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Help on Lens Purchase Please


erure
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Hello!

 

I have recently finally gotten a Leica of my own -- M8.2 in silver with the Elmarit-M 28mm ASPH 6-Bit. I'm absolutely loving the camera and taking it everywhere with me. I've been lurking around the forums for a bit but haven't had the nerve to write anything until now...

 

Despite starting with the M system recently, I am already thinking of a lens purchase and I am 99% leaning towards the Summilux-M 50mm ASPH 6-Bit... The problem is that I can't decide between silver and black. I know that the silver is heavier than black (I don't have a preference for the visual differences -- the black Elmarit looks fine on my silver M8.2) but I heard from somewhere that the silver tends to have less focus shift problems than black. Is this true? I've been heavily leaning towards purchasing the black until I heard that and if it is true, then I would probably go for the silver.

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated -- thank you in advance! :)

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Welcome to the Forum and good luck with your Leica and your many future lens acquisitions!

 

I once had a large number of cameras and lenses in many finishes; black, black paint, titanium, chrome, etc.

 

I found it annoying that for instance lenses in titanium finish or black paint looked little attractive on the normal black or chrome cameras. So when I went digital and set all my cameras and most lenses for sale in order to get a comprehensive M8 system, I decided that all my lenses should be in the normal black finish.

 

So, I can now use all my black lenses on my chrome M8 and my black (paint) M8.2 without the slightest annoyment, since they always look gorgeous together. They also fitted my old Black M8 without any problem. I have kept 2 black paint lenses (35/2.0 asph and 50/1.4) and use them also with great joy.

 

So, my advice is: stick to the normal black finish on your lenses. There may be a difference with regard to focus shift problems on some lenses, e.g. the 35/1.4 asph, but to be quite frank, that difference is marginal, if at all existing, since I never had any focus shift problems at all with any of my lenses.

 

Enjoy your new lens - the 50/1.4 asph is phantastic!

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Welcome to the forum, Erure, and congratulations on your new M8.2.

 

1. Acquire one coin of any denomination.

2. Make a loose fist with one hand and tuck the end of your thumb between your first and second fingers.

3. Balance coin, either side up, on curled-up first finger.

4. Sharply straighten thumb in a smooth motion so that coin flies into air.

5. Allow coin to fall to ground. Chase coin if it rolls away before settling.

6. When coin has settled note which side is facing up.

7. If up-turned side has a head on it then buy a chrome lens.

8. If up-turned side has no head on it then buy a black lens.

 

Oh, and to answer your question about focus shift, I can only talk about my own 50 Summilux asph, which is black: it has no focus or back focus that I've noticed.

 

All that and for no charge. :)

 

Pete.

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Hi there and welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of Leica. The 50mm Summilux Lens is one of the finest lenses ever built and will complement your 28mm perfectly. As far as I know the 50mm does not suffer from the focus shift that you mention. The lens that does suffer from focus shift is the 35mm lens. Since you already have the M8 in silver, I would tend to go for the lens in silver too. Please post some images for us to admire.

 

Andreas

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Focus shift is an optical problem. It can occur when a fast lens has considerable residual spherical aberration. The colour of the mount has absolutely nothing to do with it. Black and silver mounts are mechanically identical, except that with silver lenses, the outer, visible parts are made of brass instead of aluminum (hence the greater weight of silver lenses). And that difference does not make any difference to the optics.

 

The old man from the Age Before Black Lenses

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Focus shift is an optical problem. It can occur when a fast lens has considerable residual spherical aberration. The colour of the mount has absolutely nothing to do with it. Black and silver mounts are mechanically identical, except that with silver lenses, the outer, visible parts are made of brass instead of aluminum (hence the greater weight of silver lenses). And that difference does not make any difference to the optics.

 

The old man from the Age Before Black Lenses

 

What I would like to know is why focus shift varies between different samples of the same lens type. I have a black 35/1.4 ASPH with no focus shift at all. I have tested it at various distances and apertures and it is sharper across the board than every other lens I have owned like the 28/2 ASPH and 35/2 ASPH. I'm not complaining since the 35/1.4 ASPH is by far my favourite lens. But I'm curious to understand why there's such a difference between samples.

Edited by Ozkar
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The 50 Summilux asph is a great lens.

 

I have heard people talk about silver being 'better' than black, however I think their sample size is insufficient. There is very likely much more variance between individual lenses than there is between silver/black lenses.

 

I strongly suggest that you check any new lens for focus accuracy on your camera before you buy it. I have tried several second hand 50 lux asph lenses on my M8 and all of them back-focused at close (portrait) range. The one I already owned prior to buying my M8 was no exception - it's just been back to Solms to get sorted out along with the camera - so in a few weeks I hope to be using a correctly focusing 50 lux :)

 

New lenses may have less issues, however you should still critically test the lens before walking out of the store.

 

David.

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I've owned a variety of lenses in both chroma and silver. For sure the chrome lenses weigh more but this is somewhat offset by their tactile feel. The aperture ring has a more heavy positive feel for one, however it should be noted with the exception of my old 35 Summilux Asph all my chrome lenses had tighter focusing rings compared to std black ones.

 

Chrome also has a tendency to develop bright spots, a slight polished look if it rubs against anything in your camera bag.

 

On another note, I had a 28 Cron Asph, 50 Lux Asph and 90 Cron as my shooting trio, if I was to do this again it would be 2 lenses 28 & 75. The 75 and 50 share almost the same optical design and if your not fussed on 1.4 the 75 f:/2.0 is as stunning, better even than the 50 Summilux.

 

The one thing I found with the 50 was it ran hot, tended to white out the highlights very easy. Still as a 50 f:/1.4 it was excellent at every aperture and every distance.

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If you like the look of the silver M8 and think you will stay with silver bodies, you might as well get the chrome. My 50lux is black paint, which is heavier than the black chrome, but it has never bothered me. The chrome lenses are harder to come by, so you might as well get them for your silver body.

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The reason why some fast lens specimens have less focus shift than others of the same model, is probably that lensmaking is one of the most exacting kinds of precision manufacture there is. Doing it with zero tolerances is impossible, and thousands of a millimeter count. So there is inevitably some sample variation. It is nevertheless smaller in Leica lenses than in most any other brand.

 

The old man from the Age of Box Cameras

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The reason why some fast lens specimens have less focus shift than others of the same model, is probably that lensmaking is one of the most exacting kinds of precision manufacture there is. Doing it with zero tolerances is impossible, and thousands of a millimeter count. So there is inevitably some sample variation. It is nevertheless smaller in Leica lenses than in most any other brand.

 

So why is focus shift not a big issue with the Voigtlander 35/1.2? I see very few complaints with this lens compared to the 35/1.4 ASPH. Are Voigtlander's manufacturing tolerances tighter than Leica's?

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So why is focus shift not a big issue with the Voigtlander 35/1.2? I see very few complaints with this lens compared to the 35/1.4 ASPH. Are Voigtlander's manufacturing tolerances tighter than Leica's?

The focus shift reported in Voigtlander's 35/1.4 and 28/2 indicate otherwise but I agree that the 35/1.2 is an exceptional lens and mine shows no discernable focus shift.

 

Pete.

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Do you find the 75 any harder to focus correctly, vs. the 50?

 

It is not harder to focus the 75 than it is to focus the 50. However, your focus has to be more precise. As the focal length gets longer (75/90/135), depth of field gets shallower. This means that if focus is off just a slight bit, it will show in your image as front or back focus. Here is a quick reference table of depth of field for respective lenses.

 

With the lens set at f/5.6, at a distance of 2 meters, the depth of field for Leica M lenses will be:

21 mm Lens = 719 cm DOF

28 mm Lens = 230 cm DOF

35 mm Lens = 127 cm DOF

50 mm Lens = 50 cm DOF

75 mm Lens = 22 cm DOF

90 mm Lens = 16 cm DOF

135mm Lens = 6 cm DOF

 

List taken from Günter Osterloh's Leica M Advanced Photo School, Page 131.

 

Any deficiencies that you may have with your eyesight (long sighted/short sighted/astigmatism) will obviously make it more difficult to achieve critical focus. This is why it makes sense to make use of correction lenses at a strength suited to your eyes at the moment.

 

Hope this helps you a bit.

 

Andreas

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I wouldn't be so concerned with the DOF of either lens (50 or 75). They are both nicely geared in the amount of turn for in/out of focus. The image pops very nicely when you hit focus. Some of the older lenses have a longer focus throw which make this pop not so obvious eg, the Nocti or older 90 pre A summicron.

 

Using a 50 or 75 the focus was normally spot on, I'd even go as far as to say the 75 has better close focus sharpness than the 50.

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I had a black lux ASPH but it had focus issues. I could not get a sharp shot. Dealer swapped it for a silver and it is spot on, perfect and MUCH heavier. Looks better on the silver body than the black did and feels much more solid.

 

BUT, I have had a black one in the past that was perfect, and an LHSA Lux ASPH that was phenomenal. I wrote a short review on the 50 Lux ASPH on my site. It is a great lens.

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