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Thread: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

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    Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    It's finally happening... My M9 is available for collection after being taken in by the store in trade.

    That's the body sorted but I wanted some opinions. Basically, I don't know how I'll get on with the system so I'd like to limit the cash risk by spending as little as possible surplus to the body.

    The other day I picked up a vintage Leica 5cm 2.8 lens for a very decent price. I believe it's in nice condition and usable so would this lens allow me to get a good idea of the M9, or should I just go all out and buy the 35cm summicron I'm aiming for at the same time as the body?
    Last edited by w44neg; 19th February 2014 at 14:03.

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Try the vintage lens first and see how well you like the rangefinder focusing and the M9 files. Also, great as the Summicron (I'm assuming you are talking about the modern aspherical version), don't ignore other options. In Leica land, sharpness and perfection are the rule for modern ASPH lenses, but older spherical lenses often have beautiful rendering and work well on the M9's CCD.

    I originally tried the 35 Cron ASPH and the slightly slower and much cheaper 35 Summarit f/2.5 on the M Monochrom, and ended up buying the Summarit. The price wasn't an issue as I planned on buying the Cron, but the Summarit was so widely praised that I had to try it. I'm very glad I did, and while I own four 50mm lenses, that 35 Summarit is and will likely remain my only 35, despite 35mm being my favorite focal length.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Thanks for the response... Very helpful.

    Would you say the IQ from the 35mm summicron to summarit vary at all, or is it the extra cost purely for the extra stop in your opinion?

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    I do not know about a cheap lenses but I picked up some Leica Lens from the 50's, 3.5cm/3.5; 5cm/f2; 9cm/f4; and a 13.5cm/f4.5 which still take beautiful photographs and can be found for reasonable prices.

    You can also look at Voigtlander lenses which is a fantastic option if you want to save some money. I bought and still use the 28/1.9 LTM and 50/1.5 LTM. There are many others on the forum who have Voigtlander lenses and can recommend their favorite.

    Then there are Zeiss lenses which many folks on the forum use. I have a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 which I currently have mounted on a M6TTL at the moment.

    Lots of options besides the modern Leica lenses. Start with the 35/2.5 that you mentioned and grow from there. You are going to love the M9!

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    50 Rigid Summicron and 35 f/2,8 Summaron are two great, very inexpensive lenses! Tamarkin Camera in Chicago has a slew of 50 Rigid's right now.

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    another vote for the 35 Summarit.
    I bet the older 5cm is a nice lens as well, but I would think it doesn't hurt to own one modern lens, where you are also sure that it doesn't front or backfocus.

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Congratulations on your M9!

    re lenses, a wonderful palette of over 60 years of M production lenses from various makers await your digi M

    one thought from sean reid. depending on when and where you shoot it can be productive to have lenses that render low or high contrast in order to deal with the extremes of harsh and flat light that can challenge an M9's dynamic range. example: for the 50 FL, you might want a lower contrast, fast lens like the VC 50 f/1.5 as well as a high contrast lens like the ZM Planar. or the lower contrast rigid cron alongside the recent summarit 50. for the 35 FL, personal note, i shot for some time the canon 35 f/2.8 ltm on a M8, my "summer day" favorite, because it didn't crush dark tones in mid-day strong shadows. great lens and all of about $250 at the time. my all-around 35 was, and still is, a f/2 ZM biogon.
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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by w44neg View Post
    should I just go all out and buy the 35cm summicron I'm aiming for at the same time as the body?
    We are all beginners sometime, so keep it simple, but you do ideally want a lens that shows all the qualities of the M9 at the same time as being the focal length you want to use. Concerns about the contrast of the lens are refinements to imaging and only serve to introduce more confusion and indecision. A quick lesson on Lightroom or Photoshop can achieve much the same thing most of the time.

    If on a budget the 50mm f2.8 Elmar you already have will get you going, its not stellar, but at f/5.6 or f/8 it should be very sharp. If you are after a 35mm lens one of the very best, whether on a budget or not, is the CV 35mm f/2.5 Skopar in either LTM or M mount. You will find it a lot cheaper than a Leica equivalent. Going wider the CV 28mm f/3.5 LTM Skopar is as good as (or better than) a Leica 28mm Summicron at equivalent apertures. Going longer the CV 75mm f/2.5 LTM Heliar is as good as a 75mm Summarit, and again much much cheaper. That is cherry picking some CV lenses, they aren't all on that level where they can be compared with a Leica lens, but those three can be bought for less than a single second hand 35mm Summicron. All three can be used with codable LTM adapters. And when you know what you like to use and get a hang of how the M9 performs buying a lens with an extra stop or two will be much easier, but not easier on the pocket.

    Steve

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    I have several lenses but if I could only have one it'd be the current 50 Lux asph and I'd be perfectly happy with just that. If you prefer 35mm, the 35 Cron asph is best.

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by w44neg View Post
    Thanks for the response... Very helpful.

    Would you say the IQ from the 35mm summicron to summarit vary at all, or is it the extra cost purely for the extra stop in your opinion?
    They are different. The Summicron is super-sharp all the way to the corners, while the Summarit can be a bi softer in the corners wide-open. At f/4 or 5.6 its very hard to tell the difference in sharpness.

    Summicron focuses closer and is faster. Summarit has (in my opinion) smoother bokeh.

    I just found the way the Summarit renders to be more attractive.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Quote Originally Posted by seakayaker View Post
    I do not know about a cheap lenses but I picked up some Leica Lens from the 50's, 3.5cm/3.5; 5cm/f2; 9cm/f4; and a 13.5cm/f4.5 which still take beautiful photographs and can be found for reasonable prices.

    You can also look at Voigtlander lenses which is a fantastic option if you want to save some money. I bought and still use the 28/1.9 LTM and 50/1.5 LTM. There are many others on the forum who have Voigtlander lenses and can recommend their favorite.

    Then there are Zeiss lenses which many folks on the forum use. I have a Zeiss C-Sonnar 50mm f1.5 which I currently have mounted on a M6TTL at the moment.

    Lots of options besides the modern Leica lenses. Start with the 35/2.5 that you mentioned and grow from there. You are going to love the M9!
    I'll second the Zeiss C Sonnar. I have a modern Summicron as my regular 50, but I love the way the Sonnar renders wide-open for people. I use both the modern C Sonnar and an uncoated 1937 Sonnar, both of which are everything I could want in a people lens. Sonnar-type lenses (Jupiter 3s are impressive as well) are tricky to use, but the results are worth it.

    Here some images captured on the M Monochrom with the 1937 Sonnar, minimal post.


    L1002477.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1001928-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1002503-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1001090-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    If I could only have one it would probably be the modern 50 cron (non-APO). A classic with loads of character and with modern sharpness. Not bad for a 1979 lens under $2500 (cheap by Leica standards).

    The 50 Summarit is optically just as good, but slightly slower. doesn't focus as close, but much cheaper.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Congrats on your M9. You'll love it. As for les choices I was in a similar situation after buying my first M9. As for less expensive options here are my thoughts. The good thing is you have a lot more choices now than 4-5 years ago.

    UWA - Voigtlander 21/1.8 Ultron or Zeiss 25/2.8 Biogon (or used older Leica glass of similar focal length.)

    WA - Voigtlander 35/1.2 Nokton II would be my first choice hands down if you don't mind the size (it's about the size of a mirroless system "kit lens.") The signature is somewhere between the current 35 Summilux FLE and the last 35 Summilux Pre-FLE. Kind of a best of both worlds lens IMO.

    35 Summicron (ASPH or version 3/4,) Zeiss 35/2.8 C-Biogon, Voigtlander 28/1.9 (if you can find one and like this focal length,) Zeiss 28/2.8, (or older used Leica glass)

    Normal - Zeiss 50/2 Planar (hands down my favorite 50 that's under $4,000 new and many still state it's 90-95% of the performance of the 50 APO-Summicron but it's 1/10 the price.)

    Voigtlander 50/1.5 (I had the LSM version. liked it a lot for B&W but left something to be desired for color shots. The newer version that was released last Summer may be improved in this area.)

    Zeiss 50/1.5 C-Sonnar (love this lens and if not for focus shift I would've bought it over the Leica 50/1.4 Summilux ASPH FLE. It's about 1/3 the price new and shot's I've seen of it adapted to mirror less cameras have been amazing when the photographer does their part.)

    Leica... Can't really go wrong with any of their 50's that I've tried. It's simply a matter of what look you're after (classic v. modern.)

    Telephoto - On a budget I'd say the Leica 90 Summicron Pre-AA (what I bought and still own,) 90 Elmarit, or Voigtlander 75/2.5 Color Heliar (if you can find one.) Other options are an used Leica 90 Macro. I've seen some good shots wit the Zeiss 85/4 Tessar but haven't used one myself to comment much more. Thern there are the 135's... I haven't tried any to be honest but the current APO version seems good enough.
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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    I'd add for telephoto that the two Summarits (75 and 90) are both spectacular. I sold the 75 to fund my 24/3.8 Elmar ASPH (another FANTASTIC lens fairly low on the Leica price chart), but will buy again. The 90 Summarit is everything you could want in a portrait lens. Sharp, beautiful bokeh and much smaller and lighter than the slightly-faster Summicrons. Oh, and its cheap.

    My curent lens lineup is as follows.

    Leica 24mm f/3.8 Elmar ASPH - Incredibly sharp from corner to corner, even wide-open. Minimal distortion. A bit slow, but the M Monochrom is quite good even at ISO 5000.

    Leica 35mm f/2.5 Summarit - While a 35mm lens at f/2.5 won't completely blur much of anything, the bokeh of this lens is about the smoothest of anything I own. Extremely flare-resistant as well. Has some moderate barrel distortion, but nothing thats ever bothered me (I don't shoot many brick walls).

    Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron (current version) - What can I say? Classic rendering, modern sharpness, no noticeable distortion. Bokeh is exceptional, sometimes, but is also often quite caffeinated. If I could only keep one lens, this would be it. One of my favorite aspects is that it renders out-of-focus objects smoothly in the foreground, which many lenses just don't do.

    Leica 5cm f/2 Summitar (1949 coated, 10-blade) - Don't know yet. Just bought it, currently at Sherry Krauter for full CLA.

    Carl Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 C Sonnar ZM - Fantastic people lens, but also tack-sharp when stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8. This is basically two lenses in one, but has wicked focus shift from f/2 through f/4. I use this wide-open most of the time though sometimes at f/8. Basically this is a lens with a two or three position aperture, but at those two or three apertures (especially wide-open) it is magic. Mine is optimized for close focusing wide-open, stopped down depth of field covers the focus shift, which is only a problem between f/2 and f/4 where I simply don't shoot this lens.

    Carl Zeiss Jena 5cm f/1.5 Sonnar (1937 uncoated) - Everything above about the modern ZM version applies, but this one is lower contrast and will flare if you don't use the hood. I always shoot this through a multicoated filter (yellow or orange most of the time).

    Leica 90mm f/2.5 Summarit - My least used lens, but the one that gives me the highest percentage of keepers. Focus is spot-on with my M Monochrom and the bokeh is just delicious. Very resistant to flare and sharp, even wide-open.
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain

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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    +1 on the 24 Elmar with the caveat that if you need speed and character that the 25/2.8 Biogon is a great alternative at half the price. Same with the 50 Pre-APO Cron... the 50 Planar is a great alternative (and slightly superior to some) at 1/3 the price if you're trying to save money... I guess the same could be said for the 35 C-Biogon when compared to the 35 Summarit. Slightly slower but half the cost with a bit smoother character. The 35 Summarit is a great lens but I found it to be just a bit too sharp FOR ME (and the bokeh can get a bit busy occasionally.) It's definitely sharper than the 35 Cron ASPH (which is already bitingly sharp to begin with) but the vibrant color leaves you wanting nothing.

    Just depends on what all you're looking for when it comes to character. There are no wrong choices. Take a look at Flickr though for lens signature examples though.
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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    I heartily recommend the Rigid Cron 50 , this is on a M8 and the lens is from 1964

    http://dude163.blogspot.com/
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    Re: Picking up my M9 in the next couple of days... Go all out or try a cheap lens?

    Here are a few with the M Monochrom and the 24mm f/3.8 Elmar. Amazing lens.


    L1002939-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1002599.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1001986.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1002592-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr


    L1002013-Edit.jpg by Lawman1967, on Flickr
    "A fella, A quick fella, might have a weapon under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel." The Gyro Captain
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