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Best 28mm for M11


tashley
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Posted (edited)

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I’ve tried several 28 Crons and an elmarit or two, None have been impressive and given their prices I wonder if something from CV or Zeiss at a fraction of the price might be satisfactory at least?

 

Any thoughts?

Edited by tashley
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On 3/19/2022 at 6:51 PM, tashley said:

I’ve tried several 28 Crons and an elmarit or two, None have been impressive and given their prices I wonder if something from CV or Zeiss at a fraction of the price might be satisfactory at least?

 

Any thoughts?

Have you tried the current production Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH #11672? 

If not, I would recommend taking your M11 to your friendly neighborhood Leica boutique and asking to test that lens.  I used to own the older version and it was a stellar optic.  The new, recalculated and upgraded #11672 would have to be even better than its predecessor. 

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I have the Matt Black Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH on my M11 and very happy with it - the built in hood is also a nice touch.

Whilst I also have lenses like the 35mm f2 APO and Noctilux 50mm 1.2, I really like this 28mm lens on my M11. Not easy to find now as limited to 450 but the same optics as the standard Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH so just as good to buy that one new or used for a good price.

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Posted (edited)

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On 3/19/2022 at 6:51 PM, tashley said:

I’ve tried several 28 Crons and an elmarit or two, None have been impressive and given their prices I wonder if something from CV or Zeiss at a fraction of the price might be satisfactory at least?

 

Any thoughts?

Very surprised to hear this, and I have to think you had a bad copy of the 28 SC Asph v2. Took me three copies to get a good one that did not have ridiculous field curvature and that was properly calibrated for f-2 on my M10-R and M10M. Securing a good copy, the landscape images I have printed 16x24 at 360 ppi on Exhibition Fibre are equal in the resolution of fine detail to previous prints from the S2 with 35mm S, and come very very close to 16x20 prints from drum scanned 4x5 Provia 100F shot with an Arca Swiss and Rodenstock 135 mm APO Sironar. I’m not at all convinced by Leica’s QC having owned a plethora of M lenses across both film and digital bodies. 
 

One other thought, have you considered the SL system as a means of getting the APO SC’s. I hear the 28 APO L is incredible?

Edited by jplomley
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On 4/30/2022 at 3:40 PM, Herr Barnack said:

Have you tried the current production Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH #11672? 

If not, I would recommend taking your M11 to your friendly neighborhood Leica boutique and asking to test that lens.  I used to own the older version and it was a stellar optic.  The new, recalculated and upgraded #11672 would have to be even better than its predecessor. 

It’s the 11627 I have and now that it and my M11 have been to hospital it is performing as well as it’s mtf predicts, which is fine but not special and not really up to the M11…

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2 hours ago, tashley said:

It’s the 11627 I have and now that it and my M11 have been to hospital it is performing as well as it’s mtf predicts, which is fine but not special and not really up to the M11…

Hmmm, sounds like you would only be happy with the 28 APO SC L lens I suspect. You can be sure the SL3 will be minimal 60 MP, but I would expect more like 80 MP or more.

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Posted (edited)

No mention of 28 M Summilux.  Bigger, heavier and more expensive than slower M options (but smaller than moving to SL), many here love theirs. 
 

https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2017/3/12/quick-comparison-two-generations-of-leica-28mm-lenses

https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2016/7/31/28mm-summilux-part-2-in-bright-daylight-and-on-the-street

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2022 at 4:51 PM, tashley said:

I’ve tried several 28 Crons and an elmarit or two, None have been impressive and given their prices I wonder if something from CV or Zeiss at a fraction of the price might be satisfactory at least?

....fine but not special and not really up to the M11

I'd love to help, but your descriptions of the 28s' failings are a bit vague. Which lenses do you find more impressive and special, and in what way?

I can't tell exactly what you are looking for. Which means I can't suggest where to find it.

Resolution across the frame? Or in the center? And wide-open - or at f/5.6? Micro-contrast - or global contrast? Color rendering - or tonal (light to dark) rendering?

Background separation? 3D effect? Bokeh? Any/all of the above?

What's missing?

..................

I can already hear the howls of anguish as I write this - but the 28mm focal length in the M system has always been a bit of a step-child as regards development.

Consider:

First 35 f/2.8, 1958..................first 28 f/2.8, 1965 (7-year gap, and pretty good for the era)

First 35mm f/2.0, 1958...................................................................................................................................................first 28 f/2.0, 2000 (42-year gap)

First 35mm f/1.4, ..1961......................................................................................................................................................................................first 28mm f/1.4, 2015 (54-year gap)

Although only a cosmetic feature, f/2.8+ 35s were offered in silver and black from the very beginning (with a hiatus between 1970-ish and the mid 1990s). As were the 21mm Super-Angulons (until 1980).

The 28s beyond the 1950s f/5.6 Summaron existed in any color one wanted - so long as it was black ;) . Until a Summicron in silver arrived early in this millenium - the Elmarit ASPH only comes in silver as special editions, I believe.

May have something to do with the historic M designs. 28s are not that much wider than a 35, but generally required an accessory finder. Certainly up until the M4-P (1981) although I've never found the 28 lines crammed into the 0.72x finder very helpful. When Leica finally got the 28mm f/2.0 out the door, it was introduced side-by-side with the more 28-friendly 0.58x viewfinder (RIP). I still have the brochure - they were marketed virtually as a "set." Which implies Leica finally saw the problem there.

Now, from the perspective (hah!) of photographers, the 28mm lenses certainly got (and get) a lot of impressive use and attention, from David Douglas Duncan in Vietnam, to Mary Ellen Mark's essays of the 70s and 80s, right up through Harvey, Webb, and Franklin shooting for Magnum and Nat. Geo.

But not so much from Leica itself (although they may be playing catch-up now).

But again - what is it you want that the current 28s don't have?

Edited by adan
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Posted (edited)
On 3/19/2022 at 10:51 PM, tashley said:

I’ve tried several 28 Crons and an elmarit or two, None have been impressive and given their prices I wonder if something from CV or Zeiss at a fraction of the price might be satisfactory at least?

 

Any thoughts?

If you aren’t getting acceptable images from a 28mm summicron asph and M11 then the problem is either with the hardware, as in faulty and needs attention, or it’s with yourself.

I’ve had two 28mm summicron asph’s; a v1 that I used on film for years and more lately a 28mm summicron asph Safari edition that I mainly use on my M10-R, but also with film on my MP. 

All versions of 28mm summicron asph are excellent and I’ve certainly never found any reason to say otherwise with either of the ones I've had and currently have.

How about uploading some examples of what the problem is, if indeed there is a problem?

Your op is vague to say the least and If all you’re saying is that you don’t see anything in your images that you couldn’t achieve with a 28mm from another manufacturer at considerably less outlay, then you know the answer.

 

Edited by Ouroboros
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ouroboros said:

If you aren’t getting acceptable images from a 28mm summicron asph and M11 then the problem is either with the hardware, as in faulty and needs attention, or it’s with yourself.

I’ve had two 28mm summicron asph’s; a v1 that I used on film for years and more lately a 28mm summicron asph Safari edition that I mainly use on my M10-R, but also with film on my MP. 

All versions of 28mm summicron asph are excellent and I’ve certainly never found any reason to say otherwise with either of the ones I've had and currently have.

How about uploading some examples of what the problem is, if indeed there is a problem?

Your op is vague to say the least and If all you’re saying is that you don’t see anything in your images that you couldn’t achieve with a 28mm from another manufacturer at considerably less outlay, then you know the answer.

 

As it turns out, and there’s no reason you should know this, I’m a fair judge of whether a lens is up to a sensor or not.
 

The first three 28s I tried on my M11 exhibited poor performance on the right side. Since none of my other lenses had the same issue I tended to the hypothesis that they were poorly QCd - which absolutely does happen, and not very rarely, with Leica. 
 

As the frustration grew my dealer suggested that both the camera and the latest Cron be sent off to be looked at. 
 

The camera, quite new and carefully used, came back with a long list of interventions including a sensor realignment. The lens was also adjusted though they did not specify in what manner. 
 

Post repair, it is symmetrical but not good at the edges (I’m not usually much of a corner guy) until F5.6 and is actively soft at F2. It’s a little bit better (because the edges get cropped a bit) when one forces lens corrections in Lightroom by spoofing the software into thinking it’s a different camera, required because LR lens corrections still don’t work for the M11 
 

For a lens of this price I expect better. The M11’s resolution has pushed it past what it can excellently do. You don’t have to trust me on this: Leica’s own MTF tells the same story.
 

The fact that you have found your various versions satisfactory on other cameras is barely relevant.  The Prius is an excellent Uber but less well suited to the Monaco Grand Prix.  

Edited by tashley
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10 hours ago, Jeff S said:

No mention of 28 M Summilux.  Bigger, heavier and more expensive than slower M options (but smaller than moving to SL), many here love theirs. 
 

https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2017/3/12/quick-comparison-two-generations-of-leica-28mm-lenses

https://www.streetsilhouettes.com/home/2016/7/31/28mm-summilux-part-2-in-bright-daylight-and-on-the-street

 

Jeff

Thanks Jeff - that’s a lens of which I hear good things but it’s just a step too far weight wise given what else I carry!

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9 minutes ago, tashley said:


The fact that have found your various versions satisfactory on other cameras is barely relevant.....

It would have been more useful, not least to yourself, if you'd been more clear about your experiences from the start, which, for the record, I don't doubt.   I can only relate my own experience in the context of what you have said in your op.  I don't have an M11, so I have no idea how the 28mm summicron asph behaves with it, regardless of what the mtf says.

Whatever it is you're looking for, I'm dubious that if a 28mm summicron asph doesn't cut it for you with the M11, then a CV or Chinese 28mm lens is likely to provide an appreciable improvement.   

Unless you need f1.4, the 28mm summilux seems to me to be overkill in most ways, eg: additional bulk, weight, vf blockage and cost (as it was from my own point of view as a landscape photographer).  I don't think the elmarit-m would give you anything more than the summicron asph can, so that leaves you with a bit of a lottery when it comes to considering Japanese and Chinese alternatives unless you're open to looking outside of the M system.

Since you're a fair judge of whether a lens is up to a sensor or not, I hope you find what you're looking for within the M system.  Either way, I'd be interested to know the outcome of your quest.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Ouroboros. The first post in the thread was before the diagnosis and repair so now I have a good handle on what to expect from the combination at best. Interestingly in the meantime I got a Q2 and even wide open its edges are better, though of course there’s some trickery going on and it’s a lower resolution sensor. 

Post the repair, I can live with the ‘Cron but I’d still be interested in some Zeiss or CV alternatives though in mu experience the QC at CV is what you’d expect at the price!

Edited by tashley
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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, tashley said:

Thank you. The first post in the thread was before the diagnosis and repair so now I have a good handle on what to expect from the combination at best. Interestingly in the meantime I got a Q2 and even wide open its edges are better, though of course there’s some trickery going on and it’s a lower resolution sensor. 
 

Post the repair, I can live with the ‘Cron but I’d still be interested in some Zeiss or CV alternatives though in mu experience the QC at CV is what you’d expect at the price!

I fought-off consideration of a Q2 because I do like my 28mm summicron on the M10-R (28mm and equivalent across different formats is my most used focal length), but the prospect of a Q3 with it's rumoured (I know, probably total bs, but.....)  60-80+mp sensor and a 28mm lens that complements it, even if propped-up in firmware, wouldn't be so easily dismissed. 

Edited by Ouroboros
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1 hour ago, Ouroboros said:

I fought-off consideration of a Q2 because I do like my 28mm summicron on the M10-R (28mm and equivalent across different formats is my most used focal length), but the prospect of a Q3 with it's rumoured (I know, probably total bs, but.....)  60-80+mp sensor and a 28mm lens that complements it, even if propped-up in firmware, wouldn't be so easily dismissed. 

I'd buy that in a flash. I just got back from a week shooting in New York and far the most used lens was the 28 Cron, which had me quite often wishing I'd just take the Q2 instead of a whole sack of stuff. In practice, I do want the extra resolution often but not always so an 80mp Q3 that I could crop to 35 or 50mm FOV whilst still having a lot of pixels, or shoot at 28mm for when I really wanted the resolution, would suite me really well.

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5 hours ago, tashley said:

Thanks Jeff - that’s a lens of which I hear good things but it’s just a step too far weight wise given what else I carry!

Same here, as I’m satisfied with the Summicron v.1 on various M bodies, although I don’t own the M11.  I decide based on my modestly sized prints, and have not been compelled to upgrade to the more recent Summicron or Summilux.  

Jeff

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