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  1. #11
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Troy,

    I've shot with a CL + 40mm Summicron, roll film backs with a 4x5, and a Fuji GW690II with a 90mm f:3.5 for a couple of decades.

    I've shot a lot of Panatomic-X, Agfa 25, and Pan-F(+) souped 1+100 in Rodinal with the 40 Summicron. Those are potent combinations, and I've been happy with the results up to 11x14, the furthest I've pushed them. Haven't felt the need for 16x20. Experienced MF and LF photographers have stared at the 11x14's from slow films and Rodinal shot with the 40 Summicron and puzzled over how well it does. There is grain visible if you look for it, but accutance and apparent sharpness in the print is great, especially considering negative size. However, the Fuji GW690II lens is in the same league for resolution on the film, but with the larger negative. Mostly I've shot Velvia with that, and gotten great results.

    FWIW, I've seen an independent assessment of the new CV 40mm Nokton M-mount lens that compares very favorably head-to-head with the 40 Summicron and the Minolta version of the 40 Summicron. For me the hallmark of a Leica lens is the ability to carry separable detail further into the shadows and highlights without compressing the overall scale. The comparison I saw of the CV 40mm didn't cover that aspect of performance.

    I'm not really a big tester, so I can't give you resolution to the LPM and that kind of info. But I am careful enough, and care about sharpness enough that I shoot even with the CL on a tripod, monopod, or chestpod much of the time. I'd choose for myself on the basis of what works well for me in the field. The Fuji 690II is bulky, and takes up a small bag by itself, so it doesn't get out a lot even though I love the results. These days I'm more likely to carry an Agfa Record III folder with a 105 Solinar for 6x9, and it does beautifully at the print sizes I currently make. It's slim and light enough that I can stick it in a small compartment of my 35mm rangefinder bag or the 4x5 field camera bag. The Record III and an Isolette I 6x6 combined take up about the same space as my spot meter.

    There's a group of people who shoot the 40 Summicron on their M's (as opposed to the CL) because of its focal length and optical performance, especially for the price, and it was considered a real sleeper when it came out. Comparing it to a 35 Summicron would vary depending on the vintage of the 35, but it's in the same league as concurrent 35mm Summicron production. Leica has tended towards higher contrast in later designs.

    This isn't really a complete answer, but I hope it helps some. Let me know if you have questions. If you want to send me a roll of the film you're interested in, I can run a roll in any of the cameras I have and mail it to you for processing and assessment. If you send me 120 and 35mm, I can do a same-subject comparison of the 40 Summicron and the Fuji 90mm f:3.5 on the GW690II.

    Lee
    Last edited by Lee L; 12-07-2005 at 08:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #12
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why I understand the reason for wanting a 35mm/MF camera. If you are shooting on a tripod and you already have 4x5 and 8x10 cameras, why don't you just use the LF instead? Is it in the ease of setup?
    Last edited by Jeremy; 12-07-2005 at 04:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #13

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    Leica lenses are good but everybody makes good lenses. Lots of people wax sublime over Leitz/Leica glass but I use Leica rangefinders for the M bodies, not the lens quality.

    I don't print big, so I never use lenses to their full potential anyway. Up to a cropped 11x14, my Pentax 645 lenses and Mamiya TLR lenses will beat the pants off any 35mm.

  4. #14
    bjorke's Avatar
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    Just buy them all, it's the only way to get people on the net to stop telling you that you made the wrong decision

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
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  5. #15

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    bjorke, Good answer. I guess I should have phrased this as more a hypothetical question.


    Lee L. Thanks for the informative answer.

  6. #16
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    The difficulty with forming a relevent answer is that the criteria is both contradictory, and incomplete.

    What do you want to shoot ? What are the conditions ?

    What is the final product ?

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  7. #17
    rbarker's Avatar
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    As you might guess from my avatar, Troy, my Leica M and my 8x10 are pals. Anytime the 8x10 gets an outing, the M tags along. But, the M's role in the relationship is to be the small, light, convenient companion, recording peripheral details the 8x10 doesn't want to be bothered with (she's a snob).

    When comparing format sizes and resulting resolution, I've come to the conclusion that negative size tends to trump theoretical lens resolution. But, that is also a shallow basis for practical comparison. There are numerous other factors that are appropriate to consider, as with other tools.

    If the prime objective is to make big prints of reasonably static subjects, I say go for the largest format in which the camera's features are both pleasing and convenient for the task - especially if a tripod will always be used. On the other hand, I know I can get shots of more fleeting subjects in low light with the M, hand-held at 1 sec and f/1.0, and get good prints up to 11x17.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  8. #18

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    I have a Bronica RF645 - solid build, quiet, compact, and superb lenses. Plus almost 3x the area of a 35mm neg. And you can get a new body with both 45mm and 65mm lenses for about $1,100 from Robert White. Otherwise, look at a Mamiya 7 for a lot more $$$.

    Robert

  9. #19
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Good luck.

    .
    Last edited by df cardwell; 12-08-2005 at 12:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #20
    Daniel Lawton's Avatar
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    If you really need a sharp 35mm lens, why not look into a Nikon or Canon "L" . It seems that in terms of resolution, most of the top end versions seem to be at least equal to if not better than Leica M's and substantially less money as well. In all reality though, a 35mm lens that resolves 100 lpm will be lucky to get half of that due to issues of film size and other degrading factors. Medium format seems to be the best ticket in terms of matching lens resolution to that of the film area. Oddly enough, LF isn't the resolution king many think it ought to be. Issues of film flatness and diffraction caused by excessively small apertures necessary to attain depth of field often degrade resolution to levels below what a good MF system is capable of. Unless an LF shooter wants to live with very small depth of field, it is impossible to realize the resolution that the larger film surface area is capable of. I found that this link does a pretty good job of explaining this interesting topic.
    http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/resolution.html

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