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M11 What lens should I buy first?


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Posted (edited)

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I’m going to buy a M11, silver, and it’s hard to find “the right” first lens. Looking into 35mm and also 50mm. Read a lot of reviews about Leica summicrom, Summilux, Voigtländer, Zeiss etc..  What lens should I buy and Why? 😄

Edited by AndersPH
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Posted (edited)
vor 32 Minuten schrieb Antonio Russell:

Perhaps learn about photography with a cheaper camera before investing so much $$$?

If you don't even know what lens you want you should take your time IMO:

Another proposal could be to rent (or borrow) a rangefinder camera first?

Edited by jankap
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Which focal length have you used the most with other systems? What kind of images do you take? These are important questions to answer before anyone can help.

But at the end of the day, only you can answer what kind of lens you need or want.

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A measuring shoe camera is a reportage camera. handy, unobtrusive and fast.
The rangefinder is made for lenses up to 50mm. Of course, more is possible, but focussing becomes more difficult.
A rangefinder camera is a simple camera in terms of operation but "unusual" compared to reflex or mirrorless cameras.
So be careful, as has already been described. 
The classic focal length is 35mm. All the lenses mentioned with f2.0 are good. It is then a question of taste and budget.
Recently, not least because of the Q, more and more photographers are focussing on 28mm.  Today's sensors make lenses over 35mm superfluous.

If I only pack one lens, then the 35mm is the best compromise. If I take 2 with me, it's a 28mm and a 50mm. That gives me more flexibility. A great combination is also a 35mm and a 75mm. But then it gets heavier in the bag and that is no longer, as I said: light, inconspicuous and fast.
A good inexpensive choice are the Voigtländer.

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50mm Summilux.  When I look at the many images posted here on the forum the 35mm images often need cropping.   They're both great focal lengths, 90% of the time it won't matter, mastering photography will be slightly easier with one or the other depending on the photographer and subject.  

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Posted (edited)

The 50mm Summilux was my first Leica lens. It may very well be the only lens you need, but you'll find out eventually. The larger the aperture, and the longer the focal length, the harder it will be to focus. The Summilux is a great learning tool because once you master it, you can use any Leica lens.

Of course, you don't have to (and shouldn't) use it wide open all the time, but you have the option to do so when needed. That makes it very versatile.

Edited by evikne
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1 hour ago, AndersPH said:

I’m going to buy a M11, silver, and it’s hard to find “the right” first lens. Looking into 35mm and also 50mm.

I’m sure you have a solid background in photography, otherwise you wouldn't think about buying an M11.

That said, only you can decide if you prefer 35mm over 50mm. However, 35mm is the more versatile focal length. That's why I’d start here.

I’d buy a used 35mm Summicron ASPH freshly serviced. It’s the perfect mix of versatility, footprint, character, and sharpness. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, AndersPH said:

I’m going to buy a M11, silver, and it’s hard to find “the right” first lens. Looking into 35mm and also 50mm. Read a lot of reviews about Leica summicrom, Summilux, Voigtländer, Zeiss etc..  What lens should I buy and Why? 😄

If you're not sure go through the cheap lenses first and then decide which one to put your leica thousands on. But if you're at this stage of camera buying you should know what sort of photos and focal length you prefer. 

The generic answer is to get a 35mm lens. If you really don't know ger the Voigtlander 35f2 Ultron

If you are rich then get both and you’ll be pretty much done buying 35 & 50mm lenses for every day use. 

I'm not rich so it took me nearly 3 years to get to these 2. 

For every day use it doesn't get any better than the 35 and 50 summicrons. You can try Voigtlander and Zeiss but at the end of the day, the Summicrons rule. All roads lead to the summicrons eventually. 

I don't do used gear so these were bought brand new. 

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!

Edited by crons
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I would start with a Thypoch 28/1.4. Cheap and nonetheless excellent sharpness and bokeh. Enough potential for subject isolation in the near range. Easy to frame, as the full rangefinder view is about that, what the lens sees. The M11 sensor has enough reserve for cropping.

Later, when you get used, you can add a 50mm.

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1 hour ago, SiggiGun said:

If I only pack one lens, then the 35mm is the best compromise. If I take 2 with me, it's a 28mm and a 50mm. That gives me more flexibility. A great combination is also a 35mm and a 75mm. 

Agreed

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Posted (edited)

Interesting. I chose my first Leica M lens before I knew which Leica M camera I would be acquiring, upon which to use it. Focal length was only part of it. The character of the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas was important. The character of the background blur was important.

Edited by RexGig0
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1 hour ago, crons said:

If you're not sure go through the cheap lenses first and then decide which one to put your leica thousands on. But if you're at this stage of camera buying you should know what sort of photos and focal length you prefer. 

The generic answer is to get a 35mm lens. If you really don't know ger the Voigtlander 35f2 Ultron. 

If you are rich then get both and you’ll be pretty much done buying 35 & 50mm lenses for every day use. 

I'm not rich so it took me nearly 3 years to get to these 2. 

For every day use it doesn't get any better than the 35 and 50 summicrons. You can try Voigtlander and Zeiss but at the end of the day, the Summicrons rule. All roads lead to the summicrons eventually. 

I don't do used gear so these were bought brand new. 

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!

Nice Crons!

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The reason I have a 35&50 is because I am primarily a 50mm shooter and I know how I want my frames to be. It doesn't matter where i go. It's not about capturing everything it's about how to capture it the way I like to capture it. my style. My way. 

If you try to get lenses for the greatest flexibility to capture everything under the sun then maybe a Leica M wouldn't be the best tool. At least not for me. 

I would get a Nikon and a 24-70 with a 70-200 zoom lens and those will give me the greatest flexibility. 

Or you can just get a 12mm and then a 21mm and a 28mm and a 35mm and a 50mm and a 75mm and a 90mm and a 135mm. And carry them all with you when you travel because God knows what you'll encounter and you'll need the right focal length. 

See how this gets ridiculous. For me at least. I can travel the entire world with 2 lenses. 35 & 50. Doesnt matter where I am. 

I can go anywhere anyplace with a 50mm and capture anything. Because it's the way I want to capture it. 

A 35mm is like a 50mm but for when you don't have enough room, or you need to fit more when you're close. But in the end I frame them the same way. That's why low distortion for a 35mm is imperative for me and the reason I chose the 35 Summicron ASPH. 

I also like 35mm because ir doesn't add anything to the photo. It's just what you saw. The 50mm does look narrow, but the 35mm is a very natural view. Some people say it's boring and they prefer the wide angle drama. 

I prefer to have the drama in the photo itself or what is happening instead of fake it through wide angle lenses or exagerate blurry backgrounds with long lenses wide open. I'm not into that sort of thing. 

You can't hide behind a 50mm lens with Schtick. And the same with a 35 it's just that the 35 is more practical especially if it's intimate moments or you need to fit architecture when you're standing relatively close to it. 

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Posted (edited)

A 40mm F1.4 Nokton lens might be the answer.  It's not 35mm or 50mm, the camera won't have the framelines meaning you'll have to apply guesswork to the composition. But I reckon getting used to that will help long term once you get used to it. Plus the lens behaves how most do, ie different characters wide open and stopped down.  It's not expensive and is tiny, consistent with the rangefinder ethos. The point is, once you familiarise yourself with all that in practical use, you'll also be in a position to dictate what focal length you're veering towards whether 50mm/35mm or even 28mm and what apertures suit you best.  I've realised that my favorite combinations to use when out are 28mm and 50mm with 35mm if taking just the one lens.  I don't know what your favourties will be in that regard but I'm guessing you'll know after using this lens for a while.  It'll also assist in determining whether it's worth it for you buying the native Leica lenses or third party ones. 

Edited by Ray Vonn
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The most important advice I received was: start with one lens. Which one IMHO depends on what you typically want to photograph. Focus on Landscape: 28. Focus on people: 50. Indecisive: 35.

After years of abstinence from an M8 with 35 mm, I restarted my Leica journey with a Q2 but found the 28 more often than not too wide which made me not use the camera as often as I wanted to. Now with my M11, I went with 35 Rit and 50 Lux. Would I start with only one lens, it would be a 35 Lux or APO.

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps this is the same question as asking us to keep one lens and sell the rest.  Which lens would I keep?  I have always been a 35mm shooter, so that part is easy.  It was suggested above that you consider the Voigtlander Ultron and I want to make sure that you make it version 2.  Version 2 is a great choice.  My most flexible lens is the Zeiss Distagon T f/1.4 ZM.  I love many Zeiss lenses, so my prejudice might be showing here.  This lens is spectacular in every way, but it is not what I use the most.  The size makes it less than ideal when I don’t need the f/1.4.  My second suggestion is a very small, contrasty and sharp lens, The Zeiss C Biogon f/2.8 ZM.  The f/2.0 version of this lens is larger and f/2.0 isn’t as good as it should be.  The lens that spends most of the time on my M11M is the Voigtlander 35mm APO-Lanthar f/2.0.  No need to stop this lens down.  It is sharp corner to corner wide open and the size is a good compromise.  I purchased the M11M for size, resolution and great contrast/micro-contrast.  I wanted a lens that doesn’t hold the camera back.  When I want more “character”, I use the M-Hexanon 50mm f/1.2.  This lens is amazing used wide open.  It is also large and heavy.   Yes, I use Leica lenses, but not in 35/50mm.

Edited by BWColor
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