View Full Version : New Leica Body or New Leica Lens?

01-08-2017, 21:24
Hi everyone,

Just wanted some insight in to what to do. I do a lot of travel photography. I was thinking of replacing my old 1958 50mm f2 with a new 50mm f1.4. Also, I'm interested in keeping the 50mm f2 and putting that money towards a 24mm f1.4 or 21mm f1.4. My dilemma is, that am not sure if i will get all that much use out of a 21mm or 24mm. Not enough to spend that much money. I currently use 35mm f1.4 95% of the time along with a 90mm for the rest. A third option, i am thinking of is just keeping all my existing lenses and purchasing a new Monochrom typ246. I currently have a typ240. Again, I have second thought on that as well. Does b+w output on the Monochrom justify spending that much money when the 240 has the option already? any suggestions are appreciated.


CK Dexter Haven
01-08-2017, 22:47
What's wrong with the images you're getting with the old 50/2?

01-08-2017, 23:32
There are plenty of 21mm and 24mm lenses that don't cost as much as the summilux's. Why not a used 2.8/21(24) elmarit or the 3.4/21(3.8/24) elmar?

I'll also echo the above - what don't you like about the 2/50 you have?

01-09-2017, 01:41
Buy a 1958 M2/3 to use with your 1958 Summicron and Tri-X/HP5.

Put the money you save towards your next trip :)

01-09-2017, 04:09
Go 21.
The 21mm FL can be very addictive.
Get the CV Ultron, try it and then think again...

After I had warmed for the Ultron, I shoot 30-35% with that lens nowadays.

Pete B
01-09-2017, 04:57
I also travel alot. I was once mainly a 35mm focal length user but, since buying an M240, now seem to be mainly using 50mm. I used to carry a 21/35/50 combo but rarely (perhaps once a trip) used the 21. Recently, I went for my first solely digital trip and wanted something to supplement the M+50 Summicron. I bought the Leica Q. It brings a 28 f1.7 and other feature which are useful in travel photography such as macro and touch screen focus and release. It is a perfect accompaniment to the M 240, so much so I think I'm going to sell a few lenses that have taken a back seat.
I also have the 50 Lux Asph but it's size puts me off taking it on trips, although I have done so in the past.
Before you do anything, take a look at the Leica Q - it's really something.

01-09-2017, 05:36
Thanks everyone for the replys so far. There isn't anything "wrong" with the images or the lens. It was one of the first lenses i bought while i was tight on money. I loved it at the time...and to some extent still do, but only on a mechanical level. The lens is very smooth and looks amazing on the camera. Its in great shape, although it could use a CLA I bet. It's the images that it renders that are just not my cup of tea. Along with the fact that I rarely use it ever since i got my 35mm lens. My thoughts are, why am I not using it? Because I don't have a need for 50mm FL or because I just flat out don't like the results it produces? I will say that photography has had many ups and downs for me. years ago, i really lost all will and inspiration to take photos. I sold off all of my equipment and did not touch a camera. I got back into it about 2 years ago. Around summer time, I bought the brand new 35 Lux and let me say, the output of that lens had lit a fire under my ass to go out and take photos. Something about the look, it just does it for me. Crisp, clear, vibrant colors. for landscape, travel and docu, it's amazing. So, now I kind of want that same inspiration again with another focal length.


01-09-2017, 11:37
I would recommend to start having your good images printed, either by yourself via a new printer or a good lab, instead of buying more camera gear. There's more satisfaction to be had in seeing finished images.


01-09-2017, 12:57
I was in the same position as you, but on film. I started with a "classic" lens because it was affordable and i did black-and-white a lot. In the end i disliked the classic rendering, the effect wore off for me. So i bought a 50 1.4 asph, which is smooth and clear, very nice. Its true the 50 1.4 asph is quite heavy, so if you are not after the smoothness and bokeh, there are plenty of nice sharp 50ies around, which are lighter and cheaper. The Zeiss lenses are sharp and render gently smooth, but the special rendering is maybe not of your taste... The Sonnar is still very special, as you have indeed two worlds in one lens, and its very compact/light compared to the leica 50 1.4.
Nice sharp 50mm lenses: 50 Cron IV or V if you like the sharp pencil drawing. Konica or Zeiss if you like a thiker brush. Color-Skopar for classic-sharp look close to the maybe III summicron and the sonnar for two lenses in one.
For me the VM 50 1.5 is not special enaugh in character.
I also use the 50 1.5 ZM for its light weight and kinder characteristic compared to the slightly "clean" lux asph.

For the 21mm: either you really love it and know you will have a strong benefit of investing in such an expensive specialty lens with f1.4 by leica or you start with some less costly alternative and see if it fits you first. Who knows, maybe you stay on that alternative... For me, i dislike bothering with external finders... i stay in the golden range of 28-90mm where the relation usefullness / investment is strong. In the end thats a key requirement on travel, where its always a compromise of packing and use.

For the camera: if BW is not your mainstay, stay with your M240 only, the benefit of the monochrome sensor might not be worth the investment. As i come from the analog section: If find the qualities of BW live in BW-Film, its just so much more organic and appealing. Maybe it could be interesting to try a film leica with Tri-X for fun, instead of the monochrome. Scanning options for BW are cheap and not as demanding as scanning colour negative film. You could even sent away a lot of film for development and scanning for the cost of a monochrome... OK thats cliche, you should rather develop yourself with a changing bag/jobo tank/D76 and scan on an epson V700/800 or an plustek 8100. My god for the cost of a monochrom you could even buy an (...OK several...) Noritsu LS-600 or Pakon wich does the scanning for you in 5 minutes a whole film!!!.... And no more fiddling in Silver Effex or VSCO or whatever...

schöne Grüße,

01-09-2017, 13:08
There are plenty of 21mm and 24mm lenses that don't cost as much as the summilux's. Undisputably true. But none will give you the unique combination of wideangle perspective and shallow-DOF separation.

01-09-2017, 13:13
I'd get a 21mm Voigtlander Color Skopar for $400 and play around with it for a few months before you start shelling out serious money for Leica glass. Could be that you don't even like that focal lens at all.

01-09-2017, 13:45
I would recommend to start having your good images printed, either by yourself via a new printer or a good lab, instead of buying more camera gear. There's more satisfaction to be had in seeing finished images.


Yes!!! After getting the M-E I was shocked how different lenses from different manufacturers are kind of "the same" vs same lenses on film and darkroom prints.
Got some M-E bw files printed on matte paper with pigment inks in grey scale mode and can't get my eyes from it. So much diffrent comparing to the screen or thermal paper prints from regular lab.
If OP is about getting of Monochrom, printing or getting prints needs to be taken as part of the expiriense.

David Hughes
01-10-2017, 02:18

The other point is are you going from film to digital or, as suggested, one of each?

One of each sounds odd to me, best go all film or all digital and then concentrate on which ever version you chose. Newer lenses are great for posters and so on but at normal levels (say 12" x 8") the older ones are just as good and 24 megapixels is/are wasted/overkill.

As for the M2 get it checked and so on and use as a back up body to some (?)better or newer film camera.

Or sell it and go all digital but that means two printers; one for B&W and one for boring colour...

Regards, David

03-13-2017, 04:29
If the decision is still pending, buy an Epson Surecolor P800 printer... it will amaze you!