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Who likes the 35 with eyes?

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Of all the old 35mm M lenses with eyes - especially the 35 -

which is best? The 3.5 is the most economical but is the 2 much

better? (not just for speed but for resolution). A lot of people have

criticised the viewfinder attachment, but has anyone used these

old lenses who actually likes them? This would be for

occasional use on an M3, the 50 remaining my favoured lens.

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I used a 35/2 with the eyes for 21 years on my M3. Obviously, it worked, but for a long time the RF patch was mis-aligned. The person who bought the lens was able to adjust it- I had never known that it was possible. (It had not affected focus accuracy). I bought an M6 and a 35/2 ASPH- I had thought the old lens was just fine until i used the new one for awhile. The ASPH is definitely superior. The 'bugeyes' were no problem, as I detest seperate finders. I have never tried either Summaron. Bottom line; if you want a 35mm lens on your M3, the bugeye lens is the way to go.
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Starting out with M3s (as many did), I went through several Summarons (both f/2.8 and f/3.5) with eyes.


In my opinion, and remember this is based only on my samples, is that the f/2.8 is very much worth the additional cost. The f/3.5 lens is not "bad", but it takes a few stops to get "good", and when you need to stop down an already slow lens, well... One other thing I noticed, and something someone else on this forum also felt from his f/3.5 lens, is that the marked f/3.5 is a bit optomistic. All of the mid-range apertures were fine, but with slide film, the wide-open exposure was at least a half a stop under exposed.


I had two f/2.8 Summarons, and if I didn't need the speed, they would have been more than good enough optically to be my 35mm lens of choice. The fact is though that based on the 35mm lens being one of my most used, I needed more low-light potential, so I moved to Summicrons. In truth, I got one more stop, but I never felt the images were any better than those from the f/2.8 Summaron in the usual range of f/4-f/11.


Bottom line about the eyes... I hated them! In my opinion, they destroyed the compactness of the M camera. They also had some distortion and lowered the contrast a bit (viewfinder only). My love of the 35mm lens and my hate for the eyes forced me to move to the M2 and straight versions of the 35mm lenses, starting with the non-eyed f/2.8 Summaron.

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Hi David,


I have a Summaron 2.8 version bug eyed. It is a sensational lens. I used to use it on my M3 which I sold in favour of a chrome M5. I still use the bug eye lens because it brings up the 50mm framelines in the M5. As an eyeglass weare this enables me to see all of the 50 mm frame minified for 35 mm. Obviously the finder is not as nice as a non bugeyed lens but you can't have it all.


One other advantage with the bug eyed lenses is that they focus ( or at least the 2.8 version does ) to 65cm as opposed to 70 cm ( or in some cases a meter ) for non bug eyed lenses.


I found their use on the M3 just fine. I would not hesitate in getting one. The 2.8 version is one of the most underrated Leica lenses. In my opinion at f4- f11 it is on a par with the 8 element summicron, but substantially cheaper.


Best regards,


Tony Salce

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