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I am on the waiting list for an M9. I would like to buy the basic lens before the end of year before prices jump. I am debating between a 50mm (2.0) or 35mm (2.0) Leica lens. I am coming from the DSLR word and I am used to zooms (although I have used primes).

 

I am interested in street and travel photography. Any thoughts on which focal length would make the most sense (have the most utility) for my intended use?

 

Thanks

 

Jack Siegel

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I am on the waiting list for an M9. I would like to buy the basic lens before the end of year before prices jump. I am debating between a 50mm (2.0) or 35mm (2.0) Leica lens. I am coming from the DSLR word and I am used to zooms (although I have used primes).

 

I am interested in street and travel photography. Any thoughts on which focal length would make the most sense (have the most utility) for my intended use?

 

Thanks

 

Jack Siegel

 

Hi jack,

 

I have both 35mm and 50mm lens. I use 35mm....70% of the time. I would say go for the 35mm first

 

DL

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I would like to buy the basic lens before the end of year before prices jump. I am debating between a 50mm (2.0) or 35mm (2.0) Leica lens. [...] I am interested in street and travel photography.

 

Jack,

 

This is a pretty personal choice. The 35mm is pretty popular amongst photogs doing a lot of street photography. It is wide enough so you can fill the frame, work in slightly cramped places, but yet not really 'wide'.

 

You may hear 50mm referred to as the 'classic' focal length and that it corresponds with what our eyes see, or something. Other folks like the 50mm because it is not wide, not tele, and a focal length many folks are comfortable with.

 

So my personal choice would be the 50mm Summicron.

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Same here. A long process from Zoom land back to basics. I had earlier 24, 35 and 85 on film time. I think that I will go for 28cron and 50lux. 28 is so close to 35 and next option would be something wider like 21 ( even I hate these "finders" ). I think that it is quite easy job to just crop from 28 to 35, if needed.

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As has been said a zillion times- the 50 lux ASPH (1.4) is possibly the "all around" best lens for 35mm photography that has ever been made.

 

If you can afford it, and can find one, buy this lens- unless you must have a 35mm FOV first. Even if you can not find one now it is worth the wait. For starters, read what Erwin Puts has to say about this lens.

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My two Leica lenses are the 35mm Summicron and 50mm Summilux ASPH. So far the 50 gets 90% of the workload. I just love the way it renders an image, and it fits my style well.

 

You may want to consider resale values if you're unsure which focal length to purchase. The 35 cron seems to hold less value (as a percentage) than the 35 and 50 Summiluxes. If you want to try one for a month and then decide, you may want to factor that in...

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For street and travel, 35mm will be more versatile.

You can always make a scenery fit in a 50mm lens, but often it will just not fit.

 

As for street if you do like to shoot from the hip (I don't), 35mm will be easier. Also it is most of time simpler to take a few steps in front instead of backwards, especially in city with tiny streets.

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To me, 50-70mm is the most boring focal length range in full frame.

Unless I'm shooting a headshot in which case I would choose the 70 or higher.

So it's hard to say. I just went by what I typically like to shoot on my dslr and chose the 35mm as my first lens because I know I will get the most use out of that focal length for general purpose.

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I'd endorse the notion that the 50 Summilux Asph is a really great lens -- but so are both the 35 Summilux Asph and the pre-Asph Summicron. If, however, you can only get one lens at first, the 35 is considered a classic Leica M angle of view, and with 18 megapixels, if you must crop you can.

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Although I am a big fan of the 50 lux ASPH, the crop potential of the M9 is excellent. The M9 is so good that the 24 lux, which would normally be a bit wide for me on FF, is now very versatile because I can go wide or crop a bit with this lens. This is a big change as compared to the M8 which is also a great camera but a bit more limited.

 

Therefore, those who argue for a 35 mm lens have a good point but you might want to buy the 35 cron and then get the 50 lux ASPH later- rather than the 50 cron.

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Yes, Summarit lenses are very good, and the speed is not the limitation it once was. Even if you upgrade to something faster later, you may well want to keep and use a more compact lens in your favourite length.

 

So, buy BOTH a 35mm and a 50mm Summarit, for the price of one Summicron! Try them out and see which one you use most. In any case, Leica lenses have good resale values.

 

If this is too radical for you, remember the frame preview lever. This permits you to try out the look of different length lenses in advance. (Admittedly, this feature has sold very many lenses for Leica.)

 

The old man from the Age of the M3

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