April 24th, 2012, 07:00 PM
M mount lens learning
I know there's a bunch of film shooters here (as well as digital peeps who are adapting old glass). I just purchased Antonio's under-utilized Bessa and now I need a lens so it doesn't just sit under-utilized at my house. I'm not sure I'm going to be caught be the film bug so I don't want to to break the bank, but I also want to experience a little bit of what makes manual shooting so fun and don't want to create bunk images by just buying whatever $50 will get me from the pawn shop.
Can you point me to a good place to do some research on what's all out there? Do you have a couple favorites that won't cause me to rob a bank first? What's your favorite el cheapo 35mm? Share some images to if you have any handy.
Thanks in advance!
April 24th, 2012, 07:13 PM
Oh Luke, I think you're going to be surprised!
Here's a quick copy and paste of a list of used 35mm lenses just to wet your appetite!
Summicron-M 35/2 #2712778, black, 3rd vers, Canada, Ex+/Ex++ $1675.
Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH#3821851, black, hood, UV filter, caps, Ex+/Ex++ $2650.
Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH#3846894, black, hood, caps, Mint- $2750.
Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH#3903209, 6 bit,black, caps, hood, case, box, Mint- $2845.
Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH#3963318, chrome, caps, hood, UV filter, case, box, Mint/Mint- $2845.
Summicron-M 35/2 ASPH#4091298, 6 bit,black, caps, hood, case, box, Mint/Mint- $2945.
Summaron-RF 35/2.8 #1755927, chrome, RF eyes, UV filter, caps, Mint- $725.
Summaron-M 35/2.8 #2102526, chrome, front cap, case, box, Mint- $950.
Summaron-M 3.5cm/3.5 #1148438, chrome, ITDOO hood, caps, Ex $395.
Summaron-M 3.5cm/3.5 #1150315, chrome, IROOA hood, caps, Ex+ $475.
April 24th, 2012, 07:48 PM
I would look at putting Voigtlander lenses on the camera, far cheaper to wet your feet in the film world
Voigtlander Leica Mount Lenses
Voigtlander RF Leica Mount Lens Chart
April 24th, 2012, 07:51 PM
Congrats Luke! Nice to see you gave in and joined Darth Vader!
If you are not set on having a red dot mounted on your new Bessa, here are the alternatives, all of which are still in production:
Voigtlander Skopar 35/2.5 - about $400 new; super small, and good performer wide open; known to have sample to sample issues; so could be hit or miss
Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.4 - about $620 new; easily the smallest 35mm f1.4 lens in the market; sharp enough wide open; some have reported focus shift at around f2.8 when used with digital rangefinders; I did not experience any focus shift with my M9; IMO, easily the most bang for the buck 35mm lens on M mount; more of a "classic" lens as opposed to digital sharpness
Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.2 - $1300 new; not cheap; but the fastest 35mm lens that I know of; sharp wide open, and nice bokeh comparable to the Leica 35mm Summilux Asph; big ol' lens though (relative to other 35mm M lenses)
Zeiss ZM 35/2 Biogon - $1020 new; sharp wide open; no distortion at all; probably the best all around 35mm lens short of a Leica 35 Summilux Asph FLE (the newest 35mm Leica)
Zeiss ZM 35/2.8 Biogon C - $820 new; small little lens; super sharp wide open; very little distortion; nice creamy out of focus rendering
And for a "cheap" in production Leica, there's the Leica 35 Summarit: $1895 new; f2.5; sharp wide open; reported by many to be have the most pleasant bokeh out of ALL M mount lenses; you can probably find used ones upwards from $1350+
I recently saw this used 35 Summarit from a respectable Leica dealer (Kurland) for $1445: Leica 35mm 2.5 Summarit M Lens - 6 Bit 35 f2.5 | eBay
Kurland also has this used Leica 50mm Summarit for $1295: Leica 50mm f2.5 Summarit M Lens - 6 Bit 50 f2.5 | eBay
50mm lenses will tend to be a little cheaper. So that's something else to consider. You can get a Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 for about $500-600 new, which is regarded by some to be sharper than a $4000 Leica Summilux Asph. Or the excellent Zeiss 50/2 Planar for under $800 new.
Out of all the lenses noted above, I have personally owned and used the Nokton 35/1.4 (still own and use it), the Zeiss 35/2 and the Zeiss 35/2.8. The rest of the info comes from looking at photos, reading reviews, and reading forum comments.
Let me know if you have any more questions. I love to help people spend their money!
Last edited by Armanius; April 24th, 2012 at 07:57 PM.
Current Gear: A little bit of this and a little bit of that, but want more!
April 24th, 2012, 08:13 PM
Thanks all for your quick responses. As usual, my reach exceeds my grasp. Alas, I have champagne taste and a beer budget.
Duane, when I win the lottery, I'll order one of each of those and report back which one renders best and toss the rest in the trash.
Bob, I think you advice is sage and had already begun to research what they were still making and which older ones might be plentiful and cheap on the used market.
Armando, I spent less than 5 minutes researching lenses and saw some of your posts over on the rangefinder forums. Man, when do you find any time to work with all the forums you hit? ;) The Skopar you mention is kind of near the top of what I'm looking to spend since I'm not even sure I'm going to become a convert.
So let's imagine for a moment that a good copy of one of the Voigtlanders can give a simpleton like myself 90% of the experience of using a 4 digit lens for 50% of the price. Are there lenses out there that get get me 80% of the performance for 25% of the price? Should I just stay away from the Russian lenses? Are there other options that you would consider?
April 24th, 2012, 08:21 PM
The problem Luke, is that these lenses have been bid up due to the NEX5 and 7 along with the other 4/3 cameras that you can put these lenses on with adapters.
Now that the X Pro1 has come along that will only add to those that want to try the manual focus RF lenses.
I don't think you'd go wrong with the Voigt 35mm f2.5 pancake lens.
April 24th, 2012, 08:34 PM
I am also on somewhat of a limited lens budget at present after having just forked out for the M9. I suggest you look at the old Canon RF lenses, some of them have a really good rap and can be had for around $300-$600 for a fast 50mm. There are plenty of images and discussion of them on RFF if you do a search. I am personally keen on the 50/1.4 and 50/1.2 versions. They are all LTM (Leica thread mount) so you will need an adapter for about $50 on ebay. Also I have found this site to give a good starting point for estimating lens value: Antique and Classic Camera Home Page.
April 24th, 2012, 11:06 PM
My recommendation would be to do what I did, which was to start with a Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm 2.5. Terrific, and I paid $409 for it brand new at B&H. I have since purchased a 50mm 2.8 M Elmar and a 90mm 4.0 M Rokkor, both of which are terrific, but a bit more expensive.
I have a close friend who has a Jupiter 12 35mm 2.8 and M adapter for sale for $80. If you are interested, I can let him know.
April 24th, 2012, 11:31 PM
Antonio, feel free to pass my contact info along to him. If it's a decent functioning lens, it's probably just what I'm looking for to test the waters. Thanks again,
Originally Posted by ajramirez
April 24th, 2012, 11:41 PM
Well done Luke, very well done!!
After a helluva lot of research over the years - and RFF is your friend here - I'll be starting with Voigtlander (aka CV = Cosina Voigtlander) glass. Due to cost I know it will be an interim solution for me, as it will be for you, but oddly enough there are folks that rate many of the lenses higher than some Leica glass. They are the 'cheaper' of the bunch - even cheaper than some adapted M39 (aka LTM or 39mm Leica Thread Mount) lenses. Actually, I would be mighty tempted by some Zeiss (CZ) glass too. Cost - for most pieces - is between Leica and CV. There are some CZ pieces that far out-strip Leica for sharpness. Although you hear it often with digital it is actually true with film....that sharpness is a bourgeois concept
Now we need Brian's input
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