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  1. #1
    Dr Croubie's Avatar
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    Deciding on the next (M/L39) lens to aim for...

    So I've only just gotten into rangefinders, and I could do with some advice with how to expand the kit. It's been a few weeks since my last lens purchase and my GAS is making me itchy...

    I started with the Bessa L and 21mm Skopar, it's a great hiking kit and I'm not going to change it.
    I've started getting interested more in street lately, so I've picked up an R3A and Canon 135/3.5, specifically to get the reach and stealth-factor, it's the smallest and longest combo I've got (my 70-300L on my EOS 3 and 300/4 on P6 don't quite count as 'stealthy').
    So between those two, I'm looking to fill out the kit, but specifically to fill a niche that i can't cover with my SLRs.

    90: I was very much considering the 'thin' Leica 90/2.8 Tele Elmarit, good combo of size, speed, and price. I'll never afford a 90/2.0 (it's too big anyway), and the 90/3.5 lanthar and 90/4 elmar are just too slow. I do have the 85/1.8 and 100/2.0 on EOS 3, so the main reason to get in this length is size and weight for portability, hence the thin tele-elmarit.

    75: I'll never afford a 1.4 Summilux. But the 75/2.5 color heliar is tempting too, small and slightly fast, and it's certainly a length i don't have, even if it's an odd one.

    50-55mm: I don't see much point in getting an RF in this length, between my Takumar 50/1.4, FL55/1.2, OM 50 Macro, EF 50/1.8, Helios 44M 50/2 (and i've probably forgotten one or two), mounted on my EOS 3, I've got as fast and light as I need, f/1.1 and faster RF lenses are too expensive and unless they're ultra-sharp wide open or have amazing bokeh, they won't beat my FL and Takumar. And nothing's very cheap in this length, even a Jupiter 3 50/1.5 I saw go for $180 the other day.

    40mm: I do have the EF 40/2.8, on my EOS 3 with they eye-control it's a great 'street' lens, fast focussing, small/light enough to fit in a pocket, and great IQ. So the only reason to get a 40 would be speed, the 40/2 cron/rokkor is a bit too close to the shorty mcforty's 2.8, but the 40/1.4 CV looks nice.

    35mm: May just be a bit wide for my R3A finder, but I can just loosely-frame and have more room to crop. My RokiBowYang 35/1.4 has great IQ (even if a bit low contrast wide open, razor sharp f/2 onwards). But it's *huuuge*. The Takumar 35/3.5 (technically it's my mum's on loan) is great stopped down, but not very fast, and still big compared to RF sized lenses. So a fast'ish prime here makes sense, if it were tiny and cheap. Even a 2 or 2.8 in a very small size, to complement the 21mm for landscape hiking.

    28mm: I've got enough 28/2.8s for SLR, and while the CV 28/1.9 looks promising, it's wider than my R3A viewfinder and I don't need *another* body just yet...


    So, where to go? Compact tele 'thin' tele-elmarit? Weird focal length 75/2.5 Heliar? Or fast and wide 35/1.4 or 40/1.4, or compact 35/2-2.8?
    Anyone with experience in any one of those have a few experiences to share?
    Especially on the IQ of the new CV lenses, for each lens I can find at least one absolute love review, and one absolute hate review. Sharing samples would be even better
    Or any others that I may have forgotten and/or don't know about, options to add to the list?
    (Zeiss ZM and newer Leicas are pretty much out on price, it's down to older L39 and the first M Leicas, Soviets, and CVs. L39 Canons and Nikons are OK, but they tend to be pricier in bad condition, if I see a bargain I'll grab it though)
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  2. #2

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    You indicated quite a range of options, but I would not buy another lens until you can articulate what you hope to achieve with it. If that's more street, a 28 or 35 is probably good. Most would not consider 135 an ideal length for street work. You'll get better results and enjoy it more by being in the action. But I think everyone here will be better able to advise you if you can state your intentions for your next lens.

    John

  3. #3
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Yes!
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  4. #4
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Sorry to be flippant but really, its your choice, they're all good. I have most all of those focal lengths and personal preference has me using some more than others, and I even have 3-4 types of 35's and 50's. Good thing is most will hold their value so buy and try and sell what you find unfavorable. That's all part of the fun.

    Basic advice though will be to get a 35/50/90 set, or 28/50, or 35/75, or 35/90, etc....
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  5. #5
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    If you want to sell your prints , leica lenses catches the eye of buyer and pay the investment. If you want to make dling dlong photography , all other japanese lenses are good for it.

  6. #6
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Had the 75mm Heliar, found it a bit slow so I got the 1.8 version...a lot bigger,but a brilliant lens that would be great for street or portraits. Still, if you can afford the Tele_Elmarit that would be a hard lens to go past. I do also have the 85mm 1.9 Canon lens which is great but quite large and very heavy.

  7. #7

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    135 ain't street. You have to be part of the situation to shoot street. It's intimate. Long lenses in public is surveillance (which could be an interesting style in its own right).
    If you want to shoot street, get a 50 or a 35.

    Summitars are cheap as old chips these days, are plenty sharp stopped down (you want that DoF), have lovely subtle bokeh, weigh almost nothing, and collapse small enough that you can easily shove an M body in your pocket with the lens mounted. I think the Summitar is probably the most versatile value in a Leitz lens. It's fast, it's sharp, it's small, it's light, it's cheap.

    Collapsible Elmar is another good option, sharp as a razor and still (I think) the smallest lens you can put on your M. They're slow (3.5), unless you want to pay collector prices for the Elmar-M 2.8.

    If price, size, and weight aren't key considerations, get a Summicron. The only bad thing you can really say about a Cron optically is that the bokeh's a little busy, and that's being pretty picky. You can get a collapsible to cut the weight and size to about that of the Summitar. Most (all?) of the collapsible Crons have soft front glass, so you'll pay a premium for a clean one and you'll want to keep a filter on it.

    Someone else will have to chime in on which 35s to look for, I've been sticking to 50s while I learn my M.
    The camera is the most incidental element of photography.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustafa Umut Sarac View Post
    If you want to sell your prints , leica lenses catches the eye of buyer and pay the investment. If you want to make dling dlong photography , all other japanese lenses are good for it.
    I always cringe when I see a photographers web site that makes a point of stating what equipment they use, as if it proves something and adds a premium to the price. It's like proudly saying 'I drive a BMW' as if to imply 'I'm a good driver', which as we all know isn't a universal truth with cars, so why should a similar statement be true with a camera?

    To the OP, seeing as how you have a 135mm for 'stealth' (I'm not sure how standing well outside the frame is stealthy, a long lens would usually attracts attention because it clearly 'points' at your subject) I would go for a 'classic' lens like a 50 or 35, preferably a 35 such as the CV Skopar. It would get you closer to people. On the other hand the 75mm 2.5 Heliar is a very fine lens. Sean Reid's review comparing it with the modern Leica 75mm Summarit suggests that apart from the vast difference in price between the two the only consideration for a purchaser is which rendering do you like most, they are pretty much equal in sharpness and overall performance. This is one of CV's most under appreciated lenses.

    Steve
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_barnett/

    book
    wood, water, rock,
    landscape photographs in and around the Peak District National Park, UK.



 

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