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Best lens for street photography on Leica M10.


What will be the single lens for Leica M10, 35mm Summicron or 50mm Summilux?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. What will be the single lens for Leica M10, 35mm Summicron or 50mm Summilux?

    • 35mm Summicron
    • 50mm Summilux

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Dear Friends;

I will try to keep it simple: I am Leica M8 user. I will be selling my M8 and 50mm Summarit. I will be upgrading to Leica M10 very soon. I have a very limited budget. After Leica M10, I can afford only one life time lens. Options in my mind are 50mm Summilux or 35mm Summicron. On the long run I am not sure which one will do the job for good, since M10 is full frame and M8 was not. Which one do you think will be "the lens" for me. I really like street photography. I both shoot portraits and scenery. Which lens do you think will be enough as stand alone.


And last cliche question before my purchase: Silver or Black, which M10 would you choose and why?


Your comments appreciated in advance.


Hakan Karademir

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I'm not using a Leica M system but in general, I find 35mm and 50mm rather distinct different focal lengths, with a different "feel". Which one you like best is really a personal preference. Even if the majority here would vote 50, it could still be 35 for you, or vice versa.

So while it might sure be fun to see what other use, as a buying decision for yourself, I'd really see if you can find a way to try for yourself - even maybe something like a simple cheap film camera with a 35 and 50, and see what works best for you.


For myself - cannot choose, really. Wouldn't want to be without either focal length. In fact, it's part of the reason I keep myself from getting any Leica M, because I know inevitable I'd end up with 35, 50 and a 90 (though the Summicron-M 90mm is pretty affordable second hand) and make my bankaccount very unhappy.

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If you are using a 50mm with M8, it sounds like your current shooting preference is for longer focal lengths. Are you happy with this, or would you like a wider angle of view? As Wouter says, only you can make the decision about what is right for you. I also like to have a range, and so I chose (for my film M) older lenses, which allowed me to fit a 35mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses into a budget smaller than the cost of a single current lens. But if you prefer the modern lenses, you might be best off to try a few different focal lengths (and possibly different versions - eg do you really need a Lux over a cheaper Cron; again a purely personal decision) before spending a sizeable amount on a single lens. Good luck!
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I agree with those who have already expressed the fact only you can decide on the 'right' FL for you.


However, based on what you're moving away from, I think the 50 might suit you (it'll feel wide at first on the FF sensor).


FWIW, the 50mm Asph Summilux is currently my personal favorite (of 8 lenses) on my M-P 240.


As to black or chrome (again, only you can decide for you) I've personally always preferred silver chrome cameras. Black is more stelthy for streets and candids, but silver chrome is, IMHO, what an M should look like; and besides, it wears better.

Edited by Bill Blackwell Images

When you come to a fork in the road, take it ...” 

– Yogi Berra


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As a new owner of a Leica M3 (I had used a III in the distant past). I have to say that the Summicron is a very Classic Leica lens, either in 50mm or 35mm.


I am not normally a fan of the site, but the HYPNOKEN (link) is pretty much on, on this topic.


A soon as my health improves a little more, I'll be posting on Leica M3 and my other belovéd rangefinders (Canon, Nikon, Contax)



The Summicron is sometimes available pre-owned (it's too fancy to be "used")for prices well below new prices.

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As a long time user of Leicas M2, M3 and M9, either lens would work well for general photography. A 35 mm lens works better for more intimate street photography (i.e., ambush photography), architecture, groups and interior shots. With a 50 mm lens you can stand off further, e.g. HCB style street photography, and have better perspective for portraits and most landscape photography. 50 mm is borderline for accurate focusing with an M10 (max view, 28 mm), so I'm not sure the cost of a Summilux over an f/2 Summicron is worth while. You don't need the extra stop for speed, considering the ISO flexibility of a digital M10.


My personal preferences for a kit filled out would be a 35/2, 50/2 and 90/2, all Summicrons of about any vintage. I like landscape photography, for which my preference order would be 50, 90, and 35 mm lens, in that order, perhaps with a 135/4 Tele-Elmar added to the mix. Critical focusing with a 90 or 135 requires an eyepiece magnifier, IMO (you can't shoot everything at f/8).

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Silver is more durable - personally, I don't think body color contributes much to stealth - except in extreme circumstances. As to a single lens, 80 times out of 100 it is the 50 Summicron on my M3, though I have 35, 90 and 135 available as well. My only digital Leica experience is recent and with the D-Lux 109, which has quite a marvelous little zoom, so consider mine as suggestions from another time. Best of luck & have fun with it!
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I have a 35mm and 50mm and an M10. I mostly use the 35mm Summicron. It is more compact and lighter than my 50mm, and very versatile.


I bought the black M10, because I do not want the camera to be too obvious when I am on the street. But sometimes I wish I had chosen silver for the more classic look.

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I recommend either a Rigid Summicron 50/2 or a 35mm Summicron, depending on your preference. If your budget allows it, I would suggest to get a 35mm/1.4 Lux. It is a great general purpose lens that can be used for street photography (as can many other lenses).

If your budget allows it, you could consider a 35mm Summicron and a CV 50/1.5.

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I might have posted this too many times, but 35 has always been my favorite, and for some years was the only lens I had.

(That is, an AI 35/2.0 for my Nikon FM, and about 40 years ago.)


For street photography, often you can't get farther back when you need to get something in the frame.

Also, 35mm is my favorite for indoor photography, again where you often can't get farther back.


No specific thoughts about the M10 or Leica lenses, though.

-- glen

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I have shot with both 50 and 35mm on 35mm film.

You will adapt and get used to whichever lens you get. That is what happened to me.


The 50 on your M8 is a 65mm FF equivalent field of view, so closer to the 50 than the 35.

Did you feel cramped by the 50 on the M8? If so you may want a wider lens. But then, you won't have the longer reach of the longer lens.

The classic 2-lens combo from the old film days is a 35 + 85 (or similar). So if you get the 35, you can plan for the 2nd lens as something in the 85-105 range.


So what I am saying is you need to think long-term strategy for a lens kit. That first lens will define your kit.

A 50 may result in wanting both a wide and a tele, so total 3 lenses (28+50+105)

A 35 would result in just a short tele, so total 2 lenses (35+85)


However if you truly believe that you will not get another lens, then the long-term kit strategy does not apply.

Even so, I would go with the 35, to give you the option later for a 2nd lens (85-105mm), which would fit a 2-lens strategy.


Note: I am not a Leica person, so I do not know what lenses are available for your camera.

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I’d also go with 28mm on full frame. The resolution on these digital camera is so good you can crop and still get a decent image. So, for me, who doesn’t print/view big, a 28mm on a dig camera would be as useful as the original tri-elmar on film.
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If anything Summilux will be coming my way, it would be a 35mm. - I'm even leaning towards Mandler instead of aspherical, to get a significant bulk advantage over my current Hexanon.

I'm really no fan of the "one lens shall do it all" solutions. (Exception: other systems with their touristy zooms, like Nikon's 24-120. - I'd be content with a 35-105 but nobody seems making one of those.)- Pressed to work with just one lens, I'd mount my 50mm 'cron. - Otherwise I might even leave it at home and go 21, 35, 90. - I don't think you have to spend Leica usual fortunes on a used 90mm to compliment a 35mm. - The Elmarits seem popular, so either go for an old Summicron or something like maybe an Elmar C. I don't dare portraiture at f2 with my 'cron, f4 is fast enough with an M10's ISO range and an Elmar will serve you well, when you'll run into an interesting face that deserves a headshot.

Think twice, if going the M10 single lens and nothing lane is the right way to choose. - The M10 seems an awesome camera, I'd love to have an ISO dial too. - OTOH: A pair(!) of used M (240)s could be had for the same money or even a bit less. Generic shopping advice suggests to emphasize on the glass not the camera body. Will it feel good to watch your M10 depreciate? <- Think about it. - I here shrugged the 50+x% loss on my used Monochrom off; it felt too expensive in the beginning and now I am a bit more comfortable.



Finishes: I lean a bit more towards black since it is likely to look rattier over time. There is no stealth advantage while shooting, but a black camera is quite capable to go unnoticed worn over your shoulder upon black clothing. On a recent festival I chatted up a fellow shutterbug manning the info booth of an atypical Motorcycle Club. - After a while he commented about the M8 around my neck "Your camera had been quite expensive" and admitted he hadn't noticed the Monochrom over my shoulder.

I wouldn't mind chrome finish on a 3rd body and I'm happily buying whatever hits the used market.

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Why not keep the Summarit for now and see how you get on with it? That will give you the best idea of how a 50 works for you on full frame, and you can always trade it in for something faster or wider later.

Richard that's great idea. I like this platform even because of these valuable opinions. I can get rid of M8 and see what really meets my requirements on the long run. Thanks alot.

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