Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2009/10/06

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Subject: [Leica] Zeiss Normal 50mm f/2 Planar T* ZM
From: jbm at (Jeff Moore)
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 14:06:58 -0400
References: <>

2009-10-06-03:31:33 Wendy Thurman:
> Does anyone have any experience with the subject lens?  I am in the market
> for the Summilux 50/1.4 but it is "Out of Stock" on B&H's website and I
> felt, that at the price of $692, it would be hard to go wrong with the 
> Zeiss
> as an interim normal lens (and future backup).

Might depend on whether you're most interested in optical characteristics or
long-term sturdiness.  While I haven't used the Zeiss 50/2, I use (and like
very much) the Zeiss ZM 35/2.  The latter lens puts me in mind of a slightly
sharper (albeit bulkier) version of the classic Leica pre-ASPH 35/2 -- decent
(but not up to current Leica standards) wide open, really comes into its own
at f/4, out-of-focus details keep their shapes nicely.  But (while I haven't
used it long enough to have any problems come up) it just doesn't feel as
bulletproof as a Leica lens.  To get back to the 50/2s, I'd think you could
lay your hands on a used Leica 50mm Summicron within the new-Zeiss budget, 
it might be a fine user/backup.

Or check more vendors (are you locked ont B&H because you know they can ship
wherever you are?), because somebody must have the current 50mm Summilux --
and that lens is just stunning, head and shoulders above any other 50 I've
tried at rendering tactile, immediate detail.  You get the quality of slower
lenses when it's stopped down, and you get improbably good performance wide
open.  There's no downside to this lens except the price.

> My long-term plan here is:
> 28/2.0 Summicron
> 50/1.4 Summilux
> 90/2.0 Summicron

I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the 28mm Summicron.  Amazing 

Having said that, the lens which lives on my camera the most is the 35mm
Summilux ASPH.  But that has to do with where I often am (in dim situations),
the camera's being an M8, and my personal psychology (when working among
people to whom I've barely been introduced, a classic "normal" feels most
comfortable, so I don't get too far into their personal space, but am close
enough that it doesn't seel like sniping; that's a 35 on the M8).  On your
future M9, a 50 Summilux ASPH would serve that purpose, and beautifully.

As for the 90 -- I'm once again conditioned by my recent M8 use.  On the M8,
the 90 is too long to be really frequently useful and reliably usable for me.
The 75/2.0, though -- it's been really handy, and looks great.  I think the
75mm Summicron looks even better at f/2.0 than the 90mm does, and it has a
particularly handy size, weight and balance.

I think the 28mm and 75mm Summicrons are the optics which most often
pleasantly re-surprise me with how good they are.

But on the M9, the 90 would serve a very similar purpose, and it too is an
impressive lens.

Unless you don't spend much time in the super-dim or at moderate distance, 
could simplify to a 28/75 kit -- it'd be a little odd, but kind of 

 -Jeff M

Replies: Reply from wendythurman at (Wendy Thurman) ([Leica] Zeiss Normal 50mm f/2 Planar T* ZM)
In reply to: Message from wendythurman at (Wendy Thurman) ([Leica] Zeiss Normal 50mm f/2 Planar T* ZM)