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rob_w

23 TL vs 35 TL - best prime to start with?

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I am considering a CL after reading some excellent reviews on this forum.  Most likely I would get the standard zoom plus one of the primes for low-light/wide-aperture occasions.  But which prime?  I'm okay with both 35 and 50 on my M so FOV is not an issue.  On the TL both primes seem well regarded -- is one or the other emerging as the preferred choice?

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I currently own the 35mm  TL, but have owned the 23mm in the past. While I really love the 35mm...if I had to do it again I would get the 23mm.

The 35mm is just far too big and heavy. Its like a Noctilux on the M big and heavy.

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I like the 23, but you have 35 on your M, so you may find it redundant.  But it's light and fast, and the image quality is great.  Reviews show that the 18 makes some compromises in edge sharpness.  I was shooting with an M SE 18/3.8 today, and while it is sharper than the 18 and maybe even the 23, it is not as pleasant to use.  So I'll continue to use the 23 on my CL, and just back up a little.  The 11-23 is as good as any prime, and is easy to use on the CL if you like wider angles. (Oh, I see you specified wide aperture.  Then the 23 is the right choice.)

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It was a fairly simple choice to me in the end, I went for the 23.  I knew when I bought the CL I would be using my M mount lenses via the adaptor, have nothing wider than 35 for my M so getting the 23 was the logical choice, and so far very happy with it.

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The 23mm is the more versatile choice (assuming you are equally comfortable with a 35mm full frame field of view and a 50mm field of view).  It's smaller, lighter, fast enough for most uses, and very high quality.  It's also less expensive.  The 35mm f/1.4 TL lens is amazing, but it is also much heavier and physically quite large.  If I could only have one lens for the CL, it would probably be the 23mm.  

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The 23 has a clear size advantage and I find it flexible general purpose lens in low light.

However the 35/1.4 is very good for environmental portraits and things like that. I even would call it a short portrait lens.(35 on dx is a little more reach than 50 on the M)

So it really depends what you want.

Another option could be the 11-23 +35. The 11-23 is my favorite lens on the CL so far.

I own both 23 and 35, if I had to decide for one I would go for the 23 since its nice and small and more a general purpose focal length.

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I have both. Very different lenses. I like the 23mm as street/environment. I like the 35mm as low light/portraits.

On my CL, the 35mm focuses really fast. It also has higher contrast. It is my favorite lens on the CL...

I also have the 18mm. It is smaller/lighter than the 23mm. Colors are very nice, maybe a bit more muted than the 23mm and not as sharp in the corners but it has this je-ne-sais-quoi that make people look at the pictures I took with the 18mm longer than any others pictures taken with other lenses... I really like it. The only drawback for me is that it is a f/2.8 lens and when lights get very low, I reach out for the other two.

 

Alain

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The 35mm is unfortunately huge, but man, it is an incredible lens. The 23mm is great, but the 35mm... it's just stunning. I keep trying to be happy with a different lens on, but really, it's difficult.

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Guest VVJ

The 35mm is the better lens but the 23mm wins on size, weight, price and convenience.  

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A description by those who say the 35 1.4 TL is "huge" must be considered in context. Certainly bigger than many lenses but not in the league of the SL lenses which might more aptly be considered quite large and heavy. Again, the 35 is not 'that heavy' that it is burdensome in the least.

 

IMO, very manageable and not a problem to carry around all day.  Some photos below.

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A description by those who say the 35 1.4 TL is "huge" must be considered in context. Certainly bigger than many lenses but not in the league of the SL lenses which might more aptly be considered quite large and heavy. Again, the 35 is not 'that heavy' that it is burdensome in the least.

 

IMO, very manageable and not a problem to carry around all day.  Some photos below.

Rob is right but the 23 _is_ much more compact. I have the 35 and it is an excellent lens. However I miss the 23 which I sold off some time back! It not just size though - I liked it better than I like the 18mm which of course is even more compact.

 

- Vikas

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...So I'll continue to use the 23 on my CL, and just back up a little.

I enjoyed the 23 more than I do the 18,but I’m not really sure why!

 

- Vikas

Edited by vikasmg

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As a rule of thumb I favor a 50 if I'm primarily planning to shoot stills. The added flexibility of shallower DOF, and the generally better optical quality/lack of distortion of same-class 50s outweigh the inconvenience of having to back up into the corner to get more in the frame.

 

If I plan on using the lens or the camera it tends to sit on as a hybrid device (photo and video), I'll usually use 35 as my standard. It's harder to get the video you want while you're worrying about positioning yourself to get everything in the frame.

 

Neither of these focal lengths are ideal, in my opinion. Anyone who has shot a 43mm Pentax lens or has shot a fast 28mm prime on an APS-C sensor can tell you about the magic of shooting at the focal length that matches the diagonal size of the sensor.

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In terms of sharpness, the 35mm outperformed the 23mm. Because its the "Germany" Lens, and the 23mm is made in Japan. No idea why, but seems like the optics its way better on the Germany made Lens. I owned both of the lens, I love to bring 23mm more than the 35mm, because of its lightweight and my interest in 35mm lens lately. It really depend on what you love! 

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I think the 23 is a lens one should own with the CL. It is the sweet spot between size, large aperture and image quality. Having said that, I am about to trade my M Summicron 35 for the Lux-TL 35 ... Too many convincing photos here from Rob and others [emoji51]

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Thanks everyone for the prompt responses.  The overall trend looks pretty clear from this set of samples.  This is such a helpful forum.

 

Probably I'll end up with both lenses (sigh!)

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I own both 23 and 35mm.

the 35mm is about 500g ! very heavy but also very good and bright.

For artistic purpose I may chose the 35mm over the 23 (if you favor bokeh capability).

In another hand, the 23mm is also bright, wider and much lighter. Performance wise it may not raise the bar at the same level than the 35mm but the sole weight difference is massive. None the less, quality wise the 23mm is also a very good performer !

I am traveling to Peru in 2 months and the 23mm will be in my kit. I am afraid the 35mm will just stay home. It's a real pity but when you need to keep an eye on total weight...you must chose !

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Guest VVJ

The 35mm weighs exactly 428g...  I wouldn't call that very heavy... it weighs 93g more than the Summilux-M 50mm...

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Guest VVJ

I'd say "huge" is the proper word to describe the 35/1.4 especially with the hood on.

 

The TL hoods are ridiculously oversized.  I never use them.  I don't feel you need them either.

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