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Thread: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

  1. #1
    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the forum and rangefinders. Having heard so many good things about the people here I thought I would seek your wisdom and support.

    I am selling off my Digilux 2, 3 and R glass to get into an M8. I think I'll enjoy the simpler set up and approach of the rangefinder.

    At the moment I would like to just pick up one reasonably priced lens, perhaps a zeiss/cv or a used Leica in approximately the normal "50mm" range. Something that would serve my needs for candid, street, and some portrait work.

    For price/performance and ease of use on the M8, which lens would you recommend for the starter kit? Vendor recommendations would also be very helpful along with any coding facts I need to be aware of.

    Best,

    Mark

  2. #2
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    There are certainly folks around here with more "seasoned" opinions, but to fit the general "candid, street and some portrait" qualifications, I'd probably go with either a 50mm or 35mm lens. For street, I prefer a 28 or even a 21, but lately have been using my 50 Summicron, and loving the results.

    As for brand/dealer. I'd look at PopFlash Photo http://www.popflash.com/ for some great used equipment, but they're just one of many. I'd also consider the Voightlander lenses, as the value for the $$ is terrific. I've own or have owned a number of them, and in the range you're looking at, loved my 50mm Nokton 1.5, a wonderful lens. I've generally purchased my VC lens through http://cameraquest.com/.

    Good luck, and enjoy!

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    For a walking about lens, try the 28mm. With the 1.3x factor it is roughly the same as a 35mm would be on a film camera . I think you will like it better than a 50mm. DR

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    28/2.8 ASPH, if you are in the US, buy one out of the UK (robert white uk), with the 15% rebate and exchange rate advantage, it's about $1100

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    The 28/2.8 ASPH is indeed a very good lens. If you are on a budget there are many Voigtlander lenses that perform very well and are quite cheap. The 35/2.5 or 28/3.5 are both good choices, and there are good adapters available that can be 6-bit coded for the M8. The Zeiss ZM 35/2 is a bit larger but a stellar lens, though it takes a bit more work if you want it coded. For portrait work the Voigtlander 50/1.5 and 75/2.5 are both very nice.

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    thank you for all the helpful comments!

    monza, is the warranty and rebate valid in the US if I purchased from R. white?

    For those of you who have experience w/voigtlander and zeiss glass, could you comment on how they differ in characteristics from the Leica? One of the primary reasons behind why I moved to Leica from Nikon was the Leica colors, especially skin tones, and the sharp yet soft look I was getting on my Digilux 3 w R and D glass. I would hate to move to the M8 and get a different look w/3rd party lenses.

    Though I am on a budget, I don't want to get into zeiss/cv if I find myself wanted to change in the future. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Mark

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    As I understand it, on 1/1/2008, all M lenses have a 2 year international warranty...I've inquired of Robert White UK to confirm.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Quote Originally Posted by markwon View Post

    At the moment I would like to just pick up one reasonably priced lens, perhaps a zeiss/cv or a used Leica in approximately the normal "50mm" range. Something that would serve my needs for candid, street, and some portrait work.
    Hi Mark, and welcome to the forum!

    To get an effective 50mm focal from the M8 with its 1.3 crop, choosing a 35 will be the closest, offering a net focal of about 47mm. Good news is, the 35mm Cron Asph is outstanding, and can be found used fairly reasonably priced (at least by Leica standards) as can the wonderful version 4 35 pre-asph Cron.

    However, as others have indicated, many of us prefer something slightly longer or slightly shorter -- the 35 was very popular on the film M's -- so we've shifted to the 28 and 50.

    For me, the 28Cron and 50 Pre-Asph Lux would be the last two M lenses I ever sell, as I shoot about 80% of my M8 images with either of those two lenses. It would be a tough call to choose between them, but the 50 pre-Lux would probably be my pick if pressed.

    On the building up side, either will make a great starting point
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Quote Originally Posted by markwon View Post
    Though I am on a budget, I don't want to get into zeiss/cv if I find myself wanted to change in the future. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

    Mark
    I would just go with a used Leica lens to begin with. The Zeiss/CV lenses are good value for the money, but if you are going to want a Leica lens in the end, it is a waste of money and time buying the cheaper lens to begin with.

    Jack has made some good suggestions regarding focal lengths.

    Robert

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    You can also go with the leica 40mm f2 Cron which will give you a 50mm field of view on the M8 . I have one of these and it has similar optical sig as the pre-asph 35mm cron. It's pretty cheap comapre to the rest of M lenses.

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    If you're a 'wide open low light, back lighting' kind of photographer make the outlay for a Leica 35 Summilux and test it thoroughly for focus shifting for when you do stop down.

    If you are a 'good light f8' kind of a guy save yourself a wad of money and get a tiny CV 35mm Colour Skopar as many M8 users have happily done.

    Horses for courses of course. If you are 'street' working everything is in motion including the photographer and theoretically-optimum lens performances from controlled, tripod mounted conditions become a moot point. I recommend you subscribe to Reid Reviews and pay attention to Sean's 28mm and 35mm [on M8] reviews to get an idea of which horse fits which course, and what it is you are paying for with premium priced lenses.

    ............. Chris
    Last edited by Chris C; 17th January 2009 at 07:01.

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    wow...I am pleasantly surprised by the helpful comments I received. Thank you all for your help.

    I think I am definitely leaning towards a used Leica lens, either a 28 or 40. The other day I went into the local shop and played around with the M8 and the 35 elmarit and noticed that the closest focus distance was 3 feet. I would prefer a lens that would let me get closer. Does anyone know which of the 28 or 40 would be a good fit? It doesn't need to be a macro, but I would like to be able to do portraits as well as more street photography.

    On a side note--the M8 felt a bit heavy and bulky in my hands, certainly more than the Digilux 2, which I really like for weight and size. Do you find it tiring to shoot with the M8 for an extended period of time? It also felt very back heavy with the tiny 35 elmarit.

    Although it is still the work of a beginner, please feel free to browse my gallery and give me advice according to the type of shots that you see there. Any other comments - or + are also welcome.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    There is a guy selling an M8 on ebay with a 90 elmarit (seems to be the latest) and a 28 1.9 ultron. I asked about focusing with the 90 and he said with the 1.2 magnifier it isn't too bad.

    What do you all think? would this be a good starter package? Perhaps down the road I could add a 40 or 50 cron once I have become more familiar with the ways of a rangefinder. the auction is: http://cgi.ebay.com/Leica-M8-with-90...3%3A1|294%3A50

  14. #14
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Mark, The ebay camera is being sold by the second owner. The original owner was a National Geographic photog who probably ran thousands of shots through the camera. The two lenses being sold as part of the package are ok, but not spectacular. If I were you I would be careful about buying a M8 without some kind of warranty. Do you feel lucky?

    Demo cameras are being sold with a one year Leca warranty. Try www.kurlandphoto.com I bought both my M8's from Craig Williams of Kurland, a true gentleman.

    The good thing is that time is on your side. PMA is taking place in a few weeks, they will announce new camera offerings, which might affect the price of the M8, even though Leica is not launching anything new.

    There is a Spanish saying: Buy cheap, pay twice.

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    mango, thanks for the warning. i've been thinking about kurland even prior to your post, but your referral seems to make the dealer purchase all the more reasonable.

    could someone comment on this 40 summicron on ebay? http://cgi.ebay.com/Leica-M-40-2-Sum...3%3A1|294%3A50

    kevincameras is the seller, he has two of them right now. could this work for me?

  16. #16
    Mango
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Mark, For the price and condition of the 40mm on eBay, I can sell you a 50mm Rigid Summicron in better condition. I.e., don't get the 40mm. If I were you, I'd spend money on a perfect kit, otherwise you will always live in regret about it. To get something that doesn't function at 100 percent is a tremendous waste of energy. I've seen it so many times, where the buyer gets something that's almost there, but not fully there, and that gap in performance or operation bugs them to a state of sleeplessness.

    PM me if you want market prices of good lenses.

    www.igorcamera.com is a great seller, very fair to deal with. Best of luck!

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    Subscriber Member mwalker's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    I go along with Jack, I keep a 35 Lux on the M7 film camera and a 28 cron on the M8.
    Mike

    website under construction

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Quote Originally Posted by markwon View Post
    I think I am definitely leaning towards a used Leica lens, either a 28 or 40. The other day I went into the local shop and played around with the M8 and the 35 elmarit and noticed that the closest focus distance was 3 feet. I would prefer a lens that would let me get closer. Does anyone know which of the 28 or 40 would be a good fit? It doesn't need to be a macro, but I would like to be able to do portraits as well as more street photography.
    The ZM 35/2 and the Summicron 35 both have 0.7m close focus. The ZM 28/2.8 focuses to 0.5m, which is a bit better than the 28/2.8 Elmarit ASPH with 0.7m. I would get a 50mm lens with 0.7m close focus distance for portraits, though (like the Konica M-Hexanon 50/2, which is a cheap and decent lens). 28mm and 50mm makes a good combination. All current summicrons (28, 35, 50) have 0.7m close focus. A used 35mm summicron would probably be an excellent choice, since you want a small and light-weight lens.

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    Senior Member ecliffordsmith's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Hi Mark,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I think you have had some very good ideas in the previous posts here and really it will come down to what your personal perference is. Whether you choose a 28, 35 or 50 FF fov you will be sure to get a remarkable lens. Personally, the 35 Summicron ASPH is ALWAYS on my M8 and it is very compact and nicely balanced on the M8.

    Good luck with you choice and I look forward to seeing your results with whichever lens you choose.

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    My by far most used and respected lens forthe M8 is the 28/2.0asph.
    For me its the best combination of sharpness, nice bokeh, nice tones, speed, flexibility, etc etc.
    Add a 50 as a second lens one day and a 18mm or a WATE later and you have all you need.
    For me the 28 is the perfect lens on the M8.
    With the crop factor of the M8 it even works for protraits (of course you include a little bit of the surrounding.
    Did I mention that I like the 28mm

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Thank for taking the time to comment everyone! Your thoughts have been very informative and helpful.

    I will update as I make some clear decisions about my purchase.

    Best,

    Mark
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    New to the M8 but eager to procure one. What is a wate? Is it the tri elmar?

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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    WATE = Wide Angle Tri Elmar as opposed to the normal 28/35/50 Tri Elmar.
    Jack
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    The normal Tri Elmar is also known as the MATE.

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Everyone, thank you for your thoughtful comments. They have been a great help.

    I decided to go with the 28 Elmarit ASPH withe M8 black body. The two were just shipped today from Robert White. The discounts and exchange rate made it a no-brainer.

    I'll try and get some photos up once they arrive later in the week!

    Mark
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

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    Senior Member helenhill's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    CONGRATS Mark...

    Just wondering with the exchange rate a New m8 runs about $3796.00
    Do they apply the 650 pound rebate to the price /$915.00 USD
    OR
    Do you have to wait for that ?

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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Hellen,

    I just sent you a pm. But for anyone else, they will charge you the full price then credit you immediately. But the rebate will not be for the full 650. They deduct the VAT to cover their costs then apply 565.22gbp credit. The camera price comes to around $3000 after everything.

    Mark
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    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Just got the M8 and the 28 Elmarit today. I went with the Elmarit for the size and focal length. Still getting used to the rangefinder focusing. Thank you everyone for your comments, they are much appreciated. Here a couple of test shots with the new combo.
    Last edited by markwon; 29th September 2010 at 15:56.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Mark,

    I like the composition of the first shot a lot with the arc of birds across the frame (I'd probably crop above the clouds but this wasn't really meant to be a photo critique!). As you've doubtless noticed the legendary Leica sharpness is there in spades.

    Have fun with your new outfit. It's a keeper.

  30. #30
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Hi There
    It's worth looking in the UK for secondhand and new lenses with the current exchange rate.
    Robert White
    It looks like the lens cashback has been extended to the end of feb

    for secondhand (and new):
    Ffordes

    As for lenses - the 28 f2 certainly seems to be the favorite around here, but like the 35 f1.4 it's very VERY expensive, you could get a whole set of Voigtlander lenses for the price. The 28 f2.8 elmarit is tiny - and I love mine, although, again, it's not much discussed around here.

    As for the ebay kit - I have both of those lenses - the 28 ultron is big and clunky and I simply don't use it. 90 is just a bit too long (IMHO).

    I hear what you're saying about close focusing, and you get a good magnification ratio on the 50 summicron - an excellent lens, which is generally just unconsidered around here - you can also get it fairly cheaply, and it's small. The 75 summicron is second best only to the 90 macro for close focusing, and is one of my favorites - although not so small and cheap!

    I've got too many lenses;
    Leica 16-18-21 tri-elmar; 28 f2.8; 35 f2; 50 f2; 75 f2; 90 f2.8
    Zeiss 25 f2.8 and 50mm f1.5
    CV 15mm, 28mm f1.9 ultron

    The ones which get used most frequently are:
    Zeiss 25 f2.8 (razor sharp, and a lovely focal length on the M8 as it's as wide as you can get without a viewfinder). It's possibly the sharpest lens I've ever owned. The Zeiss 50mm f1.5 sonnar - more controversial, but I love the fact that it's gentle wide open, but quickly becomes razor sharp as you stop down. . . and the Leica 75 summicron.

    The little 15mm f4.5 CV heliar is a no-brainer, tiny and cheap as chips, it's also very good.

    I would recommend getting small lenses . . .. there are lots of lovely larger lenses - but if you're going to use a big camera . . . .

    Just this guy you know

  31. #31
    Senior Member markwon's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    Graham thank you for the comments! I'm not too proud of these shots but I am certainly pleased with the drawing of the lens. Indoor shooting has been another story however, especially with AWB.

    Jono, thank you for sharing your lens preferences. I am definitely looking into a portrait lens for the future. A friend of mine will loan me several lenses which I will try out for a time before I commit to one. However, when I have some free cash, the CV 15 does seem to be a no-brainer for many M8 users.

    Best,

    Mark
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

  32. #32
    New Member junglehs's Avatar
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    Re: First rangefinder lens for walkaround?

    I like the 35/2 asph on the M8. On the M7 the 35/2 asph by day and the 35 lux pre-asph at night for walk around. Hope this helps. Greetings, Al.

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