Leica Inexpensive 28?

William Lewis

Hayward WI
Real Name
William Lewis
So is there any such thing as an inexpensive 28 that is worth the money?

Voigtlander 28/2 Ultron can be found for ~$500 The old slower 28/3.5 is getting silly money :(
Canon LTM 28/3.5 can be found for $350 It's the newer silver/black and I don't see too much haze.
There's a Minolta 28/2.8 that's at $270 but with lots of the usual white spots. Is that something that really is a problem? If it is, how expensive is it to fix?
Are there others I'm not familiar with?


I have several 28s.
  1. First, best is Zess ZM 28mm Biogon. It is excellent. On my M8 it was superb. [Like all lenses were superb on the M8, the M240 has a thinner stack, gives impression of detail and sharpness but M8 gave impression of a slide film.] I bought it because I thought the Leica 28 was too clinical and it costed 40% more. Wide open it is softer, good at F4.
  2. Then I have the Minolta M-Rokkor 28. I like it. There is no purple haze / fringing and that is good - you cannot 'code' it as 28mm; because you cannot get the 28mm frameline, it gives the 35. Mine was evidently cleaned, because there is a slight residue of a small series of lines in a corner from not correct wiping - so I infer it was cleaned. How does white come? Maybe from interaction of moist with the glass surface on inner lens. In my copy it is hardly visible. In practice I have no problems, in churches or dark cafes for instance with a strong backlight I get that nice mist along contours of windows that the large Zeiss lenses on the studio video camera's and Hasselblad are famous for. Pictorially, it is very interesting. While modern lenses want to sell a graph - the trick they use to get good MTF is the focal plane moving outwards to the edges; - this lens has the opposite and CORRECT structure, the plane is concave towards you. Very nice compositions, great. And details are almost as good as the ZM. I can use it to full aperture.
  3. Finally I bought a Russian 28mm, Orion-15. Crazy lens. No flare. Superb detail. Nice colours even. But my copy has not been placed correctly so the plane of focus shifts from one corner to the opposite. But at F11 generally no problem. With a red filter on the M9M I see it more. At F11 it is of course as clinically sharp as anything Leica makes, but that is hardly a feat at that small aperture...


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From what I know and given the criteria I’d say Canon LTM 28mm F2.8 or Voigt 28mm F1.9, they are both small compared to conventional SLR lenses of course but the Canon especially so. Taking a step up in price there’s the Biogon of course and you can’t go wrong with a Zeiss, they’re nowhere near as costly as a native Leica lens. The cheapest though would be the Chinese made lenses, I have no experience with them but understand their overall quality has improved lately, they’re very fast too.


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I like the Avenon (Kobalux) 28mm f3.5 ltm better than Voigt 28mm f1.9 and Minolta 28mm f2.8 with Sigma FP. Avenon is good with the digital sensors including Sony esp when you stopped down to f8. It is very small and has high vignetting wide open. I learned it from a Japanese photographer. The prices went up since I bought it as it is not in production any more.


Review: Kobalux Wide 28mm F/3.5 LTM Lens Review - Casual Photophile
Canon vs Avenon: Canon vs. Kobalux — 28 millimeter Battle.
History: Y.K. Optical

CV 28mm f2 has better contrast and coatings compared to f1.9, but the corners are worse on Sony sensors so I didn't try. Now CV is also releasing a ver II in June though it is more expensive but it will be smaller than the current f2.

There is also 7artisans 28mm 1.4 if you don't mind the size:
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