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  1. #1

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    A good screw thread Leica lens?

    Over a few decades of film photography, I've managed to avoid Leica. I used a friend's M3 for a while and it was nice, but didn't set my photographic world alight. Now I think there may be space for a screw thread Leica with a collapsible lens to use as a pocket camera. The problem I have is finding a suitable lens that isn't scratched, fogged, or absurdly expensive. I'm only vaguely aware of the options, can someone fill in the details? Possibly including a fixed lens.

  2. #2

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    I have a collapsible Summitar 50 f 2 I enjoy using. I foolishly sold a summar years ago that I miss. It had a wonderful flare to it in bright sun that was very evocative. (it needed cleaning, the glass was amazingly scratch free) Years ago I was able to shoot some portraits of Betty Friedan with it in sunlight. I didn't retain the negatives foolishly. She was wearing a vintage leopard skin jacket, She hated having her picture taken but seeing my old leica she struck up a conversation and volunteered to be photographed. (I had been instructed NOT to take her picture for the event lest she leave) I would shop for a lens in person, try camera shows and shops. So you can evaluate it yourself. factor in a cla for one's with haze or minor fungus. I've had a couple cleaned with the above that came out beautifully.

  3. #3
    MDR
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    The classic Leitz Elmar 3.5/50 it's not the fastest but a decent performer. The Summitar 2/50 can often be found quiet cheap and it's look is a mix between Summar and Summicron. An unscratched Summar can be a good lens with it's very own look.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    If you want as small as possible and reasonably hard coatings, have you considered an old Canon/Seranar screw mount lens? I'd probably try to get either a Canon or an Elmar from KEH. KEH tends to grade pretty conservatively and has a good return policy so I'm sure you could get one in decent condition from them.
    Your first 10,000 pictures are the worst - HCB

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  5. #5

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    As you know, choosing a lens depends on what your priorities are. If you're just looking for something pocketable to shoot in daylight, especially if you're just in the experimenting stage, I'd look at the Soviet collapsible 50/3.5s (I-22 or I-50). Fedka is a reliable seller, and you can get a good one from him for well under $100; heck, you can get a FED-2 (probably the best of the Soviet LTM cameras IMHO, and quite pocketable) with a collapsible 50/3.5 from him for under $150. If speed is more important, you're stuck either going with Leica or one of the older Canons (50/1.9), both of which will cost more. Once you move into fixed lenses, your choices open up considerably. Do bear in mind that there is a slight difference between Soviet and Leica LTM RF standards, but this will only manifest itself in any noticeable way with fast 50s or longer focal lengths.
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  6. #6

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    Cosina Voightlander 5cm or 3.5 cm f/2.5 in LTM if you need a modern MC signature and compact fast handling

  7. #7

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    Can you define "absurdly expensive" a little more narrowly? The suggestions above cover a pretty broad range.

    KEH shows a fair variety of Leitz lenses in the range from about US$250-500 at the moment. The page of opinions at http://www.cameraquest.com/ltmlens.htm might be useful in narrowing down your search a little.

    I've found the Nikkor 50/2 to be excellent in bang-for-the-buck terms, but it's not collapsible and that may put it out of consideration for you.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the replies. When I looked at Leica lenses of the screw thread era, there were lots that were beaten up, and the ones that weren't seem to go for collector prices. User in Leica-speak seems to mean poor condition in normal camera language, and the difference stays as you go up. I may look at a modern lens like the Cosina. What I'm looking for is a compact, well made rangefinder with full manual control to fit in a jacket pocket. The pocket role is currently filled by an Olympus MjuII, which is nice, but lacks manual override. I want the same or better IQ, in a compact metal bodied RF. It doesn't have to be a Leica, it does have to be very solid and smallish, as it will lead a tough life.

    Does anyone have strong opinions on the Voigtlander and Zeiss Ikon cameras and lenses to do the job I'm looking for? I appreciate this is a meandering request, but I'm looking for something the size and versatility of my d*g*t*l Fuji X10 that takes film.
    Last edited by blockend; 09-17-2013 at 10:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    How rough is "rough"---are you going to go around driving nails with the camera? The Voigtlaender rangefinders have a reputation for being somewhat prone to getting knocked out of alignment---I haven't found it to be a problem with mine, but I'm not all that rough on cameras. Maybe the folks with more recent Bessae can say whether the alignment has gotten more solid since the Bessa-R.

    The Soviet rangefinders, of course, are inexpensive and nigh-invulnerable. No one would mistake their handling for a Leica---they're tractors to Leica's BMW, but in a rough environment, you might prefer to drive a tractor rather than a BMW! There are complaints about them, but image quality isn't usually one (unless you get a lens that's just plain misaligned). They might be worth looking at in your position. Their 35mm lens (which I believe is the length your Olympus has) is a real winner, a clone of the prewar Zeiss Biogon, but not collapsible---are there any collapsible 35mm lenses? All the ones I know of are 50s, but I'm not an expert.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  10. #10
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    A good screw thread Leica lens?

    I agree and recommend the Summitar. Love mine. And second the suggestion of the Russian 50/3.5 Elmar clones. Many are very nicely coated and are very sharp.

    Others I'd recommend, especially for B&W work, though not very cheap, is an early uncoated 35/3.5 Elmar. Tends to flare so not for all situations but a very nice unique signature when kept under control. And a 50/1.5 Summarit. Very cool lens and very unique wide open and excellent performance closed down a stop or two.

    If you're going to shoot LTM best when you appreciate that all photography is not only about absolute sharpness and strong contrast.
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    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
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