Consensus on a good Leica 35mm lens for less than $500?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by michael_birch|1, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. I respectfully seek your recommendations to form a consensus on a good Leica 35mm lens for less than $500.
    Many thanks in advance.
    1/ I searched the archives and I can definitely find 'best' recommendations but not a clear consensus on best under $500. BTW I guess I cant really define good :)
    2/ I don't have much knowledge of Leica equipment even though I have been using my M2 for many years.
    3/ Why Leica? I'd like to try Leica glass again. I had a 50mm Elmar for many years but I found I preferred the 35mm focal length. I currently have a 35mm Voigtlander color skopar and its good (better than the old Elmar) but I'd like to experience a 35mm Leica lens on my M2 'IF' the consensus is that it would be better than the Voigt. BTW better to me would be sharper edges, less distortion, smoother tonal range.
    4/ I shoot mixed environmental, urban landscape, street scenes with an M2 using Ilford Delta 400 that I process.
    5/ Why $500? Thats all I have, total. I wont have any more any time soon :(
    6/ Why not a 40mm or a 50mm? I'd try a 40 but I'm a little bothered by no frame lines on my M2, I like to shoot quite precisely (or at least as precise as Leica frame lines permit). As I said a 50 is a little too long for my shooting style but I will consider it.
    7/ f-Stop. I shoot mainly daylight outdoors so anything f3.5 or wider is acceptable.
    8/ I saw some posts suggesting either a 35mm f/2.8 Summaron or 35mm f/2 Summicron 2nd or 3rd series but I cant find either in good condition for less than $500. A few quite old Summaron's with eyes but I have an M2 and not sure how that works on one.
  2. Unless you're absolutely wedded to 35mm, go up 5mm and look for either a Leica Summicron-C or a Minolta M-Rokkor 40/2. Depending on the Leica 35/2, it's almost as good or better and you can have your pick for $300. I think -- someone will correct me -- the 40/2 brings up the 50mm frame on the M2 but you quickly learn how big an area it covers.
    Personally, I get a lot of use out of the standard Voigtlander 35/2.5. The 40/2 has a little lower contrast and a more rounded rendition than the 35/2.5. I can tell the negs apart pretty easily but neither is bad, just different.
    Buncha my 40/2 pictures:
    Buncha other peoples VC 35/2.5 pictures:
  3. The Sumarron 35mm F3.5 is well within your price range. Of course for your M2, you'd want the one without goggles. (They're for M3 cameras.)
  4. The "bug-eye" Summaron will work fine with an M2.
  5. The new 50 Elmar-M can be had for less than $500 now.
    I too would like a 35 under $500, but I haven't seen anything I would buy. I was considering the 35 2.5 Color Skopar, but recently saw an example posting which showed quite pronounced barrel distortion. Personally I will wait till I can afford it, and invest in a 35 summicron or a Zeiss.
  6. I think you are left with either the Summaron 35/3.5 or the Summaron 35/2.8. Both were made in either M mount or LSM, with, of course, the M mount versions cost more. All versions could be found for under $500 though. I have the Summaron 35/3.5 LSM and it a very good, tiny, albiet slow lens.
    If you are not wedded to a Leica lens, then the Canon 35/2 is an excellent lens and arguably the best lens for your budget.
  7. The CV Ultron 35 1.7 would be a good choice, if you don't mind buying a non-leica lens. It is better than any Summaron or Summicron of the sixties.
  8. I would say you're probably asking for too much. It is possible to find a nice clean Summaron - either a 2.8 (preferable) or 3.5 version for $500, but you should plan on spending some time and patience trying to find one.
    What I would recommend for you is to go over budget a bit and buy a 35mm f/1.4 CV Nokton. This is a great lens. Less time and patience (compared to trying for a Summaron) will find you a nice used one within your budget.
    A CV 40mm Nokton f/1.4 will be well within your budget, but out of the box it brings up the 50mm framelines on your M2.
  9. I agree with Antonio; the Ultron is magnificent (now discontinued, isn't it?) and if you're willing to give up the name in favor of optical quality it's the best choice. (It is also better regarded than the CV35/1.4, if I'm not mistaken.)
  10. You are interested in Leica glass specifically. Otherwise I would recommend the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.4.
    As it stands your best best would probably be a Summaron 35/2.8 which is a micro-legend or the Summaron 35/3.5 which is a very good performer. Good luck. Try Tamarkin or PhotoVillage online. Both are honest and together. Cameraquest, another excellent source, also has some used equipment.
  11. I just checked Tamarkin.
    35 Summaron f3,5 #159xxxx, Ex++​
    Go for it! Go to:
  12. I use a Summaron 35 3.5. Love it. Paid $225 in top condition, and it has that classic Leica way of imaging. Mine's LTM, but w/ an inexpensive LTM to M adapter you're set. I bought it in LTM just in case I get a Bessa R sometime in the future, and it works on my Fed 2 (though the 50mm viewfinder crops a bit off). Nice and sharp at 5.6 and above. Koh's Camera Sales is a great place to look, and the price Alex quoted for one at Tamarkin is ok if it's in Exc ++ condition, which I assume is close to mint. Don't forget to ck KEH too.
  13. I have to confess that I've had the Summaron 35/3.5 for over 20 years. It is a very good lens.
  14. Michael, you already have a 35mm Voigtländer Skopar, want a Leica lens but not a 40mm lens, the new lens should outperform your Voigtländer and must not be more expensive than $ 500 - sorry, such a lens does not exist. A Summaron - any Summaron - would be a major step back from the Skopar image quality-wise, it's a late 1940s (or, with the 2,8: 1950s) design compared to a modern lens. That said, the 3,5/35 Summaron is capable of nice pics (if you are) when stopped down considerably. When the Summaron is used wide open, images are fairly soft at the edges - which may be a nice effect for some pics. If you want one, watch out for fogging; there is no Leica lens more prone to fogging than the Summaron 3,5/35.
  15. I loved the 35mm f2.8 Summaron in chrome when I had an M3.
  16. Well, yes, the Summaron 35/3.5 is not the sharpest crayon in the box but if you want the classic Leica look it has it. I think Peter has a point. Michael, you need to compromise somewhere. The new Zeiss 35/2 used should go for about $500 and it is a very good lens. It has a distinct Zeiss look but it is a very good look. Or you might try the Nokton 35/1.4. I have it and I like it very much. It is based on the classic Summilux pre-Aspherical 35/1.4 but it is much sharper and less prone to flare and ghosts.
    The point about the Summaron fogging is important to underscore. I recently had mine cleaned.
    Finally, the Color Skopar 35/2.5 in your possession is a splendid lens. What you can do to spruce it up is get it a Leica hood 12585, made for the 50/2 and 35/2.8 (which is fine from 2.5). It'll provide extra protection from extraneous light and will look really great on your M2. Buy more film with the money you save on not getting another 35mm lens.
  17. I wouldn't spend the money on a Summaron just for the sole purpose of having a "Leica" lens (you should buy a Summaron because you like the Summaron look). My suggestion is to either save up more money and get a Leica 35 that will truely be a step up from your Skopar, or change your path and look into some other non-leica 35's.
  18. I know you are not into 40mm due to lack of framelines but the C Summicron 40/2 is a super lens and usually under $500. I file down the part of the flange that activates the framelines so the 35mm framelines come up since 40mm is closer to 35mm than 50mm. Beyond 10 feet the 35mm framelines are fairly accurate for an RF that is but under 10 feet you'll have to mentally crop as you shoot and crop more as you are focusing closer. This really isn't hard to do. This and the Rokkor version are the best Leica bang for the price and performance is akin to the last two versions of the 35mm Summicron pre asph.
  19. I would look for the 35/2.8 Summaron, faster and sharper than the F3.5.

    If it has "eyes", it will still work on the M2- it will turn the 50mm framelines into 35mm FOV. Works, but the "plain" version would be better.

    My 35/2.8 Summaron with eyes was well under your budget, in EX+ condition at a Photorama show.

    With that said, I picked up a Canon 35/2 recently. It is very sharp.

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