Lenses for Leica screw mount m42 in the 35 to 50mm range

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by herb, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. herb

    herb Subscriber

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    Trying the rangefinder camera I picked up used, a Bessa R by cv, I was trying to locate a decent source of used lenses for it in the 35, 40 or 50mm range, with 35 being my first choice.
    It appears Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest has new ones in the $400 to 700 range, but I am clueless about which of the old lenses were decent, say an early Leica or canon??
     
  2. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I assume you mean M39 lenses. Stephen has a guide (his opinions) for the m39 lenses - check it out under Classic camera profiles on his site. It's a good start. My own opinion is that the Elmar 50/3.5 is one of the lenses one should try out. The Canon 35/2 is really great, too.
     
  3. H. James Wolf

    H. James Wolf Member

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    Rangefinder forum has a classified section that sometimes lists screw mount lenses. So do specialty providers such as Tamarkin and Classic Connection. The 50s are plentiful and the slower lenses - 2.8 and 3.5 - aren't terribly expensive. That being said, they are also older, which means lower contrast and the potential for 'cleaning marks,' the code for a host of small scratches that can cause contrast problems. The nice thing about Tamarkin and Classic Connection is they know their stock and will be straightforward about a lens's condition.
     
  4. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Right, you want LTM lenses (39mm screw mount). M42 is the universal screw mount for SLRs, first seen on the Contax SLRs and later popularized by Pentax and also used by Praktica and others.

    Cosina offers a number of Voigtlander lenses in LTM that get very good reviews. I had the 35mm Pancake Color-Skopar, which is an excellent lens.
     
  5. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    You will never find better than Leica. If someone says they are old and lower contrast , you can be sure they never used it. At 1900s , there were 350 lens factory at Germany and Leica was the best.
     
  6. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have a canon f1.4 and I highly recommend it. I also have an Industar f2.8 50mm which is also quite nice. You can forget the Russian 35mm lenses....they won't fit the Bessa. I ended up getting a used Voigtlander f2.5 35mm lens. That seemed to be the cost vs. performance sweet spot to me. Dante Stella has some really great reviews and a special section on Canon rangefinder lenses
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I have a Summitar, which is an excellent lens. Very sharp. Good contrast. I've been very pleased with the photos.
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I have had two Leitz 5cm Summitars , one was front lens coated , other not.
    It uses very rare glass with high ratio thorium and this lens was the last lens of Leitz made from thorium added glass. It has a extremelly high refractive index , even higher from other newer lenses which had been changed from high refractive index to high abbe number prefer.
    And I always preferred to use front two lens element attached together lenses after all.
    I think air between elements lower the quality.
    For example Goerz Dagor have 6 lens element attached one to another in two groups and it is matchless.
    In dim light , When you photograph a person , you can get picture like Lucian Freud pictures. That strong.

    Lucian Freud is the most expensive living artist today and he switched to playing with strong skin tones at around 1957.
    I believe he saw Summitar pictures which they had been produced little bit earlier.
    Of course they are very expensive today. May be the most precious RF lens in the world.
    If you have money , use it with real Leica body like IIF.

    Umut
     
  9. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    My LTM lens useage has included:
    Canon 35/2.8*, 34mm filter, all chrome. A tiny jewel of a lens. Affordable.
    Canon 50/1.8. All chrome. Solid performer. Very affordable.
    Nikkor 5cm/1.4*. One the best lenses ever made. Unique character. Sharp. Solid. Afordable relative to other 1.4 lenses.
    Nikkor 8.5cm/2.0*. Same as the 50 above. Very affordable.
    Canon 135/3.5*. Late all black model. Solid performer. Cheap.
    * = I still own and use them alongside my M mount lenses.
    Good luck.
     
  10. blind_sparks

    blind_sparks Member

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    My vote would be for the Leitz 5cm ƒ2 Summitar. My first M39 lens made by Leitz, it has beat out all of the LTM lenses I've previously owned, German, Japanese, or Russian. Not necessarily for sharpness as much for the quality of the images it produces.

    That said, the Russian Jupiter-12 35mm ƒ2.8 is a great performer for the money. Fedka.com in NY always has a couple in stock in the $100-150 range.

    Check Fedka, check KEH. Don't be afraid of the BGN rating, in my experience it's very conservative.
     
  11. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    My understanding is that the Jupiter-12 won't mount safely on the CV cameras.

    I just looked at this question myself, vacillating between a collapsible Summicron and a Nikkor 50/2. I ended up with the Nikkor and am quite happy with the couple of "smoke test" rolls I've shot so far. The collapsible Summicron that I didn't buy is still there at KEH (although I've read that it probably won't collapse on the Bessa-R, which is the same body I was buying for).

    This seems like it's kind of an "embarrassment of riches" situation; there are a *lot* of good screwmount lenses in the normal-to-slightly-wide range.

    -NT
     
  12. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I think it's safe to say that there weren't any bad lenses. There are soft lenses, but they are mostly pre-war, uncoated examples (and even then aren't bad.)

    I have a Canon 35/2 and it is indeed a fine lens - I've been using it quite often recently. It should be used with a hood as it has a tendency to flare.

    Leica obviously makes excellent lenses, but not everyone can afford them. I've found Canon screwmount lenses to be wonderful alternatives; lower in price, yet great performers.

    There's also Voitlander (Cossina) which are currently making screwmount and M-mount lenses. They lack the "flavor" of old lenses, but they are reasonably priced and perform very well.
     
  13. mablo

    mablo Member

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    50mm LTM lenses are plentiful and cheap. You can choose from older Leitz, Canon, Nikon or modern Voigtlander LTM lenses. There are even a few Russian 50mm LTM lenses that you might want to try.

    35mm LTM lenses are far and few between. Do not buy a Russian Jupiter-12 35mm/2.8 because it has a protruding back lens that kills your Bessa's shutter. Your next option is to try to find a Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm/2.5 LTM. It's a gem of a lens. Costs around $200 used (not available as new). KEH usually has some Canon 35mm/2.8 lenses on sale. I have no experience on that particular lens but in general old Canon LTM lenses are very good.
     
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  15. macrorie

    macrorie Member

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    Another fan of the Summitar here...but you will need a specialized filter adaptor to put filters on it, and you want to do that to protect the soft front element: these adaptors can now be obtained inexpensively on fleabay. They also enable you to use an aftermarket hood, also now available on fleabay. Not all of the other options are easy kit out with a filter or hood.

    The Summitar is a collapsible lens that should not be collapsed on the Bessa, but you can lock it open with a piece of dymo tape or some other temporary block.
     
  16. luvcameras

    luvcameras Advertiser Advertiser

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  17. unohuu

    unohuu Member

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    Nice informative thread as I am picking up the Canon IVSB-2 tomorrow for my first interchangeable lens RF.
     
  18. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    You'll have a lot of fun with that. To you and to the OP I'll say "don't underestimate the Canon Serenar lenses". I have a few that are really just strays I don't shoot with much.

    I took out the 35 f3.2 last week just to shoot some film for a developer comparison. I was shocked to see how sharp that lens is. It actually inspired several evenings of tweaking my enlarger setups just to see if I could get every bit of detail that was in that Legacy Pro 100 negative onto paper.

    These old Canon lenses are real bargains at today's prices and the build quality is exceptionally nice.
     
  19. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I dont give a dime to canon , prefer not taking pictures. They are insults in Japanese.
     
  20. herb

    herb Subscriber

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    50mm for LTM Results

    Ok, I got a 50 Cm Summitar that had separated front elements, sent it to focal point and got it fixed plus haze removal. No change to the coatings, so it should be as new. I will test it for the magical qualities against a couple of others I can borrow, a Voiglander 50 1.5 and russian f2.

    More after xmas

    Thanks for all the responses
     
  21. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Either 5 cm or 50 mm, I hope. Otherwise you'll have trouble focussing. :smile:

    Can I ask how much the repairs cost? Focal Point warn that their work "may be expensive", but I don't have even a vague sense of what that means in practice.

    -NT
     
  22. Fern

    Fern Member

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    I too would rate the Summitar highly. I have around fifteen 50mm lenses and I'd rate my Summitar my 2nd favourite. First would be my 50mm Summilux-M ASPH, which is a completely different beast. The 50mm f/3.5 Elmar would be a close third.

    The Summitar renders beautifully. At large apertures, the image is sufficiently sharp and gives very pleasing portraits. Stopped down, contrast improves dramatically. It's like having two lenses in one. The collapsible Summicron is gives sharper images throughout the frame but the Summitar is gives sharper images in the centre.

    The only thing that I do not like about the Summitar is the non-standard filter thread. One is basically limited to old Leitz filters that usually not in great shape. I highly recommend the Summitar-to-e39 filter adapter from S.K. Grimes. This adapter allows you to use very common e39 filters. Leica made such an adapter too but it is rare and usually more expensive than the lens itself.

    Also, the S.K. Grimes hood made of the later Leitz 12585 hood fit more securely. The original barn-door hood for the Summitar is huge (and ugly). One can also use very economical e39 hoods from the likes of Heavystar. The lens does flare easily... With this lens, it should actually be called flair.

    [​IMG]
    Madelena by ~ Nando ~, on Flickr

    For 35mm, I think that no lens is finer than 35mm f/2.8 Summaron. I have the M-mount version with the goggles for the M3 but an screw-mount version is available. It is truly one of Leica's masterpiece lenses. It is an extremely high-resolving lens. Corner-to-corner at every aperture! Yet it still gives a classic look. Absolutely magical with today's finely grained films. Also gives wonderful tones traditional B&W film.

    [​IMG]
    P is for Porsche by ~ Nando ~, on Flickr
     
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  23. Domenico Foschi

    Domenico Foschi Member

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    Summitar is a great lens. Sharp with beautiful tonalities and great lens for backlit situations if you like soft creamy images.
     

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  24. herb

    herb Subscriber

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    Yep 50mm I get happy fingers on the iPad.
    Focal pt cHarged $250 so my total invested is $400 for a lens in almost new condition. He did warn that the element could shatter during the repair, so it has risk
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    My Summitar is my favorite "normal" LTM lens. My Summar is my favorite "special effects" LTM lens. Canons are great too, and a bit cheaper.

    Both the Summar and the Summitar need hoods or they flare like a mofo, and not in a pretty way, like some lenses. They just give you a big blob of white right in the middle of the picture.

    One of my favorite pix was shot with a Summitar. It is not one of my favorites because of the lens, but the lens it did its job well, and it does have a certain signature about it (though not as heavy as the Summar's).
     
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  26. Fern

    Fern Member

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    I must add that if the OP wants a more modern 'look' and unbelievable sharpness, the Voigtlander 50mm f/3.5 Heliar is the lens to get! From what I've seen, image sharpness is on par with my 50mm Summilux-M ASPH! The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton is also very good and fast. It is a very underrated lens and prices for used examples are very good at the moment - lower than what I think they should be given the performance of the lens. The 50f1.5 Nokton is quite large for a screwmount 50mm but its not very heavy.