€4000 ($5500) starter kit
Old 02-27-2012   #1
elverket
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€4000 ($5500) starter kit

Hi!
I’m finally about to make the Leica jump, and I’m hoping for some expert advice before making my purchase. This is the situation:

I have €4000 (5500) to spend on a kit to get me started. This is the absolute limit, so no (more) stretching. I have decided on the M system, so Fuji etc. is out of the question.
So far I’m leaning towards an M8.2 (usually sold here in Norway for approx. €2000-2200) and a 35mm lens. As Norway is pretty dark several months a year and I shoot a lot indoors, I need something fast – at least f/2 IMO. I usually shoot people, urban environments, architecture and concerts, which I know is a lot to cover with one focal lenght, but I have a flexible Nikon kit as well that I’ll be keeping.
These are the options I’ve considered so far:

- 35mm Summicron IV or ASPH used.
- 35mm Summicron ASPH new. I live outside EU and go there regularly, so I could pick up one and have the local VAT refunded. The price difference would thus amount to €3-400 versus a used one. Worth it?
- 35mm Summilux, older model. Seems a bit big and heavy to me for a single lens setup, but the extra f-stop would surely be nice..
- 50mm Summilux pre-ASPH used. Not to many of those around here, but when they show up they seem to be in the same price range as the newer 35mm crons. Too narrow for a single lens combo with the M8?
- Two cheaper lenses, e.g. 35 and 90 Voiglander etc. I’m a bit hesitant to this option as the thought of only using one lens for a while actually seems quite compelling, and I want the best lens possible right away. I could allways save up for a while and buy a great 90mm or something in a couple of years.

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2012   #2
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The 35 pre-aspheric Summilux is pretty tiny.

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Old 02-27-2012   #3
hellomikmik
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there is also zeiss 35/2 zm.
or m9 + voigtlander 40.
or film body + 50/1.4 asph.
sorry, doesn't make it easier for you i guess
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Old 02-27-2012   #4
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Get an R-D1, an M4-P or M6(pre-TTL), an Canon 50/1.4 LTM and a Ultron 28/1.9..
If you can wait for good offers a VC 35/1.2 is maybe also still in the package..

And you still will have some money left for film and a bag, maybe even for a flash..
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Old 02-27-2012   #5
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Thanks for the responses so far. As I have no experience with film, I think digital is a must for me...
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Old 02-27-2012   #6
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I've always liked the 35mm Summicron-M ASPH. It may not be the loudest thing out there, but it is a proper workhorse: Very reliable.
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Old 02-27-2012   #7
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The summilux 35 pre-asph is not very useful wide open. It's soft and the 1.4 is there just for the times you really need it. In your case yo probably need it a lot.
How about a CV 32/1.2? If you want the best 35 go for the 35 ASPH, probably out of your budget or the summicron asph, super sharp wide open.
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Old 02-27-2012   #8
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If you must have a digital M and want to shoot in low light then I think 4,000 euros is perhaps a bit low. M9 is likely to be out of the question, leaving the M8, but then you need shorter focal length lenses, which cost more with big apertures.

If you like the 50 focal length then you could do a lot worse than M9 plus Zeiss 50 C-Sonnar, but I think that you'll struggle to find one at that price. Alternatively, M8 plus Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2 would be good (and cost less than a fast leica 35) or the Zeiss Biogon is also an excellent lens, but only f2.

If you want a 35 field of view (i.e. on 24 by 36mm frame) then you're into really expensive fast galss with M8.

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Old 02-27-2012   #9
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If I were you, I'd buy a RD1, a 21mm (VC) and a 40mm (summicron). Maybe you should add a industar 61ld, 55mm is a bit longer than 50mm standards.
Enjoy!
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Old 02-27-2012   #10
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I would try everyting to get the M9 and stick a 40mm M-Rokkor lens onto it, very close to the 35mm Summicron for a fraction of the cost. Should make for an excellent and universal set-up.
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Old 02-27-2012   #11
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If I had 4000 euros to spend, I'd buy an M9 body and _any_ lens to be honest. Then start worrying about other lenses somewhere down the line.

A well adjusted Jupiter-8 or Jupiter-3 would go a long way and only cost 30-150 bucks (low end for J8).
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Old 02-27-2012   #12
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Where in Norway are you from? If you end up with the 8.2 then I'd go for a 35 (50 too narrow for all around).

Don't know if it would fit the budget but I have a near mint 35 summicron pre-asph for sale. Just PM me if it would become of interest.
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Old 02-27-2012   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sojournerphoto View Post
If you must have a digital M and want to shoot in low light then I think 4,000 euros is perhaps a bit low. M9 is likely to be out of the question, leaving the M8, but then you need shorter focal length lenses, which cost more with big apertures.

If you like the 50 focal length then you could do a lot worse than M9 plus Zeiss 50 C-Sonnar, but I think that you'll struggle to find one at that price. Alternatively, M8 plus Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2 would be good (and cost less than a fast leica 35) or the Zeiss Biogon is also an excellent lens, but only f2.

If you want a 35 field of view (i.e. on 24 by 36mm frame) then you're into really expensive fast galss with M8.

Mike
Doesn't Voigtlander have the 28mm f/2 Ultron ? - not exorbitantly expensive. With a 1.33 crop factor you get ~35 mm FOV. This is of course assuming the OP didn't consider the crop factor to begin with.
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Old 02-27-2012   #14
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+1 on M9 plus 40 Rokkor.
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Old 02-27-2012   #15
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I'd buy leica lenses first (21SA or Elmarit and a 35 'lux or 'cron) and an R-D1 for a body and be very happy shooting that setup until I could afford the M9. I wouldn't bother with the M8.

The prices for lenses seem to be floating away but the M9 prices are coming down.

Once I had the M9 body and if I found the 21 too wide, I'd sell it and get a 50 'lux or 'cron.

....well, this is my plan but I already have a 50 'cron.
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Old 02-27-2012   #16
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To get a bit Norwegian here: I understand that the OP has a budget of 30000 NOK, which is around 5000 NOK less than what a used M9 goes for here. I've seen an M9 for 30000, but that one was sold in ten minutes.

Personally, I would take the M8 over the M8.2 any day of the week. You save quite a bit, and the sensor is the same.

If you are interested in a pre-asph 35mm Summicron I may have a lead for you (PM me). I was offered one that was pretty much "as new", with everything (box, papers, caps, hood). Also made in Germany, if that matters. Price was around 12000 NOK if I remember correctly. Not 6bit coded, and that may be a deal breaker if you're gonna use it on an M8/M8.2. Only reason for turning it down was that I found one for 8000 NOK (more of a user, really).

Other than that, a 35mm Nokton f/1.4 is also a good option, if you can work around the focus shift issues (I don't care about that, but I understand a lot of people do).
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Old 02-27-2012   #17
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Buy the M9 for $4999 that was here a while ago.

Then get a zeiss biogon 2.8 or rollei sonnar 2.8

It doesn't make any sense to buy crop bodies
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Old 02-27-2012   #18
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Personally I wouldn't recommend any potentially quirky or non-Leica lenses to a newbie unless they were from the Zeiss range.

Remember chaps that this should be some sort of datum point by which a new user can then go on to experiment with Nokton's and Pre-Asph Summilux's and have a reliable known reference to guide him. So I would say get a 35mm Summicron, or a 50mm Summicron as your first lens for your M8.2.

Ideally I would spend the bulk of the cash on a dealer bought secondhand M9 then look for a bargain 50mm Summicron even if you have to sell the kids. Shop demo versions and good dealer secondhand ones are coming on the market now at around £3800, which I know blows your budget, but it really simplifies your lens choice later on by not needing to factor in the crop factor. It actually makes the subsequent lenses cheaper, because you can use a 21mm lens as a 21mm instead of having to spend a whole lot more on an even wider lens just to get back to a 21mm field of view. Likewise you aren't buying a more expensive 35mm Summicron to get to a 50mm style field of view on an M8 that would be dealt with by a cheaper 50mm Summicon on the M9. So after buying a few lenses an M9 could have saved you money and brought out the best in those lenses.



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Old 02-27-2012   #19
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[quote OP]
- Two cheaper lenses, e.g. 35 and 90 Voiglander etc. I’m a bit hesitant to this option as the thought of only using one lens for a while actually seems quite compelling, and I want the best lens possible right away. I could allways save up for a while and buy a great 90mm or something in a couple of years.
[/quote]

Define 'best lens'. If you want sharpness wide open, the Voigtlanders will be pretty close to the modern (and more expensive!) Leitz lenses, for a fraction of the cost. If you want 'dreamy' with lower contrast and slight light fall-off, the older Leitz lenses are what you need.

The M9 might be nice but too expensive, the M8 is a better choice budget-wise than the M8.2 because the sensor and software are the same.
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Old 02-28-2012   #20
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one more vote for M9. once thats home, upgrade lenses gradually finances allowing.
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Old 02-28-2012   #21
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Thank you all for the responses so far. Very interesting and lots to think about.:-)
As I several suggesting getting the M9 as a starting point: Would anyone care to elaborate a little..? Why not e.g. stick with an M8 or RD-1 until (eventually) the M10 or whatever brings the M9 prices significantly down and trade when I have the money? Of course that would bring the M8 prices down as well, but probably not as much as the M9..? In addition it seems to me that the Leica lens prices still are going in the opposite direction, getting more expensive year by year. Am I missing something here..? I can se the argument regarding (fast) wide angles on M8 vs M9, but I don't require anything wider than "normal" for now (35-50mm).
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Old 02-28-2012   #22
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I'd get an M8 and cv 28/2. Or, if you can find a $2000 M8 and a $3000-$3500 used 28 summicron, you'll be fine. I hope to have some time this week in Oslo to shoot that exact combo, but my time here is just getting filled more and more! Maybe friday afternoon... hopefully the weather will cooperate.

I would wait on an M9–isn't the next M supposed to show up at photokina in the fall? If it's a stretch, you won't lose as much on the M8 as you will on the M9. I agree that it's better to get into the glass now–the prices just keep going up.
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Old 02-28-2012   #23
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I think the OP is making a lot of sense. Cameras are becoming cheaper and cheaper, while lenses go up. As camera systems go, you could do a lot worse than an m8.2 and a 35 cron. The cron will stay with you for ever and if need be the camera can be exchanged for an m9 later on.

The pre-asph 35 crons are great with b&w film, but the prices are becoming ridiculous. I think it makes much more sense to spend that last bit more on the asph. It is a wonderful lens you'll have a lot of fun with. You can get em mint for not much more than a v4, and for another bit more you get 2 years of factory warranty. You sound confident about sticking to this lens for a while, so I'd say it makes sense to make the investment.
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Old 02-28-2012   #24
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M9 + any zeiss F2 lens, and have regrets at photokina.

or

M8 + 28mm Summicron
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Old 02-28-2012   #25
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I would not shoot the CV 28/2 on digital. Wonderful on film (have owned one), but the focus shift on digital would be too much for me... you more or less cannot shoot close up with f2.8-5.6 due to the shift.
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Old 02-28-2012   #26
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Quote:
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I would not shoot the CV 28/2 on digital. Wonderful on film (have owned one), but the focus shift on digital would be too much for me... you more or less cannot shoot close up with f2.8-5.6 due to the shift.
Really? I didn't know that. I've been using mine on my M8 and haven't noticed any focus shift issues.

I'd go so far to suggest to the OP that an M8 + 28/2 CV would be a great combination to start off with.
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Old 02-28-2012   #27
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I would not shoot the CV 28/2 on digital. Wonderful on film (have owned one), but the focus shift on digital would be too much for me... you more or less cannot shoot close up with f2.8-5.6 due to the shift.
Exactly, and my experience as well. Which is why I suggested its a bad idea recommending such things to a newbie who is going to be on a massive learning curve as it is.

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Old 02-28-2012   #28
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M9 + 35mm Color Skopar.
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Old 02-28-2012   #29
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Quote:
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To get a bit Norwegian here: I understand that the OP has a budget of 30000 NOK, which is around 5000 NOK less than what a used M9 goes for here. I've seen an M9 for 30000, but that one was sold in ten minutes.

Personally, I would take the M8 over the M8.2 any day of the week. You save quite a bit, and the sensor is the same.

If you are interested in a pre-asph 35mm Summicron I may have a lead for you (PM me). I was offered one that was pretty much "as new", with everything (box, papers, caps, hood). Also made in Germany, if that matters. Price was around 12000 NOK if I remember correctly. Not 6bit coded, and that may be a deal breaker if you're gonna use it on an M8/M8.2. Only reason for turning it down was that I found one for 8000 NOK (more of a user, really).

Other than that, a 35mm Nokton f/1.4 is also a good option, if you can work around the focus shift issues (I don't care about that, but I understand a lot of people do).
I would also second the M8 over the M8.2...and I know the OP said initially that digital is a must, for having not used M's before, I would caution against such an investment having never used one. Pick up an M6 and see how you like RF shooting before investing that kind of cash (which to me is a lot, but maybe not to some folks).
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Old 02-28-2012   #30
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Really? I didn't know that. I've been using mine on my M8 and haven't noticed any focus shift issues.

I'd go so far to suggest to the OP that an M8 + 28/2 CV would be a great combination to start off with.
On any EVF camera where you can mount the lens you can just put the camera on a tripod, focus on something, say 1 meter away, wide open. Look through the viewfinder, turn the aperture ring and watch your target get blurry.

I did this on an E-PL1. The effect is really rather marked, and I'm not even a pixel peeper!

I'm not saying that one could not use the lens on digital, its just something that I would not recommend to someone who might not even know what focus shifting is. Also, one can work around the issue by sticking to f2 or over f8 at close up. On film, there is no problem due to emulsion thickness.
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Old 03-01-2012   #31
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I doubt M9 prices drop significantly when M10 comes, same way as Nikon D3/D700 dont depreciate much. depreciation is even smaller with Leica cameras where unit numbers, and whole market is smaller than dSLR's. digital seems to have reach certain maturity level where latest and greatest can bring only small improvements over previous generation.
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Old 03-01-2012   #32
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If you go M8.x, you need to go for speed, due to what I consider ugly noise at 640 and above (IMO, and with my M8). I'll echo others and recommend the VC 35/1.4 or 1.2. Buy used, and if it doesn't work for whatever out you haven't lost much on resale. Conversely, if it does work out, and you want to upgrade, you still haven't lost much on resale.
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Old 03-01-2012   #33
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i would never consider m9+Voigtlander lens
the lens is the priority
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Old 03-02-2012   #34
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Quote:
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i would never consider m9+Voigtlander lens
the lens is the priority
Of course, but that assumes there is choice on both sides and the M9 is the only thing like it on the market.
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Old 03-02-2012   #35
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i would never consider m9+Voigtlander lens
the lens is the priority
That's snobbery though... since the color skopar works great on the M9. Don't let its price tag fool you.
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Old 03-02-2012   #36
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That's snobbery though... since the color skopar works great on the M9. Don't let its price tag fool you.
i'd rather buy nex7 and lux asph then m9 and color skopar

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Old 03-04-2012   #37
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Once again thank you all for your responses so far. I've actually taken my first (large) step, as I came across and bought the following this weekend: Package with M6, 35mm Summicron V4 (German made), 90mm Elmar C, Leica tripod with ball head, some filters, case etc. Bought from an optician the 90mm is in great condition while everything else is so mint it's impossible to see that they've been used at all, and the price was impossible to say no to.:-)
So now I have - at least - two options: Learn to shoot film with the M6 (always shot digital) while saving up for an M9, or sell/trade it for an M8(.2). The M6 shutter sounds totally amazing, but getting into the mysterious film game seems like a big investment both economically and time-wise...
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Old 03-04-2012   #38
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Well, as you now have a film camera you may as well run some film through it to see what you think. Start off with getting someone else to do the processing and scanning, then take it from there. Personally, I'd get some HP5+ and take the camera for a walk.
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Old 03-05-2012   #39
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Thanks, it sure feels great!
I guess I'll buy a few films and give it a try, although I suppose I'll get less for the M6 if I use it for a while and it loses its mint condition (original plastic is still on the bottom plate).
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Old 03-05-2012   #40
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That's snobbery though... since the color skopar works great on the M9. Don't let its price tag fool you.
Agree, just because it has a Leica logo, does not make it inherently better. Personally, I find the 50mm Heliar a more pleasing lens than my Summicron, it's matter of taste, not budget.
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