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| p.1 #19 · Used Leica M8 or wait until new Mx arrives and the price of an M9 to go down? |
Yeah, if you want to experience traditional rangefinder shooting, you're not going to get it from the Fuji. There is a huge difference between an AF system doing the work for you and aligning the rangefinder split image yourself. To me it sounds like the OP is looking for the traditional RF experience. Not to say the Fuji is a bad option, but it's kind of a halfway step between DSLR and traditional rangefinder. If someone wants to try the rangefinder experience, why go halfway?
Good starter lenses would depend on what focal lengths you prefer. I think most people like FF angle of view of 28/35/50, so you'd be looking at 21/28/35. 24/25 might be an alternative to 21. For starting off I would suggest either some from Voigtlander, or if you're willing to spend a bit more, from Zeiss. No-nonesense Zeiss lenses are pretty much all of them. The only ones with quirks are the 21 f/4.5 with serious colour shift at the edges on the M9 (not sure how it fares on the M8) and the 50 f/1.5 is a less clinical, less perfect lens, with focus shift as it's stopped down. Otherwise, the rest are solid as all-rounders. I have less experience with the Voigtlander lenses in this range. Their 21 f/4 is super small, but I can't comment on quality. The 35 f/2.5 looks interesting and the softer edges stated by some, might be less of an issue on the M8. The 28 f/2 is lower in contrast and not as crazy sharp compared to Zeiss and Leica, and has some focus shift as well. The 35 and 40 f/1.4 are character lenses. Again, not clinically sharp wide open, exhibit fairly strong field curvature, some focus shift too. I have the 40 and it's an interesting lens, but maybe not a safe all-rounder to start with. The 35 f/1.2 is probably the best from Voigtlander in terms of being a 'modern' design. Sharp, no focus shift, nice bokeh. But it's big, heavy and not cheap. The discontinued 50 f/1.5 is similar to the 35 f/1.2 in that it's sharp centrally wide open and no focus shift. From Leica, the 28 f/2.8 is highly regarded even though the 28 f/2 gets all the love. The Summarit line is also very, very good. I've tried three of the four now (and own one) and have found no real image quality issues with any. There seem to be some common qualities across each line. Many of the Voigtlander lenses seem to be a bit on the lower contrast side, and as a result have a smoother, flatter, less saturated feel. The Zeiss trend towards higher contrast and sharpness. The Leica lenses seem to fall in the middle in terms of contrast, but with excellent sharpness and colour fidelity with good saturation.
I agree with what was commented earlier, that many who give up on digital Ms probably don't give them a long enough adjustment period. The cameras are physically different. Focus is different. Shot to shot speed is slower. Metering is unsophisticated. Image rendition is different, therefore post production will require adjustments. The files are not going to look as clean out of the camera as those from Canikon, in part because Leica simply doesn't do in-camera NR. Vignetting can be noticeable. AWB can be way off.
If you're starting off, pick a no-nonsense lens and just shoot for a while to slowly get a feel for the whole package. A no-nonsense lens would be one that's f/2 or slower because it will be more forgiving of slight focus misses. At f/2 with a 35mm and longer lens you're in the zone where rangefinder calibration is more critical. And it most definitely is at f/1.4 and faster. That's why I would be wary of starting with the Voigtlander 50 f/1.1. There are too many variables in that set to lead to initial problems that can dampen enthusiasm for rangefinders before getting a good grip on how the system works. The 50 f/1.1 seems to be a lens with some copy variation and seems to be a lens that may or may not be accurately rangefinder calibrated. Or it could be that the camera's rangefinder is a bit off. And there is the issue of focus shift and whether the lens is rangefinder calibrated for wide open focus.