M6 w/ Two Lenses?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by arthur_gottschalk, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. I have a beautiful M6 TTL that I bought new several years ago, with a 35mm F2 Leica lens. I'm thinking of buying a second lens but not sure which would be best. I'm also thinking of changing the 35mm for a 28mm as I love that FL on my Nikon F100. But the question is, which two lenses would make thefts combination for travel?
  2. SCL


    It really depends on what you expect to shoot. If you're swapping a 35 for a 28, do you still want something wider, like a 21 or 15? CV ha excellent choices there which are far less expensive than Leica's offerings, and having used them both, I have to say I've been very happy with the results. OTOH perhaps you want to extend the range to 50-75-90 (or longer). Historically the 3 lens bag was described as 35/50/90, but today there are many more choices. If you can be a little more specific about what you might want, your budget and the shooting conditions you expect to be encountering (such as low light, lightweight for long hikes, something for safaris, etc), it would be easier to make meaningful recommendations. And, of course, for special needs is the Visoflex and lenses and/or lens heads to use with it. Over the years I've used or owned most of what's available and be happy to share my thoughts with you, but not do a monograph on the full complement of available lenses. You might also do some research on the L-Camera forum which has lots of discussions of what various people have assembled for travel to various spots on the earth.
  3. My opinion: if you want two lenses, you'll want a 28 and a 50. A photojournalist whose name I have forgotten said that a PJ doesn't need anything more than that. Personally I would like a portrait lens, but you really can't have everything.

    35mm is not wide enough to complement a 50. Lots of people love the 35mm as a universal lens, which I understand completely. Some love the 40mm. But you want two lenses, so why limit your wide end? Makes no sense to me. If you're more interested in portraiture, maybe a 35 and a 70 would be a good combination. Maybe even a 35 and a 90.

    Lens combinations are a big topic of thought and debate. Here's what I mean. Let's say you want three lenses. Do you choose 28, 50, 90? Or do you choose 21, 35, 75? It's mostly arbitrary until you have specific needs in mind.
  4. This shouldn't be a big revelation, but the fact is, while posting a question like this here might generate some interesting opinions, only you can determine what works best for you. Personally, I'd start with what I had and determine if I often need more or less in the frame and go up or down from there.
  5. For me, the 50 and 35 are different enough to justify both, but of course many people prefer the 28. Just make sure you're happy to use the framelines with this lens - it's harder to see the whole frame if you wear glasses and use the standard 0.72 finder than it would be on the F100 (some people even prefer an external finder for 28mm). There's no particular reason not to add a 90 if you are interested in something longer, and there are cheap options (by Leica standards) like the one of the old Elmars. The framelines are starting to get a bit small by this point, though, and of course a 135mm is even worse. Although, as mentioned above, there are plenty of options beyond the classic 35/50/90 combination, this is still the easiest range to use with the standard finder. But even with an accessory finder or two, which you'll need for anything wider than 28mm, you'll still have a more compact kit than you would with the F100.
  6. In the late 1960s, my dream kit was an M2 with 35mm and 90mm lenses (see Karim's recommendation above). If you like the 28mm length, I'd suggest that you make 75mm the second. That will make no sense, of course, if you do no portrait work.
    Uhooru likes this.
  7. Can only echo what has already been said. Billblackwellphotography is on the nail, and Karim offers good advice as well. My 'kit' is a 35mm, a 50mm, a 75mm (a ring in - a voigtlander) and a 135mm (an antique steinheil munchen). At the end of the day, it all comes down to what images you want to capture. If I can draw a long analogy, I think it was Jerome who said we must approach the interpretation of texts (he was talking about the bible) as much as a hunter approaches its prey. We, I think, as photographers, must approach our 'prey' in much the same way, as hunters. What you seek to capture will determine what you need. Let your needs determine your wants. Regards, Arthur (apiarist1)
  8. After reading through this advice I'm tempted to go with the 28 & 50 combo. I don't seem to be able to use long lenses with the Leica because I can't see adequate details in the viewfinder. I might like the 75 but as I remember the depth of field is notoriously shallow. I guess my intended use will be street, architecture and landscape. I can also shoot candid portraits with that set-up, although not head shots.
  9. SCL


    If you're not seeing adequate detail to properly focus, you should either (1) have your eyes thoroughly checked - when I got my first M6, I found that my astigmatism was causing an issue and (2) also needed a diopter correction lens on the camera, even though I was wearing my glasses to correct for astigmatism. For 2 years I foolishly blamed the camera, but once I got the issue worked out all was fine, except that I didn't like the viewfinder as well as my M4. Even with eyeglasses I didn't have an issue with anything in the 35-135 range. If not focus, but composition is an issue, I can heartily recommend a brite line accessory finder, either Leitz or CV. Makes all the difference in the world.
  10. A 50mm/2 is never wrong with Leica. You are totally right about the focusing issues with anything longer. But you should also take the time to manually bring up your 28mm frame line and listen deep into yourself, to answer the question: "Can I really work with this?" I'm shooting right eyed by habit and don't wear glasses and my(!) answer is "No, it doesn't feel right; I have to kind of scan the VF" - YMMV. My Linhof finders (sports & universal) don't feel any better than Leica's. And yes in theory you could use the 28mm with something external, that will most likely work like a charm, if it was recently made but still: It is a huge compromise and you'll sacrifice some of the rangefinder speed.
    My basic M4-P or M9 based Monochrom bag holds 35/2, 90/4, 21/2.8. There will be a 50/2 on the 2nd body and 15/4.5, 135/4 frequently feel worth bringing. They are not seeing that much use but can come in handy for a selfie here or a headshot there and don't weigh much. While the old Elmar seems to be a sufficiently decent lens, it is still selling dirt cheap in Leica terms.
    I really don't want to bash the 28mm focal length in general and guess either Zeiss or surely Leica must have made great lenses for it. To me it is just the VF inconvenience that keeps me from getting a real 28mm. - To shoot an equivalent I have a Soviet turret finder to go with my 21mm on M8. For fast paced work, I'd shoot the 28mm FL on SLR.
    There must be as many reasons to take a M out as there are Leica owners. - While I admit that getting a 90mm focused is tough or at least slow; the collapsible 90/4 "makro" is awesome to carry around, takes wonderful landscape pics and does a decent job in slow paced portraiture with enough light at hand. So for casual happy snapping it is way more likely to make it into my backpack than the 70-200/2.8 on SLR's noticeable weight.

    Some folks suggest Tri- + Makro Elmars for travel. - I can't afford a Tri Elmar but guess it makes sense, convenience wise. I'll stick to my recommendation to bring more than one Leica, in case you are taking your travel photography seriously.
  11. The 35mm f2.0 is a classic. If you sell it you will regret it. I seldom use the 28mm. For street shooting the 35mm is best. The 28mm has some distortion in the corners. The 50mm Summicron is another classic and the one that I turn to the most. It is a good portrait lens. The purchase of a second lens depends much on what you want to photograph. But, given all the options I still would go with the 50mm Summicron.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  12. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have my Dad's M3 with 35, 50, 90 and 135. The vast majority of the time, he and I used the collapsable 50 F2. The others were for things that couldn't be accomplished with the 50. They took some care and practice, given that, all the others in their particular niche did / do a fine job. Estimating distance and considering DOF helps a lot.
  13. Preference for focal lengths is hugely personal, in my view. Some feel 35 and 50 are too close, some find these 2 distinct different "looks". Some prefer 28mm, others don't like it, Some just need a 50 and make it work. So whatever combination of lenses somebody else is using, it may or may not work for you. There are no best focal lengths for some kind of work, there is just what works for you.

    My $0,02 would be 35 and 90. I'd miss a 50 at times, but with that combination, I don't feel like I miss anything. Then, I don't like 28mm at all, while you seem to like it. So probably my advice is worth less than that $0,02.
    Probably the easiest and cheapest way to find out is using your F100 with the pair of primes you're considering, and see how the combo really works out for you.
  14. I've never used an example, but can anyone comment on the 28-35-50 Tri-Elmar as a possible choice with the M6?
  15. Tri-Elmar: Fine, but I think they are relatively heavy as Leica lenses go. Also fairly slow, at f/4 wide open.
    Uhooru likes this.
  16. Not directly on point, but I remember at one time the classic Leica lens lineup was a 35, 50 and 90. If you need just two, I'd do as Mukul suggested, 35 and 90
    mukul_dube and Sandy Vongries like this.
  17. For me, and dependant on what I am going to shoot, two lenses would be either:

    35mm f1.4 FLE and 21mm f3.4 Super Elmar, or
    28mm f2.8 ASPH and 50mm f2

    But rately do I ever just travel with two.

    21, 35, 75 and 135 is my “travel and for any type subject” M-P240 outfit. Compared to just about any other interchangable lens system alternative, even that extended setup is lighter/smaller footprint/easier to carry anywhere and for any amount of time.
  18. The Summicron 50mm f/2 is one of the all-time classic lenses. It's a Double-Gauss design very similar to the old Zeiss Biotar.

    The Soviet version (the Helios) is made in various mounts, but the catch is that the flange-to-film distance of M39 versions is for the Zenit SLR, not for rangefinders--making it difficult to adapt to even M39 Leicas, much less M-series.
  19. Tri-Elmar is out of my price range.
  20. 1.35 with 75mm or 90mm
    2. 28mm with 50mm

    A 50mm is always useful even with 1.

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