Cheap Leica lenses
I'm looking at an M2 body locally, but I'm trying to get a sense of what the total leica package will end up costing me. What's a cheap, but not bad, 35 or 50mm lens that fits the M2, and how much do they cost? My lens standards are low and uncoated is fine. I don't have to have the best lens.
Also, in my estimation the M2 seems like just about the best Leica. The later ones with meters are expensive and the early ones have two viewfinders and shutter speed dials. Am I smart in going with the M2 or should I consider something else?
M2 or not M2
I have the M3, in nice condition with just a few bright spots where the first owner mounted the leicameter DON'T GET A LEICAMETER AND MOUNT IT.
use a handheld or the voigtlander meter that doesn't crap up the top plate.
The collapsible Summicron 50mm seems to be the least esteemed of the 50mm, but I love mine... absolutely love it. It is therefore the least expensive of the Leitz 50s of the M(odern) era.
I have a 35 f/3.5 Summaron with eyes that I don't use much... you would buy the version without eyes since the M2 was designed to include 35mm in the viewfinder (as everyone on this page knows the M stands for the German word for rangefinder and 3 means the 3 focal lengths 50-90-135 which the M3 is designed to take without further adaptors) .
If you are not going to use Leica glass why bother, just get a Voigtlander
but I suppose you could explore the quirks of the Russian stuff.. I have a nice Jupiter 8 9also a 50mm f/2 which is interesting but I feel.... dirty... putting it on my Leica so I put it on my Voigtlander. But I feel... disloyal.. not using my M3... it is sooo much better than anything else I could afford. So I use my M3 and 50 and 90 and it works for me which is all I could ask.
1. If it has to be a Leica, I'm thinking you can get an older but not ancient 50mm Summicron for $500 to $600. In the 35mm focal length, I like the Summaron f2.8, which is very nice and maybe $600 to $700. Check KEH maybe? If your lens doesn't have to be a Leica, I would investigate Cosina Voigtlander lenses. New ones are very reasonable (used ones of course are even cheaper) and many are quite good. Or consider Zeiss ZM lenses, more expensive than CV but really, really wonderful.
2. I love my M2. So I think it's a smart choice. Framelines for 35mm, 50mm and 90mm -- to me, the essentials. No clutter in the viewfinder. If you don't like the 35mm focal length, but do like 50mm, you can't beat an M3, which is very similar but in my subjective view, even better built somehow.
If old and uncoated is ok, you can pick up a Leica 50mm Summar or Summitar (I think those are the name) for around $200 if you look around. You'll need a screw mount adapter too. Or look for an old Canon or Nikkor screw mount 50.
Alternately, find a newer used Cosina Voigtlander lens. You might be able to swing one of those for $200ish.
The cheapest though would be a Jupiter lens. Look on ebay. You might have to buy a couple though.
I used an LTM 50mm Summitar until I was able to pick up a new Nokton 50/1.1. The screw mount lenses mount nicely with the adapter, I also have a summaron 35/3.5 LTM which I have used on my M2. it is now back on the IIIf. It too is a very good lens.
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Get the Summaron
The f2.8 Summaron on the M2 make a great package. Well balanced, easy to handle, and produces excellent images. You get the full Leica experience.
If you want cheap but still reasonable quality, you can always get an FSU lens. Shouldn't cost more than $20-30 bucks for a collapsible I-10, I-22 or I-50. I like the I-50 the best. You will need a screw to M adapter which will set you back another $30. There are also the Jupiter lenses which are about twice to three times the price of the Industar 50s but vary more in quality. A lot of people will say they ain't too good, but for the bang for the buck FSU lenses can't be beat.
I think the M2 is the best older body. I have a M3 and would prefer a M2, but I have sentimental attachment to the M3 so I keep it.
Edit- You could also pick up a Canon 50 1.8 for a little over $100 bucks. You are getting into Leica territory with that one. A lot of people think it is just as good as the Summicron of the same age. I don't know if I would go that far, but it is a great lens. If you get the older chrome version it would go great with your M2 as well.
Last edited by patrickjames; 06-03-2010 at 05:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.
You know, if you're going to pay that much for a USED Leitz lens, then you really owe it to yourself to take a look at the Cosina/Voightlander lenses. I'm telling you, these lenses are GOOD. I mean really good. I've compared side by side images made with both brands and damned if I can see the difference. Build quality is good too. Maybe not up to Leitz standards, but certainly way better than good. On Russian lenses? Well, sometimes they're OK optically, but the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. I haven't seen one yet that has a truly smooth focusing mechanism. I've seen more than a few that squeal to high heaven when you operate the focusing mechanism, and feel like there is sandpaper lubricating the helicoid. They may be cheap, but they're not at all what I'd call good.
I would go with Canon RF lenses and an adapter. For example, the Canon 50mm 1.8 can be had for $ 125 or so plus $ 50 or so for a Leica M adapter. Its a VERY fine lens and coated. You can also go with a Leica Elmar which can also be found cheaply if patient.
Canon RF Lens Price Guide
Leica Screw Mount Price Guide
Leica M Lens Price Guide
I used to have a Summitar on a IIIc. I liked the results, although I later sold the IIIc and got rid of the lens. Some of the FSU lenses are very good.
Contrary to most people whenever this topic comes up, I generally haven't had bad issues with build quality. I've had 2 x Jupiter-8s [one silver, one black], 1 x Industar 61, a Jupiter-9, Jupiter-11 and Jupiter-12. All but one took excellent pictures and the build quality was fine. The J-9 I had had slightly stiff focus, but the 2 x Jupiter-8s and the Jupiter-12 were all very smooth in use. The J8s, in particular, took very fine photographs on my IIIc. I did, however, have one Jupiter-11 [the 135mm] which didn't seem to focus accurately on my IIIc or on an FSU body, so that's one bad sample out of half a dozen or so lenses -- I presume it needed shimmed. I've also owned a couple of FSU medium format lenses, and again, they were fine.
I'm in exactly the same situation as you -- I've recently bought an M3, and Leitz long lenses -- Elmar 9cm, Hektors, etc -- are cheap, but I've not been able to find a Summicron or similar at a price I can afford. So, for the time being, I'll be using a J8 with an adapter, and waiting until I can find a Summicron or modern Voigtlander at a price I can afford.