Lenses for Leica screw mount m42 in the 35 to 50mm range
Trying the rangefinder camera I picked up used, a Bessa R by cv, I was trying to locate a decent source of used lenses for it in the 35, 40 or 50mm range, with 35 being my first choice.
It appears Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest has new ones in the $400 to 700 range, but I am clueless about which of the old lenses were decent, say an early Leica or canon??
I assume you mean M39 lenses. Stephen has a guide (his opinions) for the m39 lenses - check it out under Classic camera profiles on his site. It's a good start. My own opinion is that the Elmar 50/3.5 is one of the lenses one should try out. The Canon 35/2 is really great, too.
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Rangefinder forum has a classified section that sometimes lists screw mount lenses. So do specialty providers such as Tamarkin and Classic Connection. The 50s are plentiful and the slower lenses - 2.8 and 3.5 - aren't terribly expensive. That being said, they are also older, which means lower contrast and the potential for 'cleaning marks,' the code for a host of small scratches that can cause contrast problems. The nice thing about Tamarkin and Classic Connection is they know their stock and will be straightforward about a lens's condition.
Right, you want LTM lenses (39mm screw mount). M42 is the universal screw mount for SLRs, first seen on the Contax SLRs and later popularized by Pentax and also used by Praktica and others.
Cosina offers a number of Voigtlander lenses in LTM that get very good reviews. I had the 35mm Pancake Color-Skopar, which is an excellent lens.
I have a canon f1.4 and I highly recommend it. I also have an Industar f2.8 50mm which is also quite nice. You can forget the Russian 35mm lenses....they won't fit the Bessa. I ended up getting a used Voigtlander f2.5 35mm lens. That seemed to be the cost vs. performance sweet spot to me. Dante Stella has some really great reviews and a special section on Canon rangefinder lenses
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I have a Summitar, which is an excellent lens. Very sharp. Good contrast. I've been very pleased with the photos.
My LTM lens useage has included:
Canon 35/2.8*, 34mm filter, all chrome. A tiny jewel of a lens. Affordable.
Canon 50/1.8. All chrome. Solid performer. Very affordable.
Nikkor 5cm/1.4*. One the best lenses ever made. Unique character. Sharp. Solid. Afordable relative to other 1.4 lenses.
Nikkor 8.5cm/2.0*. Same as the 50 above. Very affordable.
Canon 135/3.5*. Late all black model. Solid performer. Cheap.
* = I still own and use them alongside my M mount lenses.
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My vote would be for the Leitz 5cm ƒ2 Summitar. My first M39 lens made by Leitz, it has beat out all of the LTM lenses I've previously owned, German, Japanese, or Russian. Not necessarily for sharpness as much for the quality of the images it produces.
That said, the Russian Jupiter-12 35mm ƒ2.8 is a great performer for the money. Fedka.com in NY always has a couple in stock in the $100-150 range.
Check Fedka, check KEH. Don't be afraid of the BGN rating, in my experience it's very conservative.
My understanding is that the Jupiter-12 won't mount safely on the CV cameras.
I just looked at this question myself, vacillating between a collapsible Summicron and a Nikkor 50/2. I ended up with the Nikkor and am quite happy with the couple of "smoke test" rolls I've shot so far. The collapsible Summicron that I didn't buy is still there at KEH (although I've read that it probably won't collapse on the Bessa-R, which is the same body I was buying for).
This seems like it's kind of an "embarrassment of riches" situation; there are a *lot* of good screwmount lenses in the normal-to-slightly-wide range.
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I think it's safe to say that there weren't any bad lenses. There are soft lenses, but they are mostly pre-war, uncoated examples (and even then aren't bad.)
Originally Posted by herb
I have a Canon 35/2 and it is indeed a fine lens - I've been using it quite often recently. It should be used with a hood as it has a tendency to flare.
Leica obviously makes excellent lenses, but not everyone can afford them. I've found Canon screwmount lenses to be wonderful alternatives; lower in price, yet great performers.
There's also Voitlander (Cossina) which are currently making screwmount and M-mount lenses. They lack the "flavor" of old lenses, but they are reasonably priced and perform very well.
Those who know, shoot film