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  1. #1

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    Inexpensive LTM lens recommendations

    In less than a year we're going to be going "on the road" full-time, and so lots of things in the house have got to go. That includes most of my cameras. I'm clearing my camera closet and am going to reduce my (personal) cameras to just one or two bodies and one or two lenses for each. In the interest of size and weight, and because I like shooting them, I've decided to go with rangefinders. And, after a few years of reading and research, I'm going to start with a Canon P as my main camera. I may add something like a Leica IIIc down the road, just because I really like shooting with older cameras like that.

    Now, I just need a 50mm lens to go with it. Cost is an issue, so new, modern LTM lenses are out unless someone just gives me one. I'm looking for something in about the $100 to $150 range. I've looked into the Jupiter-8, which seems to be in my range, as well as the Industar lenses. I really like the look that the Summitar lens has, but a.) it seems to be out of my current price range, and b.) it won't safely collapse into the Canon P body. Ditto for the Elmar 3.5. Any thoughts on those, or recommendations for others?

  2. #2

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    I used a Nikon 50 f/2 which was relatively cheap and did a great job. It's not a summicron but still nice.

  3. #3
    mablo's Avatar
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    In my Canon P rangefinder years I used a lot of Canon's LTM lenses. The Canon LTM 50mm/1.8 is a great lens for black & white photography and costs like $150. It's a lot better lens than a J-8 just because the old FSU lenses were not really manufactured according to the LTM standard.

  4. #4
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    I saw IIIC and Elmar sold for 250 dollars here. If you give an ad at classifieds , I bet you can buy an elmar for your IIIc under 150 dollars. Dont invest on japanese lenses for your Leica.

  5. #5

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    I'd take a Canon 50mm 1.8 over any Leica lens you could get at the same price unless you are specifically buying for the compactness of an Elmar (which is about the only Leica lens you which regularly sells in good condition closet to that price). Its very well balanced on a Canon P as well.

    I'd also take the Canon over a FSU lens unless you can specifically test the FSU lens before buying. They can be excellent - I have a collapsible Industar which is close enough in performance that I don't have a need for an Elmar. I had a Jupiter 8 which was excellent but it took me 3 purchases to land on one that worked well and focused correctly. That was an excellent lens and at time I wonder why I moved on to anything else. If can can pick up one which has been tested with Leica and you appreciate the results, go for it.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by illumiquest View Post
    I used a Nikon 50 f/2 which was relatively cheap and did a great job. It's not a summicron but still nice.
    Me too. It's an adaptation of the 6-element Sonnar design, same as the Jupiter-8; the 50/1.4 Nikkor is a version of the 7-element Sonnar, but quite a bit more expensive. I think the situation is the same with the Canon 50mm lenses---one of each Sonnar "flavor".

    In my experience, the 50/2 Nikkor is a nice, workmanlike lens, quite respectably sharp but not Summicron-sharp, with a pretty neutral character. It tends to get out of the way and let you take the photo you see. Very good bang for the buck, even if the aperture ring *is* backwards.

    -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_

  7. #7

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    I hadn't actually considered the Nikkor lenses, but if the 50mm f2f.0 is in my price range, I would definitely consider it. I have that lens on my Nikkormat FT2, and I've really liked it.

    And I appreciate the suggestions to look into the Canon lenses, too. Should I look at the Canon named lenses only, or are the Serenars okay to consider?

  8. #8

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    The Canon 50/1.8 is probably your first best choice, but it's going to be at the top of your price range or beyond unless you get lucky. Canon and Serenar lenses are optically identical.

    FWIW, I happily used a Jupiter-8 on my Canon P for a while before I got a Canon 50/1.5. Buying from a reliable seller (Fedka is one that has an excellent reputation) should ensure you get a good one. The discrepancy between the Leica standard and the Soviet (Contax) standard (described well by Dante Stella - worth reading if you haven't already) is very minor; on an f/2 lens like the J-8 you will likely never even notice it, and if you do it will only be wide open and close up. Within your desired price range, the Jupiter-8 is what I'd go for (and I did).
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  9. #9
    Fixcinater's Avatar
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    I'd recommend getting a good (read: as deep/big as practical/possible) for any lens you end up with. Arguably will make as much of a difference as changing lenses.

    If you mostly shoot stopped down, look at the Industars, some folks say they are sharper than the Jupiters and go for even cheaper, plus they have aperture click stops. 52/53mm f/2.8, the L/D version has lanthanum glass for even better performance. I had a regular I-61 on my first RF, a Fed 3b and the J-8 I have now does nothing better except f/2.0.

  10. #10
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    The 50mm 1.8 is a good buy as others have said. The general internet reviews point to the black barrel version being the sharpest but I think the chrome serenar does just as well and looks great with bw film. If you want a summitar look the 50mm 1.9 is a very close version to it. Collapsible as well but it won't fit into your P all the way. Also unlike the summitar the coating is harder and you can find versions with the front elements in much better condition. I like both, the 1.8 is sharper wide open and more contrasty the 1.9 is softer with lower contrast and smooth tones.

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