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Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

Allen B

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

I just turned 65 and have wanted a Leica since I was a young guy in the Navy and was the base photographer. I finally feel I've slowed enough in life to appreciate the art of photography at a different pace from my normal run-n'-gun a7rv days, though I still have some of that in me. I also travel the world a lot and packing and carrying all that Sony gear has become a true nightmare, especially with the TSA. And I know some may suggest an a7c but that camera doesn't speak to me at this point in my life.

So I have my eye on a used m10r in Like New condition and want to get everyone's feel for what I may expect and what to look for in moving from Sony to this camera (and I know it's a rabbit hole), I also have a deposit on a Q3 but my heart seems to always pull for the Leica m-mount so I may cancel the Q3 order and get the m10r.

I just returned from Canada, Japan, Korea, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, England, and Germany where I went into just about every Leica Store I could find along the way to calm my desires for one while traveling. I had considered getting an M11 while traveling but was amazed to find that prices were much higher even in countries near Germany, the freezing of the m11's also made me reluctant to go that route at the moment.

When I do pull the trigger on the m10r, which may be next week, I'm looking to get one, or perhaps two, lenses to get me started, a 28mm or 35mm and a 50mm, and was wondering which one folks would consider if not Leica lenses; have been looking at some Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses and many seem to match up well with the Leica lenses from what I've read.

Well, I know this is a lot to digest, and you can probably see that this has been on my mind for a long time, so I'd appreciate any suggestions to guide me into this next rabbit hole in my camera journey of life.

May 07, 2024 at 08:10 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

If you're getting two, I'd go for 28 and 50 rather than 35 and 50 to give you more range between the two focal lengths.

With some exceptions Leica lenses tend to be both overrated and overpriced, and in many cases you can get similar or better performance from Voigtländer these days. I think a key question to ask at the outset is whether you like to shoot portraits and other things with shallow depth of field or whether you're more of a street photographer who leaves your lens at f8 or f11 most of the time. If the latter, spending the extra money on a fast lens is a waste; you can get one of the slower, cheaper ones and have the same image quality and ergonomics. Voigtländer now has three good 28mm lenses (f1.5, f2, and 2.8, with the 2.8 being extremely small) and quite a few good 50mm lenses to choose from.

Shooting stopped down and zone focusing is fast and easy, the typical claim is that it's faster than autofocus on Sony, and if that appeals to you it's a simple way to get used to rangefinder shooting before you open up the aperture more and do more critical focusing.

May 07, 2024 at 08:52 AM
Allen B

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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

Great advice and thanks, I hadn't thought much about my style and how it relates to the m-mount lens choices available. I'm mostly a street photographer except for family shots from time to time and I have the x100VI or Sony for that since I'll probably keep the Sony with one or two lenses. I like the idea of the 28mm and 50mm (especially for travel) and something in the f2 range would be a nice compromise and fast enough. Thanks

May 07, 2024 at 09:16 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

In addition to Fred's reviews here on the site, you'll find useful reviews on the phillipreeve.net:

Voigtländer lenses (including M-mount):


Zeiss lenses (including M-mount:


Leica lenses:


Also I like Jack Takahashi's occasional reviews:


And also this guy:


Not all of these reviewers agree with each other in their conclusions; everyone's human and has different preferences, likes/dislikes, and not all lens samples are identical either. But I like reading those contrasting reviews and above all looking at image examples to see what attracts me.

May 07, 2024 at 09:30 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

My advice on lenses is that less is more and the lighter the better. This is far more important on M cameras than SLRs. The rangefinder makes focusing at f/1.4 a slow process, you have to be really careful to get it right. If you never did rangefinder focusing you may very well find the process of shooting fast than f/2 frustrating (to begin with). Also, fast lenses are generally big and heavy (but there are some really compact ones too). They don't look heavy on paper compared to an SLR lens, however put them on a Leica and suddenly the whole thing becomes "not nice".

Think about your lens choices. 28/50 is a great combo is that's what works for you! But you may find that a 35 on its own is actually far better. I spent a lot of time with a 21/50 combo. Then I got a Voigtlander 35/1.4II and basically used that for anything and everything. One of the main benefits of that lens is that it is tiny and light, makes the whole camera-lens combo pocketable and a joy to use.

May 07, 2024 at 09:33 AM

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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

As my Greek British brother mentioned, size is key. Leica Ms are so much more enjoyable to use with the smaller lenses. Back in the film days (where I am strangely still stuck) a fast lens was key because you had a fixed ISO (yeah you could push the film in dev etc but you would be commited for the entire roll). In the digital era those fast lenses are all about bowkay and ‘ooh look only one eyelash is in focus!’.
And an F2 lens is plenty fast enough with excellent OOF areas too. When I look at my gear the big fast stuff that I bought to impress my neighbours is hardly ever used.
Leica glass is way more expensive than the rest. But you will always get an excellent lens, perhaps though not great at flare resistance. What I really like about them though is they maintain a consistent design language so they always look and feel basically perfect on your camera. None of my other lenses - Zeiss, Voigtlander etc do. Even though they may be the equal optically.
28, 50 is the perfect two lens combo. The CV Apo 35 and 50 are superb but while they are F2, they are very big so for me I never was interested in them.
Whichever ones you get buy used. You then are pretty much using them for free if you ever decide to sell them. The hit is when you buy them new - no matter what fanbois on leicaforum say about retaining value - they do not unless a super rare limited edition one. But they do retain the same value used - as do the lenses from Cv etc.

My ideal two lens 28/50 combo are the Summicrons from Leica. I also have the CV 28 f2 but the only thing that turns me off that lens is frankly it is ugly to look at compared to the Summicron. The new CV 28 2.8s look very nice though. I had and sold the Zeiss Planar 50 - super optically but poor build quality and developed the notorious wobble.

Anyway, if I had to to it over again with no lenses yet, yeah it would be the CV 28 f2 (for the huge price difference I could deal w the looks) and most probably the upcoming new and tiny CV 50 2.2 Color Skopar.

May 07, 2024 at 10:00 AM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

In February of this year I finally scratched an itch that I've had for years - got my first M camera - right after I got a replacement of my Q3 that died and couldn't be repaired, and then promptly sold it to get back my entire investment.

I had funds to get a M11, but shied away because of all the issues of lock-up/freezing it has had, and because I was gunshy because of the same issues I had with my Q3 which as I said finally bricked.

I considered the M10R but ultimately decided to get the M10 with it's 24mp files which are more than enough for my purposes. And also because the M10 has the same sensor as my original Q whose images I preferred over my subsequent Q2 and Q3. I know the M10R is supposed to have a better sensor in terms of less noise at high ISO's but honestly I've had no problems with noise on my M10 and actually like the look.

But that said, the M10R is a fine camera and if it suits your purposes, then go for it.

FYI, I also have a Sony A7RV which only comes off the shelf for some photo trips to places like New Zealand and Alaska, and also when I shoot the Asheville professional ballet dress rehearsal every year where I need the amazing auto focus capability of the A7RV.

I wondered whether I'd be able to adjust to manual focus, after not having done so for over 40 years, but it turns out that I adapted well to rangefinder focusing, and if light conditions make that difficult, I can always use the zoom/focus peeking feature on the lcd.

I went a slightly different route with lenses. After considering most of them including some really great Voigt lenses, I finally ended up with 3:

- Leica 21/34 super elmar which I use mainly for street photography during the day. It's the perfect cam during daylight to set it at f11 and close to infinity, and just shoot like a point and shoot. I got this used from FM buy/sell for a really inexpensive price.
- Leica 35/1.4 steel rim reissue: this is my favorite lens simply because I'm crazy about its rendering wide open. It's also a great lens for night street work.
- Leica 50/1.4 lux asph - this is a fabulous portrait lens, also great for candid street photos where you want a bit more stealth by having more distance between you and your subjects.

But if I was only going to have 2 lenses, then I'd probably go with a 28 and 50.

best of luck and congrats in fulfilling your dream of having a Leica rangefinder!

May 07, 2024 at 10:26 AM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

I also vote for 28/50, and the emphasis on lower weight. While I have numerous M and LTM lenses, my favorite combo is the Elmarit 28 ASPH and a classic Elmar 50/2.8. They're fast enough for walkabout, especially if you are stopping down for DOF or for scale-focus convenience.

May 07, 2024 at 06:56 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Looking to finally pick up my first Leica and have my eyes on an m10-r.

Only you can tell what you prefer. Most people use one M lens 90% of the time. So instead of looking for a more balanced kit, I made sure I bought my favorite FL which is 35mm. I had no issues nailing focus at f1.4 with M9, M10, M10R or M11.

May 08, 2024 at 04:42 PM

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