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First M lens: 35mm, summicron or summilux?


Big John
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Hi all,

 

About to buy first M lens, to use on SL initially. Going for an M lens rather than say ZM as think I will also be getting an M body before long!

 

Am a light use amateur who appreciates Leica. Don't desolately need the extra speed of the 1.4 but do want to future proof my purchase - ie, avoid thinking about 'upgrading' to 1.4 in years to come.

 

Physical size: 1.4 looks a bit bigger which might handle better on SL.

 

Any comments welcome pls.

 

Thanks.

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Hello John,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

All of the lenses that you are considering will be reasonably similar in terms of their images at F4, F5.6 & F8.

 

Modern digital cameras produce better quality images at higher ISO's than film cameras do & the image quality of photos produced at the ISO's of future digital cameras will most likely be even higher.

 

Therefore the question that you are asking is most likely related to depth of field & image quality at F1.4.

 

Do you see yourself as doing photography with limited depth of field as an important issue? Is the quality of out of focus images at larger apertures a subject that you are interested in pursuing? Are you interested in separating your subject from the World around them while covering a wide angle of view at the same time?

These are the types of questions that you have to ask yourself because if your photos will be mostly taken at moderate apertures then the larger aperture would most likely not be of any specific interest to you.

 

If your interests are aligned with my questions 2 paragraphs above & you would like to do so while covering a narrower angle of view, then: A moderate telephoto might supplement whichever of the 35's that you choose, since it will do all of the above, at a more moderate aperture & will also complement the 35 in a number of other situations.

 

Happy photos.

 

Best Regards,

 

Michael

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I think 35 Summicron is a very good classic choice.

If you shoot a lot indoors in available light the 35/1.4FLE offers you the advantage of f1.4 and the Summilux is slightly better in the corners, but the SUmmicron is a very good lens. I use the Summicron a lot and switch to the Summilux if light is low.

Shallod DOF....IMO shallow enough with the Summicron.

 

The 35 Summarit is an excellent lens as well by the way which you also might want to consider. The bokeh of the Summarit is the best of all 3 lenses IMO.

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Hi all,

 

About to buy first M lens, to use on SL initially. Going for an M lens rather than say ZM as think I will also be getting an M body before long!

You know ZM lenses work on digital M bodies very well? (except 21/4.5)

 

FLE around 3k

ZM 35/1.4 about 1400

 

The FLE is smaller, but not stronger than the Zeiss.

 

The ZM 35/2.8 is now a famous street lens on M bodies. 600ish. ZM 35/2 is fantastic on M9, and at 5.6 nothing will beat it.

From Leica you have the wonderfully small 35/2 ASPH. Very good WO.

 

Then there are another 10 very interesting M/LTM 35s, from the CV 35/1.2 to the 8-element 35 cron.

 

But if you want a modern Leica lens, the FLE is logical choice.

Edited by uhoh7
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The 35mm Summilux is the smallest of the lot. Version 2 is just fine. Version 1 is no better than version 2 but is an overpriced collector's item.

 Thanks - I should have mentioned I am considering the latest versions of lenses.  

You might also care to consider the Zeiss 35/1.4, which I just love on my M240.

Have a read HERE for a view on its use on the SL.

 Thanks - have tried it on SL and even though just in the store and in doorway, I have to say I was very very impressed with IQ when I got home and reviewed. Only thing putting me off is size and weight - ok on SL but I am also close to buying first M so looking for a lens that will predominantly live on the M but also be available to offload the 24-90 on the SL.  

Hello John,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

All of the lenses that you are considering will be reasonably similar in terms of their images at F4, F5.6 & F8.

 

Modern digital cameras produce better quality images at higher ISO's than film cameras do & the image quality of photos produced at the ISO's of future digital cameras will most likely be even higher.

 

Therefore the question that you are asking is most likely related to depth of field & image quality at F1.4.

 

Do you see yourself as doing photography with limited depth of field as an important issue? Is the quality of out of focus images at larger apertures a subject that you are interested in pursuing? Are you interested in separating your subject from the World around them while covering a wide angle of view at the same time?

These are the types of questions that you have to ask yourself because if your photos will be mostly taken at moderate apertures then the larger aperture would most likely not be of any specific interest to you.

 

If your interests are aligned with my questions 2 paragraphs above & you would like to do so while covering a narrower angle of view, then: A moderate telephoto might supplement whichever of the 35's that you choose, since it will do all of the above, at a more moderate aperture & will also complement the 35 in a number of other situations.

 

Happy photos.

 

Best Regards,

 

Michael

 

 

 

 

 Thanks - I am a bit relaxed about how much doc I want and don't think I will really need the extra half stop.

 

I think 35 Summicron is a very good classic choice.

If you shoot a lot indoors in available light the 35/1.4FLE offers you the advantage of f1.4 and the Summilux is slightly better in the corners, but the SUmmicron is a very good lens. I use the Summicron a lot and switch to the Summilux if light is low.

Shallod DOF....IMO shallow enough with the Summicron.

 

The 35 Summarit is an excellent lens as well by the way which you also might want to consider. The bokeh of the Summarit is the best of all 3 lenses IMO.

 

 

 

 

 

 This is very helpful. I have another post in M section on my 'first M'. Looking for a low cost into M while also getting an M lens for SL use and waiting for the M10. I have just seen the M262 bundle which adds a 35mm summaries plus flash plus bag for £550!  

You know ZM lenses work on digital M bodies very well? (except 21/4.5)FLE around 3kZM 35/1.4 about 1400The FLE is smaller, but not stronger than the Zeiss.The ZM 35/2.8 is now a famous street lens on M bodies. 600ish. ZM 35/2 is fantastic on M9, and at 5.6 nothing will beat it.From Leica you have the wonderfully small 35/2 ASPH. Very good WO.Then there are another 10 very interesting M/LTM 35s, from the CV 35/1.2 to the 8-element 35 cron.But if you want a modern Leica lens, the FLE is logical choice.

Thank you!

 

Wow - lots of great thoughts and advice, thanks everyone.

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You might also care to consider the Zeiss 35/1.4, which I just love on my M240.

Have a read HERE for a view on its use on the SL.

 

A shame it's Digiloyd as he's so biased in favour of Zeiss lenses vs Leica. The size/weight of the 1.4 Distagon can prove excessive, as I found, and I didn't keep mine for long. However I do like the resolution and colours when I look at images taken with the M240 and am tempted to give it another try when (if ever!) my preordered M10 turns up..

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As long time very-fast-lens-lover, with new M, I changed my mind or better still my "every day practice".

 

- some months ago, I picked up one 50mm Summarit-M (cheap light lens I could not resist

) to try it out

- even if my Summilux-M 35mm and 50mm are not big or heavy, now I prefer the Summarit-M to them

- quality wise, nothing to complain with this "cheap Leica lens"

- I plan to buy other Summarit-M (35/75/90) to replace my "heavier-and-expensive" Summilux/Summicron

 

So, those Summarit-M are not to be neglicted.

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I bought a Leica the same time with my brother and he went for the Summicron but I bit the bullet and went for the Summilux because F1.4 sounds delicious.    

 

Long story short, I'm very very happy with my 35 Lux while my brother's summicron has since been sold for something else.

Edited by reddot925
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As a 35mm shooter I was looking a longer time for "my" 35mm lens.

My first lens was a Summaron 2,8/35 - unfortunately I sold it.

I don't like the bokeh of all summicrons end ended up in buying the new Voigtländer Ultron 1,7/35 VM.

Sharp even wide open, lovely bokeh and a huge amount auf 3D pop; I prefere it over the 35mm lux asph. too.

I'm really happy with this lens!

For "classic" requirements I use a late Summaron 3,5/35 LTM

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When you want to optimize weight, then go for the Cron. I do not really think that you will miss that 1LV when using it in low light. Unless you go for really very low light. Try the f/2 with another lens and observe if you have to go higher than ISO 3200. And think of how often you need this.

 

I have the silver 50mm Lux and regret a bit that I did not think of weight beforehand: My lens weighs almost 500gr which is at DSLR level. First I should have choosen the lighter black version (I did not know about different weights) then probably the Con would have done.

 

And with the heavy lens the M10 pulls down in front whereas with the Cron 28mm it does not.

 

But when all of this seems to be small detail only and price difference does not really matter in the long run then go for f/1.4. Lens speed can never be replaced by something else.

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My entirely subjective view is that your first M lens for the SL should be a Mandler lens. The golden years of Mandler designed lenses contributed to a decisive extent the reputation of the brand. Google the Mandler threads in this forum to make your choice. The pity for Mandler himself is that his lenses are shining even more in the digital era, which is after his death.

Edited by otto.f
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