35mm Lens options for Leica-M
I'm about ready to purchase an M6. I'd like to use just one lens, a 35mm. I know there's f/2 Summicron's both ASPH and pre-ASPH. I'm just going to be shooting black and white, but still want an excellent lens. Is the ASPH really worth the extra cash? Also, is see there is an f/2 Biogon ZM T* made by Carl Zeiss. How does this lens compare to the ASPH and pre-ASPH lenses?
Last edited by brian steinberger; 11-02-2011 at 09:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
If you're looking for razor sharp detail and rendering, look at the Zeiss -- it'll be less than a Leica ASPH, which also is similar in sharpness, detail, etc.
No Leica lens is ever really 'bad', just subtly differing character. I have an older v1 35 'cron and like it a lot, but I'm guessing it has a bit more 'glow' or what have you than a v4 or ASPH.
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Short answer-Buy the Aspheric if you can afford such a thing (and stand to part with the $$'s).
There weren't any bad 35 Summicrons. The Aspheric is as good as it gets. I have the old 8 element Summicron, and am very happy with that. Not as zingy, but a great lens (to me, the best b&w lens). Unfortunately these are overpriced collectibles now. The 7 element pre-aspheric was the one called "the King of Bokeh"; it is a fine lens, but not quite the cult lens it once was, so down in price a bit.
Personally, the 6 element version is my least favorite. It is a great lens, but more emphasis on contrast, and less on edge sharpness (compared to its 8 element predecessor).
I have no personal experience with it, but from everything I hear, the Zeiss is a great lens and a great buy. Maybe the best choice in the current market if you don't want to spring for the aspheric Summicron.
Last edited by Mark Crabtree; 11-02-2011 at 10:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Over at RFF there are about six hundred threads with this question.
I think it would be safe to say there are subtle differences between the lenses. If you read tests and filter the opinions
around the interweb. None are bad, but this one is best. Something about opinions & body parts everybody's got one.
Without trying a couple of them you're not going to know which version you like. I can't tell 'em apart
so would look for the best deal I could find. I doubt that I'd ever pop for the aspheric though.
The Zeiss Biogon-C f/2.8 gets a lot of praise. I have a Summarit and really like it. My go to lens in 35mm is the MS Optical Super Triplet Perar. At f/3.5, it's a bit slow, but it gets 50% of my shots in any focal length. I think you'll need to creep on Flickr and search for photos from various lenses to see what photos you like with them. I don't think you'll be disappointed in any of them though, from Voigtlander up to Leica.
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Whether Leitz/Leica or Zeiss is not the question or issue. Any of the 35mm Summicrons will provide sharp results as well as the newer Zeiss. The issue is really age of the lens and whether there is any mold growing, de-cementing of elements and other age related issues. I had an 8 element Summicron RF Leitz lens with googles for my M3. Compared it to my Leica 35mm Summilux ASPH at 5X with K64 and could not see the difference.
Purchase the newest version of whatever lens you decide on and purchase by condition for the money rather than any other attribute.-Dick
I'm currently using the 35/1.4 pre-ASPH and the 35/2.0 Zeiss. I had the 35/2.0 ASPH for years. I dislike the Zeiss as it is too big IMO, especially with the hood. I'd suggest taking a peek at examples from the various options on FLickr, plenty to see there from every M lens. I like to scan through the thumbnails and pick stuff of similar subject matter to what I shoot. As Dick says- final print size also plays into the quality you'll need, though there are some pretty clear differences in the out of focus rendition of the older and newer lenses- and that is taste. Don't rule out the new Summarit if you can deal with f2.5- a friend of mine has one and it delivers very fine images.
Don't forget the Cosina/Voightlanders. The Nokton is a nice lens and at 1.4 gives you an extra stop if you need it. New it's probably less than a used Summicron. I use a 1.7 Nokton screw thread with an adapter and it's a nice lens, even wide open. When it comes to 35s, the list is almost endless.
I have a Nokton 35/1.4 on my M2. I wanted, and still want an ASPH Summilux, but there is no way I can afford one right now. I have been happy with the Nokton. It was a great value.
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I have the 35 'cron ASPH, but for shooting black & white, for which I do 99.9% of the time, I prefer the older less contrasty lenses to it. The first version 8-element 35mm summicron is very good for B&W but is very expensive now. The 35mm summaron, for me is very nice for shooting B&W. And not forgetting the 35/1.4 SC Nokton.
Last edited by chioque; 11-03-2011 at 08:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.