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Masha Vesset

Advice needed on first prime for SL2

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Hi there! I am a new Leica SL2 owner. So far the only lens I have is the 24-90, and would love to buy a portrait prime. For a bit of background, I came from Canon with the 85 and 50 1.2 lenses, and which I shot wide open or at 1.4 most of the time. I am currently torn: SL50 Summilux, M50 Summilux, or something else entirely? 
Grateful for advice!

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You could use the Canon lenses still. Or Leica R 90 Summicron, or R80/M75 Summiluxes. Or go native with the SL75 or 90. 

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For 50mm you have many options within the L-Mount alliance. If you want a 50mm/1.4 Sigma, Panasonic and Leica offer really great lenses for very different budget. 

I use the SL 35/50/75/90 Summicrons for portraits (sold my 50/1.4 SL after announcement of the 50 Summicron). Mostly (70%) I use the 75 Cron, not because of quality but i like the focal length. 

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Consider getting a Sigma MC21 and use your wonderful Canon lenses on the SL2.  That will be a temporary measure until you get the Leica lenses....

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For a portrait prime I would prefer longer than 50mm, which risks distortion of noses when used too close, or of leading hands and shoulders. I have the Summicron-SL 90 which is wonderful for most simple portraits. I do quite a bit of drama photography and I'm thinking of getting the Summicron-SL 75 to allow a bit more context/environment - not to speak of a bit more leeway for framing errors in a fast moving drama scene!

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The SL summicrons are all amazing lenses (with one caveat - I have the 75 - the manual focusing . . . forget it - its terrible) . . . so in the end, you have to decide , from 35, 50, 75 and 90 . . . what is the best prime focal length for you??  I chose the 75 - its my only SL lens.  I love it but I do find I am cropping a LOT in post - so I probably should have gotten the 90.  Too late for that unless I can find someone who just wants to trade (I can't afford two SL lenses).  Anyway - if you are looking to buy an SL summicron - they are all fantastic - just decide on what focal length best matches your personal predilections.

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26 minutes ago, Daniel81 said:

The SL summicrons are all amazing lenses (with one caveat - I have the 75 - the manual focusing . . . forget it - its terrible) . . . so in the end, you have to decide , from 35, 50, 75 and 90 . . . what is the best prime focal length for you??  I chose the 75 - its my only SL lens.  I love it but I do find I am cropping a LOT in post - so I probably should have gotten the 90.  Too late for that unless I can find someone who just wants to trade (I can't afford two SL lenses).  Anyway - if you are looking to buy an SL summicron - they are all fantastic - just decide on what focal length best matches your personal predilections.

What's terrible about the focusing on the 75? Is it stiffness? That was a problem on my 90, but Leica fixed it under warranty. Or is it the non-linear focus by wire? 

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20 minutes ago, LocalHero1953 said:

What's terrible about the focusing on the 75? Is it stiffness? That was a problem on my 90, but Leica fixed it under warranty. Or is it the non-linear focus by wire? 

non-linear focus is supposed to be upgraded to give a choice of linear focus with selectable rate -- if work recovers to normal and the "early 2020" SL2 firmware update is released.

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I have no plan (yet) to upgrade to the SL2 - I'm not optimistic that change will happen in the SL as well.

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I would recommend to get the Summilux-SL. While the Summilux-M is a very nice lens, the SL is a better choice as an AF and all-purpose (even for low light) lens. It can also be used a short portrait lens. The Summilux-SL will also provide better optical performance compared to the M version. If the size, weight and cost are not factors, I would always recommend for the SL lenses.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, LocalHero1953 said:

What's terrible about the focusing on the 75?

Both - yes, mine is stiff - I guess I should send it in for warranty work  . . and also, I find it is very non-linear, very non-reproducible from moment to moment, focus out to focus - then ever so slightly out further, then reverse and the focus point is nowhere near equal amount of reverse rotation - its a whacky and irritating experience.  For a lens of this price . . . . its quite shocking it is just that bad - of course, everything else about the lens is spectacular.  Frankly, even the focus ring - its a soft rubber that is hard to clean - for this calibre and price, it should be a much better material - that is my opinion.

Edited by Daniel81

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I would be buying it for AF, so I can live with the non-linear performance. If I preferred manual focus I would use my Apo-Summicron-M 75, which is much smaller.

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My SL 75 was a bit stiff focusing, but not bad, and has loosened up.  Focus is easy using back button AF and then tweaking manually, if needed, using magnified view.

Jeff 

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Loving my SL 35, after carrying one of the zooms for over 3 years, it seems light and compact.

The results continue to amaze me especially in low light.

 

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Lux SL 50 and Cron SL 90 will perfectly do for portrait and most other things.

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Hi Masha,

I currently own the M50 Lux, SL50 Lux & M50 Noctilux and shoot them all on an SL2.

As we all know, they are all amazing lenses that have their own character. The M 50 Lux is light & compact on the SL body and renders beautiful images. The SL50 Lux in contrast is ginormous and heavy but has AF, produces ridiculously high IQ and has a really nice transition to out of focus areas when wide open. The M50 Noctilux is literally a dream. Hard to manually focus. Obviously a lot easier with the SL's EVF, however the DOF is paper thin and slight movements (either you or the model) can cause a portrait to be slightly soft. Regardless.. I love this lens. When your spot on the result is breath taking and nothing short of amazing 🥰

If you were to ask me which 50 to keep, I would most likely stick with the SL50 Lux. The high IQ along with the AF is enough for me to consider letting go of the other two. It's just more convenient and seamless when shooting portraits with it. The weight and size in not an issue for me but this is something you would have to consider for yourself.

The SL90 APO is another beast. I have only heard good things on it, but you should try one out. I am definitely considering this lens too!

Hope you find the one that works for you the best!

 

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I am using mostly M lenses, M50 Lux and M50Notct. I love the look of the Noctilux, with portraits it is not about the sharpness for me.

I got the Sigma 45mm, it is a great lens to walk around when you wand to shoot easily 

 

 

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On 3/3/2020 at 2:01 PM, Masha Vesset said:

Hi there! I am a new Leica SL2 owner. So far the only lens I have is the 24-90, and would love to buy a portrait prime. For a bit of background, I came from Canon with the 85 and 50 1.2 lenses, and which I shot wide open or at 1.4 most of the time. I am currently torn: SL50 Summilux, M50 Summilux, or something else entirely? 
Grateful for advice!

First, I would recommend picking your desired focal length for the SL prime.  50?  90?  Or compromise at 75mm?  Whichever you end up with, you can adapt your Canon lens to cover the other.  So, do you shoot mostly environmental shots?  Head and shoulders?  Do you need speed for control over depth of field or for additional lighting options?  I’d first sort out the focal length, then give thought to which lens.

If you do mostly head and shoulders shots, I would strongly recommend the 90mm Summicron SL.  The additional compression you will get over a 50mm will help keep shoulders and noses from becoming too prominent, and f/2 will give you a depth of field that is easily narrow enough to make all but the closes backgrounds fade away.  You could look at the 90mm Summicron M as well, but it isn’t small enough or light enough for me to want to trade away autofocus.  

If you want a single lens to replace both your Canons, the obvious choice is the 75mm Summicron SL.  Not quite as much compression as the 90mm, but that can be a good thing if you want to include a little environment or if you tend to do waste-up type shots rather than head and shoulders.  You get a more reasonable working distance for this type of shot than you would with 90mm.  Based on the charts, it’s not quite as good a lens as the 90mm, but “ultimate resolution and contrast” are not exactly the key requirements for portraiture, so I wouldn’t worry about any optical differences between the two.  Pick the focal length that suits your style better.  Look through your existing Canon images and 24-120 images to see what focal length you tend to shoot at and make sure you include your typical cropping.  As with the 90mm lenses, you could also look at an adapted M mount lens.  Again, though, I don’t think the size and weight advantages are big enough for me to want to give up autofocus.  Maybe with the Summarit, but going to f/2.4 may be giving away a little too much bokeh, plus, that lens has just been discontinued. There is also a 75 Noctilux, not just the Summicrons.  I have no experience with it but would imagine it’s difficult to maintain accurate focus.  Even slight movements of photographer and model will push eyes outside the razor thin depth of field.

If you do mostly environmental portraits, either a 50mm or 35mm would be appropriate.  You mentioned 50mm, so I’ll stick with that.  The 50mm Summilux SL is absolutely fantastic except in the extreme corners, and who cares about extreme corners in a portrait lens.  Really lovely, swirly bokeh wide open.  The only challenges are the price and the size.  OK, it’s a little slow focusing as well, but that’s hardly a problem for portraiture.  Maybe if you had models who liked to twirl a lot that would be a problem, but otherwise not an issue.  The second choice would be the Summicron SL.  You mentioned you tend to shoot your Canons wide open, though, and while f/2 gives you plenty of separation on a 90mm or a 75mm, it’s maybe not what you are looking for on a 50mm.  I’d stick with f/1.4 lenses for portraits at this focal length.  The 50mm Summilux M is a wonderful lens, MUCH smaller And lighter than the SL version, and has enough depth of field that, unlike the 75mm or 50mm Noctilux, you probably wouldn’t need to worry about slight movement of the photographer or model moving eyes outside the limited depth of field.  It would be a good choice if you don’t mind giving up autofocus.  It makes the SL/SL2 a great “carry around” camera.  Optically, it’s quite good (was once considered the reference for all 50mm lenses), but it’s not in the same league as the SL Summilux.  That’s the price you pay for compactness.  Pictures will be a bit lower contrast than with the newer AF lens.  Probably a lot like what you are used to with the 1.2 Canon, though I have never spent any time with that lens.  Should be a bit sharper even wide open, but not “bitingly” sharp like the Summilux SL.  Personally, I’d avoid the Noctilux just because of the ultra narrow depth of field, just as with the 75mm Noctilux.  Other photographers swear by it, though, and it’s actually a bit smaller and lighter than the 50mm Summicron SL, so not a bad match size wise on the SL2.  Where it seems to dwarf the M cameras, it actually works quite well on the SL series.  Just not to my personal taste.

My recommendation would be either the 90mm Summicron SL or the 50mm Summilux SL if you plan to adapt one of your Canon lenses.  If you want a replacement for both, compromise on the 75mm Summicron SL and just crop a bit for head and shoulders shots.  Plenty of megapixels to play with, so that’s not exactly a problem.

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Posted (edited)

If you can live with the slightly deeper DoF wide open, I'd go (and did) with 75mm over the 90mm. With 47MPx on offer and given the cost, bth in dollars and mass of a full set of primes, I've adopted a strategy of skipping focal lengths and cropping when necessary.  In my case, for portraiture, I've complimented the 75mm with the truly excellent Sigma 135mm which affords a nice range of options for width and context straight through tight and isolated. That said, any of the 50's paired with a 90mm would likely yield similar capabilities, but the price tag slightly to significantly higher.  The key point being to consider the longer term, ie. what set of primes you might be best served by, assuming this isn't the only one you will ever add. 

Edited by Tailwagger

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      Hi there! I am a new Leica SL2 owner. So far the only lens I have is the 24-90, and would love to buy a portrait prime. For a bit of background, I came from Canon with the 85 and 50 1.2 lenses, and which I shot wide open or at 1.4 most of the time. I am currently torn: SL50 Summilux, M50 Summilux, or something else entirely? 
      Grateful for advice!
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