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Thread: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Hi,

    I already have the kit lenses and SAL18200 for my NEX5, and I will probably continue to invest in the E-mount system. However, I want to get one fast Leica MF lens for playing around. I doubt that I will ever be able to afford the Noct, but maybe the Summilux is in my range.

    Which focal length would you recommend? 35mm or 50mm? The question may be too broad, but I am looking a length that's general enough for me to keep for life. Is the floating element really worth it? How much difference will I see between the ASPH and pre-ASPH? What's realistic around $3000 range? Maybe the prices are inflated lately, so I could wait a year or so to buy the right lens, once supply catches up, so I'm looking at retail prices, not ebay prices.

    Thanks!

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Honestly, from the sounds of it, you may want to try the Voigtlander or Zeiss ZM route. For around $2k, you could get both the ZM 35/2 and ZM 50/2, and you wouldn't get much more out of a Leica ASPH lens. For lower light, you could get the Voigtlander 35/1.4 and ZM 50/1.5 for even less.

    I own 4 35mm rangefinder lenses, and they are each good at different things. I guess, if you had to pick one lens that must be Leica, your best bet would be a 35 Summicron ASPH, which retails for $3K, but I'm not sure I'd go that route, myself.


    p.s. 35mm lenses on NEX give a "standard" view, while 50mm on NEX gives you more of a tele/portrait lens.

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    I have a 50mm Summicron DR now, and it does feel a little too tight (field of view) sometimes. Maybe I'll get an old 35mm Summicron as well just to see how I like it. Oh boy, just checked Ebay... those aren't cheap either.

    I've read lots of good thing about the ZM50 as well, but I guess when it comes to MF lens, I'd prefer the name Leica for vanity reasons.

  4. #4
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Since NEX focuses by live-view, you don't need a lens with a floating element (focus shift is irrelevant).

    If you must have Leica, I'd recommend the 28/2. It gives you the equivalent of a 42mm FOV on full frame, which is a versatile single lens to use and pairs nicely with the 16mm kit lens. A 28 cron is also a bit cheaper than a 35 lux right now and easier to come by. But if you need the speed, go for a v.1 35 ASPH lux.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    The only reason the Zeiss ZM lenses are cheaper is that most are made in Japan, and Zeiss is certainly an equal to the Leica name. You could buy the ZM 15/2.8 or 85/2, which are both made in Germany, in the $3K-5K range.

    As far as technical performance, the ZMs certainly compete with the Leica ASPHs, depending on the lenses we're comparing. If you're talking about Leica pre-ASPH, then the ZMs are certainly fantastic.

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    If you want a "real" Leica the 35/2.8 summaron can still be found for reasonable money and is very sharp from wide open (I have one my father bought new in 1964). If you want larger apertures and stay below 1 k the voigtlander 40/1.4 and 35/1.4 are both very good. I've never handled the 35/1.4 but seen excellent results. I actually tested the 40/1.4 on a Nex 5 and results were stellar.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    The 35/1.4 has a nice rendering and is nice and small, although don't count on it with a NEX-5 as a landscape lens. The corners never really get sharp. Granted, the newer NEX cameras seem to have improved sensor edges, so maybe that will change.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    I guess I would say why bother right now. Leica lenses are in short supply and the prices have been bid up tremendously. I think the Contax G 35 and 45 give really nice performance on the NEX.

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    A man can dream, right? I'd a kick out of researching all the different choices. I figured it'd be a few months until I can scrape together enough money anyway. Hopefully the prices will be normal again then.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    I agree with Terry, the Contax Gs are reasonable (they used to be VERY reasonable) and work great on NEX. My fave is the 35/2 for the 50mm equivalent, although the 45/2 is better optically.

    For an M lens, my all time favorite would be the 35/1.4 ASPH but that's a $4k+ lens used in today's market.

    35/2 Summicron version 4 (pre ASPH) are going for $2k-$2500 nowadays for nice copies. Fantastic lens.

    Reasonably priced alternative: 40/2 M Rokkor or Summicron C

    If you adapt an M lens, I highly recommend the Hawk adapter with close focus capability. It completely transforms usage of M lenses which normally do not focus all that closely...

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Quote Originally Posted by monza View Post
    If you adapt an M lens, I highly recommend the Hawk adapter with close focus capability. It completely transforms usage of M lenses which normally do not focus all that closely...
    This adaptor is really attractive.
    As far as lenses are concerned. I'm with others here, if you want M mount lenses for your NEX, and you have a budget, go for Zeiss or Voigtlander, they're all excellent, and the prices are so different. Get a 35mm f1.4 Nokton classic voigtlander, and you'll have enough money left for a NEX7 body!

    Just this guy you know

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Hm... I've been eyeing the Hawk adapter, but I have the 50mm 'Cron DR that does 0.5m close focus now. I'll probably get it when I really need it. I think I'll go research for some shots on the VC 35mm Nokton and maybe even buy it to try it out. What does the Leica lens prices do to the used prices of other brands?

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    For lack of a better term, the VC 35/1.4 is all about "feel," or whatever. If you look at it technically, it's got barrel distortion, purple fringing, and the corners are never super sharp. However, it is what I'd consider medium sharp wide open, and is a nice little lens with an okay character. I have the single coated version, myself. I use the CV lens in lowlight, and then use the C-Biogon 35/2.8 or Contax G 35 in good light.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Don't have a NEX but I enjoy the Leica Summarit 35/2.5, which I bought used within my means.

    Zeiss lenses offer an interpretation unlike any other. I think they are more distinctive than Leicas, which extend more usual image values to great quality. You love how a Zeiss sees a scene or really dislike it. You might love it on some shots and hate it on others, but for most hobbyists it is not the kind of lens you leave on the camera for months at a time (pros are always changing lenses!).

    Here's an example of how Zeiss extraordinary resolution interprets a scene.
    Grasses

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    My experience here is rather eccentric, and not something I expected. I travel a lot, and since purchasing a NEX last December it is usually with me on the road. I initially brought three lenses with me, for example 28, 50 and 90, or 18, 28 and 50. But I find that I have almost no need for the 28 or 90. Now my staple is an 18 f/4 and 50 f/2 -- focal lengths that are further apart than seems sensible! The object of my desire now is a fast but sharp 18mm lens, with no more than 1% distortion. I'd like it to be nice and sharp from 2.8, but there ain't no such beast. And there seems little likelihood of it arriving in the near future, unless it is in the form of the Sony G mid-range zoom that is promised next year. (The mid-range kit zoom is not as sharp at the edges as I'd like it to be.)

    I'm even contemplating the Sony 20mm DSLR lens, although I've got so used to 18mm now that I think I'd find the angle of view of the 20mm lens to be a bit narrow. Talk about fussy -- I'm becoming unbearable! Nettar

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    This is a question about diminishing returns. Then when talking about lenses in the range around 500 or 1000 or 3000 bucks (where bucks is the currency of choice) it is obvious that personal taste and feel about a lens is more important than the MTF chart.

    Maybe that's how we can sway from a 35 or 50mm Summilux to a CV35/1.4? These lenses aren't really close.

    I have a Summilux-M 50/1.4 ASPH. It's a truly great lens and I have seen no other 50mm come even close to it at f/1.4. Stop it down and the Summicron 50 is as good. The 50Lux combines high contrast, high micro-contrast and good bokeh at the same time as there isn't too much fringe (this is on a Nex-5). The borders are soft/smeared unless stopping well down (the same Nex-5).

    Sometimes one can read about the CV 50/1.5 and then it happens somebody says it rivals the Summilux. I don't know why people think that. The CV 50/1.5 is a nice lens, it is sharp wide open, no question about it. Compared to the Summilux it lacks in contrast wide open, it has more fringe and the bokeh is questionable. But sure, it rivals as it is of similar focal length and speed. As good, hmm, well, no it is not.

    That said, my Nex is a crop camera and a 50mm is too long for general use. I have seen a few samples only from the 35Lux ASPH (with a Nex). I'll have to check that out and compare to other 35mm lenses and maybe one day...

    ...or the CV35/1.2 v2 materializes and I'll be happy with it (together with a Nex-7)?

    Hosermage, I think you should have a long hard look at images from the different lenses mentioned, preferably taken with a Nex. What appeals to you, technically, in these images? How much money is the difference worth to you?

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles2 View Post
    (...)
    Here's an example of how Zeiss extraordinary resolution interprets a scene.
    Grasses
    I understand the idea and the intention. That's fine. But your sample is not only a Zeiss image but also a large DOF, downsized processed and well sharpened web presentation. It's hard to see how the lens' extraordinary resolution comes to play at all.

    It's always more interesting to see unsharpened 100% crops if it is about an image demonstrating resolution.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nettar View Post
    (...)
    I'm even contemplating the Sony 20mm DSLR lens, although I've got so used to 18mm now that I think I'd find the angle of view of the 20mm lens to be a bit narrow. Talk about fussy -- I'm becoming unbearable! Nettar


    You are not the only one. I'm so used to a classic normal that I find a 35mm on a crop sensor feels a bit narrow. When you get used to something and then is forced to change it doesn't feel good... Maybe one hasn't to become unbearable... Or so I think... I try to fight that but I probably often fail.

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nettar View Post
    I'm even contemplating the Sony 20mm DSLR lens, although I've got so used to 18mm now that I think I'd find the angle of view of the 20mm lens to be a bit narrow. Talk about fussy -- I'm becoming unbearable! Nettar
    With the LA-E1 adapter it becomes rather big and defeats the purpose of the Nex a bit (it's bigger in diameter and length than the 18-55 kit lens). Doesn't mean I don't use it and I get decent results :



    This is not to show resolution or sharpness, just how it performs in general

    However, my most used lens is still the 35/2.8 (old Leica M summaron), small, light and for me sharp enough to the edges, even at 2.8.
    Last edited by pegelli; 10th August 2011 at 01:37. Reason: Added information

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Thanks very much, Pegelli. That's a lovely, soothing image -- gentle light, wonderful clouds.

    Perversely, lens size is not as much as of a problem for me as lens weight. (Where I live, the airport people usually weigh carry-on bags when you fly abroad economy class. Nasty!) Like most Sony primes, the 20mm f/2.8 is of only moderate weight -- it's a little less heavy then my 18mm f/4, probably a little more if I include the adapter, but still reasonable. How would you rate its edge sharpness on the NEX, relative to your Leica primes for example? I've not been able to find a review that really gets down to the nitty gritty of the resolution of this lens for an APS-C size sensor.

    Jonas, you and I should start a society -- the Federation of Photographers Fussy about Focal-lengths, or FFFF for short. I fret way too much about these things. To me the difference between 18mm and 16mm focal lengths, on the NEX, is enormous, but I have a colleague for whom it is (if he is to believed) hardly noticeable. Nettar

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    Senior Member pegelli's Avatar
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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Nettar, last Sunday was the first time I put the lens on my Nex (which I only have a month now) and I only took similar soothing pictures of wide beach scenes. So no conclusion on edge sharpness on APS-C, but from my experience using it on the A850 even there edge sharpness is OK at f 5.6 except for maybe the extreme corners which fall far beyond the APS-C size. If you want to know I probably will be able to shoot some brick walls, allthough that's a subject I enjoy less and less these days

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Thanks Pegelli. That's helpful. I wouldn't inflict brick wall shooting on anyone! Nettar

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
    ... your sample is not only a Zeiss image but also a large DOF, downsized processed and well sharpened web presentation. It's always more interesting to see unsharpened 100% crops if it is about an image demonstrating resolution.
    You are right when it comes to proving the technical point. I showed the image hoping to make a looser point. Many of us know the smooth image style prepared for Web display. In opposite manner, this image shows how excellent resolution can be presented on the Web. The Zeiss lens encourages, enables, and eases such an approach. Agreed, a conclusion with the status of opinion.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    Thanks for all the insights... but I think the Zeiss 50mm C-Sonnar ZM has me intrigued. I will be on the look out for a used/new one. Wouldn't mind trying out the CV 35 f/1.2 ver. II as well. Even if I get both, I'll still be under budget!

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    The CV 35/1.2 II seems to be shipping. My pusher in Bangkok has announced it for the equivalent of $1,300
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 24th August 2011 at 19:20.

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    Re: if I can get only one leica lens for NEX...

    The CV35/1.2 v2.... I managed to lay my greedy hands on a copy of it. Great lens (and I'm very experienced with it you know). Or I think it is a great lens from that first acquaintance.

    It is also expensive stuff.... 1.300 [currency] is a lot of money for a lens from Cosina. It's not your local pusher only... Their most expensive until today? I wonder if their experience from the CV25/0.95 learned them it is OK to ask for more money.

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