35mm lenses for Leica M2
Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
scautez
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35mm lenses for Leica M2

Hi,

I recently acquired an M2 and looking at 35mm lenses. I saw a sale today for a new 35mm f2.4 summarit. I was wondering how this lens might compare to the 35mm f2 summicron and the Carl Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lenses? I have not done much research on the summarits but seems reasonably priced.

Thanks,
Shane
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
DrMcCoy
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I like my 35mm 2.8 Summaron better than the new Summarit. I also like it more than the Summicron (image wise) but I'd also take any version of the Summicron OR the CZ 35mm 2.8 over the Summarit.

I would also take the SC 35mm Voigtlaender 1.4 over the Summarit.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
scautez
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Thanks for the advice. Yes, the summaron, the voigtlander and the zeiss have been on my radar. I have noticed the f2.8 summaron goes for a reasonable price these days. It is difficult to find one without the goggles for under $1000.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMcCoy View Post

I would also take the SC 35mm Voigtlaender 1.4 over the Summarit.
What is wrong with this Summarit?

Erik.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #5
Mute-on
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You bought a Leica body, so why not buy a Leica lens?

I use a 35 2.8 Summaron on an M2 and the two together are sublime. I've never been disappointed with the image quality from the Summaron, and its build quality is unsurpassed.

I've not used a 35 Summarit, but if you want a more modern rendition then this would suit the M2 just as nicely.

Cheers

J
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
...It is difficult to find one without the goggles for under $1000.
Don't discount the value of the goggles! I find the 35mm framelines hard to see all at once with my M2. The goggles squeeze a 35mm view into the 50mm framelines, making things much nicer! You can see what's happening around the outside. Bonus that the goggled Summaron costs less...
BTW, Summicrons and Summiluxes also came in goggled versions.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
DrMcCoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
What is wrong with this Summarit?

Erik.
I've only ever store-tested the Summarit on a digital Leica so my opinions come from that - this being said I find it to be incredibly bland IQ-wise. It's more modern in it's perceived sharpness, but seems to have a more "classic" contrast curve. I know this should make it somewhat unique - but somehow it's just too clean and flat for my tastes. Aside from this, I'm not sure you'll even see the sharpness benefits with film*. Additionally, when I take into account the cost, and the mechanical/material makeup (though I feel like that might be something of a red herring), it just doesn't make sense as a lens for me. The Summaron gives me the contrast curve I like, with a rendering I think looks great on digital or film, and (ostensibly) more robust materials/construction at half the price.

If I wanted something with more speed, why would I pay double for an extra .35 of a stop? A great used Summicron is in the same ballpark, gets you 1 stop more than 2.8, and you have the potential to get one in the $800-1200 range that's more than good enough.

The only real reasons I see anyone should buy a Summarit are 1) you like it or 2) you're going to be shooting a lot of slide. Those 1/2 stop** clicks would be mighty helpful in that situation.

*Obviously there are film + dev combos out there that, in theory, could but I doubt that's going to be in the general purview of the average 35mm tog.

**1/3 stop? I forget.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #8
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I have 2.5 earlier version. Went through couples of Color Skopars, Jupiters-12, Summarons and one Ultron.
Don't need any other 35, except getting second Summarit-M, maybe.

It is perfect on my M-E. Sharp, very sharp, lovely OOF areas. Colors are simply amazing.
On film it is simply superior to both version of Summaron. Sharper, more micro-contrast, more Leica. Every time I'm looking at darkroom prints from this lens it is amazing. Classic, yet sharp.

I wouldn't bother with any 35 Zeiss. They are refusing to make normal focus tabs, but rudiments.

And build, Summarit-M 35 is simply best lens I ever have, which feels extremely well in handling. 2.4 must be even better, if it is possible. You know, every over RF lens I have feels "broken" after Summarit-M. The smoothness of focus is next to the silk on woman legs!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
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For top notch performance at an affordable price I would absolutely consider the Zeiss offerings. The 35/2.8 Biogon is pretty much perfect at all apertures. If you're ok driving with a 2.8 there just isn't a situation in which it will let you down. The F2, which I currently use, is also great, a little bigger. Some people say it's a little soft at f2, but really it's just not bitingly sharp. I'm ok with that as I use the speed. It still resolves fine detail on film, and stopping it down of course is a big performance improver. The lack of distortion wonderful too. As for tabs, this does not bother me at all. There is a highly technical procedure known as turning the focusing ring with two-finders known among cultists the world over which works pretty well.

I would also consider the VM 35mm 1.7 Ultron. If I had to guess, it's better than the 2 biogon, but at the expense of more size and weight.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #10
brennanphotoguy
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Honestly all the offerings from the 3 big M mount manufacturers are really good. It's just personal preference on whether you want classic or modern rendering, how precise you need to be (1/3 or 1/2 or full apterture clicks), budget, etc. If it was me though, I'd hunt down a 35/2.8 Summaron without the goggles and use that. I know the models without the goggles run a premium but they are so nice. They look good, render beautifully, compact and sharp through all apertures.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #11
Daryl J.
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Disclaimer:
I use black and white film.
Rarely do I use color film.
I prefer art to science.

My experience:

35mm F3.5 Summaron: A great lens with a "vintage" or "classic" rendering that seems to give photographs a warm emotional appeal and pleasantness. It's an excellent lens for old-school general photography. Some of my favorite photographs have been taken with this lens. Don't hesitate to use a tripod and slower shutter speeds to make up for the slower aperture. Color is not this lens' strong point.

35mm F1.4 Nokton Classic SC: Another great lens with a signature very similar to old Summilux lenses. Highlights flare a bit. If one wants images that have a 1960's-70's photojournalistic feel, this is an excellent choice. Bokeh with difficult backgrounds is every bit as busy/boingy/bouncy as the old Summilux if not more so. Used prices make it a bargain.

35mm F2.5 Color Skopar PII: A great general purpose lens, no barrel distortion. Sharp and contrasty, easy to use, inexpensive and rugged. Beautiful out of focus areas. A great walk-about lens. Fumblefingered folk might find ergonomics tricky. But they will with most smaller lenses anyway and might be better served with a SLR.

35mm F2 Summicron ASPH: The one-size-fits-all 35mm lens from Leica that is great for color, b&w, film & digital. It excels at everything. Spendy. And it is utterly emotionless. I prefer it for photographing custom cars, restored aircraft, old trains, etc. I don't photograph my family with it. Ken Hansen described it as "the bees knees of 35mm lenses" and I tend to agree.

So what do I use the most? The slow Summaron and the Nokton.

So in skipping my notes above, a bit of opinion if I may: if starting out with a 35mm lens in M-mount, the new Summarit M is a great choice. It's a lens that one could easily love for an entire lifetime. And in time, as one gets a feel for things, add a lens here or there to compliment it with their respective strengths. It's a lens that does everything well. And that in and of itself is great.

Last edited by Daryl J. : 2 Weeks Ago at 09:55. Reason: I proofread worse than a mud duck. The Force is not with me.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
Erik van Straten
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What about the Ultrons, Daryl?

Don't you think that the Nokton 35 f/1.4 has too much barrel-distortion?

Erik.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #13
Waus
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Nobody mentioned the Canon L39 lenses? (1:2,8 /1:2/1:1,5)
Canon made some great 35mm lenses, I own the 35mm 1:2, which I really love!

So you see, there are a lot of options....
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #14
Daryl J.
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Erik,

I would love to try the Ultrons! I wrote from an owner's perspective only. And an Ultron has yet to be rented/purchased.

Regarding the Nokton, I haven't had an issue with barrel distortions personally and from what I read there is some confusion as to its degree. Yes, it's there. I got mine because I haven't the budget for an older 35mm Summilux and actually think (this may be heresy) the Nokton Classic is a better lens in everything except perceived build quality and cachet.

Typically I'm walking around with an M4 with a 1.5/50 C Sonnar (I love that lens!!) and an M4-2 with the Voighty as a backup.

How do you like the Ultrons?

Regards,
Daryl

PS: I'd love to try a ltm Canon 35/2 as well.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #15
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl J. View Post
How do you like the Ultrons?
I like them very much.

Leica M2, VC Ultron-M 35mm f/1.7, 400-2TMY.

Erik.





Leica M2, Ultron LTM 35mm f/1.7 (full aperture) Tmax400.

Erik.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #16
Daryl J.
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I can sure see why you like it. Well done.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #17
jim0266
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For the money, the Zeiss 35/2.8 is an absolute gem. Sold my 35/2 ASPH after buying the C-Biogon. I'm not bothered by the lack of tab, YMMV.

The Summaron 2.8 is still a great lens. Very sharp. My copy flattens out against the light and is lower-contrast compared to modern lenses. Not as good in the corners as my other 35's.

Used a 35/2.4 Summarit for a week. This copy had some dried lube and was hard to focus when used vertically. It would stick. Very weird. Just needed new lube. On digital it had focus shift wide open which was annoying. On your M2 it will be no problem. The build is nice. In the Leica 35 slow stable this would be my pick, even over a 35/2 ASPH Cron.

The Color-Skopar 35/2.5 is a great little lens for the money. Plan to use it on my film M. 2nd everything Daryl J. said about this lens. Optically not as good as the Zeiss, but it would take digital so see the differences.

If you are in the U.S. you can rent the Zeiss 35/2.8 and Summarit from Lensrentals. Worth spending $70 to rent the Zeiss for a week as you might save hundreds over the Summarit. Lensrentals CEO's take on the C-Biogon: "It’s compact and sturdy, slightly smaller than it’s brother the Zeiss 35mm f/2, and very very sharp. A great alternative to the pricer Leica 35 lenses. If you don’t need the extra stop of the other Zeiss 35, this is definitely the best bang for your buck for Leica at 35mm."
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #18
narsuitus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
35mm lenses for Leica M2
The Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 (lens on left) gave me the image quality I wanted, fit better with my shooting style, provided me with the light gathering I needed, and was compatible with my budget.


Zeiss 35mm by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #19
unixrevolution
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My 35 Color Skopar is a fine 35mm lens. very sharp and extremely compact. lately though ive been feeling the need for more speed and want the CV 35 1.4.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #20
scautez
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Thanks for all your advice. There are certainly a lot of options, and all have their own strengths. I am happy with f2.8 for general use so will look out for a summaron or the zeiss 35mm f2.8. I can buy the 35mm f2.4 summarit new for $1799 Australian, which is about $1295 USD. Seems a reasonable price. Or can get the 35mm f2.5 summarit for $1999 AUD.
I am still tempted by the 2.4 summarit
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #21
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Erik, thank you for the pics using the Ultron. Is that the new or old version of that lens?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #22
unixrevolution
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
Thanks for all your advice. There are certainly a lot of options, and all have their own strengths. I am happy with f2.8 for general use so will look out for a summaron or the zeiss 35mm f2.8. I can buy the 35mm f2.4 summarit new for $1799 Australian, which is about $1295 USD. Seems a reasonable price. Or can get the 35mm f2.5 summarit for $1999 AUD.
I am still tempted by the 2.4 summarit
Or you can get the Color Skopar 2.5 brand new in m-mount for less than a quarter of that.

It's sharp, distortion free, no focus shift. I love mine.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #23
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
Erik, thank you for the pics using the Ultron. Is that the new or old version of that lens?
The shot on the beach is with the new one (Leica M mount) and the other one with the old one (Leica screw mount).

Erik.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
Erik, thank you for the pics using the Ultron. Is that the new or old version of that lens?
One of each.....First with the M version, second with the LTM, first version, as labelled
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMcCoy View Post
I like my 35mm 2.8 Summaron better than the new Summarit. I also like it more than the Summicron (image wise) but I'd also take any version of the Summicron OR the CZ 35mm 2.8 over the Summarit.
Well, I don't own the Summarit, so can't comment on that; but I have owned a 2.8 Summaron since around 1961 or so. Though I have added a version 1 Summicron and a version 4, I still love the M2/2.8 Summaron combo! So another vote for the 2.8 Summaron!
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #26
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I have the Summicron 35/2 V1 and the Summaron 35/2.8. The Summaron has a lot of "soul", character, personality. Is plenty sharp. It's an artists 35mm lens.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #27
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The 3.5cm 3.5 designed specifically for the M2 is a good choice.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #28
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When I bought an M2, I had the 35 color skopar pancake lens (infact it was someone on this forum who sold me the lens!) which I used for many years, and then recently bought a Summicron 35.

The Summicron is much sharper (obviously) but the color skopar is compact, and lighter.

I've kept both lenses, because I don't want my Summicron getting bashed in parties (for example) .
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I like them very much.

Leica M2, VC Ultron-M 35mm f/1.7, 400-2TMY.

Erik.





Leica M2, Ultron LTM 35mm f/1.7 (full aperture) Tmax400.

Erik.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl J. View Post
I can sure see why you like it. Well done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
Erik, thank you for the pics using the Ultron. Is that the new or old version of that lens?
Dont be fooled by an excellent photo by Erik used to tout the qualities of a lens. All his photos are excellent. I believe he could photograph with the bottom of a wine bottle and we would all be amazed and wonder what exceptional lens it was.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #30
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If you want something new, I also say the 35/2.5 color skopar. I've sold that kit (M2 with the Voigtlander 35/2.5) I don't know how many times to people just getting into rangefinders.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #31
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Yet one more vote for a Summaron 2.8, goggled or otherwise. It is just heavenly with an M2. You will not regret it.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
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Don't discount the value of the goggles! I find the 35mm framelines hard to see all at once with my M2. The goggles squeeze a 35mm view into the 50mm framelines, making things much nicer! You can see what's happening around the outside. Bonus that the goggled Summaron costs less...
BTW, Summicrons and Summiluxes also came in goggled versions.
Glad I'm not the only one to think this. Frankly I am happy that the previously (when new) more expensive goggled versions are cheaper 2nd hand where I live. I used to have to wear contacts to shoot 35mm lenses, now the whole 'squeezed into the 50 frame' thing is just great. I even quite like how they look on some M's. Win/win.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #33
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summicron-m 35 asph is my choice for "modern" optical design on my M2 but i am sure a summarit 35 2.5 or 2.4 are also great choices.

on the vintage side the summaron 35 2.8 is my fave followed by the summilux 35 pre asph (both being slightly longer than 35mm, 38mm seems to be the actual FL)

if the summarit 2.4 fit the bill, go for it!


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Old 1 Week Ago   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
The Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 (lens on left) gave me the image quality I wanted, fit better with my shooting style, provided me with the light gathering I needed, and was compatible with my budget.


Zeiss 35mm by Narsuitus, on Flickr
The IQ of the Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4 really is something, especially at f1.4. But small it is not. In comparison, the Nokton 35/1.4 is tiny, and the MS Optics 35/1.4 (quirky handling and all) is positively minute. I have a Zeiss Distagon 35/1.4, but it only gets used when I know I'll need f1.4.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scautez View Post
Hi,

I recently acquired an M2 and looking at 35mm lenses. I saw a sale today for a new 35mm f2.4 summarit. I was wondering how this lens might compare to the 35mm f2 summicron and the Carl Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lenses? I have not done much research on the summarits but seems reasonably priced.

Thanks,
Shane
i very happily went with the suggestions of many here on RFF and bought a 35/2.5 color skopar as a first lens for my M2. I saw it as a good starting point. Even in low light i shoot HP5/Tri-x at 1600 with no issues. I love the size and weight of my combo. Highly suggested as a good place to start and try for a few months.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #36
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If you want to buy a 35 F2 lens only once then go right away for the 35 Cron Asph.


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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
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Darryl earlier made a comment about an SLR for 35mm lenses. From my experience with Nikon, they never made a really good 35mm SLR manual focus lens. I've tried them all, from the 1.4, 2, and 2.8 lenses. Even now I use a 40mm f/2 Voigtlander Ultron in Nikon F mount, as my "close to 35mm" lens.

This search for a good 35mm focal length lead to the rangefinder cameras.

So far, I've got:
35mm f/2.8 Summaron in LTM. This can be used on my IIIG also, with the proper finder. A very fine lens by all accounts.

Color Skopar 35mm f/2.8 in LTM - very high contrast, perhaps not as high resolution. A very satisfactory lens with color print film.

35mm 1.7 M Ultron - high resolution with high contrast. Rather similar in imaging to the Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH. The only problem with this beast is that it's rather bulky in comparison to the others.

35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH. High contrast, high resolution. About as technically perfect as a lens of this focal length can get. Physically small, but dense and heavy, especially the chrome version. If I had to choose only one lens in this focal length, I'd chose this one.

However, the weight and bulk of these faster lenses usually have me using the Color Skopar or the Summaron far more often.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #38
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Until just recently I was using the 35 Summicron ASPH and it really is a wonderful lens. I've had the ZM Biogon in the past and really bonded well with that one. However I was making changes and sold my Summicron with the intention to buy the C-Biogon f/2.8 but was swayed by a chance to buy the Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 which has been on my "want" list for quite some time.

For the time being that is my 35mm and it's just exquisite really, but if I had to sell it I would go back and hunt for a 35mm C-Biogon for sure.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #39
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Just in terms of pure technical performance from F4 on down, the ZM 35/2 is the strongest, even better than the new ZM35/1.4. No mid-zone waves and just great rez. Least distortion of any 35.

But it's a little big, F2 is not as good as 35/2 ASPH, and bokeh is not great either.

L1033110 by unoh7, WO on M9.

So many interesting 35s each with it's "case". Biogon-C is maybe the best value of all for the street. On M2 ideally I would take 8 element cron.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #40
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl J. View Post

35mm F3.5 Summaron: A great lens with a "vintage" or "classic" rendering that seems to give photographs a warm emotional appeal and pleasantness. It's an excellent lens for old-school general photography. Some of my favorite photographs have been taken with this lens. Don't hesitate to use a tripod and slower shutter speeds to make up for the slower aperture. Color is not this lens' strong point.
Leica M5, Summaron-M 35mm f/3.5, 400-2TMY.

Erik.



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