Lens Recommendation
Old 08-18-2005   #1
Honus
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Lens Recommendation

I'm new to this forum looking for help. I just purchased a 9+ IIIc on eBay for $215 and want to match a 50mm lens with it. I have promised my wife I would keep the kit to about $500, so I have about $300 left for a lens.

Background: For the last year or so I have used a Leica Digilux 2. I like the D2, but really want to spend time with a pure rangefinder and b&w film. I want DOF control, and only shoot with available light. I shoot both street photography and landscapes. Hell, I shoot anything that is in front of me :-)

For a lens choice, I am currently thinking either a nice used Elmar, or a new 1.5 Nokton. The Elmar is obviously a good match with the IIIc, but lacks speed. The Nokton is bigger and heavier, but is a much newer design and has significantly more speed.

I realize that a question such as this is liable to make my decision much more complicated, rather than easier, but isn't that what forums like this are for?

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Old 08-18-2005   #2
richard_l
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I would try to find a nice Summitar (50mm f/2) or Summarit (50mm f/1.5). Either will give you good DOF control, and they are both sharp. I would rather have the Summitar for a general purpose lens on a IIIc since it is smaller and lighter than the Summarit. The Nocton is a good lens, but somehow it seems inappropriate for a Barnack camera.
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Old 08-19-2005   #3
aizan
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ditto the summitar.
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Old 08-19-2005   #4
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I kind of like the idea of mating a 60 year old camera with a completely modern aspherical lens. You might want to try it out for fit first, as it's a big lens for a IIIc (bigger than an Elmar anyway) - it might block too much of the viewfinder. Even then, an auxiliary finder on a IIIc isn't too much of a hassle as the RF and VF are separate entities anyway.

Also, there's a couple of 50mm Summicrons (rigid and collapsible) for sale here in the camera classifieds ("Leica Glass thread", not sure if they're thread mount.), they're in your budget too. I'd think that if you're only going to have one lens for a while, a fast one would be the best choice..
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Old 08-19-2005   #5
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I have a Summitar 50/2 and love it. My vote too. Two examples shot with my 50 'tar attached.
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Old 08-19-2005   #6
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I vote for the Summitar or Summarit too. Both can give you a "classic" looking image from your classic camera.
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Old 08-19-2005   #7
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If you really want the speed, you might also look at the Canon and Nikkor lenses in Leica Thread Mount. The Canon 50mm F1.4 and Nikkor 5cm F1.4 were both found on many classic Leica's "in the day". They are smaller lenses than the modern Nokton. They run $200~$300 depending on condition and your luck. They are shorter than the Summarit. The Summarit is "softer" wide-Open and gets sharp at F4. It's a great existing-light portrait lens. None of these fast lenses collapse, so they are not as compact when not in use as is the Summitar or Elmar. The Canon 50mm F1.9 lens will collapse, and can be found for less than the Summitar. The Canon 50mm F1.8 is a little slower than the F1.4 "big brothers", but is very sharp wide open and is smaller and lighter. It can also be found $125~$175.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-19-2005 at 01:32.
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Old 08-19-2005   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich815
I have a Summitar 50/2 and love it. My vote too. Two examples shot with my 50 'tar attached.
Oh, man! That's what I call sharp! People don't realize how good these older lenses are. The Summicron may have "better" performance wide open (depending on one's definition of "better" ), but stopped down a bit it's not significantly sharper than your Summitar.

It's a similar situation with the 35mm Summaron vs. the 35mm Summicron, but people are beginning to appreciate the excellence of the Summaron, and it's driving up prices.

Last edited by richard_l : 08-19-2005 at 01:40.
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Old 08-19-2005   #9
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I will offer one more possibility along with the non Leica options Brian mentions. A Canon 50/1.5 is more contemporary with the IIIc, is truly a small fast excellent lens (maybe my favorite actually).
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Old 08-19-2005   #10
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Agree about the Canon 5cm F1.5. It is very sharp and a bit better behaved than the Nikkor wide-open regarding "out-of-focus" areas. -Smoother Bokeh-

It is also the most difficult to find and probably the most expensive of the lenses mentioned in the thread- except for the Rigid Summicron in Thread Mount. The Canon F1.5 and Nikkor F1.4 are both "copies" of the Zeiss Sonnar. The Canon F1.4 is a "Xenon" formula lens, and the Summarit is a modified "Xenon".

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-19-2005 at 01:41.
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Old 08-19-2005   #11
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And why haven't we mentioned a Chrome barreled Canon 50/1.8 which can be found for $200 or less? Another handsome small sharp lens.
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Old 08-19-2005   #12
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I mentioned the Canon 50mm F1.8! I just bought one here at RFF for $125.

The few lenses not mentioned were the 50mm f1.2: just BIG on a classic Leica, and the 50mm F2 Summar: soft wide-open and fall-off at the edges, mostly a problem for color film. The Summitar was brought out to replace the Summar when color film became more popular (as Per "The Leica Manual" by Lester and Morgan). The Summar can be found under $100.

See this thread for discussion on fast optics.
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ead.php?t=9614

Lots of wide-open shots with the Nikkor 5cm F1.4, and some with the Summarit are here:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ead.php?t=9602

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-19-2005 at 02:34.
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Old 08-19-2005   #13
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Another vote for the Summitar or an Elmar.

Bob
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Old 08-19-2005   #14
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I vote for a small lens.

/Håkan
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Old 08-19-2005   #15
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I'd suggest the 50mm/f2 Nikkor or the 50mm/1.8 Canon(aka Serenar). Both are excellent optics, are compact in size, and can be found for $200 or less. If you have a choice, go for the Nikkor; the 40mm filters for the Canon are difficult to find.

The 50mm/f1.4 Canon is a large lens and, IMHO, a compact camera such as a Barnack Leica should have a compact lens to best be enjoyed (the 1.4 Nikkor is quite a bit smaller). The 50mm/1.5 Nokton is a sharp as a razor fully open but is also a large lens.

You might consider also picking up a Russian 50mm/f3.5 in addition to one of the other lenses mentioned here or elsewhere in this thread. They are inexpensive and quite good optically. A Barnack Leica was meant to have a collapsible lens (at least part of the time) and you will enjoy using it.
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Old 08-19-2005   #16
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If you are going to use mostly B+W film then don't rule out the Elmar3.5 just push the film up
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Old 08-19-2005   #17
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Yes don't rule out the Elmar, I have a lovely one but you are limited at f3.5 and you are looking for DOF control. It is however a superb lens. The Summarit at f1.5 gives you most DOF effect but they can run over your budget awfully easily. I think your best bet is the Summitar, it has f2, is collapsible, and they sell at reasonable prices. Look in the classifieds here or over on photo.net, and if you don't see what you want put out a WTB notice on both forums. Buying an older lens on eBay can be dodgy.

BTW welcome to the forum Honus!

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Old 08-19-2005   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Sweeney
I mentioned the Canon 50mm F1.8! I just bought one here at RFF for $125.

So you did. My bad.
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Old 08-19-2005   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graybeard
I'd suggest the 50mm/f2 Nikkor

See, there are lots of less expensive options. I have been shopping a little bit for an f2 Nikkor. Another Sonnar copy and highly regarded. They have been selling for closer to $250 recently from what I have seen.
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Old 08-19-2005   #20
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Honus, as you can see none of us here have preferences...

The Summarit usually goes fairly cheaply, less than the Elmar. It does have a tendency to develop Haze on the interior coating, which usually can be "deep-cleaned" as I was told by Essex. Each of my Summarits ran under $240 including the cost of the CLA. As most people use this lens without investing the $80 to have it cleaned, it gets a "bum Rap". It also gets "cleaning marks" as the coating is softer than what Canon and Nikon used. These have no real impact on image quality. It is a big lens.
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Old 08-19-2005   #21
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It's Raining, I'm on too many cold medications to work on cameras, and I've been wanting to try the SB29 Ringlight on the old Nikon E3 digital camera.

Leica IIIF with
1) Elmar 5cm F3.5
2) Canon 50mm F1.5
3) Summarit
4) Nikkor 5cm F1.4
5) Canon 50mm F1.4
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Old 08-19-2005   #22
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Of all the lenses, the Elmar does not appear in the viewfinder at all. That is in the taking position as shown. The Canon F1.5 lens is "just visible", but is not distracting. You'll know if you left the lens cover on. The Canon F1.4 obstructs 1/3 of the viewfinder. If you go with a Canon F1.8 lens, get the chrome version. It is tapered like the F1.5 lens. The later black version that I have juts into the finder more than the chrome F1.5. The Chrome F1.8 is almost identical in size and taper as the F1.5.

Just to add that these lenses fit well within your budget.

I do not have a Summitar.

6) Canon F1.8 lens, late black version.

Last edited by Brian Sweeney : 08-19-2005 at 07:38.
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Old 08-19-2005   #23
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Well done Brian.
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Old 08-19-2005   #24
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I'd just like to state that I hate all of you for continuing my current internal turmoil regarding Leica glass.

Thanks a lot you guys..

Now where did I leave my credit cards.......

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Old 08-19-2005   #25
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Take out the Summarit, and the other five lenses ran me the same price as the new Zeiss 50mm F2. You are looking at a total of $850 for all six lenses. That is about 1/3rd the cost of the new Summilux.
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Old 08-19-2005   #26
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hello,

another vote for Canon 50/1.8 Chrome; i got a nice example recently from *bay for US 135... the results, mostly B&W, are simply great to my not-so-trained eyes, plenty sharp and not harsh, very versatile;

i like its handling as well, hefy construction and nice chrome work, you can set intermediate aperture between click stops, also, it is tiny and not blocking the viewfinder

io am happy with this lens, until i can get hold of the elusive 50/1.5 :-)

good luck to your serach

lee
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Old 08-19-2005   #27
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I've now got a lot of good information to chew on.

Brian - the pics were awesome.

Cheers
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