Best M mount 35mm to 50mm lens for $1000

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by jglass, May 31, 2009.

  1. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am getting a Bessa body R2 or R3 and I have about $1000 to buy a lens in Leica M mount. I lean toward a 50mm but a 40 or even a 35, if better value, would also be good. This for people photography in intimate and not so intimate settings.

    What are the best 50mm, 40mm and 35mm rangefinder lenses in Leica M mount for about $1000 US? I am looking for consensus, more or less, if that is possible. What are the most accepted candidates in those categories for that price?

    Thanks
     
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    How important is speed to you? If it's critical, then I would recommend the Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 Ultron.

    If you don't have a critical need for speed, then at the longer end, I would be looking at one of the following: The 50mm Dual Range Summicron, or the Konica 50mm f2.0 Hexanon M.

    Another sleeper is the 40mm f2 M-Rokkor. These 50mm lenses can all be found for more like $400-600, while the 40mm Rokkor can be gotten for under $300.

    If you shop carefully, you could get a very nice current generation Summicron M (but without the coding for M8 exposure feedback) in Ex+ or better condition for under $1000. There is a very nice one on ebay for a Buy Now of under $900 currently.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2009
  3. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

    Messages:
    815
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Zeiss Planar ZM 50mm or even the 35mm.
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,371
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Worms, can of. Open.
     
  5. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    692
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You could probably have my Konica 35mm UC-Hexanon in exchange for a $1,000 USPS money order. Maybe.

    You could have my 50mm Nikkor/1.4, Canon 35mm/2.8 and Voigtlander 75mm/2.5 lenses for the same $1,000 USPS money order. Maybe.
     
  6. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yup: "okay, pal. drop the opener and step away from that can!"

    But really, I hope not to get too much of the hair splitting arguments over the relative merits of two excellent $1000 lenses. What I really need is to know what my choices are at that level because I am new to range finders.

    I am also considering spending less on the lens and getting a Leica M2, M3 or M4 body. Not sure. Depends on the lens suggestions and the prices of user M bodies..
     
  7. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There are tons of outstanding choices. But you really need to narrow it down. 35mm lenses are not the same as 50mm lenses, and f1.2 or f1.4 lenses are not the same as f2 lenses. What do you actually want? There is no singular "best".

    If you want a 50mm f2 lens, there are a few really stellar candidates which I listed in my earlier posts. But there are also 35mm f1.2 and f1.4 candidates, that are, frankly, not quite as sharp in the center as the best 50mm f2, but they are a heck of a lot better on portions of the frame that don't exist, and at apertures that don't exist, on a 50mm f2, than those 50mm f2 lenses are - what do you care more about?

    And the faster lenses might have better bokeh wide open, but slightly less center resolution when stopped down. Which do you care about more?

    You have presented a question that has simply too many degrees of freedom to have anything close to a uniquely correct answer.
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    50mm f2.0 Summicron, buy used at ~$600 - $700 - they don't wear out.
     
  9. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the replies. Change of circumstances: I have more like $600 to $700, not $1000.

    I'm leaning towards the 50 f2 Summicron. Question: what does "dual range" mean?

    @Nicholas: Were you recommending the same lens as dougjgreen-- the "dual range"? Or is that a different lens? Is it an older version?

    @dougjgreen: Yes I realize 35mm is not the same as 50 and f/1.2 is not the same as 2.0. I'm really not looking for a "uniquely correct answer." Just suggestions about the better performers in this mount at this price. Or the consensus classics, if they exist.

    I'm leaning towards a 50, but am considering the 35's. I'm just looking for candidates to research further. Ultra speed is not extremely important, although it would be nice to have a 1.8.

    Do you guys shop for such lenses on ebay or elsewhere. KEH seems rather pricey to me on these, but I don't like buying lenses on ebay.

    I'm also looking at Rangefinder forum for sales and here.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  10. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey folks: I found this at Cameraquest, http://www.cameraquest.com/mlenses.htm

    A kind of quick and dirty summary of M lenses. It explains Dual Range, although I'm still not sure I get it. That's the lens I'm looking for at this point. Shopping tips welcome.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  12. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Dual Range Summicron is regarded by many folks as the sharpest 50mm lens ever made. But it's not as ergonomically practical as either the Rigid Summicron from the same era, or the later versions of the Summicron M, (or the Konica 50mm f2 Hexanon-M) and the margin of optical superiority for the Dual Range might be extremely slight - and I have not seen any analysis as to whether the Dual Range Summicron works well with the Voigtlander Bessas. I'm sure that Stephen Gandy would know, as he deals in Leicas and also the Voigtlander Bessa bodies. So those are the issues you should think about. You could probably find any of these except the most recent versions of the Summicron M, for under $700. The most recent Summicron-M lenses would probably set you back closer to $1000 for really nice used examples.

    Pretty much any used Summicron M, if it's in good condition, is worth considering, but, as that Cameraquest article points out, there are numerous versions all slightly different. If you were looking for value, you should also consider the 50mm f2 Konica Hexanon M, which is a superb lens that can be gotten for under $500, or the last generation Minolta Rokkor for the CLE that can be gotten for under $300.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 2, 2009
  13. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,385
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No, of course not.

    The DR Summicron will not fit a Voigtlander, a simple glance at the lens and the camera will show that.

    The mid-70's/80's 50mm Sumicron - black, without a tab or built-in hood - is the most sensibly priced of the modern 'crons and performs admirably. For extra savings get the Canadian model.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That's true for the close-up range and the eyes - I'm not at all sure that it's true about the lens for it's normal focusing range. And in any case, the OP mentioned that he might also be looking at getting an older used Leica instead of a Bessa.
     
  16. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, I am definitely looking into an M4 body right now: They are not too horribly expensive and appear to hold value well if I don't decide to keep it. So the DR Summicron looks good, but I'll be looking at the other 50mm's suggested, esp. if I get the Bessa body.

    Doug: by "not as ergonimically practical", do you mean the goggles on the DR version for close range? Are there other ergonomic issues with that lens?

    Thanks! Sorry to keep changing the terms on my question, but there are a lot of options. If I get a higher priced body, I'll look at the Konica.
     
  17. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, my ergonomic comments all involved the use of the goggles for close-up work, and the mounting/dismounting of the lens when the goggles were used.
     
  18. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    692
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There is a caveat at the CameraQuest page about matching goggles to DR Summicron. There were two styles of goggles. Be careful there. Also, make sure that the lens head serial number and focus mount serial number match. Unscrew the head and find the number on the mount.

    While the DR Summicron may have the highest resolving power, it lacks the clinical contrast of the more modern lenses. That's not bad. Just different. The modern lenses may appear to be sharper due to micro contrast. The DR also flares like a witch if you aren't careeful.

    All things considered, I find the DR summicron to be a very nice lens. My favorite rangefinder lens. YMMV
     
  19. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Venchka, thanks. You read my mind: flare was my next question. I assume the DR Summicron is more prone to flare than modern versions, correct? I do some shooting into hard light/back light and this is a consideration for me. I would only eliminate the DR if the more modern and moderately priced versions are significantly better in that regard.
     
  20. Venchka

    Venchka Member

    Messages:
    692
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm not much help. I noticed the problem once and have tried real hard ever since to avoid it.

    From my own personal experience, Konica rangefinder lenses do not flare.
     
  21. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    And I might add, they are also every bit as sharp, as contrasty, and at least as well built as their Leica counterparts from the same era. When I sold nearly all of my Leica-mount rangefinder gear last year, the two bits that hurt me the most to part with were my Hexanon-M 50mm and my Voigtlander 15mm lenses. Even more than my CLE and Hexar RF bodies. But I sold my Hexar RF outfit for $500 more than I paid for it.
     
  22. lns

    lns Member

    Messages:
    434
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Illinois
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think if you are looking at a 50mm rangefinder lens, they are all fantastic, and it's more a matter of what kind of look you want.

    With your budget, and how you'd use it, I'd lean toward a more modern Summicron (not the latest version, but the ones that were out in the 1970s and 1980s) or the Zeiss ZM Planar. I've used both, and they are terrific lenses and great values. The Planar in particular doesn't seem to flare. It's particularly nice with color films, though I use it mainly for b&w and love it.

    I've never used the Hexanon, but it sounds terrific too. Finally, if you want a fast 50, Cosina Voigtlander has a 50mm f1.5 Nokton that looks like a great value. Lots of great choices.

    -Laura
     
  23. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  24. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

    Messages:
    396
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the links luvcameras. Any specific reason why you prefer the Rigid? Over the modern summicrons (80's and 90's)?
     
  25. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another factor, rarely taken into consideration, is that (according to my own experience, some tests and hearsay) more recent Leica lenses will flare less than Hexanon and CV lenses (though usually not Zeiss).

    For me, that is another reason why I tend to prefer Leica & Zeiss.

    Depending on the FLs you use, tastes and type of photography, that might be a less important factor for you.
     
  26. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Oklahoma, US
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    No brainer. The 40mm Rokkor-M with proper hood. The lens is as good as the 35/2 Cron V4. The egonomics superior to the 35/2 v2 or collasible 50/2, another great lens if in good shape. The focal length is flexible. Need a wide, get a 28/2.8.