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Archive 2013 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?
  
 
Sr.Cordeiro
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Hello,

I've been using a Leica Summicron-R 35mm f/2 on a Canon 5D MkII for some years now. I really love the look and sharpness it gives, but on some recent landscape work the lack of sharpness on the corners has become a problem.

I've noticed that since the Leica-R discontinuing announcement, the prices of these lenses has gone way up, so I'm thinking that this may be a good time to sell it, buy another 35mm lens to replace it, and still have some spare cash.

I'm currently considering 35mm f/2.8 lenses since I almost never used the summicron at f/2 anyway. I want a lens that is sharp and delivers that "hard to describe special look".

I was thinking on the CY Zeiss Distagon f/2.8 MM or the CY Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.4, what's your opinion on these? Which one is better?

The new Sigma 35/1.4 and Canon 35/2 IS are tempting choices, but a bit big and expensive and I think I don't need the fast aperture too.

But I'm open to more suggestions.




Jul 19, 2013 at 10:34 AM
f.hayek
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


The Sigma may fit the bill but while relatively inexpensive, is larger. It's a more modern design and affords you an extra stop that isn't a compromise WO. Tried one recently and I was impressed by the build and performance, equally. Don't knock the speed because it does come in handy when you least expect it to.

If compact is your thing, the ZE 35/2 may be your best option for the needs you describe. Newer design than the CY and chipped, it is extraordinarily good. Owned one and sold it off to finance a Zeiss 35/1.4 and wish I had held onto it.



Jul 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


If you want to stick with Leica, the Elmarit is best across the frame of the R 35's.

Strictly for landscape, I would take a look at the Mamiya 35/3.5 N. There shouldn't be any corner problems there.



Jul 19, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Sr.Cordeiro
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Thanks for the reply f.hayek.

Yes, the Sigma is an option but it it's expensive, it will depend on how much I will get selling the Leica. The Zeiss price is prohibitive unless I can get one used at a lower price.

Reading some reviews on the web I'm starting to consider the original Canon 35mm f/2 too, although the cheap plastic look is a bit scary. Anyone knows how this Canon compare to the other options mentioned?



Jul 19, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Sr.Cordeiro
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Thanks freaklikeme.

I think the elmarit (like all the Leicas) may be overpriced. Will I not get a similar performance out of a cheaper CY Zeiss 35/2.8?

I didn't know that Mamiya lens. The prices aren't bad too. How's it's size and wheight? And how about the performance wide open?




Jul 19, 2013 at 03:28 PM
freaklikeme
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Oh, yeah, the R lenses do command a premium. I paid about $400 for mine from Igor, and that looked like a bargain compared to what I was seeing on eBay. You could try trading the Cron for one and walk away with some cash. I haven't gotten around to the C/Y 35/2.8, so I can't make a direct comparison, but it looks like a good lens from what I've seen from it. If you decide to go this way, let me know what you think. I'd be interested to hear from someone who has moved from a Leica 35 to it.

On the Mamiya, I've only used the C, which is a good lens, very low CA, low distortion, but FC is evident even on smaller formats. The N is supposed to improve that, which is what has my interest, because that would make it an awfully good lens. The C is sharp enough wide open, much better at f/5.6, but one thing I've noticed about the files from Mamiya lenses is that they don't look like they produce terribly sharp RAW files, but just a light amount of sharpening in post has a much greater impact on amount of apparent detail in the images than the same routine with any of my SLR lenses. Size and weight-wise, it's a large lens, much larger than a comparable-speed SLR 35mm, but from that you get a lack of vignetting and good corner to corner performance. You also have the opportunity to use it on a T/S adapter.



Jul 19, 2013 at 07:07 PM
artur5
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Being a bit iconoclast and against my general dislike of zooms, I would consider also the Contax Vario-Sonnar 35-70/3.4, if a relatively low speed isn't a deal breaker. Currently, prices of units in good shape are very reasonable.
Of course it's bulkier than most 35 primes slower than f/1.4 but the sharpness is astonishing already full open at the center, Corners need to stop down to f/5.6.
I'm pretty sure that the V. Sonnar 35-70 outperforms both the Elmarit 35 and the Distagon 35/2.8 ( except at f/2.8 )



Jul 19, 2013 at 10:07 PM
kiankim
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


If I were you, I wound try not to replace the Summicron-R 35mm but rather complement it with something better at corners and thus more suitable for landscape.

I currently have identical setup (Cron 35mm + 5D II) as you, and I have same love and hate relationship with this lens. I find this lens to be not very optimal for landscapes due to soft corners and/or field curvature.

I briefly tried 2 other 35mm lenses, which were Contax 35mm 2.8 (not sure which version) and Zuiko 35mm 2.0, and it appeared that both Contax and Zuiko had the edge over Cron at extreme corners.

But center on Cron appeared to be noticeably sharper, especially at wide-open and it gives it more "pop" looks than other lenses I've tried previously.

I found Summicron to deliver that "hard to describe special look" especially at wide-open which makes me use the Cron 35 over any other lens I own and have used previously.

Unfortunately, I no longer have the files that I took with Zuiko and Contax for the comparisons.

But anyways, I'd suggest you to get something to complement the Cron rather than to replace it as long as your wallet allows it to.




Jul 20, 2013 at 06:25 AM
kiankim
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Bit of off topic, but I don't think "Leica-R discontinuing announcement" was the only reason why prices of these Leica R lenses going up.

I've noticed that price of these old lenses have shot up in price in last 2 years. I am noticing that prices nowadays are about 1.5 times higher than 2 years ago in average at least for most Contax and Zuiko gears, which I suspect is partly due to HDSLR and mirrorless thing going on lately.



Jul 20, 2013 at 06:35 AM
philip_pj
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


More than any other FL, 35mm lenses need to be matched to your needs quite carefully, in my view. You have explained you're unhappy with the R 35/2 corners and want something lightish.

It boils down to this - buy a fast 35mm that is nonetheless good stopped down to landscape apertures, these weigh 600 grams or so and are quite large; or get a slower lens designed for for general use. None of the slower lenses are particularly light, except the 240 gram CY 35/2.8, which also features poor corners and a narrow range of use. As pointed out upthread, many people bought the 35-70 zoom - weighs 475 grams, a little lighter though likely larger zoomed to 35mm than the 35/2 ZE. Both these are fine for your needs. There is a superb CY 35/1.4 of course, but..

..I suggest you get the Sigma however. Super sharp, affordable kind of, 665 grams OK a little porky, low CA and *very good* stopped down approaching diffraction. It gets close to the CY 35/1.4 wide open, but is more polished and easier to use, goes straight on and quiet AF. Very little wrong with it and versatile, worth the extra or wait a bit. And new or near new if you look 2nd hand. A lot of experienced people really like it, see the image thread.



Jul 20, 2013 at 07:29 AM
 

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anscochrome
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


35mm C/Y is built well, and has reasonable IQ. I pretty much shoot mine at F 5.6/8 all the time, but have not had issues with it wide open when the light demands it. I believe in the USA it is cheaper to buy than the CZJ F 2.4 version, and I think it would be a more (physically) robust lens. I do not use mine as much now that I own a 40mm F 2.8 Canon EF pancake, which has terrific IQ, and functions better as a "diagonal of format" normal lens than the C/Y 35mm F 2.8.


Jul 20, 2013 at 07:07 PM
rico
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Canon EF 35/2 is a very good lens for the price, crappy build quality aside. My only complaint is image quality into the corners which remain subpar at all apertures. Sadly, the high-performance lenses at this FL are not available for D/SLR. I'm talking about jems likes CZ C-Biogon 35/2.8 ZM or, my fav, the Sonnar 35/2.8 on the Contax T3 (film P&S).


Jul 21, 2013 at 07:53 AM
Steve Spencer
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


I replaced my Summicron R 35 f/2 with a ZE 35 f/1.4. I have been very happy with the switch. I liked the Summicron a lot. It was great for portrait work and I loved the bokeh and colours, but the ZE f/1.4 is so much more versatile. The ZE has great bokeh. Is fantastic closeup and makes for a very good landscape lens (you do have to watch for a bit of field curvature). I never got a good landscape shot with the Summicron. The corner just aren't there. So overall, I liked the switch a lot.

It looks like the OP doesn't want to go the way I did, however. He seems to want smaller is size (which isn't the ZE) and he doesn't need the wide aperture. Why not the 35 Elmarit? I have never had one, but it seems perfect for the OP. I hope this helps.



Jul 21, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Dutchflyer
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


The CzJ 2.4's optical is better than the C/Y 2.8. But, it's body build just plain horrible. Aperture blades are easily stuck anytime (I've had 2 CzJ, both of them stuck blades at f5.6 or f8.0). Therefore, make sure you can self repair or having someone with skills before getting the CzJ.


Jul 21, 2013 at 02:40 PM
dbehrens
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Tough call. Although I've never had this lens I constantly hear good reports from the CZ 35 f/2.8 - so it may be worth considering.

From what I have...
The CY Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 is great for macro - average for landscape. . . and mine currently has stuck aperture blades!
Mamiya 35N is nice - I do love the colors it produces and does great landscapes. Its somewhat large but gives sharp corners.
The Leica 35-70 f/4 R is the surprise lens in my bag - very well built, sharp across the frame, great colors and on par with primes. I find myself taking this lens more and more.

Dave



Jul 21, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Pedro Claro
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


I never used the Summicron, but have had and used some 35mm primes and can share my experience.

I've used a friend's Canon 35/2 (no IS) and it was quite a good surprise. Optically it's a very good lens, it's small and very affordable, although it has archaic mechanics and isn't the easiest lens to focus manually. Nevertheless, I could achieve landscapes like this with it:



One lens that hasn't been refered to is Samyang 35/1.4, that I owned for around a year or so. I think I haven't done many landscapes with it, but it's a very sharp lens with good colours and cheap, but quite big. I used it more for close-ups and at f/1.4-2 but if I find any landcapes done with this lens I'll post them here.

Right now I own the Sigma 35 and I also recommend it as an 'all-purpose' 35mm prime. It's very sharp, also in the corners when stopped down, it's not that big (smaller than Samyang and most 35/1.4 lenses) and can be had for around 720, new, in Europe, with P&P. I don't have any examples of landscapes taken with it online, but here's a 'cityscape':




Jul 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Edgars Kalnins
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Might as well mention the Zeiss ZF 35mm f2, the original one can be found for very low prices.


Jul 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Sr.Cordeiro
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Thanks for all your opinions.

I can't really justify to have two 35's, not just for monetary reasons, but because I want to simplify my equipment too.

Reading the reports about the Zeiss Jena I guess I can discard that option.

Regarding the Elmarit, this review made me discard it too:
http://slrlensreview.com/web/reviews/leica-lenses/leica-wide-angle/448-leica-elmarit-r-35mm-f28-e55-lens-review

Your opinions made me think on the advantage of the newer lenses, not just on a optical design perspective, but on other commodities like Lightroom correction profiles.
And I'm affraid the Summicron spoiled me with such high standards that any inferior lens will let me down (even if with better corners).

I gess that I will first see how much money I will get when I sell the Summicron, and then make a purchase based on that. I may find a good deal on a used Sigma 35/1.4 or Zeiss 35/2.



Jul 21, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Brody LeBlanc
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Get an RX1, problem solved!


Jul 22, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Sr.Cordeiro
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Replacing the summicron-r 35mm for what?


Brody LeBlanc wrote:
Get an RX1, problem solved!

I think that if I had money to do something like that a lot of my problems would be solved


Regarding the lenses, has anyone tried the new Canon 35/2 IS? I'm curious to know how it compares with the Zeiss 35/2 or Sigma 35/1.4.

The Dxo tests put the Sigma in first place and the Canon very close, being the Zeiss the one with the lowest score of these three lenses. But Dxo only gives me numbers, I'm interested in other things like image character, bokeh, etc.



Jul 22, 2013 at 09:19 PM
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