50mm recommendations..

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by peter_im, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. After shooting with the 35mm Biogon as my only lens for a while now, I've found that it doesn't quite give me the shallow depth of field and subject separation that I've been wanting. Also, I find the 35mm a little too wide for certain shots, while not wide enough for others, so I've been thinking about selling my Biogon and getting myself a 50.
    I realize that f2 will give me a lot shallower dof on a 50m, but I would still like to grab something a stop faster if possible. I am on a budget, and I'll have to get the replacement for the same price I can get rid of the Biogon for (thinking about ~50,000 yen, like $550?) So far the only thing suitable that I've found is the screwmount f1.5 nokton, which I do find a little too big. I haven't really been able to find anything smaller and with the same speed. Any recommendations?
    Also, if I do end up sticking with the 35mm, will going a stop faster give me shallower DOF? Right now with the biogon, I get waay too much dof and not very strong bokeh with anything farther than about a meter half. Will the extra make a difference, or not really?
    Thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
  2. You can get a classic "leica look" with a 50mm collapsible Summicron for app. $300.00. It'sd a beautifully-made, wonderful little lense IMHO.
  3. Yes, of course going to a 35/1.4 lens will allow shallower depth-of-field. But a 50/2 will give you shallower yet, by a good bit. 50/1.4 is shallower still.
    Best buy in a 50/1.4 is the Canon LTM lens, with an M adapter. Of course, you have to buy it used, but that's a very safe and practical thing to do in Tokyo. It's a durable lens, with hard coatings, they are usually in great condition. Filter size is 48mm, which is smaller than the 50/1.5 Nokton's 52mm, and it's definitely shallower on the camera.
    But, when folks are really isolating a subject from the background, they are usually using a 75mm or longer lens. For instance, you can buy a used Canon 85/2.0 or 85/1.9 rangefinder lens for a relative pittance, and not have to sell your 35mm. They are heavy, long, and slow to focus, but quite respectable optically.
  4. For the price, I'd agree on the canon 50/1.4. Really a nice lens.
    My favorite is the 50 pre-asph lux. But you'd probably be looking at $800 or more, even for an earlier one with 43mm filter size.
  5. In that price range I second the old Summicron. One of my favorite lenses is the 50/2 Summitar (collapsible) which can be had in stellar shape for around $300.
  6. What's wrong with the 50 1.4 Nocton CV.?
  7. Map Camera in Shinjuku should have what you are looking for, new or used. You can also try Lemon Camera (on the 8th floor of the Ginza Methodist Church near Tokyo Station). You can probably find a Summarit 50/1.5 for a decent price, or possibly a Summilux M. From time to time consignments come in for lower-than-normal prices, so it can pay to shop around, and shop regularly.
  8. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
    I have been thinking about the 50mm summitar, been wanting a swirly bokeh lens for a while. There's one at Kitamura Camera in Shinjuku for just under $200, but I don't know how I feel about paying that much for a "novelty lens" seeing as how that characteristic would only come in handy at certain times..
    I've been eyeing Mapcamera's website for a while, definitely stuff that I want to pick up but for now I gotta get rid of the Biogon first for the money.
  9. I assure you the Summitar is no novelty lens. Mine (a pre-war) takes beautiful pictures with amazing bokeh. Not as sharp or contrasty (as new leica lenses) for sure, but wonderful color rendition and as sharp as most people would ever honestly need. With the exception of the 50 lux, this is my most popular 50.
  10. There was a 50mm Summitar lens at Kitamura Camera in Shinjuku for just under $200. I think that lens is now sitting on the front of my old IIIa (unless they got another one recently). They still have a 50mm Summar on the shelf though.
    Are you still shooting that M4?
  11. Summicron-C f:2.0/40mm.
  12. I recently bought a mint collapsible cron f/2.0. By definition it has the classic Leica look. Smooth oof effects focused at 4 or 5 ft with nice sharpness @f/2.8 using FP-4+ film. Plus it is a very small lens. A 40mm cron is a great buy and lens but you will not get that special OOF effect you get with a collapsible.
  13. Hahaha Jeff, good work snagging that thing. I was VERY tempted, but ended up refraining from doing an impulse buy.. How is the lens? I was a bit skeptical about it since it seemed to be going for so cheap (especially for a Leica in Japan)..
    I am still shooting the M4, along with a 35mm Biogon, but like I've mentioned above, I find the focal length a bit awkward and difficult to render bokeh with, so I'm looking into selling the Biogon and getting a 28mm/50mm combo in its stead..
    Having a damn hard time selling the lens though, I just don't know where to advertise..
  14. I like the lens a lot. The price was quite good, which I think was due to a slight haze inside the front element. I disassembled it and was able to clean the haze out quite easily. The only complaint I have is that the Summitar is prone to flaring, even in conditions when you think it shouldn't occur. I found an ugly "barn door" lens hood for it, which killed the flare problems, in the meantime I'm looking for a smaller and less conspicuous hood for every day use.
    As for selling your lens, lenses on Ebay seem to get better prices on average than what the shops around here sell them for. There are a few places which accept consignments, but you never know how long it'll take before someone buys it. Map Camera has a trade center, so if you find a 50mm lens you like, they might give you a pretty good trade-in allowance for your Biogon.
    Good luck

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