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Glasses - 28mm + external VF or go for 35mm?

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So here is my story:

 

I bought me an M6 and 50 Cron last winter, and i frigging love it. It is small, rugged and precise, everything i want in a camera. This summer i bought me a 28mm 2.0 Ultron to explore the wider aspects of RF photography and i really like it, BUT it is optically inferior to M-glass, has a bigger filter dimension, and it blocks too much of my finder. Also, i simply do not trust it. It seems unpredictable and mechanically inferior to my other Leica lens.

 

Also, I am wearing glasses, which keeps me from seeing the entire 28 frame-lines.

 

As part of my future plans i will do some extensive travelling, and so i am trying to figure out weather to get me an 28mm Elmarit ASPH + external viewfinder OR a 35mm Cron ASPH.

 

I MIGHT get me an M4 or M6 as backup in the future, but as of now i shoot one body only.

 

Most of my work is environmental portraits and landscapes, and i enjoy having my subject wide, but up close.

 

I realize the 35mm is a somewhat of a middle-ground between 28 and 50, but i am not quite ready to give up on my wide® angle photography just yet.

 

How is working with an external finder on a main-lens?

 

28(VF)+50mm or 35mm solo? All thoughts and experiences are appreciated.

 

I know these are impossible questions to "answer", as it totally depends on each individual photographer, but what are YOUR experiences surrounding these lenses and/or working with an external viewfinder and glasses etc?

 

Thanks!

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Well, I use an M6ttl with .72 finder, I too can't see the 28 finder with my glasses on. I much prefer 35mm for general work, and its much quicker than a separate finder. I have a 28/1.9 Ultron which I find perfectly acceptable mechanically and optically for the occasions when I want the wider angle, although if I used it a lot I would have tried to get the Summicron (which wasn't available when I bought the Ultron) and probably a camera with a 0.58 finder. On such occasions I am happy to use an external finder, as I do with 15 and 21 lenses.

 

Gerry

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I got my M6 when the model first came out, and have used 35, 50, & 90 as my kit through the years. The 35 is my favorite on the M6, and I can see the frame with my thick glasses. All models of the Leica 35 Summicron are excellent, and I've never felt the need to go with the latest Asph lenses.

Sorry to hear you don't like the Ultron. The CV lenses I've tried have been very good, but perhaps I just got good samples.

I added a CV 21 and finder, and it makes a nice jump from the 35, and is a true bargain. The 50 Summicron is still outstanding, and I'd think you would regret selling it. Try adding a 35 as a wide-normal where the M6 finder is fine, and a 21 for really wide.

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Also, i simply do not trust it. It seems unpredictable

 

Perhaps it is the aperture related focus shift that is catching you out with the f/2 Ultron, something that doesn't happen with the earlier f/1.9 lens. I did end up selling mine because of this, but it does depend on what you are photographing as to whether it is a deal breaker or not. Sean Reid did an excellent review of this lens explaining the phenomenon.

 

As for using an external finder with a 28mm lens, well everybody is different. I wear glasses and after 30 years of Leica ownership instinctively do a lightning quick scan around the edges of the 28mm framelines to compose the picture. It works as well as seeing all the framelines in one go. But this technique was probably developed because I don't like external finders very much. But either way I certainly wouldn't compromise the images I want to make just because it is slightly more complicated to work with a 28mm lens, I'd rather change cameras completely.

 

If I were you I'd persist a little with the Ultron and buy a 28mm finder to go with it. If that works out OK buy a 28mm Summarit, Elmarit or Summicron. Fill the gap with a 35mm if you feel too many times you can't simply walk closer with a 28mm or stand further back with your 50mm. But also give scanning the framelines a try, I mean, its not like they are very accurate anyway and things will always be approximate even if you could see them all at once.

 

Steve

Edited by 250swb

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I'm afraid that a 28mm Summarit doesn't yet exist.

 

Its a good thing I don't need one then isn't it.

 

Steve

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I suggest that first you try to look through an external 28mm viewfinder and see if you can see the framelines comfortably while wearing your glasses. It should be easier but it would be best to confirm for your own eyes.

 

The little Cosina/Voigtlander round metal one is very good and less expensive.

Really their advantage is more for very quick framing leaving the lens set for its hyperfocal distance. But if you want the best results you need to focus properly not compromise.

Remember that all of these frames are approximate and vary in accuracy depending on the distance.. For wide lenses some people just guesstimate the coverage from whatever they can see in the camera. It depends on how precise you want to be for your subjects.

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External finder is fine if you get a quality one, no plastic feet. Strangely distortion bothers me little, so I have the original 28 7 21 Leitz finders.

 

I can`t stand distortion is final photos.

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I have a 28 Elmarit V3 (this model protrudes into the finder by the way) and wear glasses. The solution that works for me is to use a diopter in the finder for all my lenses. Just push the specs up onto my forehead and look through the finder. However, YMMV

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You can purchase the current 21 mm finder which has a second frame for the 28. If you ever decide to get a 21, you will be covered foe both. The secondary frame was designed for the 21mm on the M8 due to the 1.33 crop factor.

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Thanks a lot you guys, many good suggestions and tips here i must say!

 

My main issue with the Ultron is that the focus jams according to it´s mood, sometimes it gets totally stuck and i have to wiggle it through the point of jamming.

 

My Summicron has survived it all, and has got sand (yes sand, i know i don´t deserve her, but that is an entirely other story) jammed in it. Still works like a charm though, so my hypothesis was that a Leica 28mm would share such robustness and ease of use.

 

If i am going to drag my setup throughout the corners of the world, i must be able to depend fully on it not breaking down. This, for me, is the main reason i chose a Leica as my main body.

 

Anyways, i think i will try Steve´s advice for now, and if it doesn't work out, get that 21/28 finder Rsh was talking about. Depending on my final outcome with those suggestions i may put it all into funding a 35.

 

Again, thanks a heap guys, and by all means keep it coming!

 

C.

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I would certainly say there is something wrong with the 28/2, I have five Voigtlander lenses in all and while not quite leica standards they are as good mechanically as anything else I have used, or better.

Gerry

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Also, I am wearing glasses, which keeps me from seeing the entire 28 frame-lines.

 

As part of my future plans i will do some extensive travelling, and so i am trying to figure out weather to get me an 28mm Elmarit ASPH + external viewfinder OR a 35mm Cron ASPH.

 

 

 

Most of my work is environmental portraits and landscapes, and i enjoy having my subject wide, but up close.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

From what you say, going to a 35 just because the framelines are easier to see might force you into some unwanted compositional compromises. IMO the camera shouldn't be the deciding factor. I find that by getting small glasses with flexible frames and the thinnest lenses available, I can mash my eye against the finder well enough to get the 28mm frames. Scanning around actually makes it worse, I find that looking straight through the rangefinder patch, my peripheral vision picks up the entire frame. Frankly, even without glasses the 28mm frames are pretty far out there. If you're shooting down a few stops, or at farther distances, the clip-on finders work very well. Only when you're shooting wide-open and close, and need to focus and shoot rapidly do those finders present an issue.

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The 35 and 28 Crons are VERY different and cannot substitute each other. The 35 Cron is a nice everyday lens that is compact and hardly does block the finder. While the 28 Cron is very widisch and really blocks the finder. Not so much an issue when you do street or available light photography, but a problem when it comes to architecture or landscape.

 

Is there anybody who has actually made experience shooting a Leica 28mm external viewfinder? These old finders once and a while appear at extraordinary prices in the net. Is it worth?

 

In landscape photography I would prefer to have an external finder for better composing the scenery with my 28mm Summicron as the blocking is quite significant. I have a 24mm external finder from the D4 which appears to have the same tunnel like view as the overly expensive 24mm external viewfinder of the M9. The 24mm finder has an inner frame which is -- as far as I remember -- described as a 35mm frame in the D4 booklet and as a 24mm equivalent M8 frame in the M booklet. However, neither of these is precise for the 28mm Summicron on a M9.

 

I love the external finder of the X1 and its magnificant view, so I wonder how the Leica 28mm finder is.

 

Any recommendation is appreciated.

 

Kind regards

Andreas

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I use the Voigtlander ones, both the large one and the minifinder,both work well and are high enough that even the Voigtlander 28/1.9 doesn't intrude. I also have a couple of Russian/Zeiss turrret finders which cover 28.

 

Gerry

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Turns out i might have a finger (literally) in play when it comes to the alleged jamming;

 

It became apparent that i sometimes rest my finger on the aperture ring. I suspect it keept the lens from expanding. Or so it would seem, since i no longer have any issues with the mechanics.

 

Learn by doing i guess, even though i feel a tad bit like a moron right about now.

 

Anyways, im tired of switching lenses, and have come to the conclusion that i dont want to drag two bodies with me. I am also fed up with switching lenses, so will probably settle on 35mm.

 

Thanks guys!

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I wear glasses and I own a M4-P (.72x) and a M9 (.68x). My 'short standard lens' is my 35mm Summilux ASPH v.2, while my 'long standard lens' is a 50mm Summilux ASPH.

 

I have worked with a 28mm Elmarit-M v.3 and later a 28mm Summicron. I found that I had to use an external finder (Leica plastic) as I simply could not see the 28mm frame lines. I find it difficult to level the camera properly – more important with a 28mm than a 35mm lens – if I cannot see the frame. This is an aspect that I cannot stress too much. The wider you go, the more decisive it becomes.

 

I finally decided to dump the Summicron. I did already own a 18mm Distagon ZM so for a more moderate wide angle lens I also bought a 25mm Biogon ZM and coded it as a 24mm Elmarit, with excellent results. I use it with a Leica 24mm plastic finder, which works very well, and the lens is splendid, especially since the firmware update this summer.

 

However satisfied I am with this combo, I also now have a 21mm Super-Elmar. This one will go with the 35mm lens, while the 25mm Zeiss willl ride with the 50mm Summilux. Which combo I choose will depend, from case to case, on whether I head for the city lights or for the great outdoors. The longer complement is a 90mm Elmarit-M, or a 135mm Apo-Telyt, respectively.

 

But I would also say that 35 and 50mm are so different that it is reasonable to own both lengths. In the 1960's–1970's the 'holy trinity' of 35+50+90mm was the kit very many M photographers carried, often around the world. I did so on a holiday trip this autumn, and found that I used the 50 and 35mm lenses about equally – 35mm indoors and 50mm outdoors!

 

The old man from the M2 Age

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Well, I use an M6ttl with .72 finder, I too can't see the 28 finder with my glasses on..... and probably a camera with a 0.58 finder. On such occasions I am happy to use an external finder, as I do with 15 and 21 lenses.

 

Gerry

My M6 is the 0.58 model and it works well with a 28mm lens. I also use my Elmarit 28 on my M3 using an external Leitz viewfinder. That gives a lovely clear image. Just watch the parallax correcting marks when moving in close to a subject.

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One solution is to change your glasses. I have a second pair of round glasses-- a really nice hand made pair with hook-over earpieces -- that are of the style worn by Mahatma Ghandi -- and I find I can get easily get close enough to the viewfinder to see the 28 mm frame lines. Bought them in an antique store near the Pont Louis Philippe in Paris for 100 Euros. New frame but made in the 50s.

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I use a 28 Summicron; also formerly used 28 Elmarits of early & recent vintage & also 28 Zeiss. I have an elderly Leitz 28mm external finder that I grew up with, because there were no 28 framelines in M4. I've had trouble seeing M9's 28mm framelines with glasses. Also, Summicron, old Elmarit, & Zeiss are big finder-blockers. I find that I switch back and forth between External finder & regular viewfinder, depending on what I'm doing.

 

28mm is especially nice for wading into the crowd to cover a happening, and if it's bright I just zone focus & use the external finder. Under those circumstances I just guess whether 2m or 3m is the more likely distance setting.

 

If light is lower, the scene is busy, & I'm using larger apertures, then I have to focus. Often I'll just keep my eye in the regular finder & take pot luck about what will appear at the edges of the image.

 

But if the subject is something that holds still, I'll focus with the rangefinder & then switch to the external finder.

 

More generally speaking, I find that after a pretty long duration of Leica use, I have the different framelines from 28 to 50 imprinted in the back of my eyeballs, & pretty much know what's in the picture before even raising the camera. So either finder is more a way of checking up than of initially composing.

 

Kirk

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