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I've been getting into RF photography recently, and would like to move up to a Leica. However as a student, my budget is minimal. I know I could get a Bessa, but I'd prefer one really good piece of equipment for life, instead of a pretty good one for five years. I do however have four russian lenses (Jupiters 8,9,11 and 12), as they cost together less than a Leica branded toothpick. So, if I were to get an M-mount Leica RF and an adapter, is there any reason why using the Jupiters would be a bad idea (?wear, ?RF coupling). I know the glass is what makes the picture, but that would just be a temporary measure.
Thanks for any help,
P.S. - What the hell happened to the Jupiter 10?!?
David, an LTM lens (like the Jupiters) together with the appropriate M-adapter will work forever (unless you dump the camera and lens from Mt Everest and have a hurd of elephants trample on it for half an hour, after which any Leica would be in need of a serious CLA).
I guess the J-10 was a Monday-after-long-vodka-weekend design, and accordingly cancelled. :)
David, I was thinking about my situation when I was in school, and then when I bought my EOS 10s in 1990. When in school, financially, and needs wise I didn't need a new camera. I recently dug the Minolta SRTs out of my parent's closet and found the receipt for the CLA I had done on the 101 before I took it to campus. As a student, I did the right thing. After I graduated, I was living at home still, had no real expenses, a nice entry level job and went camera shopping. I looked at every option. I quickly said no to Leica because I thought it cost too much. The same with the Nikon F of the day. Finally I decided that for the cost of an all manual Nikon I could get a good AF Canon, and the 10s became mine. Not a bad decision. Hindsight being 20/20 ... now with lots of water under the bridge, I should have bought the Nikon (I bet you thought I would say the Leica). But in all the years between then and 3 or so ago the 10s was the right choice. If I were really really into photography for all these years, then there was no question that I should have not been cheap and bought a Leica.
If that long story has a point I guess it is that I agree with the thoughts you are having now. Only you know your position and needs at this moment so buy what is most appropriate for you at this time. Remember it is the photographer not the camera that makes the image. That being said, consider too that you may be in a better position when you graduate which may not be that far off. At that time, if your expenses are low, and RF photography is your thing, go for it.
One more thing, I own a Bessa R and an R2. They are both very compitent tools, don't overlook them as an option.
As rover says, it's worth considering the options seriously. But I can empathize with your desire for quality right from the start too.
When I was about halfway through college, part time and working part time, I bought a 10-year-old Leica M body and a new 35 Summicron. I had to struggle to afford it, but now several decades later (and some memorable pictures) I'm happy that I did it, and still use both both body and lens.
Ok, you already have thread-mount lenses, and decent ones at that even if they are so inexpensive. With the mount adaptors, they should work fine with a Leica M body --- BUT I'm not so sure about the J-12. Mine is in Kiev mount, so I can't check, but it's very possible the lens protrudes into the body in such a way as to hit something when focused to infinity.
More expertise is needed here, and/or some careful checking for interference. I recall reports of scratched J-12 rear elements from Voigtlander Bessa shutters, and hitting internal ledges in Canon bodies.
Thanks everyone for the ideas.
Doug, thanks for reminding me about the sticking-out rear element of the J-12.
Part of the thing is that I might get some help with the cost from my parents as a 21st birthday present. That's another reason why I'd like to get a Leica - I want something that I'll be using on my 65th birthday!
I tried my 35/2.8 J-12 on my M2... it fits.
It doesn't, however on my Bessa L and Bess R. I haven't tried it on my Leitz Minolta CL, probably because I got that wonderful M-Rokkor 40/2 on it.
In order to have the correct frame lines set on the M series cameras, you will have to get 3 adapters, still not much more than $100 from cameraquest.com. A good used Leica M series with a CLA can be found for under $800. The RUssian lenses will fit and will not harm the Leica's in any way. Newer M6's are going for not much over $1,200.
Just my 2 cents... I have used and very much like the 50/2 the 50/1.5 the 85/2 and the industar -22 & 50 (collapsible) the 85/2 is a little tempermental, I have a nikkor 85/2 which is absolutely incredible. tack sharp and one of my favorites. don't overlook the nikon glass if you find a deal.
Good luck, Mike
My fake elmar (industar?) which came with my fake III is sharper and more contrasty than my LTM and M mount 50mm Elmar 3.5s. Neither is let down by haze nor wipe marks. So go for an M, if you want one, and use Russian glass.
One thing I've found shooting with Russian glass is a lack of contrast probably due to internal flare. I'd post some examples but when I shrink such photos down to web size it boosts the contrast enough to mask the effect. The upshot is that by using photoshop or an equivalent on your scanned neg's you can easily compensate for lack of contrast.
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