Debating a 35mm lens for my M
Old 06-08-2013   #1
nonuniform
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Debating a 35mm lens for my M

I sold my 35mm Cron last year, I never really loved that lens, especially since it was a replacement for a Lux that I sold at a real low point in my life.

So, now I'm thinking of a replacement. I really like the Zeiss 35/2, it's better than a Cron (in my opinion...ducking...), but I'm also temped by the Voigtlanders. I rented the 1.2, it's very very similar to an 35mm ASPH Lux. Unfortunately, new Leica M lenses are out of the question, and I guess I could spend years buying and selling Crons till I found one I like...I once owned 20 Fender Strats trying to find the one that was just right...

Anyhow, I'm leaning Zeiss, but am tempted by the extra stop of exposure with the Voigtlander...
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Old 06-08-2013   #2
sanmich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonuniform View Post
.... and I guess I could spend years buying and selling Crons till I found one I like...
why??
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Old 06-09-2013   #3
Richard G
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I like the C Biogon too, but 43mm filter size might bother some. I am hardly using any lens faster than f2.8 lately. The Nokton 1.4 I think is said to be similar to what you had. It is also said there are no bad 35s.
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Old 06-09-2013   #4
David Hughes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
... It is also said there are no bad 35s.
Hi,

It is usually the case with second-hand lenses that they need checking and, perhaps, adjusting and cleaning. That would make them perform "as new" and there would be no need to keep looking for a good one by buying and selling a lot of them. And probably a lot cheaper in terms of time, effort and money.

Just a thought.

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Old 06-09-2013   #5
sebastel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanmich View Post
why??
same question here. while i can understand to put some consideration into choosing a 35mm -- after all, it might be the most important lens -- with my growing experience i seriously doubt the concerns about optical properties. yes, they are different. some outstandingly so, nokton 1.2 being a perfect example. but in 2.0 regions, there is really not so much difference. honestly, if you plan to use it for a long time, mechanical quality is more important.

so - what was your problem with the summicron? in which regard do you think the biogon might be better?

cheers,
s.


edit -
just for fun, i took some comparison photos, using some 35mm lenses that happened to be available at the time.
focus distance ca. 1.5 meters, all taken at 2.8 with an M9, set at the best matching profile.
JPG direct out of the camera, resized in GIMP and exported at 80% quality setting. EXIF stripped with exiftool.


http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg...photoid=209554
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg...photoid=209555
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffg...photoid=209556


can you see critical differences that would render one of the lenses unuseable?
if you dare, you may guess which lenses were involved.
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Last edited by sebastel : 06-09-2013 at 02:01. Reason: added example pictures
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Old 06-09-2013   #6
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The main difference between the Biogon and the Nokton 1.4 isn't sharpness -- they're both sharp (maybe the Zeiss has an edge in the corners). But the Zeiss has noticeably more contrast. Of course, I have the SC version of the Nokton, with the MC version this difference is probably less pronounced. The other difference is size. The Biogon is quite large, and with the hood attached the hood protrudes signiticantly into the frame area. This bothers some people and not others. The Nokton 1.4, OTOH, is tiny. I have and use both, but with B&W film the CV Nokton is usually my choice. I also have a version 2 Summicron, which I've mostly retired. It served well for over 30 years, but I finally got tired of the vignetting and softness in the corners. Center sharpness was never a problem.
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Old 06-09-2013   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ansel View Post
The second one looks really soft at the edges/in the corners... also seems to be a bit lower contrast.

What lenses do we have to choose from?

i won't make this a multiple choice thing ... that would be too easy.
let's say, these are major brand 35mm lenses with M-mount from the recent 50 years, two of them still being produced, and two of them have already been mentioned in this thread.

i'll disclose the lenses later, probably tomorrow.
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Old 06-09-2013   #8
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I have V1 Cron, V2 Lux, Summaron 35/3.5, Canon 35/2, 35/1.8, 35/1.5. I love the Cron and the Lux the most.

In your case, get what you want to get the most. All 35mm lenses are very good. The CV 35/1.2 is a monster in size. My V2 non-asph Lux is very very small.
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Old 06-09-2013   #9
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Hi, i suggest you the c-biogon...it shines and the price is not so over the top.

I agree about leica lenses this c-biogon is superior to the v4 cron and the pre asph lux.
I prefer the 2.8 version over the f2 one mainly because the 2/35 is not very good wide open and it has focus shift at that point.

Another fine 35mm lens is the elmar 3.5cm f 3.5 but is even slower than the biogon!
A lens i liked a lot even beng leica is the v3 cron, itīs very steady when it comes to focus shift and colours are beautiful, very much like itīs 50mm counterpart...but now itīs too priced.

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Old 06-09-2013   #10
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The nice thing is that you can always add a 35 1.2 Nokton to a 2.8 Bigon for low light shooting... If I didn't like my summicron, I would maybe go with such a combination.
Do you really need a fast aperture of 1.2 or 1.4 at 35mm?

I personally don't need it, I use a 50 summilux for low light.
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Old 06-09-2013   #11
Duane Pandorf
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I just bought a mint 35mm Summilux pre-ASPH V2. I don't think the lens had ever been mounted on a camera. I've been shooting mostly with my 50mm and I can see this lens requires a different approach in how I use it.
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Old 06-09-2013   #12
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Have the 35f1.2 Nokton and love it. Only drawback is the size. Had the 35f2.5 which makes a perfect companion (so two 35's for less then half the cost of an M). Sold the 35f2.5 because I don't like owning two lenses of identical focal length but would probably buy another if I could find one used. Only drawback to 35f1.2 is size which is why I regret selling the 35f2.5 but carry both 35f1.2 and 35f2.5 while traveling actually makes the problem worse.

Get the 1.2. It really is a great lens.
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Old 06-09-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Pandorf View Post
I just bought a mint 35mm Summilux pre-ASPH V2. I don't think the lens had ever been mounted on a camera. I've been shooting mostly with my 50mm and I can see this lens requires a different approach in how I use it.
I used to be using mainly a 50mm lens for many years, but now I am also using the 35mm lens. Your lens should be great.
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Old 06-09-2013   #14
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Hmm, I rented the Zeiss 35/2, but didn't notice focus shift. I like that lens because it captures a sense of dimension that, when compared using the same scene as my v2 Cron, was just remarkable more pleasing.

I also rented the Nokton 1.2, the lens is great because it has less distortion than the Zeiss, but I after shooting for a few days using f/1.2, I'm not sure I'd use it wide open all that often.

Thanks for the thoughts everyone, very helpful!
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Old 06-09-2013   #15
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the biogon more distortion than the nokton? it should be the other way 'round. did not notice focus shift with the biogon, either.

by the way, here the resolution:

the first (209554) was the summicron asph
second (209555) was the summicron v2
third (209556) was biogon 2.0/35mm

cheers,
sebastian
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Old 06-09-2013   #16
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I have both f/2.0 and f/2.8c Biogons and really need to sell the f/2.0. I don't use it much, but not because it is somehow lacking. It is a fine lens, but I really like the size of the 'c'. Both have very nice micro-contrast and handle well. I've not had focus shift, or wobbly lenses. I think that if I needed a lens for low light, I would want something faster than an f/2.0. Honestly, when the lights go down, I grab my X100s. I no longer rely on film for low light situations.
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Old 06-09-2013   #17
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Originally Posted by sebastel View Post
the biogon more distortion than the nokton? it should be the other way 'round. did not notice focus shift with the biogon, either.
I tested the lenses back to back. The Voigtlander 35/1.2 had less distortion than the Zeiss 35/2. Whatever it 'should' be, the images spoke for themselves.
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Old 06-09-2013   #18
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Originally Posted by bwcolor View Post
I think that if I needed a lens for low light, I would want something faster than an f/2.0. Honestly, when the lights go down, I grab my X100s. I no longer rely on film for low light situations.
I agree, I have a D3s for lowlight work, but it's huge compared to the M4.
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Old 06-09-2013   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonuniform View Post
I tested the lenses back to back. The Voigtlander 35/1.2 had less distortion than the Zeiss 35/2. Whatever it 'should' be, the images spoke for themselves.
while i owned the 1.2 nokton, i compared it to the biogon as well. my result was, that the biogon had no noticeable distortion, while the nokton had quite some.
i'm not talking obscure theories here ("should"), but personal experience.

cheers,
s.

ps: sorry for hijacking your thread with my comparison pictures. i had had the idea they might have been useful in this context.
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Old 06-10-2013   #20
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Thanks for the reveal Sebastel.... All three of those were mentioned in the thread, not just 2. Basically I cant see much difference between the Biogon and the cron ASPH. No surprise there.
and exactly that was my point ....

well, actually you can find differences when thoroughly comparing the test photos at all apertures (the asph showing a tiny little bit of chromatic aberration, that i cannot detect in the biogon, while the biogon has a "gentle touch" wide open). but for the pictures, there is finally not so much give and take. as soon as you are above the "good enough" threshold, the differences in the non-optical departments become more important.

you want almost pocketable? the 'cron v.2 wins.
you want modern and a tab? the asph 'cron wins.
you do not want a tab? biogon.
doubt free mechanics? go for leica.
need a heavy doorstop? nokton 1.2 can take that part. (*)

(sorry for missing the asph cron having been mentioned.)

cheers,
sebastian




(*) don't misunderstand me -- i find the nokton 1.2 a lovely lens. only too heavy for my use.
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Old 06-10-2013   #21
Johann Espiritu
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Had the 35/1.2 Nokton + 35/2.5 Color Skopar (LTM) combo. Perfect pair as they were both so different from each other - size, contrast, sharpness. You can'r go wrong with either. Sold the Skopar when I got my 35 Cron ASPH, but no regrets for me.

Samples below, both on film and from the M9.

Nokton:


EP#48 - Pairs by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


Tabaqueria de Filipinas by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


Dinner at Home on a Saturday Night by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr

Skopar:


Lucas and the Morning Light by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


SCBI by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


Evil Postcard 8 by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr

Summicron:


Loot by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


Marga by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr


RuNew Runners - 100 Strangers by The Johann Espiritu™, on Flickr
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Old 06-10-2013   #22
nonuniform
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sebastel View Post
while i owned the 1.2 nokton, i compared it to the biogon as well. my result was, that the biogon had no noticeable distortion, while the nokton had quite some.
i'm not talking obscure theories here ("should"), but personal experience.

cheers,
s.

ps: sorry for hijacking your thread with my comparison pictures. i had had the idea they might have been useful in this context.
No problem, it's all interesting to me. It's odd that we had such different experiences with the two lenses. I made the comparison with a v2 Nokton, I wonder if that matters.
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Old 06-10-2013   #23
nonuniform
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and exactly that was my point ....

well, actually you can find differences when thoroughly comparing the test photos at all apertures (the asph showing a tiny little bit of chromatic aberration, that i cannot detect in the biogon, while the biogon has a "gentle touch" wide open). but for the pictures, there is finally not so much give and take. as soon as you are above the "good enough" threshold, the differences in the non-optical departments become more important.

you want almost pocketable? the 'cron v.2 wins.
you want modern and a tab? the asph 'cron wins.
you do not want a tab? biogon.
doubt free mechanics? go for leica.
need a heavy doorstop? nokton 1.2 can take that part. (*)

(sorry for missing the asph cron having been mentioned.)

cheers,
sebastian




(*) don't misunderstand me -- i find the nokton 1.2 a lovely lens. only too heavy for my use.
That's my problem with Nokton 1.2, it's a big commitment!

I think your summary s missing one serious parameter, price.

It should read before any Leica lens recommendation, "if you have a trust fund".
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