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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Old 09-09-2007   #41
vrgard
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL
But those are precisely the reasons why one would prefer an M4 above an M2.
- 135 mm frame extra! It's not really a frame, just four unobtrusive, small, hardly noticeble indicators for the corners of the frame.
- Angled rewind allows for much faster and more comfortable rewinding.
- Build. I always understood that it was the pinnacle of the handmade, brass mechanical Wetzlar Ms.

And what about the quick film loading and the self-resetting film counter (behind glass again, like on the M3).

OK, I agree on the plastic inlaid levers and the angled wind on lever, but you can replace them with the M2-style ones.
Thanks, HuubL, for pointing out why I love my M4 so much. Other than the minor plastic bits it seems to be the best of all worlds.

-Randy
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Old 09-09-2007   #42
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I cant really think of anything the M2 doesnt have that I need, I honestly love just holding it, I dont really need to shoot, haha but I always remind myself I need to get better and experience is the only way.
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Old 09-09-2007   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL
But those are precisely the reasons why one would prefer an M4 above an M2.
- 135 mm frame extra! It's not really a frame, just four unobtrusive, small, hardly noticeble indicators for the corners of the frame.
- Angled rewind allows for much faster and more comfortable rewinding.
- Build. I always understood that it was the pinnacle of the handmade, brass mechanical Wetzlar Ms.

And what about the quick film loading and the self-resetting film counter (behind glass again, like on the M3).

OK, I agree on the plastic inlaid levers and the angled wind on lever, but you can replace them with the M2-style ones.
I have both an M4 and an M2. The M2 is unquestionably better built. It's denser, more solid and operates with a tangibly different feel to the M4.

The viewfinder is also a bit crisper and brighter. I agree that the 135mm framelines really don't intrude that much. The film load is neither here nor there and the angled rewind doesn't add much. The self resetting film counter is an advantage, as I often forget with my M2.

Overall, in terms of functionality there isn't much to choose between them but in build quality there does seem to be a difference.

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Old 09-09-2007   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL
But those are precisely the reasons why one would prefer an M4 above an M2.
- 135 mm frame extra! It's not really a frame, just four unobtrusive, small, hardly noticeble indicators for the corners of the frame.
- Angled rewind allows for much faster and more comfortable rewinding.
- Build. I always understood that it was the pinnacle of the handmade, brass mechanical Wetzlar Ms.
No, the pinnacle is the M5. Incidentally it also has the best rewind mechanism of all the M's, and the 135mm frame corners serve the very useful extra purpose of delimiting the metering area for 35mm lenses. Everybody needs an M5

I would even prefer a M5 with a dead meter to any M[234].

Philipp
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Old 09-09-2007   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernstk
I have both an M4 and an M2. The M2 is unquestionably better built. It's denser, more solid and operates with a tangibly different feel to the M4.
Well, let's see at the end of this week when I hope my M2 will arrive. I'll the first to admit when I think the M2 is better, but I can hardly imagine anything nicer to work with than my M4.

And then I apparently have to start looking for a nice M5 A chrome one as that's my favorite RF color
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Old 09-09-2007   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL
And then I apparently have to start looking for a nice M5 A chrome one as that's my favorite RF color
As I said, everybody needs an M5

Did I mention that there's a chrome 2-lug version on eBay currently for 470 EUR, or 530 EUR Buy-it-now? (330163196313)

Philipp
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Old 09-09-2007   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernstk
I have both an M4 and an M2. The M2 is unquestionably better built. It's denser, more solid and operates with a tangibly different feel to the M4.

The viewfinder is also a bit crisper and brighter. I agree that the 135mm framelines really don't intrude that much. The film load is neither here nor there and the angled rewind doesn't add much. The self resetting film counter is an advantage, as I often forget with my M2.

Overall, in terms of functionality there isn't much to choose between them but in build quality there does seem to be a difference.

Regards
Ernst
That's very interesting to read, Ernst, since my M4 feels every bit as solidly built as my M3.

-Randy
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Old 09-09-2007   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrgard
That's very interesting to read, Ernst, since my M4 feels every bit as solidly built as my M3.

-Randy
I'm wondering if there's a difference due to the fact that the M4 is black paint and the M2 is chrome? There is definitely a difference in how they feel, in favour of the M2.

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Old 09-10-2007   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rxmd
As I said, everybody needs an M5

Did I mention that there's a chrome 2-lug version on eBay currently for 470 EUR, or 530 EUR Buy-it-now? (330163196313)

Philipp
Ooooff, tempting! The camera looks nice, it is in Greece, so no import duties for me.... But, I think I'm going to be in deeeepdeep trouble with my not insignificant other if, after the M2, I buy another "cheapo" M in one weekend ;-))
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Old 09-10-2007   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernstk
I'm wondering if there's a difference due to the fact that the M4 is black paint and the M2 is chrome? There is definitely a difference in how they feel, in favour of the M2.

Ernst
I don't know, Ernst, since my M4 is chrome just like my M3. But I don't know why that would make a difference either way. Maybe I'm not understanding the point you're raising about the fact that your M4 is black paint. Can you elaborate a bit on that?

-Randy
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Old 09-10-2007   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrgard
I don't know, Ernst, since my M4 is chrome just like my M3. But I don't know why that would make a difference either way. Maybe I'm not understanding the point you're raising about the fact that your M4 is black paint. Can you elaborate a bit on that?

-Randy
Well, the layers of chrome must be heavier than the layers of paint? It feels like the BP body is more resonant than the chrome. Feels less dense and less well damped. Just feels lighter. It's hard to describe but if you had both in your hand, you'd recognise it.

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Old 09-11-2007   #52
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Thanks to Stephen & Tom for opening this fascinating Thread! Thirty-five years ago, I was a working PJ and wanted an M2. A prominent Tel Aviv used dealer had none, yet luck was with me. A guy walked in to the shop wanting to sell one, and he did NOT like the deal offered. Sensing my interest, he was waiting for me when I exited the store.

I bought the M2 for around $330- in 1972, and it has been a "love affair" ever since. It's a 1965 model, with the little lever for Rewind. There are body rubs near the strap lugs and dings here and there. Like Tom, I'm left-eye dominant, however I'm blessed, in that I don't wear glasses for distance.

Tom highlighted the feel of pressing the M2's mechanical release button. I know of no other mechanical camera with this feel. The spring action is just right, and one learns at what point the shutter will release.

Talk about a rugged camera!... For sure, I rammed the thumb wind "home" 10,000 times and more. Tho' I love my Bessa R, when I wind & cock, I think about it and take it easy. When I quit PJ for health reasons, I had the M2 CLA'd at the best local repair shop in Tel Aviv at the time, the Elafant brothers.

The Summaron 35/2.8 that came with the M2 has been repaired twice... once in the UK for looseness in the mount, and once in Tel Aviv for grease stuck in the focusing collar. Having used Tri-x [and now Tmax] for most of my "photographic life," I can guestimate exposure with the M2+35/2.8 combination fairly accurately.

Again, I want to appreciate the classic camera legacy aspects of our Forum, and the substantial contributions of Stephen, Tom and others.

Cheers...
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Old 09-11-2007   #53
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Thanks for your story, Mike.

There must be a reason for the M2 being loved that much by so many people ( I know there are as many people who swear the M3 is the ultimate, or the M4 or some other camera).

I found my M2 two years ago in a local store. I was looking for one build in 1963, the year I was born. I found a cheap but rugged, damaged and repaired one which seemed to be okay technically, took it to Solms myself for check & repair and have used it with growing empathy since it came back. Though I use other cameras, I have a special "relationship" to the M2.

Thomas
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Old 09-11-2007   #54
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Having posted my 2-cents worth, I've gone back to read other posts...
I like Tom's Land Rover metraphor:

Like the M2, you never doubt that it would make it to your destination.

My PJ career ended with a divorce and wandering, around the time the autofocus behemoth Canon's & Nikons were in Fashion. Yes... fashion in photography;
electronics were in. Then, for years it was the megapixel wars in digital, more recently the ISO wars, and now it's IS [image stabilized lenses]. And, I'm not against digital. When Ruben brought me into RFF in May 2006, he told me, "R/F is in."

The above discussion reminds me that I have a magnificent tool, the M2;
it is shouting, "Use me!"

Cheers
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Old 09-11-2007   #55
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About 26 years ago I purchased a M2, with a 35mm lens and a case. At the time my only other camera was a Pentax Spotmatic. I paid very little for the M2 so perhaps I didn't value the camera like my Pentax. The M2 languished in a cupboard for a few years.

Eventually I went on a 1 week canoeing trip, and thought the M2 would be camera to capture the occasional picture. Rough and ready. If it was lost, well, no big deal.

I used it rather awkwardly, at first, I'm afraid. It was hard to load, no meter etc. Sunny 16 and take off my glasses to see the whole frame.

It took that trip to realize what I had. Many shots were taken in the evening around the camp fire, hand held, poor light.

I began using the camera after that. In fact I used it a lot. I still use it ( because I know how to). I'm a little more careful now, less cavalier with it.

I have other cameras now; a crappy little digital, Nikons, Hasselblad and a M4-P. The work is spread out more.

I occasioned on a young fellow earlier this summer when I was hiking in the back country not far from my home. He had the new M8. His pack was on the ground, his patient girlfriend waited for him as he panned the area like he was watering the garden with it.

I asked him how many shots had he taken. "About 200 in the last hour." he said. I'd taken about 5 that day with my old M2. I hope it works for him.

Last edited by literiter : 09-11-2007 at 07:15.
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Old 09-11-2007   #56
Tom A
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Mike, the M2 is a "choice" camera. I keep a kit at hand for people to try out. It is very basic kit, a 35/2 and a 50f2 (I am a bit short on 90's at the moment so they have to beg a bit to get one). A quick lesson in how to load it and basic functions (thats all the M2 has anyway!). The "borrower" usually goes a way for a week with pockets bulging with Tri-X. Upon return there are usually two reactions, either the "I cant stand it. I dont know how to focus it and I cant load it!" These are usually from SLR users, The other response is "Can I keep it, will you take children/wife etc as a trade". The split is about 50/50! I tell them to find their own camera/lens kit.
The M2 is rugged, simple and it takes pictures. It does not perform a multi task operation when you press the button and you can stare at the back of it for hours without seeing a single image! I love watchig digital shooters "chimping" to see if they got the shot, while in front of them the really interesting things are happening! With the M2 you might have to live in suspense until the films came out of the tanks, but at least you got the second or third shot that counted.
Being a left eye shooter I also used to use the Leicavit MP's. A lever sharp enough to perform appendectomies and a single action clutch that had a penchant for failing. When my last one died in the mid 80's I decided to make my own, initially for the M4P/MP but I have also made a small run of these for the M2.
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Old 09-11-2007   #57
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Viva La Revolucion!
Viva La M2 !!



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Old 09-11-2007   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike goldberg

Tom highlighted the feel of pressing the M2's mechanical release button. I know of no other mechanical camera with this feel. The spring action is just right, and one learns at what point the shutter will release.

I second that observation. There is something special about the release of the M2 that is different and better than other M bodies, including lets say the M4. It is crisper, the amount of resistance is perfect and you know exactly where the release point is. It certainly is better than any other camera I have used.

No matter how you cut it, it's a great camera. The only thing that really bothers me about it is the spool, because it slows me down a little, but I supose if you really wanted to you could have someone like DAG install a M4 type take-up tulip.

I also wish the prism wasn't glued with Canadian balsam, but I if it does go someday I'll have it re-cemented with a proper adhesive.
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Old 09-11-2007   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A
The M2 is rugged, simple and it takes pictures.
That's the definitive M2 definition!!!
I love my M2 for its simplicity and reliability. You set the shutter speed, you frame your subject, you release the button ... bingo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A
It does not perform a multi task operation when you press the button and you can stare at the back of it for hours without seeing a single image! I love watchig digital shooters "chimping" to see if they got the shot, while in front of them the really interesting things are happening!
Yep, that's always funny.
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Old 09-11-2007   #60
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I don't wish to challenge anyone here but I don't understand something. Why would there by any difference in the shutter release of an M2 versus an M3 or an M4. Now mind you, I have an M3 and an M4 but not an M2. So clearly I have not experienced this difference. And I really don't mean to say that those who feel that there is a difference are wrong. It's just that I was not aware that there was any internal mechanical difference between the shutter mechanisms of these cameras to explain why that would be so. And, admittedly, I am definitely no expert on these cameras and, instead, am just a happy user of them. But I would be interested to learn more if anyone has any explanation to support the view expressed here that there is a difference in the shutter release feel. Anyone care to explain or enlighten me?

Thanks,
Randy
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Old 09-11-2007   #61
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Part of the difference between the M2 and the M3/M4 is that on the latter, the release also "frees" the film counter dial so that when you advance, the dial turns. On the M2 the dial turns, but it does not need to declutch the dial as it is a advance lever activated movement. Personally I dont feel that there is much difference between the M2/M3 release or the M4. It is also very individual to the camera. I have a couple of "lesser favourite" M2's that are a bit harder in the release and I have an old DS M3 that is silky smooth. If you use them enough, they tend to smooth out the action. The M2 just has that simplicity in its operation. no extra finder windows to deal with, no film counter return spring to go "sprooing" in the night and you tend to limit your lens use to one or two lenses, which is a/good for your back and b/probably good for your wallet. Most of my walking around kit is based on 400 asa bl/w and a 35 or 40mm lens and a 21 or 25 on the second body. I might be using other bodies or lenses, but that is the basic kit.
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Old 09-11-2007   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A
Most of my walking around kit is based on 400 asa bl/w and a 35 or 40mm lens and a 21 or 25 on the second body. I might be using other bodies or lenses, but that is the basic kit.

That is the way to go!
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Old 09-11-2007   #63
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Just wanted to say thanks to Tom A for his explanation above. Sharing of such expert knowledge is one of the many reasons I like this forum so.

-Randy
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Old 09-11-2007   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrgard
I don't wish to challenge anyone here but I don't understand something. Why would there by any difference in the shutter release of an M2 versus an M3 or an M4. Now mind you, I have an M3 and an M4 but not an M2. So clearly I have not experienced this difference. And I really don't mean to say that those who feel that there is a difference are wrong. It's just that I was not aware that there was any internal mechanical difference between the shutter mechanisms of these cameras to explain why that would be so. And, admittedly, I am definitely no expert on these cameras and, instead, am just a happy user of them. But I would be interested to learn more if anyone has any explanation to support the view expressed here that there is a difference in the shutter release feel. Anyone care to explain or enlighten me?

Thanks,
Randy
Hi Randy,

I have big fingers, and that may be why I don't feel any difference between
M2 and M3 release. It might be much more important when the camera
was last CLA'ed and to what pressure it was calibrated. I like the
external M2 film counter for other reasons, though, in connection
to the Quickload system, and because it's me, not the camera who
defines the beginning of the film.

Best,

Roland.
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Old 09-11-2007   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider
Hi Randy,

I have big fingers, and that may be why I don't feel any difference between
M2 and M3 release. It might be much more important when the camera
was last CLA'ed and to what pressure it was calibrated. I like the
external M2 film counter for other reasons, though, in connection
to the Quickload system, and because it's me, not the camera who
defines the beginning of the film.

Best,

Roland.
Makes sense. Thanks, Roland. And I know what you mean about big fingers - I'm not overly tall but based on my hands I shoulda been a basketball player!

-Randy
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Old 09-11-2007   #66
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Tom what's your favorite 35 for the M2?
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Old 09-11-2007   #67
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Tricky question, because if I mention one, the others are going to be upset and having at least 20+ 35mm lenses protesting can be a health hazard!
From a comfort point of view, I have to say either the 35/2 Summicron III or IV. They are small and easy to hold and operate and my fingers know exactly where the controls are.
For pure "image" quality it is a toss up between the 35f2 Asph (sharp and contrasty - a bit too contrasty in bright light) and the Biogon 35/2 ZM (smoothest tones of any 35 in black/white, more than sharp enough).
For convinience and small size, the VC 35f2.5 II and occasionally my old 35f2 I from 1958.
For all practical purposes, most of the modern lenses, particularly "prime" 35 rangefinder lenses are more than adequate for most every shooting situation, particularly if you are shooting black/white. I find that ergonomics of a lens is as important as performance. If the lens fits your hand and style of shooting, you are going to get better pictures than with a lens that is uncomfortable for you to use!
If you are looking for a classic package, a M2 and a Summicron 35, either version i (expensive collectible 8 element version) or the version III (less "collectible and thus cheaper) would be fine. The version IV and Asph f2 are too pricey for what they offer - at least in black and white. I much prefer spending less on the camera and lens initially and more on film. Once you are familiar with the camera, you will know what you need or want.
Lenses like the Konica/Minolta/Canon are other alternatives and they are all good - I particularly like the Canon 35f2 (or f1.8, virtually the same lens, just reduced in size for the f2 version). There are differences in rendition between all lenses, but not enough to disqualify any of them as useful 35's. In the end it is you as the photographer that determines the quality of the image, not the lens and the camera. My criteria is that the combination is going to perform for a long, long time and that I should never have to "think" about if it is "good enough".
I usually only blow prints up to 11x14 these days, but I have done 24x36" prints from old and rather scruffy 35f2's from the early 60's without much trouble. maybe a bit lower contrast and if shot wide open, slightly softer corners, but that is not whats important, it what is on the image that counts.
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Old 09-11-2007   #68
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I'm upset. No 35/2.8 Summaron?

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Old 09-11-2007   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider
Hi Randy,

It might be much more important when the camera
was last CLA'ed and to what pressure it was calibrated.
That's what I think. I have two M4s and an MDa. The M4s have slightly different tactiles, the one CLA'd last year is the better one, but the MDa's release beats anything I ever felt. That one was heavily used in its time as a documentary camera and was regularly CLA'd. Pity that it has no finder. I use it infrequently with the 135 on a Viso.

If my new M2 beats the MDa, I'll be convinced!
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Old 09-12-2007   #70
Tom A
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Ernst, sorry about forgetting the 35f2.8. I have already heard its wailing scream from the cabinet! They used to be the bargain 35's, but now they have attained "collectible" status and gotten expensive. I like the 35f2.8 and to some extent it is a better lens than the 35f2, particularly in close up performance.
As a penance for having forgotten it, I shall load another M2 with Presto 400 in IXMOO cassette and the 35/2,8 and proceed to shoot it today!
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Old 09-12-2007   #71
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Yeah, I'm sorry to see the "collectible" price the Summaron 35/2.8 seems to garner. I recently found a Summaron 35/3.5 at a very good price (started another thread about it at the time) which I've just shipped off to Sherry Krauter for a cleaning to remove a bit of haze. I'm hoping that it performs almost as well as does the 35/2.8 (anyone have any thoughts on this?). If not, I'd be interested to hear from anyone (including you, Tom A, who is apparently letting that poor lens go unused... ) who would be willing to sell me their 35/2.8 at a reasonable price.

-Randy
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Old 09-12-2007   #72
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Randy, just took a walk on the beach and finished the Presto 400 roll in the M2 and loaded another in the camera. I keep forgetting what a delightful lens the 35f2.8 is. With Vancouver having an unseasonable sunny weather for the next couple of days, f2.8 is not a problem as a maximum aperture!
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Old 09-12-2007   #73
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I bet those will be lovely. With the sharp definition and low contrast of that lens I bet it will perform well in intense sunshine. Sheesh, I wish it was warm here.
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Old 09-12-2007   #74
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Quote:
There are differences in rendition between all lenses, but not enough to disqualify any of them as useful 35's. In the end it is you as the photographer that determines the quality of the image, not the lens and the camera.
Amen.

Thank goodness advice of this sort is usually ignored, otherwise the camera industry would go belly-up overnight.
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Old 09-12-2007   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A
Randy, just took a walk on the beach and finished the Presto 400 roll in the M2 and loaded another in the camera. I keep forgetting what a delightful lens the 35f2.8 is. With Vancouver having an unseasonable sunny weather for the next couple of days, f2.8 is not a problem as a maximum aperture!
Aw gee, Tom, now you're just rubbing it in! But glad to hear that you're putting that lens to use and I look forward to seeing any results you deem worth sharing.

-Randy

P.S. I'm also glad, Tom, to be reminded by kevin m of your advice re the user of a 35mm lens being more important than which lens that user happens to be using. (Translation: I should focus on enjoying my 35/3.5 when I get it back from Sherry rather than on hunting down a more expensive 35/2.8.)
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Old 09-12-2007   #76
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Randy, of course you should continue the search for a 35f2.8. The old adage "Do as I say, not as I do" really comes into play here! Just to give even more insanity to gear!I had to go and mail something, so this involves a walk of 4 blocks (uphill and steep at that) so I equipped myself with yet another piece of less used equipment. An old Nikon S and a 50f3.5 Tessar lens and a roll of Lucky 400. The reason seemed good at the start of the hill "wonder if the times are OK on the S" and " Zeiss Contax lenses are not matched to Nikon helicoils". It took 40 minutes up and down the hill but I did shoot the roll. Oh, I was also trying to figure out how the Lucky 400 is working with my Td 102 developer? Some reasons for taking pictures are better than others!
The old Nikon S is an interesting piece of equipment. Film gate is 24x34 mm and it is built like a tank and about as heavy. My upcoming project is to shoot with all my Zeiss Prewar and Postwar Contax lenses (21f4,5, 28f8, 35f3,5, 35f2.8 pre-war, 35f2.8 postwar T*, 50f2 and 50f1.5 and the 85f2). First test will be with Nikon's and second will be with Orion style adapter on M's. No scientific purpose whatsoever, just a reason for using up a 100ft roll of Tmax 100 before it gets old enough to vote or drink in public.
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Old 09-12-2007   #77
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You're evil, Tom, just plain evil! (as if I needed anyone to further motivate my camera/lens GAS tendencies!)

And good for you for keeping all that old gear operational. Looking forward to seeing some results, particularly those taken with a Sonnar lens.

-Randy
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