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Your favorite Leica lens?


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The difficulty with current available Nikon gear is that Nikon has a very competent high end lens selection that can compete on the same level of Leica's optics yet Nikon still has a very large selection of lenses, seemingly outdated by today's standard on offer.

Nikon also offers something Leica simply doesn't - truly affordable (yet optically mediocre) budget lenses which is by far good enough for many imaging purposes (beginners, people upgrading from mobile phones, even sports and news photography).


Due to that extreme mix, one has to choose a lens kit VERY carefully - it is like choosing lens kit, mixing and matching Leica lenses from the 1960's, 1980's and 2010's - they all perform VERY differently.

Partly to Nikon gear's performance I still keep a full Nikon SLR kit although preferring rangefinder cameras for every day use.

Imaging wise I don't choose Leica over Nikon - it's the preference in rangefinder vs SLR, lens selection with favorite lens of the day but not one manufacturer over the other.

I wish Nikon would still make RF gear and I wish Nikon would offer a few superstellar lenses, rivaling lenses as a 50/2 APO or .95 Noctilux as Halo products (Carl Zeiss seems to do, Canon has done it in the past, it's a shame Nikon doesn't but then again Nikon has become VERY conservative with it's products).


My favourite Leica lens is the 35mm pre-aspheric Summilux, BUT .....


Its my favourite because to me it encapsulates all the attributes that a a Leica M lens should; its small, light, ergonomic, state-of-the-art in its day, has a fascinating history and more.


Whilst its a lens that I own and use its not the lens that I use most, in fact its a lens I only really use when I want to enjoy using it and for what its good at.


So what I am saying is that favourite may mean different things to different people.


I do love the the pre ASPH Summilux as well - (so much so, as even having different versions of it - my favorite being a nice user infinity lock version), but I would hardly call the pre ASPH Summilux ergonomic (it is WAY to cramped in it's controls as it is so compact and especially when using with it's contemporary 12504 lens hood it feels like changing a car tire through a keyhole of a locked fireproof door with a crowbar and superglue.


Although it was state of the art with it's contemporaries (it edges the Canon 35/1.5 in performance, yet the contemporary 35/1.8 W-Nikkor absolutely murders it in performance - I wish Nikon had continued their RF line and we would have had a serious competition with such optics (it was basically just Leica and Leica after Canon and Nikon stopped making RF gear and moving all out to SLRs in 35mm).


The pre ASPH Summilux always has been a true schizophrenic, multi personal diva in it's character, which is part of why I like it so much - any sane person would hate it for that as an imaging instrument (I bet Peter Karbe has screaming nightmares about this lens - imagine the 1980's critters movies but replace critters with blood thirsty 35 Summilux pre ASPH lenses). ;-)


On topic:

Today's favorites:


- 50/1.4 E46 pre ASPH black paint (it has become my every day 50mm over the last years)

- still the mighty little 35/2 UC-Hex

- 90/4 Macro Elmar

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I like the lens to be Leica lens on film and digital. Factory coded and recognized. I don't like it to be prone to fungus and separation, which is present even in latest ELC lenses. I don't like cheap plastic focus tab on ELC lenses, either. Everything which can't handle 39mm Leica filter size is too big for me. This is how I meet NiB Summarit-M 35 2.5.  Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmeld


The problem with topics like one is that "favorite" will be heavily influenced by the type of photographs one likes taking.  Street photography?  You'll probably get a lot of votes for 35mm lenses with a few 28mm and 50mm lenses sprinkled in.  Environmental portraits?  Probably the 50mm.  Landscapes?  Perhaps the 21mm SEM or the WATE.  Or some of the S-mount lenses, of course.  Sports?  Not exactly Leica's forte, but maybe the new 90-280mm SL.  Wildlife?  Definitely the 90-280mm.  Vacation photo

Bill Livingston

My most used lens by far is also my Summicron 35... But this particular question has been fascinating me since this thread started.   I read all the comments with great interest... and the comments from most people were so convincing that found I agreed with almost everyone!   So I decided to look at a few pages of photos where the lens wasn't immediately identified to see if there was a particular 'look' that appealed to me... and there most certainly was... and not what I expected.    I

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