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Help me pick some glass!
Old 11-11-2012   #1
seanathan
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Help me pick some glass!

Finally decided to take the plunge and acquire an M6. I've been looking at my 35mm lens options for the budget I have, and have brought it down to three: Nokton 35/1.4, Biogon 35/2.8 or the Biogon 35/2.

I'm leaning towards the Zeiss glass, mainly because of the image quality. Problem is I would love something fast as I'm a bit of a nighthawk. The Biogon 35/2 would work for me as far as speed goes, but I'm turned off by the size of the lens. I'd much prefer a smaller system like what the Nokton 1.4 or Biogon 2.8 offers.

I think I may end up biting the bullet and sacrificing speed for quality/size and therefore go with the 2.8. I know this is a very subjective conundrum, and every photographer will lean towards a different answer, but any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I'd love to see some of your favorite shots from those lenses too!
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Old 11-11-2012   #2
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I have the zm 35/2 and love it. My most used lens. I'm not bothered by the size. I use the Leica "never ready" case and it fits in that while mounted on the camera, which makes the size ok for me.
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Old 11-11-2012   #3
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I'm a believer that you should just get a hold of all 3 and try them out... I've owned all 3 and have to say the Biogon IQ is fantastic either the 2.8 or the 2. But the Nokton 35 isn't a slouch either If size / lowlight is your REAL worry then the Nokton wins.
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Old 11-11-2012   #4
back alley
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best lens compromise...35/2.8...small, incredibly sharp, slowest of the bunch...turns out it really does not matter.
great lens also...35/2...very popular, too big for me when i owned one...traded it for the 2.8...
all of what you want...35/1.4...great lens, small and fast...people will always look down on it compared to the other two lenses...who cares?

you cannot go wrong with any of them...i owned them all, including the 40/1.4...my favourite of the bunch.
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Old 11-11-2012   #5
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Minolta Rokkor M-Rokkor 40/2.0 CLE version ...
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Old 11-11-2012   #6
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In comparison to any of my EOS lenses, all three are tiny. I like the Zeiss 35/2 and find that its size is fine. I find some smaller lenses a bit too small, aperture and focus rings too close and focus too close to the body, so the larger size has its advantages IMO.
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Old 11-11-2012   #7
back alley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc View Post
Minolta Rokkor M-Rokkor 40/2.0 CLE version ...
my fave 40 is the 2.8 sonnar from rollei...
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Old 11-11-2012   #8
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If you are a nighthawk, then what you really need is not a Leica, but a Zeiss Ikon, and the 35/1.2 Nokton.
There's no better rig for low light photography, and on ZI this lens balances really well. The advantage of the Zeiss Ikon, is in the incredibly bright VF, which makes a difference when shooting in the dark.

ZI+35/2 Biogon wide open:


TORTE by mfogiel, on Flickr

ZI+Nokton 35/1.2 wide open:


OSTERIA # 4 by mfogiel, on Flickr
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Old 11-11-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
best lens compromise...35/2.8...small, incredibly sharp, slowest of the bunch...turns out it really does not matter.
great lens also...35/2...very popular, too big for me when i owned one...traded it for the 2.8...
all of what you want...35/1.4...great lens, small and fast...people will always look down on it compared to the other two lenses...who cares?

you cannot go wrong with any of them...i owned them all, including the 40/1.4...my favourite of the bunch.
Hold on: the 35/2.8 isn't a compromise. The compromise must surely the be f/2, neither the slowest nor the fastest.

Otherwise, I'd completely agree with you. It's very hard to go wrong with any of them: the photographer's skill will matter far more than which lens you use. My 'standard' 35 is a pre-aspheric Summilux, bought new 30+ years ago. Objectively (as it were) it's not that good a lens: I've tested better, especially the Zeiss 35/2. I've also tested faster (35/1.2). But I like the speed, and I like the size, and I don't really believe I'd be a better photographer or take better pictures if I bought something else.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-12-2012   #10
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I've never tried the Zeiss lenses mentioned here but I've looked at them and found them quite big. I really liked the size of the CV 35/1.4. CV 35/1.4 isn't for pixel peepers but you're not gonna notice that when shooting film, at least I didn't.

Some examples:


Jägarvila by zightx, on Flickr


Royal Swedish Navy by zightx, on Flickr


Stockholm by zightx, on Flickr
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Old 11-12-2012   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by segedi View Post
I find some smaller lenses a bit too small, aperture and focus rings too close and focus too close to the body, so the larger size has its advantages IMO.
Personally I find the 35/1.4 Nokton one of the best-handling lenses there is for any system I have tried, comparable to many of the small Leica lenses that I also like. There is a tab on the focus ring, which makes it extremely nice and easy to use. The size of the lens is clearly an advantage. A big one.
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Old 11-12-2012   #12
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Small is the 35 Summicron before the ASPH version:


Botanic Gardens by Richard GM2, on Flickr

The f2.8 Biogon is bigger, but on the M9 I really like it. I tell myself that the f2 Biogon is too big, but I don't know. I have an f2. I find the 25 2.8 Biogon a bit big. Here's the C Biogon 35:


Polly Woodside by Richard GM2, on Flickr
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Old 11-12-2012   #13
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I have the 35 Nokton and that 1.4 makes all the difference some times. And don't let people tell you it isn't sharp.


Platform Sillettos by Cris Rose, on Flickr


Down on the Street by Cris Rose, on Flickr
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Old 11-12-2012   #14
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Those are some great shots from the Nokton. If size really was a concern for me I would not think twice about buying this lens.
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Old 11-12-2012   #15
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Cheers Rover. I should have mentioned that the top image is on an M8, the bottom on an M6 with TriX 400, which limits the sharpness.
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Old 11-13-2012   #16
seanathan
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Thanks for the suggestions from everyone. I decided to go with the Biogon f2. If I find I need something smaller, I can always get the Nokton in the future. Ordered the lens and it is on its way, cannot wait!
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