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40mm on the M - what am I not getting?


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For what it's worth ... "Why 40 mm?"
 
That article triggered my curiosity about the 40 mm focal length (on 35-mm format) a few years ago. So I acquired a used Minolta M-Rokkor 40 mm 1:2 for my Leica. To my surprise, I found myself appreciating this odd focal length more than anticipated. It's hardly different from 35 mm or 50 mm, and yet—it does have something to it I cannot really explain. Still I'm hardly using it anymore because it's awkward to use due to the lack of the proper framelines. So, umm ... it's interesting but no must-have.

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Interesting use of the word "compel" in this context.   I've never owned or used the CV 40/1.2 so I'm not in a position to compare the two.  I borrowed a friend's CV 40/1.4 for a few weeks and felt that its out of focus areas were harsher than I like and didn't appeal to me but famously the CV lenses are subject to copy variation.  That said, any 40/1.4 and 40/2.8 will be such different lenses, 2.5 stop faster for a start, that a comparison would need to be carefully done and probably best at

Fascinating video. I've learnt that 40mm is not as wide as a 35mm lens but it is a bit wider than a 50mm lens.

Q. what am I not getting?   A: framelines.    Sorry to state the obvious but it is relevant.

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So, umm ... it's interesting but no must-have.

 

Having owned a couple of 40mm Summicrons, I can say that whilst they are small, light and actually very good little lenses, O1af sums up my feelings towards them very well. Not sure why, but I just don't gel with them.

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Because everybody here says "but there's no framelines for 40 mm" yet these sources don't refer to Leica M so why would it have bothered them?

 

 

It doesn't bother them. After all, these sources primarily are about 40 mm, not about Leica M. But it might bother those who contemplate a 40 mm lens for use on their Leica M. So this peculiarity didn't get pointed out there but it does get pointed out here.

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It doesn't bother them. After all, these sources primarily are about 40 mm, not about Leica M. But it might bother those who contemplate a 40 mm lens for use on their Leica M. So this peculiarity didn't get pointed out there but it does get pointed out here.

 

Indeed. Although even here, it may not bother those who are happy to use LV/EVF for framing.

Edited by Ecar
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For what it's worth ... "Why 40 mm?"

 

(…) So I acquired a used Minolta M-Rokkor 40 mm 1:2 for my Leica. (…) Still I'm hardly using it anymore because it's awkward to use due to the lack of the proper framelines.

I also owned the M-Rokkor and always framed with the 35mm framelines and stepped about one meter back to compensate those 5mm. Did the job pretty well.

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I checked out once the 40/2 Leica-M lens from a friend of mine - I like the small size of the lens, very compact and portable. But the biggest drawback IMO is in its bokeh - it's a very subjective matter, but I did not like the circle shapes with bright ring inside. 

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I checked out once the 40/2 Leica-M lens from a friend of mine - I like the small size of the lens, very compact and portable. But the biggest drawback IMO is in its bokeh - it's a very subjective matter, but I did not like the circle shapes with bright ring inside. 

 

I recommend trying the Rollei 40/2.8 Sonnar HFT.  Its out of focus areas are very smooth and graceful but I agree, it's a subjective area.

 

Pete.

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Just acquired the new Voightlander 40mm f1.2 which is optimized for full frame digital cameras like my M10. Looks and feels terrific on the camera. Has beautiful color rendition in keeping with the M10's bias toward Kodachrome. Black and White jpegs right out of the camera are impressive - although I have yet to fuss with the in-camera settings for contrast, saturation etc.. Since using an old Zeiss 40 years ago, have personally preferred that length to 50. Meanwhile the 35 is, well, the 35. All good. What frame lines? Shoot in live view.

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Interesting - never came across this lens before, thanks for pointing it out. It just comes with > 2x the price tag of a 40/2....

 

I've had mine for 5+ years now and at the time it was around the same price as the 40 Summicron so I assume it's a case of the Summicron being undervalued now.  

 

There are some well-known Japanese dealers who will doubtless offer the Rollei boxed up at a premium price but that's to be expected from them  From time to time I've noticed reasonable prices for it on RFF so it's probably one of those lenses that you'd need to casually keep an eye on the market for and after a while one will turn up at a price that suits.

 

Pete.

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I've had mine for 5+ years now and at the time it was around the same price as the 40 Summicron so I assume it's a case of the Summicron being undervalued now.  

 

There are some well-known Japanese dealers who will doubtless offer the Rollei boxed up at a premium price but that's to be expected from them  From time to time I've noticed reasonable prices for it on RFF so it's probably one of those lenses that you'd need to casually keep an eye on the market for and after a while one will turn up at a price that suits.

 

Pete.

 

I didn't see a price drop of the 40/2 Summicron since I sometimes check availability and pricing - they go for about $400 depending on condition. This hasn't changed since 2014 I believe. I briefly checked on the 40/2.8 Sonnar - cheapest I found is for > $800 and one other for over $1K. Likely they can go for less as you pointed out. 

Edited by Martin B
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How does the Rollei 'draw'? What are the characteristics that would compel one to choose it over the new CV 1,2/40? Or the older Minolta or Summicron-C?

 

Interesting use of the word "compel" in this context.

 

I've never owned or used the CV 40/1.2 so I'm not in a position to compare the two.  I borrowed a friend's CV 40/1.4 for a few weeks and felt that its out of focus areas were harsher than I like and didn't appeal to me but famously the CV lenses are subject to copy variation.  That said, any 40/1.4 and 40/2.8 will be such different lenses, 2.5 stop faster for a start, that a comparison would need to be carefully done and probably best at f2.8, which is unlikely to reveal much useful information because the CV would be 2.5 stops stopped down whereas the Rollei would be wide open.

 

I can only really say that I've been very happy with the Rollei, which is nicely sharp wide open with pleasantly smooth out of focus areas with well-controlled vignetting towards the edges.  As is to be expected, stopping down increases sharpness and reduces vignetting but by f/5.6 the performance of most lenses is comparable.  I've included a picture taken with the Rollei 40/2.8 Sonnar HFT on my M10 as an example and I think it was at f/4 and ISO 400.

 

Pete.

 

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