View Full Version : Which Leica 28 mm lens?
I am planning to buy a leica 28 mm lens to use on an M4 and an RD-1. I can't decide on the Elmarit or the Summicron. There is a fair price diffrence. Is the Summicron that much better? The speed difference is not critical to me. It's mainly performance vs price. Any advice appreciated.
I wish I could afford either. I am going to pick up a CV 28 at some point in time, probably the 1.9 due to the speed difference compared to the 3.5. I think test show the Summicron is the superior lens, but as you say the Elmarit may be a better bang for the buck.
With wide angles there's one thing: either will do well. Sure, the 'cron has a tradition backing it up, but remember: wide angle lenses tend to be sharper by nature, so, in this case, I'd pick the one whose price is more convenient. It's Leica glass, it's going to be good anyway.
As for my own choice... I'd probably go for a CV or a Konica someday.
Doug on this forum bought the f2 Summicron recently and posted some pictures this week. Do a search and you will find the thread. It looks like a fantastic lens and his pics just reinforce everything I have read about it.
since you'll be using it on an r-d1, a larger aperture would be nice.
Don't forget the Zeiss Ikon 28mm/f2.8 Biogon ZM... at half the price of the Elmarit. It certainly has my interest.
There are indeed some attractive choices! I have lenses in 35mm format and medium format with this ~75 degree angle of view, but with f/4 and f/3.5 apertures. So for me any additional lens had to feature more speed, or there was little point. I've been doing environmental shots, mostly in office/shop interiors, and the f/4 apertures have required 800-speed film. That's ok in medium format, but the smaller negatives call for slower films and in turn that means faster lenses!
So, f/2.8 is probably fine... The Leica Elmarit is very compact, and that's good. The Biogon ZM is also very compact, and the choice between these two is likely one of preferring the "look" of one over the other. For another stop in speed, the Ultron gets awfully large, but is economical. I figured I'd probably be happy with it, but there's just no doubt the primo choice is the Summicron, amazingly no larger than the Elmarit. I just decided the speed and size were both important and went First Class for no regrets. I do also have the Biogon-G f/2.8, and while it's for a different camera system, it'll be interesting to see the differences.
For an RD-1, it's a different ball game, as far as I've heard. Lenses can take on different characters with digital sensors than they do with film. Maybe better to avoid high contrast lenses, and I hear the Ultron is a real winner with the RD-1. Someone just recently posted a sample or two shot with the Biogon on the Epson...
Samples: First a shot of a gent with the Biogon-G at about f/2.8
Second a shot of a lady with the new Summicron at around f/4
Third is a mystery shot of a young lady with neither... your guess?
I got a 28mm Summicron recently (and have not yet posted pictures from it). It definitely is a fine lens, and it is living up to its reputation. An extra stop of speed is worth a lot to me, so we may have different criteria. If you really mean it about not needing the extra speed and are thinking "price/performance," you probably can get a much better deal on the Elmarit. You didn't say "used," but for one thing you could find a used Elmarit, and the Summicron will be scarce on the used market.
If shopping for a used 28mm Elmarit, one would want to study up on the various versions of it first. I don't know if the differences are serious...
I recently picked up a Voitlander 28/1.9 for $265 used and have been quite astounded by the optical quality, and the build quality is quite good too (nothing like the delicate build of my 21 and 15 Voitlander lenses). Even Erwin Puts says the Voitlander is a draw with the Summicron except at maximum aperture. So certainly it's on a par with the latest Elmarit. I'm happy, I won't be needing to spend a small fortune on a Leica 28 now.
And that's a pretty astounding price for the f/1.9, too, Ben! Good going...
BTW, and FWIW, the third shot of the three above, of the young lady, was with the 45mm f/4 wide angle of the Fuji GA645Wi, having about the same angle of view as a 28mm on the Leica. (Fuji NPZ800 film)
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