Very sharp, reasonable 35-40mm?

Discussion in 'Leica M and LTM Lenses' started by carlb, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    701
    May 1, 2013
    I'd appreciate ideas on what to consider for a reasonably priced, very sharp, contrast rich, color rich prime in the 35mm to 40mm range.

    With the M 240, I shoot mostly scenery and nature. Presently I use the Leica R f4 35-70mm zoom, because of it's reasonably sharp resolution and because I can't always "zoom with my feet." It has a great macro feature as well.

    I'm thinking of a 35mm or 40mm prime, not so much for more open aperture but potentially for more sharpness/resolution/contrast/color. Many times I *can* zoom with my feet.

    It would be great to have rangefinder-coupled focus, but not critical.

    Thanks for your ideas!

    - Carl
     
  2. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    How about the 40mm f2 Summicron-C? Small, sharp, and good contrast.
     
  3. raid

    raid Leica Place All-Pro

    Apr 12, 2013
    USA
    Raid
    I renders similarly to the Pentax 43mm 1.9 LE, which is a lens that is praised by many.
     
  4. rbelyell

    rbelyell Leica Place Veteran

    202
    May 25, 2014
    carib, 'reasonable' price is subjective. what do you consider reasonable?

    in terms of sharpness and contrast, those are the two hallmarks of zeiss lenses, especially the newer zm line. i think at $7-800 the zm 35/2 or 2.8 are the very best for your 2 criteria. one of my favorite lenses in this regard of all time the is zeiss c/y distagon 35/1.4, but thats a big lens that costs twice as much as the zm biogons.

    the summicron 40 is a lovely lens, and cheaper than the zm's, and has more 'character', imo. but imo its not nearly as sharp and not as contrasty as the zm's. thats not to say its not sharp, it is. its simply my experience comparing the two.
     
  5. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    701
    May 1, 2013
    Thanks for great ideas, guys.

    For me, 'reasonable' is probably anything south of $1500. I'd love to consider some of the $3000 aspherical lenses, but I just can't bring myself to go that high.

    I'll search to see if I can find shots with the 40mm Summicron, the 43mm Pentax, and the 35mm Zeiss. It's tough to know when extra sharpness overcomes "sharp-enough with character." :)
     
  6. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    The Summicron-C is usually under $500, so "Very Reasonable".

    The 35/1.7 Ultron is well worth looking at, also Very Reasonable.
     
  7. raid

    raid Leica Place All-Pro

    Apr 12, 2013
    USA
    Raid
    Extra cost does not necessarily lead to higher sharpness. The Pentax 43mm is "rare" sort of, and it is beautiful overall. An ASPH lens is sharper. The 35 1.7 will be sharper, but it will not have the "look" of the Pentax 43mm lens..
     
  8. ajramirez

    ajramirez Leica Place Veteran

    267
    Mar 30, 2013
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Antonio
    Try to find a used 35mm Summarit. You should be able to find one for close to your $1,500 limit. Another alternative I have used is the 35mm 2.5 Voigtlander Color Skopar. Around $410 new, somewhat less used. Sharp and contrasty, and very nice and compact.
     
  9. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    I second the 35mm f/2.5 Summarit, its a fantastic lens. With regard to the 40mm f/2 Summicron-C, there is also the Minolta M Rokkor 40mm f/2 that is very well liked. Finally, why not an older 35mm f/2 Summicron? Most of them are terrific, with the last pre-ASPH model affectionally known as the "King of Bokeh", though I think the Summarit is even better.
     
  10. rbelyell

    rbelyell Leica Place Veteran

    202
    May 25, 2014
    i must say i am truly AMAZED that i am the only one to suggest the $700 zeiss biogons 35/2&2.8 for sharpness and contrast and value, while multiples suggest the $500 skopar and $1500 summarit. we're not talking 'waddaya like best' but rather OPs quest for sharpest, most contrast, best value, right? i fear i must exist in an altermate universe...LET ME OUT! ):
     
  11. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    Most of us probably make recommendations based on what either own, have owned or at least have used.

    I personally have never recommended for against any of the Voigtlanders as I've never used one. I owned the Summarit, sold it, missed it and bought another one and since it matches the stated budget (up to $1500) and image quality requirements (contrast, sharpness) I recommended it.

    The Zeiss might be great, but again I've never seen one and couldn't comment on it.

    I highly doubt I'm alone in making recommendations based on experience instead of just reciting things on the market that I've never tried.
     
  12. Brian

    Brian Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 3, 2013
    I have a really sharp Jupiter-12 from 1952, that has the optics and optical fixture made in 1944 by Zeiss. I also have an original Biogon, wartime- coated optics. It was $55 on Ebay- but would not suggest it in a thread like this as you'll never be able to find another like it.

    As stated, people suggest things that they know about.
     
  13. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    701
    May 1, 2013
    Thanks for all the ideas, I do mean all of them.

    All of these lenses have a neat proposition - some mixture of performance, character, and price. I'm not 100% sure I'm looking for the absolute sharpest at my "reasonable" price: I do really ove some lenses with character, but I've never known one of those to also be the sharpest ever.

    I'm probably not going to come to a one-lens answer for the long term, but I do have to decide which it is for the short term. :)

    I'm starting to narrow down to perhaps the 35mm Biogon 2.8 or the 43mm Pentax. Two very different lenses, considered for different reasons.
     
  14. chalkdust

    chalkdust Leica Place Regular

    78
    Apr 3, 2013
    I use the 35mm Biogon 2.8 on my M8 and find its images to be excellent. It is what I would recommend. BTW, I do not find the maximum aperture of f/2.8 to be a negative at all. The depth of field that 35mm/2.8 gives does a beautiful job of drawing attention to what is in focus while allowing the background blur to contribute meaningfully to the context. I really like this lens.
     
  15. Amin

    Amin Administrator

    399
    Mar 28, 2013
    Both of the Zeiss ZM Biogons (f/2 and f/2.8) are well under $1500 and amazing lenses. I don't think either of them can be beat in a meaningful way for stopped down performance.
     
  16. raid

    raid Leica Place All-Pro

    Apr 12, 2013
    USA
    Raid
    The old Biogon is also an amazing lens. I once compared 25 or so lenses in the range 35-40mm, and this lens was so good that I shoot an entire roll of film with it.
     
  17. asiafish

    asiafish Leica Place All-Pro

    Aug 9, 2013
    Bakersfield, CA
    Andrew
    I would say ANY 35mm-40mm lens will perform ell stopped down. It's wide open where the magic or messes can be found.
     
  18. carlb

    carlb Leica Place Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    701
    May 1, 2013
    After looking at images taken with the f2 Biogon I think I'll give that a go. So, if Tony still has his available ... :)
     
  19. VINCETAN

    VINCETAN Leica Place Top Veteran

    709
    Aug 19, 2013
    Carl,

    I heard only good thing about the Biogon. Never used it myself but great price and lots of people love the lens. I like it wider so the other option is the Leica 28mm Elmarit ASPH. Great little lens. A bit more than the Zeiss.

    Good luck

    Vince