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Help me decide: Leica 5CM f2 Summicron coll. vs 5cm f2.8 Elmar vs 50mm f2.8 Elmar-M (modern)


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Hi, I'm new to Leica and I'm looking into small-ish lens for everyday use. Which one of these (assuming all are in good condition) would you recommend?

Prices are:
Summicron €389 (little haze)
Elmar €499
Modern Elmar-M €660

Leaning towards the modern Elmar-M but I have zero experience with leica lenses.

Thank you!

Edited by anitsirk
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If you want contrast and sharpness and less flare, go with the Elmar-M. The only downside of this lens is the weird 6 blades…feels definitely cheaper than the classic ones. 

If you want classic rendering and bokeh, go with either the Elmar or the Summicron. Elmar is smaller when collapsed, but Summicron obviously is one stop faster. 
The summicron is more user friendly when changing the aperture by the way; just for that reason I’d pick the Summicron.

That being said, if you do go with the summicron I recommend you find one without haze. 

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@anitsirk

I have and had used them for a while on film and sensor for some.

- Summicron must NOT have haze to give consistent results

- used old Elmar for a while, only on film, in most case not discernable from coll. Summicron from f/2.8 onward with round aperture opening

- newer Elmar-M that I had in two units (one silver, then black), good overall lens with as said already six blades which can be seen in contre-jour spots

(for me ugly as fan of contre-jour), it has the nicest glass coating though, this one would be my goto lens if I didn't replaced with the follower ...

- Summarit-M 2.5/50mm not big, very light and compact without needing to collapse

 

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2 hours ago, jaapv said:

Elmar-M ( the last version) without doubt. It is a fantastic little lens and you can collapse it.

+1

The Elmar-M is sharp, contrasty and excellent close-up performance. Never flares in my experience.

The 2 others have a vintage look and nice to have, but for me as a second or third 50 :) not as my main Lens

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Thank you all! I read about the Leica glow, I honestly couldn't pinpoint this look yet. So far I really like the rendering of the 80mm/120mm Planar on the Hasselblad (I mostly shoot color film). Which one will be closest to the Leica glow or the Zeiss look? 

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7 minutes ago, anitsirk said:

Thank you all! I read about the Leica glow, I honestly couldn't pinpoint this look yet. So far I really like the rendering of the 80mm/120mm Planar on the Hasselblad (I mostly shoot color film). Which one will be closest to the Leica glow or the Zeiss look? 

I fear, none.

None of Leitz/Leica can give Zeiss lenses look.

I used with my Contax SLR, some nice Zeiss lenses Planar, they are not of same 'philosophy' (very contrasty and so 'too much' detailed rendering), most of older Leica lenses of same period are more subtle * and forgiving (for close portrait ...for example).

 

* may this be so called 'Leica glow' ?

I don't know what this is, I never need to give a name to narrow nice things down

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32 minutes ago, anitsirk said:

Thank you all! I read about the Leica glow, I honestly couldn't pinpoint this look yet. So far I really like the rendering of the 80mm/120mm Planar on the Hasselblad (I mostly shoot color film). Which one will be closest to the Leica glow or the Zeiss look? 

I have no experience with Hasselblad lenses but a Zeiss Planar 50/2 could be what you're after. One of the very best 50mm lenses available if you like contrasty results. Only con it can show some flare when strong light sources are just outside the frame but many Leica lenses are like that. Price wise it can be found new for about 650 € on e**y.

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You said "smallish lens" which suggests the collapsibles. But don't get fooled by size only. There are many Leica lenses available which are diminutive in size compared to SLR lenses. I own/ have owned the 3 you mentioned in your original post, and all are good...it just depends on the rendition you are seeking. The Zeiss look I only know from their SLR lenses, and I'd describe it as contrasty and vibrant. If that is what you are seeking, of the three you mentioned, the Elmar-M should fit the bill nicely.

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If you want Leica glow with great performance my choice would be the Summicron 50mm rigid. A big bigger than the ones you suggested but still small. Modern Leica lenses do not give you glow, instead they give you high contrast, 3D pop, high sharpness. The best for this in my opinion is the summilux 35mm / 50mm; I don’t think the Elmar-M has that pop, despite having high contrast and like someone said, no flare, which is better than any summicron 50mm in that regard. 

Older lenses give you glow, such as the collapsible and elmar, but they are not as sharp as the Zeiss glass….so I guess you’ll just have to try them to see if the level of sharpness is something you are ok with. I prefer vintage glass by the way, and I don’t like Leica’s ASPH lenses, so if it were me I’d always get vintage glass, but each to their own so you really have to try them out and see what you prefer (or look at pictures on flickr if you can’t use them in person). By the way another great small lens that performs really well is the Elmar 50mm f3.5 LTM red scale, if you really want the smallest package this is it, and it’s just 0.5 stops darker than the elmar f2.8…not too significant. 

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