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Leica M11 & first lens?


thinkscientist
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So I wasn’t expecting this situation but it’s a good one I guess. 

Have had a q2 for a few years ( love it ) and the curiosity and ambition to get a proper rangefinder got the better of me. I was going to buy the m10-r when it was released but then refrained.

However with the lighter body, USB c support and iPhone integration I couldn’t resist and ordered the m11. I did try one in a store on Thursday ( I love the handling ).  

I wasn’t expecting this…but lucky for me my M11 has been shipped already, I have no M mount lenses and now was wondering what would folks here use as a first lens. Should I just take the leap and order a summicron. Look for something second hand? Maybe an m mount 3rd like a voigtlander?
 

 

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What's your favourite focal length? All your options above are good ones, there are lots of nice second hand lenses. I like the size of the Summicrons, and don't miss the extra stop on the Summilux but YMMV. 

I would say pick your focal length first, then start looking for lenses within your budget. I have a 35mm Voigtlander and it's really nice, but rarely ever use it in favour of my Summicron. The Voigtlander is I think a little more resistant to flare, and I do find that both my 35mm ASPH and 50mm APO Summicrons are prone to flaring which may be a concern for you. 

Other than that though, they are all good options. Favourite focal length and whether you need a fast lens like an f/2 or f/1.4 would be your deciding factors I think. 

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What focal length are you interested in ?  
good place to start is a nice 35mm Summicron, or a 50mm ... the 50mm Summilux Asph  or the 35 Summicron asph are both perfect.

28-50 are a good combo as well   Or a 35-75. ... Note the M11 is fantastic with the older lenses as well better then the predecessors 

so do not be hesitant to try second hand glass.... both the 35 pre asph and 50mm pre asph  Summilux lenses are great.

75 Summilux is the personal favourite portrait lens, and the 35FLE is an amazing Enviromental portrait glass as well 

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Just now, sebben said:

Get a summicron. Best balance between size, performance and price.

With the high ISO performance being so good 1.4 lenses are overrated. Razor thin DOF is tiresome. Anyone want to buy a Noctilux F1? 

I would love to buy a Noctilux F1. Need a few months to replenish the toy fund but yes.

I personally love the Summilux lenses it gives a great creative edge razor sharp stoped down and dreamy wide open. 

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vor 1 Minute schrieb Artin:

I personally love the Summilux lenses it gives a great creative edge razor sharp stoped down and dreamy wide open. 

Exactly... Summicron or Summilux is also a question of 'lens character', not only light gathering capability! I love my two Summilux lenses (FLE 35, BC 50) for the way they are 'drawing'.

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1 hour ago, thinkscientist said:

Yeah when I was in the store last week. I tried a 35 and 50  and I would probably go 35mm

It's hard to go wrong with a 35mm Leica M lens - the question then becomes one of maximum aperture and as a result, the fingerprint of the lens (and of your purchasing power).

The f/2 Summicron is an excellent all-around lens, regardless of focal length. The f/2 Summicrons are the do it all lenses (IMHO), whether we are talking about 28mm, 35mm or 50mm.

The f/1.4 Summilux M lenses give you more creative control by giving you a thinner DOF at maximum aperture, and one more EV of light gathering ability.  Some M users love the wide open look; some don't care for it. 

The 35mm and 50mm Summicron APO lenses are the "holy grail" lenses - and they are priced accordingly.  There are examples posted here of images shot with the M11 and a 35mm or 50mm APO.  They are staggering in terms of their image quality; see posts 248 & 249 in this thread  https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/328239-the-leica-m11-images-thread/page/13/#comment-4358481 

Given the choice to have any two lens kit on earth, I would choose the 35 and 50 APO without a second thought.  Not everyone would agree, but that would be my choice.

Before you buy, think this through and come to a decision about what kind of rendering you like - in other words, what you want your lens to be able to do and what kind of fingerprint you like -  then choose your lens accordingly.

Edited by Herr Barnack
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If you kept the Q2, then get a 50 for sure. The Lux is great. I love the elmar-m on sunny days. I like a little more character than the APO myself, but it’s a super safe purchase. 
 

If you do landscape’s the SEM 21 is fantastic. My favorite lens. 
 

Go check out the flickr groups for different lenses. Great way to figure out what look you like. 

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If price is no object, the 35 and 50 apo are at the top of many people's lists.  the 35m apo is hard to get (unless you are very lucky) but the 50 seems to be readily available.  Since you already have the Q2, a 50 might be a better compliment if you tend to have both cameras on you.  If you are looking to keep just one camera on, then the 35 would be more similar to the 28 on the q2, if you like that focal length.

You can also get some of the non-Leica lenses to see which focal length you enjoy most and then decide if the upgrade to a Leica lens in that focal length is worth it.  All Leica lenses render differently so I would suggest you look though the forum picture threads and see which lens gives the look you want.  Many posters are good at noting the lens used.

Manual focus is definitely something that takes time to master.  Easier to focus at f/2 so if you aren't great a manual focus yet, a summilux or noctilux might be a waste if you have to stop down to nail focus.  the apos are great at giving 3d pop and separation at f/2.

I say that having only used a summicron and still needing a lot of time to focus...

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3 hours ago, M Journey said:

Manual focus is definitely something that takes time to master.  Easier to focus at f/2 so if you aren't great a manual focus yet, a summilux or noctilux might be a waste if you have to stop down to nail focus. 

Sorry, but you have a rangefinder camera. The rangefinder is the fastest way to focus, independent of the f-stop.

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9 hours ago, jankap said:

Sorry, but you have a rangefinder camera. The rangefinder is the fastest way to focus, independent of the f-stop.

I think M Journey was talking about precision and not speed of focusing. The shallower the DoF, the harder it is to focus correctly.

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1 hour ago, SrMi said:

I think M Journey was talking about precision and not speed of focusing. The shallower the DoF, the harder it is to focus correctly.

 

SrMi is correct.  I was talking about precision.  I think when Leica shooters refer to rangefinder focusing being the fastest, they are referring to setting the focus by approximating the distance to the subject and then composing with the eye and clicking.  This takes a lot of practice to be able to judge the focus length and not having to do it using the patch or an EVF.  Even more difficult to do it wide open with a Noct or Summilux.  At f/2, this is more forgiving.  I'm sure seasoned vets are able to do this quickly with a Noct, but new Leica m users surely can't, and I for sure can't.

With my Nikon z, all I had to do was tap the lcd screen on what I want to be in focus and the camera would focus and take the shot.  Not sure how that would ever lose to a rangefinder in speed but I'm not here to argue or start a focusing speed war.  I purchased a Leica because I felt that the Nikon turned me into an image taker and not a photographer.  I almost never used the EVF since it was always faster just tapping on the screen.  I found that I spent zero time thinking about exposure or composition and therefore while my pictures were always sharp, they were devoid of any feeling for the moment.  I am excited to finally build photography skills with the M, but am under no illusion that it will be easy.  I see many years ahead of me painstakingly learning the system and losing out on photos that I would have gotten with my Z.  Hopefully the journey will be worth it and in 5 - 10 years I will be proud of my rangefinder skills and am able to capture moments that I never would have if I just kept shooting with the Nikon.

I still have the Nikon (and 7 lenses) as I am not planning to purchase any other Leica lenses at the moment and will use the Nikon when a 35m lens just won't be sufficient.

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On 1/7/2022 at 10:00 AM, Stef63 said:

This data is collected from forum members who tend to “collect” lenses (more than the normal M user) with an average of 9 lenses per user.  However 99% say they have at least one 50mm.  
Up to you now and these stats might be helpful or not.  I started with a 28 and 90 on my m9.  Good luck. 

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Given that you can now crop much more than with previous Ms, I think the 35mm is the perfect do-it-all one lens kit. You can do street with zone focusing, you can do portraits, landscape, travel photography, etc. 

The best ones to me are the pre-asph models, but that’s only if you like a more imperfect / soft rendering wide open (from f2.8~f4 they’re all sharp and render very similarly). They are tiny, have character, and to me are the best Leica lenses. The ones to get are probably the Summicron V2/V3 or V4. V4 is the most famous one and would have less glow / be a bit sharper than the previous V2/3, but the V2/3 is slightly better built and has a bit more character wide open. From f2.8 I can’t tell the difference. 

If you want very sharp results from f2 onwards, then the summicron asph is a good option too. If you don’t mind size and want a shallower depth of field, the Summilux ASPH 35mm is a great option, and I do prefer its rendering to the Summicron ASPH. 

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22 hours ago, M Journey said:

 

SrMi is correct.  I was talking about precision.  I think when Leica shooters refer to rangefinder focusing being the fastest, they are referring to setting the focus by approximating the distance to the subject and then composing with the eye and clicking.  This takes a lot of practice to be able to judge the focus length and not having to do it using the patch or an EVF.  Even more difficult to do it wide open with a Noct or Summilux.  At f/2, this is more forgiving.  I'm sure seasoned vets are able to do this quickly with a Noct, but new Leica m users surely can't, and I for sure can't.

With my Nikon z, all I had to do was tap the lcd screen on what I want to be in focus and the camera would focus and take the shot.  Not sure how that would ever lose to a rangefinder in speed but I'm not here to argue or start a focusing speed war.  I purchased a Leica because I felt that the Nikon turned me into an image taker and not a photographer.  I almost never used the EVF since it was always faster just tapping on the screen.  I found that I spent zero time thinking about exposure or composition and therefore while my pictures were always sharp, they were devoid of any feeling for the moment.  I am excited to finally build photography skills with the M, but am under no illusion that it will be easy.  I see many years ahead of me painstakingly learning the system and losing out on photos that I would have gotten with my Z.  Hopefully the journey will be worth it and in 5 - 10 years I will be proud of my rangefinder skills and am able to capture moments that I never would have if I just kept shooting with the Nikon.

I still have the Nikon (and 7 lenses) as I am not planning to purchase any other Leica lenses at the moment and will use the Nikon when a 35m lens just won't be sufficient.

I get what you mean trying to focus with the patch ( it is really challenging ) have you found any good resources / activities to get better at this? @M Journey

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