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In praise of the Elmar-M 50mm f2.8

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After all the discussion of exotic glass at stratospheric prices, I'd like to give a plug to the Elmar-M 50. I recently bought one for £499 from Louis Berk (via buy and sell here), and can't imagine a better light-weight travel lens. Combined with the Summicron 35mm asph it offers a pretty unbeatable combination for landscape IMHO. I've not used it for street - and I certainly won't be getting rid of the 50 lux asph when it comes to interiors and performance. However, when weight and compactness are important, and image quality edge to edge matters, it's a pretty good choice. And you can find them for such good prices!

 

Of the 70 or so images here, >40 were with the Elmar, 25 or so were the Cron 35 and the rest Summicron 28 asph + 1 shot with the 135 Apo-Telyt which I took out one day.

 

North Norfolk Coast: 2012 - a set on Flickr

 

If you're looking for a light 50mm to go with the M9, I strongly recommend. Interested to hear of the experience of others.

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+1. I often take it for good light shootings instead of my 50/2, 50/1.4 pre-asph or 50/1.4 asph lenses. Because of the Tessar look i guess. I have not the words to define it but i prefer the Nikkor 45/2.8 for probably the same reason.

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It was my first M lens, since than I got Lux 50mm ASPH but Elmar-M is a definitive keeper. As much as I like to have fast lens in my kit I enjoy contrasty images produced by Elmar-M and compact size is big plus.

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Alongside my 50mm Summilux Asph, I recently had a chrome Elmar-M and a black 50mm Summicron and found the difference in weight and size to be insignificant. That's with the hood permenantly to the Elmar-M.

 

The Summicron has the advantage of better image quality and the extra stop. The Elmar-M has the disadvantage of needing to be expanded and locked into place. Both enable easy storage in my jacket pockets.

 

I sold both of them, but bought a cheap Summicron last week for its pocket-ability.

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Rolo - interesting comment. Thanks. Also, having just looked at your medium format Salford infirmary set Salford Royal Hospital NHS Set - a set on Flickr it does make me wonder why we make all the fuss about Leica! Very interesting to see as it's very much the sort of project I would have wanted to do with the M9 - but you've done a masterly job with MF + film. Off topic, but hey - good work deserves praise

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Just a few weeks ago, I bought an Elmar 50 mm 1:2.8 lens (not the late Elmar-M but the predecessor from the late '50s, '60s, and early '70s) ... and I'm loving it. At full aperture and, to a lesser degree, also at f/4, it is not fully up to modern Leica M standards (including the Elmar-M 50 mm)—but that exactly is the reason why I bought it. The rendition is not perfect but beautiful and definitely not bad ... exactly the way I hoped it to be. I don't want it for all my pictures, but that's what my modern Leica M 50 mm lenses are for.

 

I also considered the acquisition of an Elmar-M 50 mm ... but I figure that will be hardly different from my Summarit-M 50 mm and Summilux-M 50 mm Asph, just slower. The Elmar however (without '-M') definitely does add a few arrows to my quiver.

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I think I can safely say this is my favourite M lens. It is certainly the one I have used most. Bought from new, it has travelled the world with me, mostly on my M7. The performance is delightful - I have just posted a couple of examples here - but for me the most important point is that it renders the M pocketable, or belt-pouchable, at least. Since the camera you have with you is the one you use, this gem of a lens is, for me at least, indispensable.

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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Alongside my 50mm Summilux Asph, I recently had a chrome Elmar-M and a black 50mm Summicron and found the difference in weight and size to be insignificant. That's with the hood permenantly to the Elmar-M.

 

The Summicron has the advantage of better image quality and the extra stop. The Elmar-M has the disadvantage of needing to be expanded and locked into place. Both enable easy storage in my jacket pockets.

 

.

 

+1

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Bill / Pierre - thanks for thoughts and links. Maybe we need a campaign in favour of the (relatively) inexpensive Leica lenses! They don't have the allure of the €5000 + exotica, but they do the job - and I fully endorse the comment

Since the camera you have with you is the one you use, this gem of a lens is, for me at least, indispensable

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Agree, very under-rated. It's one of the fastest focusing lenses I've used, and is extremely light. Highly recommended!

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One of the best kept Leica secrets along with the 90/2.8 Elmarit-M imho. I foolishly traded mine and ended up buying another.

 

Pete.

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Another Elmar-M 50 fan here. Bought a circa late 50s chrome one a few months ago primarily to have a cheap 50mm while I wait for my Summilux ASPH 50. I love the compactness and having to expand and collapse it doesn't bother me. Was surprised how lovely it feels to have the solidity of a brass lens, and it looks beautiful on a chrome M7. I suspect when I eventually get my Summilux, the Elmar will still continue to be a favourite. Umm, why am I getting the lux anyway....

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Your Summilux asph will be significantly sharper and of course faster than your early Elmar so it will complement it nicely.

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Maybe we need a campaign in favour of the (relatively) inexpensive Leica lenses! They don't have the allure of the €5000 + exotica, but they do the job

 

Yes, they are all very fine lenses. I'm not sure the "inexpensive" lenses need any promotion – there are plenty of users of these lenses who just quietly get on with using them. Of course, there are also many (in forums like this one) who only seem to be interested in the widest F-number and the great little lenses will continue to sail under their radar.

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++1

 

Took it to Italy with me recently and loved the smooth action and results. I posted this one taken with it and I know he was more accommodating to have his photo taken as he was fascinated by the camera/lens combo.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/people/241597-street-artist.html

Kind regards

Steve

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Bill / Pierre - thanks for thoughts and links. Maybe we need a campaign in favour of the (relatively) inexpensive Leica lenses! They don't have the allure of the €5000 + exotica, but they do the job - and I fully endorse the comment

 

Let me add the c-Elmar 90mm: I love it's compactness! A real bargain and in addition to Summi35, Elmar-M a lightweight outdoor-walks equipment.

 

It does not need aspheric & floating elements to have Leica fun!

Thomas

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