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stephengv

How good is the 35 Summilux TL

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How good is the 35 SUMMILUX TL? Compared to the other TL primes:23mm and 18mm, M series primes and L mount primes. 

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I've had both the 18 and 23, but neither at the same time as the other, and neither at the time as the 35, which I have now. So my response is purely subjective.

The 35 is just a cracking standard (50mm equiv) lens for the CL. My feeling is that it is better than the 18 and probably better than the 23. It s difficult to be sure, though, since I shoot the 35 mostly at f1.4, and the different DoF inevitably colours your response. The bokeh on the 35 is as smooth and attractive as any Leica lens I've had - better, I think, than the Summilux-M 35 FLE (which I also have) - it's a later generation and, of course, it uses digital corrections, which probably helps.

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I totally agree with Paul. Ever since I owe this lens, it stays on my CL most of the time. I use it for almost everything and I am always very pleased with the IQ and colors. I have several TL and Nikkor lenses, but 35 is by far my favorite.

We had several discussions about 35TL in the past. Maybe this thread would interest you:

 

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Until I bought my first EVF Leica (SL, then CL) I shot entirely with primes (on M bodies). The SL and TL zooms were good, though, and so they tended to live on those cameras: the 24-90 on the SL, and then first the 18-56, and later the 11-23 on the CL. Like Louis, since getting the 35 it stays on my camera. Yes, I have to be a bit more agile in framing, but the benefits of re-learning how to get the right perspective are real; when it works the results with this lens are distinctive and satisfying!

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Posted (edited)

"Better" is a relative term when discussing lenses.  For some shots, under some conditions, the TL-35 is outstanding.  For many shots, the 35 or the 23 are indistinguishable, and both give very pleasing results.  

Was it Mandler who said "it takes at least a year to evaluate a lens, anything less is a shortcut" (presumably in German, of course).

Edited by rob_w

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9 hours ago, Louis said:

I totally agree with Paul. Ever since I owe this lens, it stays on my CL most of the time. I use it for almost everything and I am always very pleased with the IQ and colors. I have several TL and Nikkor lenses, but 35 is by far my favorite.

We had several discussions about 35TL in the past. Maybe this thread would interest you:

 

Thank you!

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7 hours ago, rob_w said:

"Better" is a relative term when discussing lenses.  For some shots, under some conditions, the TL-35 is outstanding.  For many shots, the 35 or the 23 are indistinguishable, and both give very pleasing results.  

Was it Mandler who said "it takes at least a year to evaluate a lens, anything less is a shortcut" (presumably in German, of course).

So the 23 is as good as the 35? Thanks

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7 hours ago, rob_w said:

"Better" is a relative term when discussing lenses.  For some shots, under some conditions, the TL-35 is outstanding.  For many shots, the 35 or the 23 are indistinguishable, and both give very pleasing results.  

Was it Mandler who said "it takes at least a year to evaluate a lens, anything less is a shortcut" (presumably in German, of course).

Thank you

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4 hours ago, stephengv said:

So the 23 is as good as the 35? Thanks

TL 35 is better for lots of reason

- creamy bokeh

- faster aperture 

- can keep aperture open at f/1.4 at minimum focusing distance. Instead of weird TL 23 behaviour to close down automatically until f/2.8 the closer you get to minimum distance. 

- better build quality : made in Germany instead of Japan. Come with a full metal hood instead of a half plastic one. 
 

- it is a 50mm equivalent, which I personally prefer over 35mm equivalent. 
 

By the way TL 23 real name should be Summicron-TL 23mm f/2.0-2.8 because of its variable aperture. 
It was design at a time where Leica took weird optical decision. At the same time they also designed Leica X typ 113 with a Summilux 23mm f/1.7 which should be renamed Summilux 23mm f/1.7-2.8 too. Same variable aperture at closest distance (start to close at 1m and below). Which is quite annoying. 
 

Last thing, price : CL + Summicron-TL 23 is quite close to Q2 price. In all fairness Q2 cropped at 35mm is way better than the TL 23mm : more resolution  (30MP) ; faster aperture ; sharp edge to edge at f/1.7 (instead of having to close aperture down to f/4) ; OIS ; bigger sensor size (1.25x instead of 1.5x crop)

However CL + TL 35mm is better than Q2 cropped at 50mm : more resolution (24MP vs 15MP) ; thinner depth of field ; faster aperture ; bigger sensor size (1.5x vs 1.8x) 
 

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...and I prefer being able to change the lenses on the CL to any version of the Q. The 11-23 and 55-135 paired with the 35mm f1.4 is a fantastic setup. Throw in a 60mm f2.8 Macro, dedicated flash and radio TTL trigger and the setup is complete.

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4 hours ago, nicci78 said:

TL 35 is better for lots of reason

- creamy bokeh

- faster aperture 

- can keep aperture open at f/1.4 at minimum focusing distance. Instead of weird TL 23 behaviour to close down automatically until f/2.8 the closer you get to minimum distance. 

- better build quality : made in Germany instead of Japan. Come with a full metal hood instead of a half plastic one. 
 

- it is a 50mm equivalent, which I personally prefer over 35mm equivalent. 
 

By the way TL 23 real name should be Summicron-TL 23mm f/2.0-2.8 because of its variable aperture. 
It was design at a time where Leica took weird optical decision. At the same time they also designed Leica X typ 113 with a Summilux 23mm f/1.7 which should be renamed Summilux 23mm f/1.7-2.8 too. Same variable aperture at closest distance (start to close at 1m and below). Which is quite annoying. 
 

Last thing, price : CL + Summicron-TL 23 is quite close to Q2 price. In all fairness Q2 cropped at 35mm is way better than the TL 23mm : more resolution  (30MP) ; faster aperture ; sharp edge to edge at f/1.7 (instead of having to close aperture down to f/4) ; OIS ; bigger sensor size (1.25x instead of 1.5x crop)

However CL + TL 35mm is better than Q2 cropped at 50mm : more resolution (24MP vs 15MP) ; thinner depth of field ; faster aperture ; bigger sensor size (1.5x vs 1.8x) 
 

Thank you for a detail response. Appreciate it. 

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1 hour ago, Gregm61 said:

...and I prefer being able to change the lenses on the CL to any version of the Q. The 11-23 and 55-135 paired with the 35mm f1.4 is a fantastic setup. Throw in a 60mm f2.8 Macro, dedicated flash and radio TTL trigger and the setup is complete.

Thank you for your opinion. 

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Personally, I like the 50mm FOV so the 35TL on the CL is one of my favourites for the AF system (next is the 11-23) I have also used the 35mm TL on my Pana S1R, it's a fantastic lens, I also owned the 23mm TL but because of the close focus change in f-stop (for whatever reason) it left a sour taste in my mouth so I sold it, no regrets, the 23mm end of the 11-23 is good enough for my needs.

Bottom line - The 35mm TL Summilux is an awesome lens

I have never owned the 18mm pancake but the 11-23 covers that too.

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1 hour ago, Marac said:

Personally, I like the 50mm FOV so the 35TL on the CL is one of my favourites for the AF system (next is the 11-23) I have also used the 35mm TL on my Pana S1R, it's a fantastic lens, I also owned the 23mm TL but because of the close focus change in f-stop (for whatever reason) it left a sour taste in my mouth so I sold it, no regrets, the 23mm end of the 11-23 is good enough for my needs.

Bottom line - The 35mm TL Summilux is an awesome lens

I have never owned the 18mm pancake but the 11-23 covers that too.

Thank you. Is the aperture change of the 23 that annoying? 

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No.  It only happens at v short distances (<18”) when you would need more DOF anyway. 

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37 minutes ago, rob_w said:

No.  It only happens at v short distances (<18”) when you would need more DOF anyway. 


ok good to know

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2 hours ago, stephengv said:

Thank you. Is the aperture change of the 23 that annoying? 

I understand why they did it but for me, at the time, I had the 23mm range covered by 2 other lenses (11-23 / 18-56) I opted to sell it during my lens cull and I prefer the 35 on my CL and I actually prefer the Sigma 45mm on the S1R and the CL. Personal taste I think

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I rather like the 23. The aperture change is a so what for me, and it’s compact size and FOV are good. I just wish the 35 was smaller. 

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36 minutes ago, geoffreyg said:

I rather like the 23. The aperture change is a so what for me, and it’s compact size and FOV are good. I just wish the 35 was smaller. 

Do you think the 23 is comparable to the 35 in terms of image quality? 

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I don't know. The 35 looks superlative, people rave about it. The 23 is quite nice, I'm having a good time with it, but not sure its quite as magical as the 35. But its fine and maybe  a wee bit better than the 18-56, which is surprisingly quite good too. 

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