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Leica M

uganda 10 28 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2013 1:52PM
If you were to have the good fortune of becoming the owner of a Leica m, which lenses would you buy? (as far as focal length is concerned, for Environmental Portraiture).

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13 Dec 2013 2:23PM
This is pie-in-the-sky stuff for me, but even ignoring hypothetical budget constraints I would go with lenses that best complement the rangefinder concept, which in my view are wide-to-normal lenses of moderate aperture.

High on my list would be:
• 35 mm Summicron-M ASPH (not much you can’t shoot with this alone, and it’s ridiculously small with a rearward weight balance, i.e. really nice as a walkabout lens)
• 24 mm Elmarit-M ASPH (used)
• 50 mm Summicron-M (non-ASPH)

I’d also look at the lovely little Summarits from Steven K Lee’s unhappy tenure. He took a lot of flak for those but I think they’re wonderful.

Many older lenses can be 6-bit coded and used to great effect, but you’re entering a tricky marketplace with bizarre valuations based on things like where lenses were made, how many were made, who they were CLA’d by over the years, cult favourites (e.g. 35 mm Summicron V4), etc. Lots of work required to avoid getting fleeced.
alansnap 14 577 26 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2013 2:24PM
When I had an M6, I had two lenses I used above all others. The 35mm Summicron-M ASPH is a fabulous lens and I used it most of the time. Another one not mentioned above the the collapsible Elmar 50mm f2.8. It was a lovely little lens and folded into the camera like a pancake lens. Again results were excellent as you'd expect. Finally I had a 90mm Elmar f2.8 and again it was stunning. Have a look at the first page of my portfolio and you can see images with all three lenses.
If I had the money I'd buy an M9, but that's very unlikelySad
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
14 Dec 2013 3:41PM
35 mm for a full frame M.
Money no object, I'd probably go for a Summilux (f/1.4) or a Summicron Aspheric (f/2). However, money is often important, so maybe consider either a slower/older lens or a cheaper alternative. An earlier version Summicron pre-Asph, a Summaron or even a Voigtlander.
The older lenses are usually cheaper but are still fantastic by any standard, but whereas the new aspherics are very 'clinical' in rendering, most still have the 'Leica look'.
It really all depends on the kind of photos you take, you may prefer wider or longer options. If you have the money, and you don't mind slower lenses (f/4) a tri-elmar is a great alternative-it's as close as Leica M gets to a zoom and has 28, 35 and 50 in one lens.


Ps I use Leica M and digital.
Pps ref the above, Leica lenses that are f/2.8 are called Elmarits. Other conventions: Summicrons are f/2, Elmars are f/4, Summiluxes are f/4, f/1 and faster are Noctiluxes. There are others.
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
15 Dec 2013 1:39AM
Whoops, typo! Summiluxes are f/1.4, not f/4 (that would be an Elmar!)

There will usually be a debate about the best lens for an M, but generally 35 or 50 is the most common pairing. Two lenses with some separation would be a 50 and a 28/24/21, or a 35 and 75/90. Then a 3 lens kit would be maybe 24/50/90, or 24/35/75. The permutations depend on your favoured focal lengths and how deep your pockets are!
Because there are no zooms, you have to use your feet and learn to see the focal length you have...changing lenses frequently will lead to lost shots and a dirty sensor, but for environmental portraits, I'd suggest a 35 Summicron, pre-asph on a full frame body (28 Elmarit version 4 on M8). Not much distortion, very sharp, you get a bit more in than with a 50 and they are tiny.

On another plus point, you can use almost any lens from the bayonet M range on all M bodies, and with an adapter, you can use almost any screw Leica lens too, right from the earliest ones, and most other manufacturers' lenses too. I'd avoid the earlier collapsibles on a digital M, but most others are useable.

mike_j 5 3 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2014 9:24PM
If you only have only two lenses look for a doubling of focal length between them. I would go for 35mm Summicron or cheaper but excellent Summarit teamed with a 75mm Summarit. If you like shorter focal lengths I'd go for a 28mm Elmarit teamed with a 50mm Summicron if I could afford it and a summarit if I wanted slightly cheaper. Put the main expenditure in the most used lens. None of the lenses will let you down.

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