Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/12/13

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Subject: Re: RE: [Leica] re: first lens?
From: Walter S Delesandri <>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 11:35:57 -0600 (Central Standard Time)

On Thu, 13 Dec 2001 16:45:36 -0000 Jason Vicinanza 
<> wrote:
> Someone put me right... apart from cost issues why would one, after
> investing in a Leica, want to use a non Leica lens on a Leica body? A system
> is only as strong as the weakest link and therefore if I should use old
> Russian lens's I might just as well buy an old Russian camera? I also
> purchased a non Leica lens (Voightlander Ultron) but in hindsight I wish id
> have waited until I had the case for a Summicron 35.
> My first lens by the way was the Summicron 50.
Excellent choice, Jason....
Well, I'll have to start a war now.....I'd NOT buy a russian lens (except for 
fun) for a Leica.  Some of them (optically) are excellent, some aren't....but 
mechanically, they are all pretty junky. 

However, bear in mind that the C/V stuff appears well made, and probably 
outperforms any but the latest Leica lenses.  Also, Nikon and Canon both 
made excellent (mechanically and optically) lenses, at least on a par with 
Leicas of the same vintage.  Notice the feel, finish, etc on late 50s-60s 
stuff from them, bodies included. While there now is no choice but Leica 
for usable, repairable bodies, there were and are alternatives, especially 
lenses.  Most buyers can't "visually" verify the condition of a Canon VI-t or 
Canon P, but MOST can verify that the lenses are in good condition.  So a 
newish/repairable Leica M with "other" lenses can be a good, solid, high 
performance outfit...all for less than $2000 (body and three lenses, for example).
This will not only approach the "RF" state of the art (since most of the virtues 
are lack of vibration/focusing accuracy anyway, NOT lenses---tho the Leica lenses 
are fabulous) but will reflect what at least two of our "Leica heros" actually did!!
(DDD and W. Eugene Smith both used "mixed breed" outfits during their most 
productive eras)

Anyone without the "LEICA DISEASE" would verify that the 50 1.4 canon or Nikkor 
outperforms any Summarit, and they are on a par with the Summilux.....also, 
the 28 Canon performed better than any leitz optic 'til the 80s...the 85 canon 
I used for many years (late, black) MAY have been better wide open than my 
Summicron 90, although the Summicron is fine for me.  At one time I had M2s with 
28, 50, 85 Canon and a 35 Summicron.  Over the years and many trades I "upgraded" 
to all Leitz/Leica lenses....made me "feel" better, I guess...cuz those 
Canons (and the Nikons I used on my RFs) damn sure performed OK for years!!!
I'm thinking about buying a Cosina or two just to "play" well as 
a new summicron 35 (FINALLY--after 22 years)...but I just want some toys...
I don't expect to make "better pictures".

When I didn't HAVE M4/M6 and I had "mongrel" lenses, it mattered to me---that's 
why I "upgraded" that I have the "real" thing, I realize it didn't matter at 
all.  I must qualify that all these folks that state that "current leitz optics 
are BEYOND the state of the art" or absolutely correct!!!....but if you read ALL 
of Erwin's info (I have), you'll see that 99 percent of Leica users can't POSSIBLY 
use the performance (t-max 400-wide open-1/60 >OR< f16/diffraction limited-either 
way, you might as well be using a zorki)

I'd always reccomend Leica M and it's lenses over anything else in 35mm--except 
macro and long lens stuff....but if someone wants a quiet, smooth camera that 
only an RF can provide, and is strapped for cash, he's  a HELLUVA lot better 
off with a Canon 1.4 than a damn 50 Elmar or Summitar....or an 85 canon rather
 than a 90 elmar. (I LOVE 90 elmars...but fast they're not,
 and none too contrasty, either!) I've owned and used multiple examples of all of 

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Replies: Reply from Mark Rabiner <> (Re: [Leica] re: first lens?)