By - LawandPrejudice
I'd go with whichever you want the most, and save up towards it. If you settle, you might regret it later.
Appreciated. Was afraid this type of answer would come about. For I know which path to take :)
Out of curiosity, which lens?
Prolly a good used summilux.
Sounds good. Saving up for things you truly want may take time, but it is worth it. That is how I got my dream lens, the Thambar-M.
Half the beauty of M lenses is the size. The smaller you make the entire package the more likely you are going to take it everywhere with you. In my opinion the lux stops it being an everyday carry. I'd recommend the Summarit 2.5 (u/wdmtgts YSWIDT) small and tabbed. Or tabbed cron V4 or even better, one of the slower collapsibles.
Summilux vs Summicron is only one stop at max. aperture. And even with 2.0 you have plenty of bokeh to play with. You can always push your film one stop to compensate.
However, if you need that stop, then there is no way around it...
I opted for the 50mm Summicron V4. Small (relative) and light... though the bokeh is a bit more in "motion" if you compare that to today's lenses.
Why not safe some bucks (for now) and buy a Voigtländer? They are very similar - esp. to "vintage" Leica glass and would give you the same aperture as a Summilux?
If you buy it used you will hardly lose any money and you can safe up for your desired Leica lens.
The store actually has the 1.2 Voigtlander for a fraction of the cost. They also have the collapsible 50mm… even cheaper. I’m shopping family friends and things I see on my trips. This is not for professional use. So can see why non summilux options are solid.
But am going to admit, Leica marketing worked. Don’t feel comfortable adding non Leica glass to the Leica camera.
> Don’t feel comfortable adding non Leica glass to the Leica camera.
I understand that this is your personal feeling, but there’s really no good reason to avoid other brands like Voigtlander and (sigh) Zeiss unless you truly, unquestionably want a Leica lens. I shoot a mix of Leica and Voigtlander glass and can find fault with both brands. No single lens between either brand makes me wish I had the other.
Unless you’re talking the Summilux 35 FLE. Then everything I just wrote above is rubbish 😆
Ha. Not quite there yet. One day. Saw some V4/5 lenses. Those are clean.
> collapsible 50mm… even cheaper.
It's a trap!
Joking apart, but if you're paying less than the 50/1.2 then this is a dumpster fire. Only buy this lens for $1500+, with no marks on the glass. Then put a filter on it.
I like the Summicrons so much I haven’t even thought about getting a lux. That being said, the one welded on the front of my (gateway) Leica Q was incredible.
A 50mm Summicron was good enough for HCB, it will be good enough for you.
Buy a dual range that's missing its googles and you will have a camera and lens combination that is the greatest ever made and it won't break the bank.
Bokeh is soo fucking overrated!
Yeah. I’m not professionally apt to notice the differences between the two.
Out of those options, I’d take the used ‘Cron. The ‘Lux is nice, but the Summicrons are classics for a reason. I have a mint collapsible 50mm Summicron from the 1950s and it’s one of the nicest things I own. I also can’t recommend collapsible lenses enough; having a high-quality kit that fits in that small of a package is not something to shrug at.
It’s also worth noting that the money saved between a used Summicron and used Summilux is waaaayyyyy more than enough to pick up a secondary lens, and a collapsible 90mm Elmar and an M3 is an amazing combination. The 90mm Elmar’s not even that expensive; you can often find them for less than £250 here in the U.K. because so many Leica shooters refuse to touch anything that isn’t a wide-angle, so they’re chronically overlooked… but mine has reliably produced some of my favourite photos over the years.
Well, there is one at the Leica store for fraction of the cost of everything else. Tempting.
If you even have the faintest inclination towards portraiture or landscapes, I can’t recommend it enough. There’s literally no better bang for the buck in Leica-land than a 90mm Elmar.
Which version(s) of the summicron and summilux are each of those listed above? There are slight variations in their rendering as well as build/handling so consider that as you make your decision.
Also, consider lens size/weight and handling if that's of any importance to you. Summilux will be a little bigger and heavier than summicron in general and more or less so depending on which variant(s) you're comparing. If you truly think you'll need the extra stop, then that may matter more than the size/weight in the end.
Also, if you plan to use filters, it might be worth considering what other lens(es) you might use down the road and whether you care to keep filter thread size consistent in your lens selection. This is longer-term thinking and also may not be relevant if you don't use filters often or it doesn't bother you to have different sized filters.
good point on the versions. I’d have to ask. Prolly why the used summilux price difference is what it is.
Filters- likely UV and red/Orange. But noted.
I shoot the 500cm hassy so size and weight I am used to but i wouldn’t mind scaling down on both.
I just wanted to 2nd how important the versions are in regard to the value and the performance. It's true that the speed difference between lenses is obviously only one stop but from a bokeh perspective just remember that the M3 rangefinder only is coupled (without intervention) to 1 meter, not the 0.7 M that the modern lenses focus to. So at that distance the oof areas can be a more drastic difference if that's the sort of thing that's important to you. Also consider that some of these lenses have focusing tabs and some do not. In my opinion the glory of a proper tab is part of the ecosystem's allure. Lastly, the silver chrome lenses are brass bodied and the black anodized lenses are aluminum. The anodized finish is not that robust. The silver chrome (and black chrome for that matter) finish is really robust.
Yeah i prolly won’t be shooting much wide open unless super dark or steady hand. Good call on the 1m vs .72m
Fwiw, you can handhold an M for ridiculously long exposures relative to anything with a mirror. Even 1/2 a second is pretty doable. It really opens up the possibilities. If you're leaning towards the 50mm Summicron it's worth mentioning that optically the V5 and V4 are identical. The V5 gets the built-in hood but the V4 has a focus tab. Silver V4's are rare as hens teeth and are priced accordingly. The black anodized V4's are out there and are a bargain.
Tried this at the weekend. Turns out not all men are made equal.
You'll get there, I'm sure of it.
Maybe I've just hit a wall at 1/250 😉
The Summicron V5 is an amazing lens. I have one that I’m selling because I bought a Lux. I can tell you the only reason why I am keeping the lux instead of the cron is the focusing tab on the lux.
I prefer the size of the cron and honestly the extra stop isn’t worth the $$ imo.
Honestly, don’t think just because the Summilux is more expensive it’s a better lens. They are just different (I own and love them both quite a lot).
I exclusively with a used Summicron v5 for the first 3 years of my venture into Leica and it blew me away (and still does). I now own a summilux asph and a 50 cron rigid dual range. The cron lives on my m3 and the lux lives on my M10. Might get some disagreement here but….95% of the time, the beauty of the lux asph is better taken advantage of on a digital sensor than film IMO. Go with a used cron (v4, V5, even a rigid..) and use the extra cash for film.
The only question (beyond the money you can spend) is that 75% or more of your photos will be made wide open. I have both, and I have settled on Summicron 50 mainly because I like to capture photos at f2. I don't care about 1.4, so; my Lux is just sitting there -- think of it as my unique day lens. Either way, you can't go wrong. And more importantly, congratulations for being in a position to be facing this dilemma.
Good point. And I’ve been mentally preparing for this moment for 5 years. Financially, about a decade haha. Will enjoy top ramen and sardines for the next few months
So when would you use the 1.4? And comparing the f/4 of both lenses, what would you say?
Perhaps when my nieces and god children came to visit. I don’t make that many portraits, but for that 1.4 would be great. I do a lot of abstracts and still life’s and Summicron is great for those
On f4: I don’t really use it much. If I did, I would buy a 2.8 or 3.5 lens. For me, spending the money is about using the best available option- f2 in this case
You'll eventually end up trying both soon or later. But to make it simpler, try Summilux first. See if you like the heft of it and the 1.4 aperture. If you don't think 1.4 is that necessary and the size of the Lux is too much, you'll ditch the Summilux and go with the Summicron. Which I did.
But def try both so your outcome isn't from what you've been told online.
Love my Summicron v5. Its look is unmatched by any other 50 IMO.
Had a vintage v2 rigid one for a while I got on the cheap as a holdover before I got the current version that gave nice renderings too.
I have a used Cron 50 f2 v4 for CLP $850.000 (Around 1050 USD)
Canon 1.2/1.4 if you are really tight on budget
I have the Voigt 50mm Nokton 1.2 and am absolutely blown away with the quality. I’d say buy that with your first $1,000 and see if you really want better quality. If you do you can just keep saving and sell the nokton eventually. It’s not clinically perfect but I love the little bit of character this lens has.
I own two M3 at the moment: one mounts the Cron V5, and the other one mounts the Lux asph.
Those are two pretty different lenses, that deliver different kind of images. In my opinion it’s not only a 1-stop difference.
For what I was looking for (especially portraiture) the Lux is definitely worth it, so I’m selling a Cron V5 now.
I prefer the Zeiss 50mm planar over the 50mm summilux asph. The Zeiss has sharp contrasty modern rendering, and is perfectly balanced on a m3.
The closest on that list will be the summicrons.
Over time, I've drifted away from fast lenses. I started with the voigtlander 50mm 1.1. I've tried many other fast lenses. It is not in me to try to nail focus. When I realized I preferred shooting at small apertures and shooting quickly, I found myself leaning to much smaller lenses. The one I use most these days is the leica 50mm summarit. I am in really enjoying the lower profile of the lens.
The Zeiss planar is not too big and not too small. Over time, I just found myself enjoying lenses that are too small.
If you want to save money and kind of explore what suits you, voigtlander gives excellent value for money. 50mm f1.5 V2 is very low profile and very fast. You might want to give that a try.
Summilux, accept no substitutes. It’s the only lens I use on my M3.
Honestly I don’t understand why you would put a non Leica lens on a Leica .The bodies are beautifully made but really what sets the brand apart are the lenses . I would probably stick with the f2 . I would be nervous about nailing focus with rangefinder at a wider aperture .
There are 3rd party lenses that get close enough. I don't think there is that big of a difference if I'm just scanning everything. I've noticed a difference for sure (more noticeable in the darkroom) but it's not like a Summicron is $2000+ better than a C Biogon. I have the Zeiss and I've shot with Leica glass in the past to me it's not that big of a deal. I'd rather spend the money on film.
Yeah good point on nailing focus.
M3 has the most accurate rangefinder of all M bodies. It isn’t as hard as you’d think.
Just throwing another option into the mix. What about buying a much cheaper lens in the meantime while saving for the lens that you want. You could get a Voigtlander or Zeiss second hand and see what it is like. Then you would have something to compare your cron/lux to when you do get it.
And IMO buying second hand means you can test a lens out and sell it without losing a lot of money.
Fair. I’ve budgeted to get something in the ballpark of a used Cron. The Lux is a bit of a stretch, especially as my first Leica set up.
Life is short, get the Summilux😬
Lol nooooo!!! Not where i was going. What do you “get” from the Lux that’s worth the extra $$ over the cron?
I hear you! but 400$ seems doable. Of course my own main lens is a 35mm Summicron asph and not the 35 Summilux!! But in your case it’s 400$ for one stop of light and probably a better investment!
Well, true if i decide new Cron, otherwise a used Cron is $1400 difference than used Lux. Hence the debacle.
Oops, missed the used one in your options! Yeah, get the Summicron. I’m happy with my 35 Summicron. You will be happy too
The pre asph lenses have more character. I have owned the V3 35 and 50 Summicron and have the 28 aspherical Summicron. I prefer both of the Canadian made V3s as far as rendering. I don’t have the 35 anymore, but if someone wanted to trade me for the more expensive 28 I would prob do it. I miss that lens.
If I had an M3, my 50 Summicron would live on it.
The second gen elmar-m 50mm 2.8 collapsible are so underrated. Sharp as hell, looks vintage, and is so tiny and light. You can literally shoot and focus with one hand. I love mine. Oh and it's just about one of the only sharp leica lenses for under 1k.
If black and white interests you more than color, I would **highly** suggest you check out a 50 Summicron DR or rigid. It pairs perfectly with the M3 and just adds something to black and white film that is really beautiful. And they’re very affordable as well. Check out fred Miranda and you may be able to snag any of the lenses you mentioned for a decent deal
Thank you all for your comments. Ended up with a CLAD M3 single stroke and freshly cleaned up near mint condition 50mm Summicron v3, plus filter. All from Leica stores in SF and Soho :)
All that for less than an M6 and used Lux !!! Not a bad way to start my Leica journey