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Best value 'M' lenses available today


pgk

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We can't talk about value M and not bring up Voitlander!

 

The 28 Ultron

The 50 1.5 Nokton

The 35 1.4 Nokton Classic II MC 

 

I purchased all 3 of these lenses for under 1500 bucks. All unique and very good value. I would put the 28 Ultron ahead of anything Leica has in the 28mm space. 

 

I love My Leica lenses but sometimes I just want a lens I don't care as much about on my camera. 

 

Cheers

 

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1 hour ago, Al Brown said:

No spreading of Chinese whispers. Zeiss OFFICIALLY said it is not exiting anything...yet. 

That's what Olympus said before exiting, probably to get rid of whatever stock left over 

Nevertheless, the Zeiss m lens prices are more than fair relative to the quality your getting compared to Leica alternatives.

Edited by cboy
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2 hours ago, Al Brown said:

If you mean the silver 11137 Summicron 90 it has exploded in price recently, going 30-70% more than the Summarit. Interesting is Adan's post here saying Summarits are reworked Summicrons.

Yes, Al, the 11 137. Didn't know about the price hike but, in all honesty, I'm not surprised; the thing is a fully-functioning sculptural Work of Art.

FWIW here is one part of good-old Ken Rockwell's assessment of the beast;

"The chromed brass version is exquisite. It feels as heavy as a lead weight, but more precise and smooth than I can describe. There is no play, while the focus ring turns smoothly. The aperture ring turns effortlessly, also without any play..."

Couldn't agree more.

Apologies in Advance for posting this snap (yet again) but here is mine on the M Monochrom...

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As far as Andy's / Adan's post goes it so happens that I was one of the members who gave it a 'Like' way back on 16th Jan 2020. How time flies!

Philip.

Edited by pippy
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On 6/13/2023 at 11:37 AM, pgk said:

I'm surprised at the prices of some M lenses. Having bought some Summarits over the last couple of years I would have to say that the 90mm is still surprisingly cheap, followed by the 75mm (in f/2.5 versions anyway). These are great little lenses and are very capable indeed, offerer a excellent alternative to older or far more expensive current offerings. The same cannot be said of the 50mm (I can't find one and I've been looking!) or 35mm (I have fortunately) which are starting to climb in price and have also become very scarce. So people are already well aware of their virtues and prepared to pay for them.

Has anyone got any other nominations for currently 'undervalued' M lenses?

Summicron 50mm v5

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I will agree that the Elmar-M 50mm is a good value. I do not recall what I paid, but, for this quite modern Leica M lens, bought at an authorized Leica dealer, but I remember it being a tremendous value. I had started shooting Leica M system with a Summilux-M 50mm ASPH, starting “at the top,” but a smaller 50mm, to complement the larger Summilux, seemed to be a logical addition. This was during a time when I still planned to mostly shoot at 50mm, while using the M system, so, it did not seem excessive to have a Summilux ASPH, a current-version Summicron, and an Elmar, each with its distinct rendering. (The Elmar is the most “modern,” while the ‘Cron and ‘Lux each have some “character.”)

Version IV/V Summicron 50mm lenses seemed to be good values, when I was shopping for them, probably in 2019. Both have the same Walter Mandler 1979 optical element formula, so, Leica still refers to both as Version IV. The coatings, are, however, reported to be different. The 50-Jahre Special Edition seemed unloved, when I was shopping for a Summicron, so that is what I ended up buying, getting the modern coatings, no focusing tab, and detachable hood, with the fluted/scalloped focusing ring that I find appealing. Collectors have, however, “discovered” the 50-Jahre Special Edition, so, it is apparently no longer a “value” lens.

Edited by RexGig0
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On 6/14/2023 at 2:56 PM, rustyrus said:

We can't talk about value M and not bring up Voitlander!

 

The 28 Ultron

The 50 1.5 Nokton

The 35 1.4 Nokton Classic II MC 

 

I purchased all 3 of these lenses for under 1500 bucks. All unique and very good value. I would put the 28 Ultron ahead of anything Leica has in the 28mm space. 

 

I love My Leica lenses but sometimes I just want a lens I don't care as much about on my camera. 

 

Cheers

 

Cosina/Voigtlander does provide value for the dollar. Some of the newer ones have truly excellent optics, punching well above their weight, in value, while being really good, in their own right, not simply being a “budget alternative” to a specific Leica rival. The Nokton 50mm f/1.0 VM and Nokton 21mm f/1.4 are two examples of this, that I have acquired. The 50mm APO Lanthar has had my attention, for some time, too, but, it is becoming difficult to justify possessing too many 50mm lenses. (I could, however, justify acquiring a 50 APO Lanthar, if I were to use my forensic/evidentiary/crime scene photography training*, in a second career to shoot investigative or product images, if I chose to use Leica M cameras for that purpose. I might rather keep business and pleasure separate, however, using DSLRs for the business part.)

I just started using a Cosina Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar II, that I actually bought a few years ago, but then misplaced, before I had a chance to use it. During recent spring cleaning, I found it, so, it is now seeing daylight. The tiny Color Skopar seems to have a bit more barrel distortion than my Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 ZM, if a brick wall is in the background, but, otherwise, is a like-able little lens.

A few months go, I met a friend at a coffee shop, and got to try his Nokton 35mm f.1.4 II MC, and was favorably impressed. When I got to try a pre-ASPH Summilux 35mm Version II, at a local camera store, this week, it was good to be handling a Leica legend, but I could not convince myself that its Voigtlander Nokton rival was the lesser lens, unless, perhaps, I were to use it to shoot architecture. (Voigtlander 35mm Noktons are reported to have more barrel distortion than the Summilux Versions I and II, which are reported to have negligible or zero barrel distortion, which was unique for 35mm “pro” lenses, of their time.)

*I do not claim to have been a “professional photographer.” I was a public servant, a first responder, with the added duty of photography. A reason I added the Leica M system, after retirement, and started with a creative/character lens, was to act as an antidote to the sad things I had photographed, when working for the taxpayers.

Edited by RexGig0
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8 hours ago, RexGig0 said:

A few months go, I met a friend at a coffee shop, and got to try his Nokton 35mm f.1.4 II MC, and was favorably impressed.

I was trekking in Nepal in March and met another trekker who had an M246 with the Nokton 35mm f1.4 ii MC.  We did a lens swap, he had a go with my 28mm summicron safari and tried his Nokton.

I was also impressed. The Nokton is pretty much all I'd want in a 35mm f1.4 and I often think about buying one.  A little soft at max aperture but at f8 it's sharp across the frame and at the price it's an absolute bargain.  The only reason I haven't bought the Nokton yet is because I'm a long time user of the 35mm summicron asph v1, a lens I like a lot and would not be without despite it's lack of popularity with others here. 

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1 minute ago, lct said:

Plenty of both. What are you interested in, bodies or lenses?

I should have been more specific.  50mm Summicrons.  Someone mentioned the 50 Jahre Summicron up above and I own a 70 Jahre.  It's a Midland with 1913 - 1983 engraved on the tabbed focus ring.  

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50 minutes ago, RayD28 said:

Anyone know the difference between the 50 Jahre SE and the 70 Jahre SE?  I couldn't find anything on the 'net.  

The latter was issued in 1983 to commemorate the 70th birthday of the Ur-Leica. 1,375 Summicron 50mm lenses with engraving 1913 - 1983 were produced. These are black anodised lenses of the 11819 type. The former was issued in 2003 to commemorate the 50th birthday of the Summicron. The Leica code is 11615. 1,000 of these lenses were produced in silver chrome with scalloped focus ring. The optical design of both lenses is identical (type IV). Both have an external lens shade. 

Edited by Studienkamera
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I happend to use for many decades these Summicron (well not the 1913-1983 engraved but same optical cell), the two are different  :

- the "II" (from Wiki here) or "III" otherwise is one of the most "not sought after  50mm Summicron",

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in use it's very good and pleasant with "at top" results

- my "50 th Aniversary" 50mm Summicron is last optical cell but like the other has only 8 blades and shallow dof scale.

right is LTM same lens

 

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34 minutes ago, a.noctilux said:

I happend to use for many decades these Summicron (well not the 1913-1983 engraved but same optical cell), the two are different  :

- the "II" (from Wiki here) or "III" otherwise is one of the most "not sought after  50mm Summicron",

in use it's very good and pleasant with "at top" results

- my "50 th Aniversary" 50mm Summicron is last optical cell but like the other has only 8 blades and shallow dof scale.

right is LTM same lens

 

Is the focus throw comparable? Looks like they mostly got rid of the 10 on the barrel. Or am I mistaking?

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Welcome, dear visitor! As registered member you'd see an image here…

Simply register for free here – We are always happy to welcome new members!

45 minutes ago, Tomas Eriksson said:

Is the focus throw comparable? Looks like they mostly got rid of the 10 on the barrel. Or am I mistaking?

Not really comparable focus throw.

As user, with many years of using them, this doesn't bother me anymore.

Out of curiosity, I measured the spread of dof scale from 16 to 16  to see about 1cm more on the old design.

On the rings, from 5 to infinity, about 11mm from the older and 6/7mm on the new.

new six elements lens (4 groups) not same as old which has separate lenses on rear third "group" of new design.

👿

Sorry I was wrong pretending that the Summicron 50mm "1913-1983" has same optical cell as old Summicron "II".

I stay corrected, with this so called version IV which has same optical cell as last Summicron ...six elements in 4 group

 

 

 

Edited by a.noctilux
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17 hours ago, RexGig0 said:

I will agree that the Elmar-M 50mm is a good value. I do not recall what I paid, but, for this quite modern Leica M lens, bought at an authorized Leica dealer, but I remember it being a tremendous value. I had started shooting Leica M system with a Summilux-M 50mm ASPH, starting “at the top,” but a smaller 50mm, to complement the larger Summilux, seemed to be a logical addition. This was during a time when I still planned to mostly shoot at 50mm, while using the M system, so, it did not seem excessive to have a Summilux ASPH, a current-version Summicron, and an Elmar, each with its distinct rendering. (The Elmar is the most “modern,” while the ‘Cron and ‘Lux each have some “character.”)

Version IV/V Summicron 50mm lenses seemed to be good values, when I was shopping for them, probably in 2019. Both have the same Walter Mandler 1979 optical element formula, so, Leica still refers to both as Version IV. The coatings, are, however, reported to be different. The 50-Jahre Special Edition seemed unloved, when I was shopping for a Summicron, so that is what I ended up buying, getting the modern coatings, no focusing tab, and detachable hood, with the fluted/scalloped focusing ring that I find appealing. Collectors have, however, “discovered” the 50-Jahre Special Edition, so, it is apparently no longer a “value” lens.

I paid about euro 1200,- for a 35 cron v4 late nineties. And about euro 750,- for the 50 elmar-m 3 or 4 years later. Found it to be really good value at the time. And still seems to be so.

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The Summarit f/2.4 and f/2.5 M lens versions are best bang for the bucks indeed even their prices have also climbed up in recent years after Leica stopped making them. 

Good deals can still be found for the vintage Leitz 50/1.5 Summarit LTM lens between $500-600. This lens has an amazing bokeh even it is not super sharp in the center wide open. 

The Leica 90/2.8 Elmarit M (version I) is also quite affordable and works very well with high sharpness on modern digital cameras, too. 

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