Leica M mount 50/1.4 or 50/2?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Ian Leake, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    I'm about to buy a second hand 50mm lens for my MP (and M8). I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the Leica lenses, so I'm going to ask a possible dumb question...

    Should I choose a 50/1.4 or a 50/2? One costs almost double the other - is there a significant difference other than the aperture?

    Thanks in advance.
    Ian.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's up to you, and depends how much you need f1.4. Unlike SLR's the extra speed has no influence on ease of focussing.

    I've had an f2 Summicron for 20 years now, and it's superb, it has to be the sharpest 50mm lens I've ever used. The f1.4 won't give you better quality so if you don't need that extra f stop save your money for another Leica lens.

    Ian
     
  3. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    Thanks Ian. That's kind of what I was thinking...
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    There have been 4 incarnations of the 50 mm Summicron-M since 1953, and 3 of the Summilux-M f1.4 since 1959. For most of this time, the Summicron was regarded as state of the art, with the Summilux also very good but not quite as good as the Summicron. The present Summicron has been available since 1979, so development costs are well amortised, the Summilux in the latest aspherical version is much more recent and probably now equals the Summicron. In short then, the Summicron is the normal #1 choice, the latest Summilux is as good if you need the extra stop and don't mind paying double and carrying the extra weight!

    Regards,

    David
     
  5. Mike Richards

    Mike Richards Member

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    Summilux DOF

    One other thing to remember is the narrow DOF that you get @ f1.4 with the Summilux. If you like to take candid available light shots indoors, the f1.4 50 Lux not only gives you an extra stop, but also lets you throw backgrounds (or foregrounds, for that matter) more out of focus than the f2 Cron does. I have the pre-asph 50 Lux, and use it often at f1.4 where I want to isolate subjects in crowded areas. This is not the best shot of the series, but here is an example with both back and fore out of focus, and the subject quite isolated. With your M8, you have a field of view similar to a hypothetical 67 mm lens. Perfect for non-staged, "candid" portraits.
    Tsiknopemp114.jpg
     
  6. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    I have never used the Summilux in any of its incarnations, but I am a very happy Summicron-M user. Like Ian, I find it to be the sharpest 50mm lens I have ever used, and I like its contrast and tonality when shooting B&W. I also like its neutral colour rendition.

    That said, 90 percent of the time there is a 35mm Summicron mounted on my camera.
     
  7. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Hi Ian

    Leica lenses, new and used, are very highly priced as a result of the popularity of the M8. There are extensive pictorially based comparisons on Sean Reid's reid reviewswebsite of the different Leica models + their reincarnations and lenses from Zeiss and CV.

    The Zeiss ZM lenses are very good and significantly cheaper. I have their 50mm f2 Planar and is the most used lens on my Leica (M8). I tried both this and the wider Sonnar before purchasing. There is a focus issue with the Sonnar reported on the web, which I replicated easily by shooting pictures of an angled door at Robert White's. RW have detailed performance facts and figures, if these move you.

    Leica User Forum repeatedly report QA focussing issues with Leica lenses particularly with the M8, resulting in them being sent back to Solms. Suggest testing the lens you have in mind with the M8. My Zeiss has been fine. The LUF advice tends not to be nearly so level headed and objective as here though!
     
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  8. Don Dudenbostel

    Don Dudenbostel Member

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    I would agree with Baxter on the Planar. I've owned every formulation of Summicron 50 and the current Summilux plus the New Planar. My favorite disregarding price is the Planar. Summicrons are fine but the Planar is much better in regard to flare controll and every bit as sharp or sharper. Beautifully made and beautiful images.
     
  9. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    One way to get a cheap Summicron for your Leica M is to buy a Leica R lens plus a Novoflex adapter. Since there is no rangefinder coupling, this probably works better with a 35 mm lens than a 50, but R lenses are not hard to find for the right side of £100!

    Regards,

    David
     
  10. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I own a Summilux 35 mm f/1.4. Back in the 1980s, I owned a Summilux 50 mm f/1.4 (sold it in the 1990s).

    The reason I bought the Summilux was do to the shooting conditions I was working under. Read very dark.

    For general use, I say get the Summicron 50 mm f/2.0. A great lens. You probably will never miss the extra f/stop. Save your money for another Leica lens in the future.
     
  11. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    Thanks for your help everyone :smile:. I'm placing my order for the f2 Summicron.
     
  12. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Whoa! OK, too late.

    With some of the money you saved you can buy a Nikkor or Canon 50/1.4 or the Canon 50/1.2.
     
  13. PVia

    PVia Member

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    I agree with Baxter and Don above re: the Zeiss 50/2 Planar...an amazing lens!
     
  14. elekm

    elekm Member

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    When I had my M6, I was never dissatisfied with the f/2.0 Summicron. A wonderful lens with plenty of character.

    I'm also very pleased with the f/2.0 Planar, if you want to consider something outside the Leica lineup.

    I've not used the Summilux, but I've never heard anyone trash the lens in regard to optical quality.