Dual Range (DR) Summicron 50 mm lenses can be had for US $300 if missing their goggles (expect to pay $500-600 if with the goggles) and make a superb normal lens for an M2.
If you're looking for a modern lens the Elmar-M 50/2.8 is of impeccable quality and a real bargain- $600-$700.
My understanding is that the Soviet Jupiter-12 lens, in particular, is a good bargain, if that's what you want. You can do a Google search to find reviews. My understanding is that it's a clone of the pre-WWII Carl Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8 for the Contax. I've got one of these but I don't use it much, simply because I don't use my rangefinders as much as I use my SLRs, since changing lenses is much more of a hassle with a rangefinder. A practical tip: The rear element of this lens sticks way out and is therefore susceptible to damage when it's removed from the lens. You can cut down a Kodak plastic film can to use as a rear lens cap; it's just the right size to slip over the rear element and fit snuggly. Other brands' film cans aren't quite the right size.
Last edited by srs5694; 06-03-2010 at 11:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Just get a Bessa R or Canon RF, etc and use tons of inexpensive M39 lenses.
Many of them are quite good.
I'm with those that, accepting your lens criteria, go with Soviet-era screw thread lens and an adapter.
The 53mm 2.8 Industar 61, "radioactive" lens on my Fed 2 is as sharp a lens as I could wish for. I have a 50 mm 2.0 Summicron-M on my M6, btw.
If you be interested, I will shoot a coupla frames of my favorite brick wall with the Industar and snail mail you the negs.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
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My vote would be for the 5cm ƒ2 Summitar. They can be had in good condition for about $200, and is easily adapted via the LTM->M adapter. My advice though is to try to buy a lens (really any lens) locally, where you can inspect it and whatnot. The Leica glass in the older lenses is easily marred by cleaning, and it can be challenging/next to impossible to find an older lens that hasn't been scratched. Having said that, my Summitar has coating damage on the front element and is slightly dusty internally, but still gives top notch results. There is the issue of filters, being that the Summitar uses a special thread. But some looking on evil-bay will turn up a bunch, though they are overpriced for what they are.
In terms of soviet 50mm's, the I-61LD is probably the more highly regarded of the bunch. It was the lens on my Leica for a long time before I found the Summitar.
The M2 is probably the best long term choice in terms of durability/affordability if you mainly use 35mm and 50mm lenses, unless you want to deal with the goggles/aux finders needed to use 35's on the M3. But if you're like me and only use/can afford 50's, the M3 takes the cake.
Why not check out the Cosina Voigtlander line-up? Leica included, I think Cosina are now the make with the most comprehensive range of RF lenses, mostly Leica LTM or M, but also Contax/Nikon RF mount, and even SLR lenses for Nikon and Canon. I´ve 5 lenses in all from CV, and happy with the, all.
CV Color Skopar 21/f4, CV Ultron 28/f1.9 (a real stormer of a lens), CV Ultron 35/f1.4 and 1.2 lenses and CV Skopar 50/f2.5
The Skopars are tiny little things, but well built and great optics. The 35/1.4 is also rather compact. Its main issue can be a tendency for focus creeping, but otherwise a cracking lens. The 35/1.2 is BIG, in fact so big I hardly use it. Shame, because its a very good lens. The 28/f1.9 is on my camera most of the time. A brilliant lens and the fastest 28mm RF LTM/M lens ever.
Eirik (aka Ezzie)
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After the war the soviets got the concession to copy this excellent lens. I've got mine for 50$. I use it very often for street photography. Very sharp with hardly no distortion.
Originally Posted by srs5694
My 2 cents: M2 over M3 because of the 35mm frame and cleaner VF; 50mm Summitar (cheap and plentiful) or 50 Elmar 2.8 (not as cheap and less plentiful), but inspect for internal fogging and external excessive cleaning marks; 35mm f/2.8 Summarons are superb and getting more expensive, but the 35mm f/3.5 Summarons are cheaper and almost as good; 90mm Elmars with the E39 front are cheap and excellent for portraits even at f/4.
Here are some prices: M2 user about $450-650; Summitar $200-300; 50 Elmar f/2.8 $350-450; 35 f/2.8 Summaron $400-500; 35 f/3.5 Summaron $250-350; 90 Elmar E39 $200-300. Good luck.
1)Go directly to the disciplinarian's office & tell her you used "cheap" and "Leica" in the same sentence. You deserve a spanking. They are either inexpensive or conservatively priced.
2)Even an old 50/3.5 Elmar is pretty good. It really depends on what focal length you like. The 35 Summaron without goggles is very popular. 35 Summicron or Summilux go for premium prices. I've got two Summicrons, one collapsible and one DR with out the goggles.They are both fine. The collapsible is very early with the Thorium front element(radioactive) it's like having a light yellow filter on the camera all the time because the glass is discolored.
There's a rumor going around(for years) that Leitz picked the best optics for the DR since they consider that lens their hallmark.
Heavily sedated for your protection.