which combo...35 'lux + 50 'cron or 35 'cron + 50 'lux?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by fajar_rachmadi, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. I'm planning to buy a Leica M7 in the upcoming weeks, and decided to
    start with a 35 and 50 lens. I need one lens for an all-rounder and
    the other one for low light photography. This setup is mainly for
    people and candid photography.

    I'm thinking on buying current ASPH summilux and older summicron. The
    question is which combo is better? Or is it better to got current
    summicron and older summilux?? HELP!! I cant decide....

    Other thing that I would like to know is which one got the Leica glow
    and pop? Maybe something that my nikkors wont be able to produce.

    Btw, When I use my SLR, I like the way my 50mm f1.8 nikkor perform
    which is very tack sharp (had to use softar I or II filter when I
    photographing family close-up portraits, otherwise it will show all
    the defects on face!). I never tried a prime 35mm, only in zoom...so I
    dont have any experience on them.

    Btw, I can get a deal for a 50 'cron made in canada with tab for
    around $475 (probably from 1979 or 80ish. Optics are very pretty no
    scratches, fungus, separation or corrosion. But it has some very light
    dust and the body is not perfect. Do you think it's a good deal? is it
    better than the current 50mm cron? if it's not, i think it will be
    better to buy the current version for a $300-400 difference with less
    maintenance, dont you think?

    other consideration: 35 CV nokton asph...read it on Black and White
    magazine, and got 2 tumbs up. Performance on f1.4 is better than
    summilux, altough at f2 to f5.6 (if im not mistaken) summilux is better.

    Thanks for any help!
  2. Sure, sounds good.
  3. There's so many answers to this question, so I'm gonna try and oversimplify this thing. If you're ONLY going to shoot 400 tri-x black and white, go for getting both 35 and 50 summicrons. If you want a lens that covers virtually every situation and film, get both the 35 and 50 summilux. I'm gonna be a swami and say that if you get one summilux, whether it be 35 or 50, and the other a summicron (same deal), you'll either a)ditch the summicron for summilux, cause you like the fast lens, or b) ditch the summilux because you decide its not as compact and you don't need the speed. I'm betting it's probably gonna be "a)". As for ASPH, if you've got the money, and don't mind the look, go for it. I personally like ASPH because I don't mind and sometimes prefer the modern cold look of the ASPH.
  4. Take a look here:




    Keep in mind that the 35/1.2 Nocton is a BIG lens.

    The 50 Cron you are describing sounds like it is a v4 with tab. If this is the case then it's
    optical formula and performance is identical to the current version. They simply switched
    from a clip on hood to a retractable. I prefer the clip-on hood. See if you can get it's serial
    number, so it can be dated.

  5. I ended up going for a 35mm Summilux ASPH and a 50mm Summicron. The reason I think
    this works for me is that (first) when I'm shooting low-light I'm often indoors, where wide-
    angles work out better. (Second) it's easier to hand-hold a wide-angle at slow shutter
    speeds, which is where I end up even when I shoot at 1.4. (Third) the 50mm Summicron is
    small, a fantastic performer, and has a look that I like.

    Numbers aside, both lenses will produce images that seem as crisp as the 50mm f/1.8
    Nikkor, if that's a convenient point of comparison for you.

    -- Mark
  6. I prefer fast normal lenses to fast wideangle lenses. The wider lens will give you about one more stop in shutter speed to handhold. So basically a 35 'cron / 50 'lux combination allows shooting with each lens at the same light level. If it is the other way round there are two light levels difference.
    Another thing is the DOF: A 35'lux shows less DOF than a 50 'lux at the same distance, so if you like the 'wide open look' then a 50'lux should be in the set. For examples you might have a look at Mike Dixons pictures.
    If you say you need one lens as an allrounder and one for low-light then the question is which is your preferred allround focal length? Given the initial speed and optical quality of Leica and CV lenses there is usually no need for an extra low-light lens if you choose your first lens fast enough. F2 will carry you quite far in low light - and f1.4 is only one stop faster with a much higher cost.
    Which one to choose depends on your personal preference. I would start with one of the lenses, see what I like and don't like and then buy the second one accordingly.
  7. If it is the other way round there are two light levels difference.
    More importantly, though, if you do it the other way 'round you can shoot effectively in almost one stop lower light (by using the 35mm Summilux at 1/35) than you can with the 50 Summilux (at 1/50.)
    -- Mark
  8. "A 35 'lux shows less depth of field than a 50 'lux at the same distance"??
  9. Over a lot of time and many different combinations of lenses, I found that that the ideal kit
    for me on a Leica M is a wide normal (Summicron-C 40mm f/2), an ultrawide (Elmarit-M
    24mm f/2.8 ASPH) and a portrait tele (Summilux-M 75mm f/1.4). I tended to use these
    three focal lengths on the Leica M in about those frequency priorities too.

    Some things don't change. Now I'm shooting with a Pentax DSLR and I find that the 31/
    1.8, the 14/2.8, and the 50/1.4 are my favorite lenses ... pretty much the same field of
    view selection.

    My advice: pick one of either the 50 or 35, then go wider or longer for the other one. Any
    lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or faster will do just fine with ASA 400 film.

  10. Get either both as crons or both as luxes. Lux, of course, only if you almost always need that one extra stop. Or, if you are like most of us, a cron will do the job too, and you'll have a lot of money left over for more film ;-)
  11. Start with one lens. Just because you can change lenses means you have to. After a while you will probably find what lens to get next, if any. 35 and 50 is a bit close so you may want to go further apart eventually. 50-28, 35-90, 24-35 or something really wide together with the 35 or 50.
  12. If that is a 4th version 50'cron that you can get for $475 the decision is made. In good condition that is a nice price for that lens.
  13. 35 summilux and 50 summicron.


    Because you are more likely to use the 35 indoors, where perspectives are up close (and cramped) and simultaneously, the light is poor.
  14. Why not split the difference and get a CV 40mm f1.4 and save a huge amount of cash into the bargain? Then blow the savings on film and beer!
  15. First the Leica lenses are NOT going to be greatly different from your Nikon 50mm.At full aperture the Leica lenses will be much better.
    Two stops down, it's equal.
    The Summicrons have what I feel is more "roundness" and a feeling of "depth". I don't like the sharp "airiness" and "lightness" of the Summilux. Take some portraits with lenses in the store! Try out the different full apertures at about 3', 5',10'(1m,1.5m and 3m).This will give you a better idea of where you are going.I suggest a 400 speed film and color.Don't use a "pro" film unless thats what you normally use! They lack contrast and good vibrant color. I know all about the skin tone story! Now evaluate the lenses also on their 'angles of view' and 'depth of field'. On an SLR you need faster lenses for focus.So as to get a safety margin, stop down!The RF needs no such help.
    Today many photographers do not use 50mm.The 50mm was originally conceived in a special way when the Leica was first constructed.
    The lens designer chose the 50mm length on terms of visual and perception and NOT to make a lens that was "normal" for the format.(the 40mm,43.5mm!)So those of you never using the 50mm are missing out on it's special feel.My friend Larry says it puts everything in a "box". Since I showed him, that article(Erwin Puts of paid-by Leica fan)he has constantly used his Elmar.We both do available light work.The Elmar collapses as does my Summicron and easily carried under a coat.
    I find the Aspericals too cold and harsh, the background disturbing.
    That's the beauty of Leica. We have it seems, so many choices.
    Stay with Leica.If you can afford the M7, you can afford real Leica lenses.Value wise the CV lenses are wonderful.
    If you can see the frames of a 28mm,maybe consider in place of the 35mm..Good luck!
  16. From an earlier generation, I have found that my 1957 M3 gives me the Leica look, feel & fantastic photos with the 50 DR Summicron & the 35 Summaron 2.8 RF -- complimented by the 135 "goggled" 2.8 Elmarit. Interesting that some forty years later, newer & different versions of earlier "Leica-feel" lenses are doing similar tasks!
  17. I use 35 lux and 50 cron. I chose the 35 lux precisely because of the lower light values it can shoot in.

    In India, using Tri-x, I needed the full capabilities of the lux in the dark interiors of peoples dwellings, under awnings, in temples etc. For a very bright place India also has many dark interiors where people actually sit and rest or pray.

    I now live in Amsterdam, famous for its brown cafes, which are also dimly lit. I most often shoot with a 40/2, but sometimes it's simply not fast enough and I need the 35 lux.

    So If you're interested in photographing in gloomy interiors, like I am, then the 35 lux makes more sense.

    Andy's suggestion of the CV 40/1.4 is also a good one and might have been the route I'd have gone today - either that or the 50 lux as well as the 35 lux.
  18. As an extra, apart from making it smaller, I can't see how the 35 lux asph could be bettered. It is razor sharp wide open and has excellent out-of-focus effects. I highly recommend it.
  19. I would second the opinions above on splitting the difference and going for the VC 40 1.4 nokton, very nice build and optical quality. I've tested this lens on slide film and b/w and have been most impressed. Not to mention the tiny size and price. good luck
  20. Grab that 50 Summicron before someone else does. I wouldn't sell mine for that! I agree with others who say that f/1.4 is most useful in a 35mm lens. I use mine much more than my 50 f/1.4.
  21. I've got a 35 Cron (type 3), and 3 versions of 50 Cron (collaps, rigid and 1969). Since getting a 50 Lux (not planned on, just got a terrific deal and couldn't pass it up) I haven't used the Crons. That said, I've only used the Lux at 1.4 when I absolutely had to. The depth of field is quite tight, and the performance especially off center is not up to what it becomes even by f/2. It's great for interior shots and the like but for example to shoot a cityscape at night I would stop it down to f/2 or 2.8 even if it meant using a table tripod instead of handholding.

    If I were going to spend big money ($1000 and more) on an f/1.4 lens I would definitely choose the 35 rather than the 50. I'm not considering the new 50 ASPH into the equation, as for $2500 it might as well be $25,000 in terms of me not being in a position to buy one.
  22. Dissenting Opinion:

    I think a longer lens makes more sense in lower light environments. Yes, you can probably hand hold a 35 at a slower speeds than a 50, although I would argue that below 1/15th of second subject movement has more impact on sharpness than camera shake. If you can handhold a 50 at 1/15th, I think there are reasons to choose it over the 35. The 50 will often force you to fill the frame in a way that makes grain less obvious. Apparent sharpness is in part related to how much fine detail a shot contains. People shots in particular usually benefit from having fine details like the eyes clearly resolved. The narrower angle of view of a 50 is often better able to tighten compositions to the exent that these details take up more frame space. The more relaxed composition of a 35 often relegates fine details to smaller portion of the negative making them more apt to get obliterated by grain. Of course if you frame tightly with a 35, you might be ahead of the game, but that takes courage and isn't always apropriate. Furthermore the close focus limitations of rangefinders impact the ability to use a 35 as a tight lens. I often find this limitting on my hexar af and it focusses to .7 meters.

    These are small gains we are talking about, but I'd get the 35 F2 and the 50 1.4. If nothing else, the 50 1.4 allows you to make interesting use of shallow depth of field in a way that a 35 1.4 can't.
  23. I used to have 35 'cron ASPH but after tried a pre-ASPH, then I'd decided to get a 4th version 35 'cron instead. For 50mm, I have my old Summarit do the job for that, almost only portraiture shot but this lens also good use all round. I will get CV 1.4/40 Nokton S.C. soon, give it a try if you could, it's much more compact than any 'Lux and costs so less.

    C. Butpet
  24. Get both 'luxes. I use a 35 asph and a chrome 50 for low light, and a ver. 1 cron for walkabouts.
  25. thanks for all the answer guys..its really an eye opener to me!
    I think i'll order that 50 'cron first and see how it goes from there.

    I also searched around the net and found 50mm f1.4, f1.2, and f0.95 canon lens in leica screwmount. I think these lens can be a cheaper alternative for a specialty low light lens. Anyone know how it performs?

    Btw, do you think it's difficult to frame the vc 40mm? AFAIK there's no 40mm framelines on the m7..

    thanks again
  26. I had a Canon 1.2 and it was really soft until 2.0. The 0.95 was made for bragging rights, IMHO.
  27. Go for the 35 lux. You are more liklely to encounter your lowest light situations indoors where the wider lens can be more useful.
  28. Fajar, there are no 40mm framelines on any Leica. I see two possibilities here...

    (a) For up close i.e. 0.8 to 1 meter use the 50mm framelines, and for around infinity i.e. 20 and more meters, use the 35mm framelines, or...

    (b) Buy yourself a Voigtlander external 40mm VF e.g. from Stephen Gandy at www.cameraquest.com

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