a 50ASPH . But on the MONO the differences become clear . This makes the case for modern designs that can exploit the full capability of the sensor .

    The counter argument for vintage is that the MONO has an exceptional DR and that a medium contrast ...high resolution design ( e.g. the rigid and the 8 element 35) can be utilized to create superb raw files . The user can then dial in the aesthetic by adding contrast (without a concern for losing tone values necessary for the photograph ) .

    Now the trick is to map the performance of the extensive Leica collection into those lenses that show differently on the MONO and those that really don t . It is true that even with the M8 ...vintage lenses where being put back in use ( because now you could better control the image contrast) .

    Empirical evidence (based on what photographers seem to be buying and using) ..shows that the rigid 50 summicron and the 8 element 35 summicron are the two most desired vintage lenses .

  10. #10
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    You are correct on the pre asph summilux ....but one of the desired capabilities is to produce excellent bokeh ....the 50 pre has a beautiful rendering wide open and can be dialed into a zone of exceptional sharpness by stopping down to f5.6 . Thus the lens really produces two different looks . With the asph version ...the differences are small when stopping down .

  11. #11
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,930
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I don't have an MM. I use the M9 and M4-2 and GXR with lenses both new and old. Why? Because I like the photos they make, and they were affordable priced. Simple.

    The new 50 APO is likely an outstanding performer. It's more expensive than I want to spend my money for, at the moment, and I don't think I need that level of performance.

    G

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Empirical evidence (based on what photographers seem to be buying and using) ..shows that the rigid 50 summicron and the 8 element 35 summicron are the two most desired vintage lenses .
    Anyone using the 35/2.8 Summaron? Puts claims it is better at f/2.8 than the 8 element at the same aperture.

  13. #13
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I have very much enjoyed reading the thread. Ultimately, it comes down to preferences, and really there's no right or wrong answer. Kurt Kamka, Dave Martinez, and Allen, among others, has shown how well modern glass can play with the MM's sensor.

    From my standpoint, having a drawer full of modern glass and now classic lenses, I prefer how the classic lenses render, and as Roger mentioned, the 35 mm 8-element 'cron and 50 mm f/2 Rigid cron in particular. Therea a host of lovely 90ish mm lenses that work well on the MM in my eyes (90 'cron E48, Canon 100 mm f/2, Canon 85 mm f/1.8, Nikkor 85 mm f/2, to name a few).

    What I have found, and what very much suprised me, was that the older glass (in particular, the Rigid cron) renders equisitie sharpness (just as good as modern glass) in the center part of the frame across its aperture range (particularly when stopped down a bit, but wide open is VERY acceptable), while providing a nice OOF rendition/bokeh/whathave you....Further, there's less inherent macrocontrast in these older lenses, which in many cases were coated with BW film in mind, from what I have gathered. This provides a flatter raw file that is then even more malleable for post processing in the most pleasant ways.

    What I found with modern glass (granted, my subjective experience) is that the look on the MM tends to look very clean, polished, clinical, and SHARP (maybe too sharp), and my images have tended to look a bit "HDR"ish when using this glass. Using the older glass, at least for me, as provided a more pleasant look in keeping with my BW aesthetic. There's nothing really wrong with acheiving either look, but I found that I have enjoyed the look coming from my classic lenses more, due to the interesting OOF chracteristics, advanced tonal greyscale range, and forgiving sharpness....

    All in all, the MM is my favorite digital camera ever. I have nearly forgone color as a result, expect for when I play with the RX1R and M9....My modern lenses have gotten less use...it may be my journey in enjoying classic lenses, but it sure has been enjoyable...by the way, I have many more goodies to share ....images, that is
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  14. #14
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Here's a list of classic lenses that I have found be marvelous on the M Monochrom, in terms of balanced sharpness, tonal rendition. Just my opinion is all...

    1. Modern lenses
    -- Leica 28 mm f/2 Summicron Asph
    -- Leica 35 mm f/2.5 Summarit
    -- Leica 35 mm f/1.4 Asph pre-FLE

    2. Classic Leitz lenses
    -- Leitz 35 mm f/2 8-element Summicron (v1)
    -- Leitz 50 mm f/2 Rigid Summicron (v2)
    -- Leitz 90 mm f/2 Summicron (E48, 2nd version)
    -- Leitz 90 mm f/2.8 Elmarit (E39; flares without the hood though)

    3. Classic Canon RF glass; requires LTM-M adapter
    -- Canon 35 mm f/2 LTM
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Caon 85 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Canon 100 mm f/2 LTM

    4. Nikkor (Nippon Kogaku) LTM lenses, requires LTM to M adapter as well
    -- W-Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 LTM
    -- Nikkor 85 mm f/2 LTM
    -- Nikkor 105 mm f/2.5 LTM
    -- Nikkor 135 mm f/3.5 LTM

    Other lenses that work well
    -- Leica Summilux 75 mm f/1.4
    -- Leica 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux Asph
    -- Zeiss ZM 50 mm f/1.5 C-Sonnar
    -- Jupiter-3 50 mm f/1.5 LTM
    -- Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 Red Dial

    Solid performers, but not quite in my favorites pile
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.2 LTM
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.5 LTM (Sonnar)
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.4 LTM
    -- Nikkor 50 mm f/2 LTM (Sonnar)
    Last edited by ashwinrao1; 21st August 2013 at 12:27.
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography
    Likes 9 Member(s) liked this post

  15. #15
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Robert, I'd love to try the 35 mm f/2.8 Summaron on the M Monochrom, but I havent' yet had that good fortune
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography

  16. #16
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    You are correct on the pre asph summilux ....but one of the desired capabilities is to produce excellent bokeh ....the 50 pre has a beautiful rendering wide open and can be dialed into a zone of exceptional sharpness by stopping down to f5.6 . Thus the lens really produces two different looks . With the asph version ...the differences are small when stopping down .
    Hi Roger
    In the main I'm a Peter Karbe man - not because I think the modern lenses are 'better', but because I'm a person of small brain, and I find it easier to keep a 'look' by using lenses from the same designer. I'm still dithering about buying the 50 APO 'cron (I had one to play with for many months, but had to give it back ). Generally however I like the newer lenses - the 75 'cron being perhaps my favorite.

    If I had twice as much time I'd like to explore vintage lenses, but I'm not very impressed by the internet chatterati's verdict on what's good and what isn't. I suspect that there are many gems which can be bought relatively cheaply because they ain't trendy.

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

  17. #17
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I guess I am guilty charged as part of the internet chatterati

    I may have a few pictures to express my opinion better than can words... I will keep my mouth shut from here on out....and let my images do the talking, for better or for worse...







    Last edited by ashwinrao1; 21st August 2013 at 13:36.
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography
    Likes 13 Member(s) liked this post

  18. #18
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Great discussion all around . Jono s point is important (before everyone jumps on the bandwagon ) . Right now I have more than 10 M mount 50 s ...now who can possibly need that many ...and its impossible to really know how a lens performs without "using it extensively" .

    I am completely happy with my 50mm lenses for color work ..generally its the 50 asph for 90% of my std lens work and in Florida ..I will go for the lower macro contrast 50 summicron . Great matches for the type of light .

    But B&W is different ...the MONO creates a very flat linear contrast raw file ..with enough dynamic range to really spread the tones out . So here we have two distinct choices ...do you go for clarity ,brilliance and exceptional resolution ..beyond what is currently possible with any color sensor .....the 50 APO is the standard . Or do you favor the unique character of the vintage lenses ...and if so which ones (thank you ashwin for your lists ) .

    One thing is for sure the MONO really delivers .

  19. #19
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    [QUOTE=ashwinrao1;532451]I guess I am guilty charged as part of the internet chatterati

    I may have a few pictures to express my opinion better than can words... I will keep my mouth shut from here on out....and let my images do the talking, for better or for worse...

    Ashwin

    Thank you for sharing such exceptional photographs ... any photograph that brings a smile is truly brilliant .

    Roger

  20. #20
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    I guess I am guilty charged as part of the internet chatterati
    Ashwin
    You weren't charged, and you aren't guilty
    These are lovely images - as are so many of your images.
    I'm talking about the fact that once a lens has been deigned to be a 'classic' the prices shoot through the roof, and most people seem to go along with the verdict. I wasn't thinking of the rigid cron, because I haven't used one, and because in your hands it looks great (I've teetered on many brinks, it's the lack of close focus which puts me off).
    There are, however, several other lenses, some of which I've owned, and which I won't mention in fear of offending someone else, which I don't consider to be worth ten times as much as more humble (but equally good) lenses. . . . okay, one example, because they're both really fine lenses:
    Zeiss/Contax 28-85
    Leica 28-90 R
    At current internet values, the second lens (better by a gnat's whisker) is priced at around 10 times that of the first. THIS is what I'm talking about.

    I suspect that there are a lot of unsung gems in vintage leica lenses - and some are really quite cheap..

    But I do apologise Ashwin, because I've inadvertently and clumsily offended.

    Just this guy you know
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  21. #21
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Vivek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    13,606
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    21

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post

    But B&W is different ...the MONO creates a very flat linear contrast raw file ..with enough dynamic range to really spread the tones out .

    One thing is for sure the MONO really delivers .
    The MM really delivers- no question about it.

    Have you tried using filters on the lenses? The possibilities are endless with many variations. "Flat", low contrast images depend on the filtration and the light.

    I disagree with your conclusion part. If you have a chance, try the measley M-Rokkor 28/2.8 vs the 28/2 Summicron. Apart from the speed, I found no difference in terms of image clarity on the MM . Diffcult to believe and one has to experience it to see it for themselves.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA
    Posts
    304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Almost all the lenses I use with the MM are vintage but non Leica. It was a conscious choice.

    I have said this here many a times and say it again: the magic comes from the Leica MM and the lens plays a very little part. Even a pre-war 1930s, uncoated, non Leica mount (would be dismissed as a piece of crap by most, including me) CZJ Tessar 3cm f/2.8 makes poetical images on the MM. Though atrociously priced and sadly out of reach for most who do photography, the MM is a brilliant tool.

    (Those who said otherwise had absolutely no clue about what they were talking about! )
    ABSOLUTELY agree. While I haven't yet learned PP and therefore do not yet know how to extract the potential from MM files, the level of detail and tonality is incredible. I consider myself fortunate indeed to be able to work with such an amazing tool, whether it is fitted with my Summarit-M 35 lenses or my very old and very cheap Jupiter 3 5cm. The lens adds its character, but the magic is in the detail and the tones.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

  23. #23
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I hope I didn t create any confusion ..but I want a flat linear file with a wide dynamic range . This allows me the maximum opportunity to map the tones as I see fit with each photograph . This does not mean that I want lenses that are lacking in micro contrast but rather that strong edge sharpness (macro contrast) isn t a real priority .
    Roger Dunham
    http://rogerdunham.com/
    Likes 3 Member(s) liked this post

  24. #24
    Subscriber Member KurtKamka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,232
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    26

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    I have difficult enough decision deciding which lens to use when I leave in the morning with just a few lenses on my shelf. If I paid attention to all of Ashwin's wonderful options, I'd be paralyzed and unable to get out the door.

    That doesn't mean that I wouldn't mind trying them all out though ...

  25. #25
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,930
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    Here's a list of classic lenses that I have found be marvelous on the M Monochrom, in terms of balanced sharpness, tonal rendition. Just my opinion is all...

    1. Modern lenses
    -- Leica 28 mm f/2 Summicron Asph
    -- Leica 35 mm f/2.5 Summarit
    -- Leica 35 mm f/1.4 Asph pre-FLE

    2. Classic Leitz lenses
    -- Leitz 35 mm f/2 8-element Summicron (v1)
    -- Leitz 50 mm f/2 Rigid Summicron (v2)
    -- Leitz 90 mm f/2 Summicron (E48, 2nd version)
    -- Leitz 90 mm f/2.8 Elmarit (E39; flares without the hood though)

    3. Classic Canon RF glass; requires LTM-M adapter
    -- Canon 35 mm f/2 LTM
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Caon 85 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Canon 100 mm f/2 LTM

    4. Nikkor (Nippon Kogaku) LTM lenses, requires LTM to M adapter as well
    -- W-Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 LTM
    -- Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 LTM
    -- Nikkor 85 mm f/2 LTM
    -- Nikkor 105 mm f/2.5 LTM
    -- Nikkor 135 mm f/3.5 LTM

    Other lenses that work well
    -- Leica Summilux 75 mm f/1.4
    -- Leica 50 mm f/1.4 Summilux Asph
    -- Zeiss ZM 50 mm f/1.5 C-Sonnar
    -- Jupiter-3 50 mm f/1.5 LTM
    -- Leitz Elmar 5 cm f/3.5 Red Dial

    Solid performers, but not quite in my favorites pile
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.2 LTM
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.5 LTM (Sonnar)
    -- Canon 50 mm f/1.4 LTM
    -- Nikkor 50 mm f/2 LTM (Sonnar)
    Ashwin, I don't like this list. It makes my piddly little collection of lenses seem so inferior.

    ]'-)

    G

  26. #26
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Ashwin, a wonderful collection! I even know several of them personally, by serial number.

    But...I must ask...where is your Voigtlander set?!

    Anyone using the new-style 50/1.5 Nokton?
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  27. #27
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Ah Voightlander....the 21 mm f/1.8, 35 mm f/1.7, 50 mm f/1.5..... All on my wish list ....particularly the 21
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography

  28. #28
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    ashwinrao1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA - USA
    Posts
    3,276
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Thanks all, and no worries, Jono. I was worried about my rankings and ravings and what effects they may have had.....
    Ashwin Rao
    Seattle, WA
    My Photography
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  29. #29
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    I have difficult enough decision deciding which lens to use when I leave in the morning with just a few lenses on my shelf. If I paid attention to all of Ashwin's wonderful options, I'd be paralyzed and unable to get out the door.

    That doesn't mean that I wouldn't mind trying them all out though ...
    My feelings exactly Kurt - I have 8 M lenses in total, and it causes me terrible anguish deciding what to go out with!

    All the best
    Jono

    Just this guy you know
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  30. #30
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Vivek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    13,606
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    21

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    I'll play the contrarian card and say that I prefer Leica's latest lenses on the MM. They seem to provide a bit more bite than the older lenses that I've tried on the camera. The look that I get from a Canon 100/2 is very different than something like a 35FLE. Personally, I'm not necessarily trying to find a look that mimics film and find that I prefer a lens that provides an aesthetic with more clarity and contrast. The great thing about the MM is that it provides such a great palette of options.
    Ashwin's enthusiasm is ought to be encouraged and appreciated. I took the MM with the M-Rokkor (+3 filters) 28/2.8, M-Rokkor 40/2, W-Nikkor-C 2.5cm f/4 (+2 filters) and the Nikkor P.C 10cm f/2.5 out , yesterday. Most used was the 28/2.8. Only a few shots with the tele lens. Others were unused. The weight and size of those are so small and hence I have no complaints. The worry for me though is the NEX + one lens that have in my bag that almost never gets used.

    On the post about "micro contrast" by Roger: Personal choice. AFAIC, I am not missing anything with what I am using.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  31. #31
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Roger and all,

    I think the M Monochrome offers a huge array of creative lens choices by narrowing the intent to B&W ... sounds remedial, but we often forget that by eliminating color from the equation many optics languishing in gear closets are coming to the forefront.

    In many cases my trek with the M involved use of the "classics" being discussed when they were new ... so, I wince a bit ... I guess I'm just an old classic myself

    Had I started this M "thing of ours" 30 years later, when I could afford to keep each precious lens as I moved on to explore newer Leica offerings, I'd also have a jaw dropping laundry list of classic Leica lenses and cameras.

    Unfortunately, I'm a bit to practical to have done that since some cameras and lenses I owned skyrocketed in value beyond my love of them, or the lust for newer M issues that seemed to better fit my creative intent. Japanese collectors used to follow me around the camera shows with wads of hundred dollar bills vying against each other to get the classic deliberately slung over my shoulder as bait ... which had a sort of Pied Piper effect

    So, I really enjoy seeing "old friends" bolted to the MM, and the results coaxed from them by insightful photographers

    However, my trek is still underway, and I've returned to the future by limiting my M work to B&W exclusively. I almost never shot color with a M prior to the M8, so the MM was exactly what the doctor ordered.

    With the exception of my last gen M90/2.8, all my M optics are the newer ASPH designs: 21/1.4, 28/2, 35/1.4 (pre-FLE), 50/0.95, 75/2. For me, they have a consistency for a general body of current work, or across a single assignment when used commercially. I have opted to forego some of the most recent offerings which have taken on "rare collectable" pricing right from the get-go.

    What the MM camera brought to the party was a fantastic democratic sort of rendering that allows older lenses to come to the forefront, or the newer lenses to be toned back if desired. One's PP skills being the only determining factor. I'm still learning the MM, and expect that to take much more time yet as I explore a variety of PP programs and techniques the MM files seem to respond well to. Damned thing is so democratic, that the creative choices it allows are mind boggling.

    - Marc

    Below is a one of my first Leica rangefinder shots ... "Romantic Rendezvous". A happy accident featuring my then 21 year old wife with a gentleman suddenly appearing on the steps as I went to shoot a more ordinary sort of environmental portrait. Ah, to be young and in Paris ...
    Likes 15 Member(s) liked this post

  32. #32
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Marc,

    Extremely well put. With a few notable exceptions, I find a great deal of similarity and sameness between current Leica lens offerings and this creates a dilemma of sorts. On one hand this provides a consistency across the board as you mentioned, for assignments or projects. Yet on the other hand it's this sameness (in other words consistency in their look and near optical perfection compared to the classics), that at times brings a bit of boredom that doesn't quite get the creative juices flowing with certain ideas for capturing "a look", in what we envision for a scene or subject.

    It's a double edge sword. Often we want our optics to be at the highest level with as few aberrations and imperfections in performance and at other times prefer a moderately strong optical signature and unique characteristics in how the lens captures and draws an image. No right or wrong of course, just simply personal opinion and this choice is often compounded as to what camera body the lens will be used on as much as the subject matter and intent and use of the image(s). MM, M9/M240, film M?

    There's a lot that goes into a successful and interesting image and the lens choice in terms of old (classic) vs. current optical formulas is just one part of the equation.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 22nd August 2013 at 06:40.
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  33. #33
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Marc,

    Extremely well put. With a few notable exceptions, on one had I find a great deal of similarity and sameness between current Leica lens offerings and this creates a dilemma of sorts. On one had this provides a consistency across the board as you mentioned, for assignments or projects. Yet on the other hand it's this sameness (in other words consistency in their look and near optical perfection compared to the classics), that at times brings a bit of boredom and doesn't quite get the creative juices flowing with certain ideas for capturing an envisioned look for a scene or subject.

    It's a double edge sword. Often we want our optics to be at the highest level with as few aberrations and imperfections in performance and at other times prefer a moderately strong optical signature and unique characteristics in how the lens captures and draws an image. No right or wrong of course, just simply personal opinion and of course this choice is often compounded as to what camera body the lens will be used on as much as the subject matter and intent and use of the image(s). MM, M9/M240, film M?

    There's a lot that goes into a successful and interesting image and the lens choice in terms of old (classic) vs. current optical formulas is just one part of the equation.

    Dave (D&A)
    Understood Dave.

    My POV is coming strictly from working with MM files, which are quite neutral ... making the files a sort of equal opportunity tonal palette. Post production software is so advanced now, and these files so malleable, that my philosophical attitude toward the lenses is: "I rather reign in a racehorse, than whip a mule."

    Which is why I said it is somewhat dependent on skill sets in PP. I can make any lens take on a different look and feel, but prefer to start from a bit of a standardized performance base so each time I do PP I can apply the same alternative look to all of them.

    However, I do get that lenses like the pre asph 35/1.4, 50/1.4, and M75/1.4 have a unique signature ... one that I experienced for many, many years. Now I am enjoying the M75/2AA a great deal ... nor do I necessarily deem the new optics sterile and devoid of character as has been suggested.

    - Marc
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  34. #34
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Great discussion regarding choice and creative freedom ......but whats the big deal with the rigid summicron 50 and the eight element 35 . Puts seem to indicate that they were both designed when black and white film was the primary medium .

    But how are they better than the 50 /35 summicrons pre asph ? Is it just a flavor of the month or are the formulas better suited to the MONO ?
    Roger Dunham
    http://rogerdunham.com/
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  35. #35
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Godfrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Near San Jose, California
    Posts
    7,930
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Great discussion regarding choice and creative freedom ......but whats the big deal with the rigid summicron 50 and the eight element 35 . Puts seem to indicate that they were both designed when black and white film was the primary medium .

    But how are they better than the 50 /35 summicrons pre asph ? Is it just a flavor of the month or are the formulas better suited to the MONO ?
    I don't know. The performance is in what they render. To me, the only way to answer such questions is to try them out and learn them.

    My vintage m lenses are the M-Rokkor 40/2 II, M-Rokkor 90/4, and Hektor 135/4.5. All three produce lovely results and are different from the modern Voigtländer 21, 28, 35, 40 and 50 mm lenses which comprise the rest of my kit. I'd like to add a Summaron 35/2.8 to the kit eventually as I tried one and like the way it renders.

    G

  36. #36
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Now I am enjoying the M75/2AA a great deal ... nor do I necessarily deem the new optics sterile and devoid of character as has been suggested.

    - Marc
    HI Marc
    I like both yours and Dave's posts - this remark is interesting, as it's a further example of the kind of lens bandwagon I see on the internet.

    Like you I really like this lens - to me it seems to have just the perfect balance between sharpness and gentleness, the roll-off is delicate and lovely.

    Yet the common conventional wisdom on the internet is that it is 'sterile' (the very word you used).

    all the best

    Just this guy you know
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  37. #37
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA
    Posts
    304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    For me the choice between the new high-speed aspherical and older and/or simpler lenses is an easy one. I just can't devote the many thousands of dollars (especially after buying the MM) to afford such a collection.

    So with budgetary limitations in mind, I've tried to build an assortment that provides the look I'm after at a price I can afford, with obvious limitations at the wide end for narrow depth of field as I just cannot budget a 24 or 28 Lux.

    My lenses were all purchased used (many here on the forum) as were my MM and M8.2. For consistency in a single shoot, I use the modern Summarits of which I own the 35, 75 and 90 and will add the 50 soon. For a more vintage look I have an excellent Jupiter 3 rebuilt and tuned by Brian Sweeney. For ultimate sharpness I will likely save for a 50 Lux Asph, but that will take some time. For travel on the MM and on the M8.2 for general use I have the Elmarit-M 28 Asph.

    Currently the 35 and 75 Summarits are what tend to go out the door with me every morning.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  38. #38
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Marc
    I like both yours and Dave's posts - this remark is interesting, as it's a further example of the kind of lens bandwagon I see on the internet.

    Like you I really like this lens - to me it seems to have just the perfect balance between sharpness and gentleness, the roll-off is delicate and lovely.

    Yet the common conventional wisdom on the internet is that it is 'sterile' (the very word you used).

    all the best
    What's interesting about your statement Jono, especially with regards to your description of the 75mm cron.....is that it's very much akin to the current 28mm cron apsh. That too is a modern designed lens but using your exact words for the 75mm cron, the 28mm cron asph has a lovely balance between sharpness and gentleness where the roll off is delicate and sterile. This is in stark contrast to lenses such as the 35mm Lux asph FLE, in my opinion.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 23rd August 2013 at 05:45.
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  39. #39
    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Studio City, CA
    Posts
    700
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    18

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I hope I didn t create any confusion ..but I want a flat linear file with a wide dynamic range . This allows me the maximum opportunity to map the tones as I see fit with each photograph . This does not mean that I want lenses that are lacking in micro contrast but rather that strong edge sharpness (macro contrast) isn t a real priority .
    Roger, very interesting. I want exactly the same thing in my RAW files. Give me a flat, dull looking file with as wide a dynamic range as possible, so I have the maximum information to do my post processing with.

    Give me excellent micro contrast, and restrained macro contrast. You asked what the fascination is with the early 35mm 'Crons, this is it my opinion. Wide open, they are one of the best examples of this type of lens I have ever seen. The worst example of macro contrast in the Leica lineup would be the 90mm APO ASPH. I never liked the look of that lens, though it is sharp as a razor. It is what I would call "sterile" or sole-less, certainly not the 75 'Cron.

    The 75mm 'Cron and the 28mm 'Cron both have a very similar drawing signature, excellent micro contrast and reasonable macro contrast that doesn't go too far over the top. I call them nicely balanced, despite both being ASPH designs. So I guess I split down the middle. Old design, new design, it doesn't really matter and always is a matter of personal preference. To me, if it is a pretty lens I really don't care where it came from, what name is on the front of it, who made it, or when. All I care about is how the image files look up on my or my clients websites and how the images look printed. Whatever gets me to pretty is all just fine by my book.

    I've got to spend some serious time with that MM, though I have been a color photographer for so many years now I am not even sure I remember how to see in B&W. You guys here are ALL horrible influences. Besides, shame on all of you. Didn't you know it is against the law to discriminate when hiring a lens due to age, race, sex, or national origin? Or does that only apply to Ashwin and others like him when hiring twenty or more?
    TheCameraForum.Com
    ChuckJonesPhotography.Com
    Likes 4 Member(s) liked this post

  40. #40
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Shanghai
    Posts
    43
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinrao1 View Post
    I guess I am guilty charged as part of the internet chatterati

    I may have a few pictures to express my opinion better than can words... I will keep my mouth shut from here on out....and let my images do the talking, for better or for worse...







    Ashwin

    Quick question : are you generally still post processing your MM files in the same manner you described in a post over at Steve Huffs website?

    James
    James Thorpe
    Blog
    Flikr

  41. #41
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    The 75mm 'Cron and the 28mm 'Cron both have a very similar drawing signature, excellent micro contrast and reasonable macro contrast that doesn't go too far over the top. I call them nicely balanced, despite both being ASPH designs. So I guess I split down the middle.
    That's exactly what I was trying to get at with regards to the 28mm Cron asph and 75mm cron. Then there are lenses that deviate from this balanced formular to one side or the other by a small but noticable measure such as the 75mm Lux f1.4. A bit more forgiving when shot wide open with a bit less micro contrast and a lot less macro contrast, but stop it down to f4 and it comes close to fitting in the the other two (the 28mm cron asph and 75mm cron). Then we can also cite multiple lenses that deviate even further from this balanced approach...the 90mm cron asph on one side to almost an extreme and say a 35mm Lux pre asph to the other, especially when it's shot wide open. These two lenses though have more specialized applications and when used as such, excel in their own way.

    As I suggested previously, I think though such assessments with regards to these lenses also depend greatly on the type of body they are being used on....M9/M240, MM, Film etc. That's why a lens with favorited characteristics on one type of body may not be so desirable or used to great extent on another type, and thats aside from the intent of lens application with regards to imagery.

    Great discussion!

    Dave (D&A)
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  42. #42
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    As I suggested previously, I think though such assessments with regards to these lenses also depend greatly on the type of body they are being used on....M9/M240, MM, Film etc. That's why a lens with favorited characteristics on one type of body may not be so desirable or used to great extent on another type, and thats aside from the intent of lens application with regards to imagery.

    Great discussion!

    Dave (D&A)
    HI Dave - quite agree!
    . . . and it doesn't just depend on which body they're being shot on, but even more with respect to the subjects one is shooting. Landscape/Portrait, open/closed aperture, close/distant etc.

    Ashwin was right to simply show us some images - it's really hard for any words to convey anything very useful beyond 'like' 'don't like'

    My problem is the same as Kurt's - which is that I find it really tough to 'learn' lots of lenses at the same time, so shooting with a few consistent lenses is the easiest way for me to keep sane!

    all the best

    Just this guy you know
    Likes 4 Member(s) liked this post

  43. #43
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    3,676
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Very much agree Jono! With regards to your last statement, I too find that unless I use a lens for a lengthy period of time under a variety of conditions and lens settings, not to mention shooting different subjects, I'll never really get a handle on the intricacies of a lens's optical properties.

    I only mentioned different bodies as we've often seen a lens's characteristics often appear to change somewhat, depending on the kind and type of body it's mounted to. It may be partly the particular application we apply to use of the lens with regards to a body, or simply the influence the digital sensor (or film) of a given body has on the optics and "look" of a lens.

    Dave (D&A)

  44. #44
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA
    Posts
    304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    For travel photography the choice is easy, take the smallest and lightest one that meets your minimum image quality/characteristic requirements.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

  45. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Bay Area
    Posts
    494
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    17

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by NB23 View Post
    ...snip... My very simple opinion is to work on your vision. No lens' rendition (as if it was so obvious) will ever interfere. That's plain bs.
    IME, the f/1 Noctilux shot at f/1.4 focuses my vision in a specific way. It doesn't interfere, but it definitely directs.
    Ed

  46. #46
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,173
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    It is a fad that every Leica fans go through. Like classic cars, these lenses have their alure but in the end you still want to fall back to your modern car.

    I had gone through a line up of classic lenses and sold most of them. Although the bokeh, the leica glow, the diffraction create what some people call "magical" renderings, they are still defects in the lens design and have been improved by modern lenses. In the end I find I go for the sharpest and the most neutral representing lenses for my serious work.

  47. #47
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Hmm I seem to have just bought a rigid summicron from 1957 . . .cla'd and in excellent condition - I blame you lot boo!

    Just this guy you know
    Likes 6 Member(s) liked this post

  48. #48
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    Knorp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3,999
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hmm I seem to have just bought a rigid summicron from 1957 . . .cla'd and in excellent condition - I blame you lot boo!
    What ? The Rigid instead of the AA ...



    Happy shooting.
    Bart ...

  49. #49
    Not Available
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    1,864
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    If nothing else, there's a HUGE number of them out there (and not just by Leica). Depending on the lens (and condition) they can range from cheaper than dirt to ridiculous. It all comes down to what image characteristics float your boat and your budget.

    Just cuz it's old - doesn't mean it sucks!
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  50. #50
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA
    Posts
    304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: What is the attraction to vintage Leica lenses?

    Just bought a 50mm f/2 Summitar fully serviced from Sherry Krauter, should have it next week. Already own and absolutely love my Jupiter 3, tuned and serviced by Brian Sweeney.

    Much more fun than any modern 50 I've tried.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •