Originally Posted by Benjamin Marks
I don't have a sense of how reasonable a fear this is. Knowing nothing about the country you plan to visit, there are plenty of places where carrying any "tech" openly marks you as an outsider. "Black" is not "invisible" and the notion that silver rather than black being what gets you noticed by the police seems like "magical thinking" to me. If stealth is your concern, take a smartphone. But you have to do what makes you feel safe. Alternatives would be spray paint or black duct tape on a silver lens, but there are a million good reasons why that is not a good idea.
My own sense from shooting in US urban areas is that your demeanor makes as much of a difference as anything else. But this is all theory, and hardly worth the electrons I am using to write it. I think you need to ask yourself why you want to photograph in places where it appears to put you at physical risk. There are plenty of good answers to that question, but I think once you are honest with yourself about your goals, then the other answers to your questions will fall into place.
I think you are drawing the wrong conclusions about a box being included in the sale. I think boxes mostly matter to collectors, who are really not interested in photographing with the lens per se. They are interested in the lens' qualities as an object in a market of other collectable objects. Same can be true of collectors of comic books, baseball cards, or firearms for that matter. If you are planning on owning the lens for a long time, as your original posts suggests, then really the primary concern is the quality of the glass.
I wouldn't characterize the CV 35/1.7 lens as "a bit soft". I'd characterize it as modern and clinically sharp. I'll post some quick shots in a minute to show you what I mean.
Good advice, thank you! Possibly I am better described as a hoarder than a collector in that case.
The images you posted are quite useful, since I also happen to own m4/3 for a digital camera. All 3 are clearly good lenses, and CA is very easy to correct in post, hence why distortion and sharpness were main concerns. I have a Minolta MC 35/1.8 for SLR and I'd say it's like the Zeiss and Voigtlander together when wide open. Details are very much there, just with low overall contrast and bleeding edges. And, nearly no distortion and high performance when focused down to 0.3m, which is unusual for a lens without floating elements. I would probably have just taken it instead but the aperture is stuffed in it.
With vintage lenses, I have noticed that many seem to have a lot more CA on a digital camera than they do when shot on film - perhaps that is due both to the sensor stack of digital and the low contrast of negative film, perhaps not really challenging the lens in the same way. In general it is hard to say that there were many bad lenses made in the days of film cameras while many get a bad rep. when shot on the Sony A7 series. My understanding is that this LTM Ultron was designed for film, where as the M-Ultron was redesigned to consider the digital sensor stack and actually performs more closely to the Leica Asph.