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Hello from Switzerland!

I plan to acquire a Leica CL body; the salesman is proposing me the LEICA VARIO-ELMAR-TL 1:3,5–5,6/18-56; I read various reviews about this lens, which left me with a mixed feeling

What is your favourite prime (or not prime) lens for a CL, event with a M lens + adaptor?  I am a little bit lost with the number of lenses Leica offers and price range, to say the least; I know I will be loosing auto-focus if using the M adaptor

Many thanks in advance for your advises and I hope to be able to contribute to this forum!

Philippe

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Why a mixed feeling? It is an excellent zoom lens, as good as many primes and top of the market. Don't believe everything you  see on the Internet, especially by idiot bloggers/vloggers producing  "reviews". Read this forum, see the images posted in the image threads. You'll find not one negative by real-world users. (well, maybe the max. aperture, but that goes for all compact standard zooms)

With Leica, the "lens quality" is never an issue. Select the lenses that meet your specific style of photography. The CL lineup offers great primes as well., however, the most general to-go lenses are the three zooms. I see little need, when building the system, to start off by buying M lenses, which are mostly of similar quality, but vastly more expensive for other reasons - like full frame, quality over size, small handmade series, wide aperture, etc- .
Later, when you have settled with the camera, you might decide to buy a specific (M) lens for a specific purpose.

The 18-56 is my standard lens on the CL and travels everywhere., and yes, I do not lack in M primes.

Of course there are a number of CL owners that use the camera mainly with M or R lenses, but that is mostly because they owned those in the first place, and like the specific character of those lenses.

 

Welcome to the forum and share some of your photographs when you have your CL in your hands!

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Posted (edited)

This lens is often referred to as the 'kit' lens for the CL, a term used by those new to Leica, and arriving from brands where a typical 'kit' lens is a less than stellar performer added to a body to keep the sale price down, and to be avoided by those who can afford better.

Leica doesn't do kit lenses in that sense. All its lenses are built and sold for a practical photographic purpose. And in fact this lens is the only available zoom lens that covers that range - so if you want a 'standard' zoom lens, then take the 18-56. 

And in fact this lens is excellent quality - I used it for 90% of my CL photography until I got the 11-23 zoom; it's now about 45%.

Just about any other choice depends on your photography and your personal preferences: do you want AF, macro, small size, prime, zoom, specific FLs, wide apertures? Only you can answer these questions.

 

Edit: I see Jaap has answered in almost exactly the same tone just ahead of me!

Edit: and welcome to the forum!

Edited by LocalHero1953

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Posted (edited)

Having acquired a new CL with 18-56 just over a week ago I can assure you it is no ordinary run-of-the-mill kit zoom, IQ, IMVHO, is outstanding.

Edited by Dave in Wales

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Philippe, welcome to the forum. I endorse the above answers and would add a strong recommendation that you spend a little time researching the views and results of Leica owners of the CL and standard zoom lens on this forum. I will be amazed if, having done so, you still reach your declared conclusion.

Often the initial speed of the lens is questioned. Try it and set Auto ISO and examine the results. You will find that you can safely user higher ISO settings than you might have done in the past, thus compensating for the slower initial lens aperture. For my horticultural work where tripods are not allowed or are inappropriate, I can set shutter speeds of 250th or faster (depending on prevailing wind speeds which induce subject movement) and a lens aperture of around f/8 to give me appropriate depth of field at close ranges. ISO settings exceed anything similar that I experienced in the days my film photography. The technical quality is fully up to the standards required for publication in educational and reference books.

Be very wary of reading blog posts and comments from generalist photographers who habitually use a range of brands of equipment. Some are very good, but many are biased and lack objectivity. While you cannot rule out bias in this forum,  in time you quickly find the contributors whose views you can trust and believe.

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May I add, as soon as you see "sharpness" being "tested", you can be sure that they do not understand optics (they are lumping resolution, acuity and contrast into one undefinable word), and you can be sure that the methodology of their "100% crops" is seriously flawed. Following that you always get some sneer about "too expensive".

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Philippe -

Welcome to the forum and hello from Basel.

I have bought my CL only a short while ago. It turns out that I usually prefer the 18-56 for its flexibility. The 23mm Summicron-T is splendid because it's much faster. Being a prime, it also obviates the need to think about focal lenghts on an outing, which may speed up shooting. However, the field of view is a bit wide for my taste, which may bring me back to the lovely 40mm Summicron-C of the "other" CL.

 

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48 minutes ago, dau said:

Philippe -

Welcome to the forum and hello from Basel.

I have bought my CL only a short while ago. It turns out that I usually prefer the 18-56 for its flexibility. The 23mm Summicron-T is splendid because it's much faster. Being a prime, it also obviates the need to think about focal lenghts on an outing, which may speed up shooting. However, the field of view is a bit wide for my taste, which may bring me back to the lovely 40mm Summicron-C of the "other" CL.

 

I use the 'original' 40 summicron too. it's a gem and can be had fairly cheaply.

18-56 to start with though

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Oh yes, the Summicron-C is a gem on this camera. :)

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Posted (edited)

I too am considering a CL and took this lens out for "torture test" around the neighborhood, as per other tests on M240, MM and M9. Surprisingly, the lens and files (processed in C1) held up under close scrutiny, plenty sharp. See detail below (any softness is from the upload restrictions... its tack sharp). A wee bit of distortion at the wider range (straight on shots with parallel lines), but nothing excessive. The lens is rather remarkable - no reservations at all about it. 

Edited by geoffreyg

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7 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

.... a term used by those new to Leica, and arriving from brands where a typical 'kit' lens is a less than stellar performer added to a body to keep the sale price down, and to be avoided by those who can afford better....

Which brands you are talking about? Canon crop sensor kit lenses are awesome for their price, performance for more than one decade now. Not to mention 24-105L which comes often as kit lens with FF Canon DLSRs.

I don't think Nikon kit lenses any worse either.

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As others have said, the 18-56 is just fine.  If like me you prefer to work with a compact zoom the T23 is excellent and makes a light go-anywhere street kit.  The T35 is stellar.  The 18-56 is also excellent.  It depends on the style of photography you want to do -- you can trust the lens quality in all cases.

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1 hour ago, Ko.Fe. said:

Which brands you are talking about? Canon crop sensor kit lenses are awesome for their price, performance for more than one decade now. Not to mention 24-105L which comes often as kit lens with FF Canon DLSRs.

I don't think Nikon kit lenses any worse either.

I bought a Canon crop sensor kit (550D) a while ago (sold it a while ago as well). Even in the shop I could see it was worth spending more to get a better zoom lens than the one on offer.

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9 hours ago, PhilippeR said:

Hello from Switzerland!

I plan to acquire a Leica CL body; the salesman is proposing me the LEICA VARIO-ELMAR-TL 1:3,5–5,6/18-56; I read various reviews about this lens, which left me with a mixed feeling

What is your favourite prime (or not prime) lens for a CL, event with a M lens + adaptor?  I am a little bit lost with the number of lenses Leica offers and price range, to say the least; I know I will be loosing auto-focus if using the M adaptor

Many thanks in advance for your advises and I hope to be able to contribute to this forum!

Philippe

Welcome! 

The Vario-Elmar-TL 18-56mm is a fine lens, I would have no worries about that if you want autofocus and a zoom lens. :)

I bought the CL body only and use my existing Leica M and R lenses on it with the M Adapter L and R Adapter M lens mount adapters. Leica's dedication to their lenses via the lens profiles supplied with the CL mean that these lenses perform just as well on the CL as they did on the cameras they were originally designed for. It's hard to go wrong with any of them; just pick the focal length that you prefer (remember that 35mm is the normal lens for the CL's APS-C sensor format; 24mm is a wide angle and 50mm is a portrait telephoto). 

The Summicron-C 40mm f/2 mentioned is a very nice choice. I have the similar focal length Pentax-L 43mm f/1.9 Limited ... a little rare but a superb lens for this format. The CL is a very versatile and adaptable body: you can get very nice results with a wide range of lenses.

Good luck with it!

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10 hours ago, Dave in Wales said:

Sincere apologies Philippe, how rude of me.....Welcome to the Forum.

 

Many thanks! I appreciate the time taken by all memebers to reply to me

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Posted (edited)

Hi Phillipe, also welcome to the forum.

I don’t have the CL. I have a TL2.  I agree with the above.  Perhaps what is missing is, don’t worry about the image quality of any modern Leica lens - they’re all fantastic. Similarly the old lenses have varying charms. I suggest you chose your first lens based on focal length and  speed. Leica’s lens designer says all of the L mount lenses are state of the art, and you should use aperture for depth of field, rather than to manage shutter speed.

For myself, I like to have a couple of native lenses for my cameras - I have the 35 Summilux-TL so I have one fast prime, and the 11-23mm Vario-Elmarit-TL zoom (depth of field less important for wide lenses).  A great combination. 

Good luck - acquiring Leica lenses can become addictive!

John

Edited by IkarusJohn

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8 hours ago, jaapv said:

Oh yes, the Summicron-C is a gem on this camera. :)

It's nice to see scratches and wear on this camera. It has "trail dust," so to speak. : )

And I concur with the 18-56 judgement here. It's a fantastic lens. There is no question in regard to leica quality. Whether it's overpriced is subject to debate. But you won't go wrong at all with this or the 56-135. 

The only thing that might stand in your way is IS, if it means a lot to you and your shooting style. 

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16 hours ago, Ko.Fe. said:

Which brands you are talking about? Canon crop sensor kit lenses are awesome for their price, performance for more than one decade now. Not to mention 24-105L which comes often as kit lens with FF Canon DLSRs.

I don't think Nikon kit lenses any worse either.

I have no experience with current Canon lenses but y old Nikon 18-70 is indeed sharp at all focal lengths and is not slower than f/4.5. It is less compact than the Leica though.

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