Leica Lens Recommendations

MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
Alright Leicaphiles-

Hopefully, my first M mount camera will be inbound to me shortly (M-P 240) and I’ll be looking to pick up some lenses for it.

I’ve decided on 3 lenses, and would like to know from anyone that’s owned them, what your thoughts are. Or, if I’m overlooking another obvious choice.

My decision on the 3 focal lengths is firm, and I will pick up a Nikon AI to M adapter to use focal lengths other than the 3 native mount lenses I’m looking to purchase.

Otherwise, the thought process for 2 of them was essentially the best quality possible at a reasonable price and a reasonable size, even if it means I lose some speed. On the final choice, it was more for something fun, even if the quality may be questionable. So here’s the list as it stands…

35mm Voigtlander f2.5 color skopar
50mm Zeiss f2 planar T
75mm TTartisan f1.25 (this is the “fun” one)

Thoughts on my choices? I’d be looking to get the 50 first, and then the 35 (possibly at the same time?). The 75 I’ll grab whenever. The TTartisan 50mm f1.4 was hard to ignore for both its good looks and it’s surprisingly quality (at least in relation to the more flawed 1.1 and 0.95 options), but I imagine it can’t touch the Zeiss, or even a Voigtlander option like an f2 APO (I could probably be talked into this lens if it’s really that much better than the Zeiss) or f2.5 color skopar.

Well, let’s hear it! Thanks in advance.
 
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Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
I will never ever NOT recommend the 35mm Color Skopar. I had the LTM version (with an adapter) on the Bessa-T and I miss it. The rendering was super neutral but just pleasing all around, sharpness was great, and the colors are super (black and white also very good). Size is ridiculously small but easy to use.

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William Lewis

All-Pro
Location
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Name
William Lewis
The Color Skopar is an exquisite lens. You can't go wrong with it. I really should get another one.

That 75 does look like a lot of fun.

The Zeiss is a fine modern lens but like the modern Summicron, it's just a tad boring to my tastes. It is good to have a solid modern lens (mine in this category is the Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.5 that sits in my lens box most of the time). But one can never have too many lenses, especially 50's. Can I recommend that you consider a vintage lens for a second 50? The ones I actually carry the most are

Canon 50/1.4 - closest to a modern lens. Excellent fast 50.

Chiyoko Super Rokkor 50/2 - a fun lens with delightful wide open bokeh.

Nikon Nikkor 50/2 - a very wonderful and user friendly Sonnar formula lens that is a great introduction to why some of us are so hip on them.

Hope these thoughts help!
 

MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
I will never ever NOT recommend the 35mm Color Skopar. I had the LTM version (with an adapter) on the Bessa-T and I miss it. The rendering was super neutral but just pleasing all around, sharpness was great, and the colors are super (black and white also very good). Size is ridiculously small but easy to use.

View attachment 352746View attachment 352747View attachment 352748View attachment 352749View attachment 352750
Thanks for that confirmation, and the samples. I’m totally cool with LTM recommendations, as an LTM to M adapter is not an issue.
 

MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
The Color Skopar is an exquisite lens. You can't go wrong with it. I really should get another one.

That 75 does look like a lot of fun.

The Zeiss is a fine modern lens but like the modern Summicron, it's just a tad boring to my tastes. It is good to have a solid modern lens (mine in this category is the Voigtlander Nokton 50/1.5 that sits in my lens box most of the time). But one can never have too many lenses, especially 50's. Can I recommend that you consider a vintage lens for a second 50? The ones I actually carry the most are

Canon 50/1.4 - closest to a modern lens. Excellent fast 50.

Chiyoko Super Rokkor 50/2 - a fun lens with delightful wide open bokeh.

Nikon Nikkor 50/2 - a very wonderful and user friendly Sonnar formula lens that is a great introduction to why some of us are so hip on them.

Hope these thoughts help!
Thanks for these as well. To the best of my knowledge, the TTartisan 50mm 1.4 (and perhaps all their models) are of a Sonnar design. Just a more modern manufacturing process.

I’m not totally opposed to going vintage, but I’d like to land a really solid 50 before I start experimenting with anything vintage.

Side note - that’s two glowing compliments on the 35mm. That’s probably a done deal unless someone swings in with some damning evidence to the contrary.
 
Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
Side note - that’s two glowing compliments on the 35mm. That’s probably a done deal unless someone swings in with some damning evidence to the contrary.
I don't think anyone has ever come up with anything damning for that lens... One thing about the LTM version people don't like is the focusing peg rather than full-on modern focus tab. I never minded it. Another thing you might find is some slight haze with the LTM version. Mine was supposed to have a bit of light haze but I never found it.

There are three versions: the LTM, a pancake version which isn't really much different or more pancake-y than the others, but lacks any focus tab or peg, and the current, M version with the focus tab. I think the LTM version is a little prettier than the other versions but all have the same optics and therefore the same excellent performance.
 

MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
Two of my favorites that you might look for:
Zeiss 35mm Biogon F2
Vöigtlander 50mm F2 APO Lanthar
But honestly the ones you noted are in the same league.
The choices are many.
Definitely heard good things about the Biogon. Probably more so about that one then the 50mm planar. However at twice the price of the color skopar, I’m finding it hard to justify. Plus, I’d put more money into the 50 than the 35. That said, the APO Lanthar may actually kick the Zeiss out of contention. Everything I’m reading and watching about it seems like this is one hell of a lens. It’s a hair big for my taste and I don’t find it as attractive looking as the TTArtisan or the Zeiss, but it’s the output that matters, and this one seems to have it in spades.
 

MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
In case you need more options.... A little smaller but very delightful is the Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton Aspherical LTM


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Hmmm. Smaller, faster, and more affordable than the APO. And the LTM model looks nice too. The vintage II model looks awful in my opinion. Interesting option. I wonder how it compares to the APO in real world output.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Location
New Mexico
Name
Larry
I've been tempted by a 35mm Color Skopar for years, first when I had a Bessa R that I no longer own, and more recently as something to use with the Sony a7ii, a camera I'm having a lot of fun with using manual focus lenses. The chances of my ever owning a digital M body are vanishing small, but has anyone used the lens with other mirrorless full frame digital cameras? Oh! and congratulations to Chris on your new M.
 
Location
Switzerland
Name
Matt
I have two more 35mm lenses to recommend: The Zeiss C Biogon 35mm f/2.8 is a super-sharp powerhouse with bold, but still smooth rendering - it may be an older design, but I haven't seen anything superior so far (it handily beats the Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH, except for speed); a little caveat: Check the mechanics, they can get loose with more frequent use. The Voigtländer Ultron 35mm f/2 isn't far behind when it comes to sharpness, is even smaller, with somewhat more classic rendering (more vignetting, more structured bokeh), but modern contrast and colour. The Type II comes with a focus tab (the Type I has a little stick I quite like, but will not be everybody's cup of tea. The build quality of the little Voigtländer is second to none. I'd probably still go for the C Biogon, but would still miss the Ultron.

As to 50mm, yes, the Voigltänder APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 is definitely the most recommendable (a dream lens - wonderful sharpness, contrast, colour, rendering), but the most portable would be the Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.5 II; its predecessor is also a very enticing lens, but its peculiar handling isn't to everyone's taste - the silver version has a brass core that operates much smoother. Still, the new version is the more universally useful lens and would probably be my first pick. You can't fault the APO-Lanthar, though, so, again, if possible, I'd get both.

I'll stop here - or I'll go on for hours ;)

M.
 
I have diddled around a bit with LTM lenses and rambled about boards and listened to the propeller heads who know lenses. One recommended is the Jupiter 8, KMZ the best bet and early if possible, like early 50's. I have a '57 which is very kind. I have two or three others including a '51. I have to get the '51 shimmed for the M9. But to get a virtual pre-war Sonnar for less than US$100 is a good deal. I was advised on the Canon 50mm f/1.8 manual focus and it is good, very good. But for 50's you know I am opting for the Cooke Amotal 2" f/2.0 which is so sharp and also has a glow to it. I hunted for a few months before I finally found a good copy and from an honest seller. So those are my three fave 50's. I have a Canon 35mm f/2.0 which is OK but not a soul grabber. The CV 35mm N II works well on the M9 and I tend to that. Shorter focal length for me is the Canon 28mm f/2.8. It is fine on FF and an effective 35mm on APSC like the Pixii. It is great with color or B&W and quite sharp. And for longer I have the 85mm and 135 Jupiters, both good copies, which, again, are Sonnar copies.

So I have gotten by pretty cheaply in lenses. I have good lenses for me. In FF I go 50mm mostly and that is #1 Cooke and #2 Jupiter. These are pleasing enough that I have pretty much stopped lens GAS. I think. :cool:
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Location
London
Alright Leicaphiles-

Hopefully, my first M mount camera will be inbound to me shortly (M-P 240) and I’ll be looking to pick up some lenses for it.

I’ve decided on 3 lenses, and would like to know from anyone that’s owned them, what your thoughts are. Or, if I’m overlooking another obvious choice.

My decision on the 3 focal lengths is firm, and I will pick up a Nikon AI to M adapter to use focal lengths other than the 3 native mount lenses I’m looking to purchase.

Otherwise, the thought process for 2 of them was essentially the best quality possible at a reasonable price and a reasonable size, even if it means I lose some speed. On the final choice, it was more for something fun, even if the quality may be questionable. So here’s the list as it stands…

35mm Voigtlander f2.5 color skopar
50mm Zeiss f2 planar T
75mm TTartisan f1.25 (this is the “fun” one)

Thoughts on my choices? I’d be looking to get the 50 first, and then the 35 (possibly at the same time?). The 75 I’ll grab whenever. The TTartisan 50mm f1.4 was hard to ignore for both its good looks and it’s surprisingly quality (at least in relation to the more flawed 1.1 and 0.95 options), but I imagine it can’t touch the Zeiss, or even a Voigtlander option like an f2 APO (I could probably be talked into this lens if it’s really that much better than the Zeiss) or f2.5 color skopar.

Well, let’s hear it! Thanks in advance.
FWIW I think you're good to go, that's fine (there are no "bad" Voigtlander/ Zeiss lenses on this platform or probably at all and Brian here recommends the TTA 75mm which is endorsement enough as far as I'm concerned).

This is exciting, trust me! But the more you use the camera, the more the 28mm and 90mm focal lengths will eventually gnaw away at you, especially the 28mm as annoyingly for me I saw that in RF terms they are not similar to 35mm lenses.

Anyway, you may as well get a couple of LTM adapters now as this is definitely all part of the fun (you *will* end up getting LTM lenses, don't think adapting that AI glass will prevent this) and any of the Canon LTM 50mm lenses (F1.8/F1.4) from a performance/ value perspective is an excellent way to go IMHO.

I mention Canon LTM lenses but the (second hand) choice and availability from other brands is vast. It's all very well if one buys new gear because a lot of it renders all the same subject to a lot of PP and if you like that then that's great. But that's not the case here as, again annoyingly, these old 50mms have their own identity and render differently. You may like the results, you may not, but if you do you'll find that many of these lenses can be had for cheap which justifies purchases (more than one btw) and thus puts your wallet in danger. So there is a skill to containing GAS in this respect which you have to develop.

And finally, there can be frustrations to owning a RF camera and lenses - the secret is to learn to enjoy them:cool:. IMO it's well worth it.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Brian

Product of the Fifties
Alright Leicaphiles-

I’ve decided on 3 lenses, and would like to know from anyone that’s owned them, what your thoughts are. Or, if I’m overlooking another obvious choice.

Otherwise, the thought process for 2 of them was essentially the best quality possible at a reasonable price and a reasonable size, even if it means I lose some speed. On the final choice, it was more for something fun, even if the quality may be questionable. So here’s the list as it stands…

35mm Voigtlander f2.5 color skopar
50mm Zeiss f2 planar T
75mm TTartisan f1.25 (this is the “fun” one)

Well, let’s hear it! Thanks in advance.
The 75/1.25 is fun, and way better than most online reviews have stated. You must calibrate the RF Cam to your individual camera. You might want to set the lens to your preferred F-Stop when doing so. There is focus shift. I set mine for wide-open, use with a 1.25x magnifier on the M9. Great Choice.


50mm lenses- the Planar is a fine lens. However- the new Voigtlander 50/2 APO-Lanthar is "around" the same price. It is bigger, uses 49mm filters. It is sharp, amazing lens. All the latest in modern design in a lens.


35mm: I went for the 35/1.7 Ultron in Leica Thread Mount. Use with an adapter. Aspheric design. "Classic" focus ring, not the 1950s styled ring of the M-Mount 35/1.7 V2. The Bokeh on the 35/1.7 Ultron is very smooth. Stopped down to F4: was measured at 90lp/mm (Line-Pair/millimeter). Not much difference in price between it and the 35/2.5. Also uses 39mm filters.


LTM: I use this term to mean a lens in RF coupled 39mm thread mount that is Calibrated to the Leica standard. There are many 39mm mounts. M39 may not mean a lens calibrated to a Leica. There is the USSR Fed/Zorki mount which is 39mm threads, same28.8mm flange, but calibrated to the Zeiss standard. There is Zenit SLR 39mm mount. There is the Braun Pax 39mm thread mount with a different flange distance. There is 39mm mount for enlarger lenses.
So- ask any questions here about odd lenses. Not all 39mm mounts are the same.

I have a lot of lenses in Leica mount. Be sure to post a thread on "I want a Vintage Look Lens"....
 
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MountainMan79

😎💩➡️📸
Location
Minnesota
Name
Chris
I have two more 35mm lenses to recommend: The Zeiss C Biogon 35mm f/2.8 is a super-sharp powerhouse with bold, but still smooth rendering - it may be an older design, but I haven't seen anything superior so far (it handily beats the Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH, except for speed); a little caveat: Check the mechanics, they can get loose with more frequent use. The Voigtländer Ultron 35mm f/2 isn't far behind when it comes to sharpness, is even smaller, with somewhat more classic rendering (more vignetting, more structured bokeh), but modern contrast and colour. The Type II comes with a focus tab (the Type I has a little stick I quite like, but will not be everybody's cup of tea. The build quality of the little Voigtländer is second to none. I'd probably still go for the C Biogon, but would still miss the Ultron.

As to 50mm, yes, the Voigltänder APO-Lanthar 50mm f/2 is definitely the most recommendable (a dream lens - wonderful sharpness, contrast, colour, rendering), but the most portable would be the Voigtländer Nokton 50mm f/1.5 II; its predecessor is also a very enticing lens, but its peculiar handling isn't to everyone's taste - the silver version has a brass core that operates much smoother. Still, the new version is the more universally useful lens and would probably be my first pick. You can't fault the APO-Lanthar, though, so, again, if possible, I'd get both.

I'll stop here - or I'll go on for hours ;)

M.
Weirdly the biogon 2.8 is more expensive then the aforementioned biogon 2.0. Either way, now that I have another glowing review of the more expensive APO, the more I think the less expensive color skopar is the right 35 for me at the moment. Thanks!
 
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