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Zero Leica lens


lct

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My most-favored M-mount lens is the one that lured me to add the Leica M system, six years ago, the Summilux-M 50mm ASPH, but, I soon started adding Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses, brands which were already familiar to me, as SLR lenses. I believe that I have shot more total images with my Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1,4 ZM than all of my other M-mount lenses, combined. When the monochrome images shot with my Zeiss C Biogon 21mm f/4,5 ZM are included, I seem to be more of a Zeiss shooter, than a Leica shooter, if one considers the optic more important than the sensor.

Notably, on that day in April 2018, when I decided to scuttle plans to acquire a Nikon Nikkor “super telephoto” lens, for bird photography, I bought pre-owned Summilux, the new M10, and, a new Zeiss Otus 85mm ZF.2, with the funds I would have used for the monster telephoto lens. (ZF.2 = Nikon F mount, with electronic contacts to communicate with the camera.) An injured rotator cuff, in my left shoulder, would have prevented me from using the tele for birds, for some time, anyway, and by the time my shoulder was healed and rehabilitated, my wife and I had both refocused our nature photography on the macro and close-range aspects of being “citizen scientists.” (She has, since then, attained the status of Texas Master Naturalist, which requires much continuing education and volunteer work to maintain. I remain at the pack mule level*. 😉 )

Liking the idea of using the compression of short telephoto lenses, for landscapes, I soon added a Zeiss Tele Tessar 85mm f/4 ZM.

I am still trying to decide how I feel about the 18mm ZM, which I acquired pre-owned. Vignetting is heavy, and, 21mm is almost always wide enough. My most-recent Zeiss addition is a pre-owned 25mm ZM, which I have yet to use much. (My 21mm and 35mm lenses tend to such all of the oxygen from the room.)

My early Voigtlander acquisitions were/are more about size than performance. The Snapshot Skopar 25mm has seen some amount of action simply because it has been serving as a glorified body cap, when the camera was being toted inside a very small pouch, at the time. This one is not rangefinder-coupled, but, Distance/Scale focusing works well enough, at 25mm. The 35mm f/2.5 Color Skopar II is a like-able little lens, suited for the times that its compactness has been more importance than the well-corrected optics or fast aperture of the Distagon.

In early 2022, I seriously considered acquiring an M10 Monochrom, but, then decided to turn my attention to lenses. I did plenty of “homework” on the Noctilux f/0.95, and the several versions of the f/1 50mm Noctilux, before deciding to buy a pre-owned APO Summicron-M 75mm ASPH, then, Voigtlander 50mm f/1.0 and 21mm f/1.4 Nokton lenses. Thus far, I have no regrets about not getting a Noctilux.

Last August, I added a Voigtlander 50mm APO Lanthar, a truly mighty lens, but not a “threat” to my Summilux. The focus fall-off and background blur of the Summilux ASPH are why I added the Leica M system. The Summilux “character” is caused by its perfect level of imperfectly-corrected optics. The tendency of the Summilux ASPH to flare is “a feature, not a bug.” Sometimes, however, I need the superb coatings of the APO Lanthar, when flare must be prevented/mitigated, and/or I may want the more-perfectly-corrected optics for scientific/technical images, or, may The Lord forbid, forensic/evidentiary reasons. (The original reason I started using interchangeable-lens cameras was to get close-range and macro images of assault victims, and to a lesser degree, suicide victims, during my career in public service. Let’s just say it became a passion, to perform this sad duty with a high degree of technical skill. I added the Leica M system to re-learn how to want to photograph people.)

If circumstances compelled me to drastically thin the Leica M herd, in order to raise funds, the Summilux-M ASPH could be the only Leica lens that I keep. I could do everything else with Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses.

*Nothing wrong with being the assistant. From the time we met, in 1997, until I finally started serious shooting, in 2010, I was the one with binoculars, a steering wheel, a canoe paddle, a snake stick, and/or her camera bag/case in my hands. I am still better at spotting/locating subjects in nature, especially the wee beasties.

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Posted (edited)

I have zero Leica lenses for mounts other than M.

I shot Canon glass on FD and Eos mount, shot Sony / Zeiss on Sony A Mount, shot more Sony G Master on the FE mount.
Subjectively, I was always happy with the output given the media available (again) at that time, with any of the systems.
With Leica M, I've always chosen recent (at the time of purchase) versions of focal lengths, Primarily all Summiluxes, for the maximum aperture.   
I find the detail, micro contrast and colour saturation of Leica lenses appeal to my eye. But overall, it is the mechanical feel and texture of the Leica system in hand, that makes it a joy to use for me on a very personal level.

Were I advising anyone today, choose Voightlander, Zeiss ... what ever, Leica has gone stratospheric, the minute or subtle differences IMO are very often not worth the entry price. I question myself on this, but when I take my camera out, it's just such a perfect tool to achieve what I want from my photography.

 

Edited by Eoin
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